A Letter to our Friends, Campers, and Donors
May 25, 2020
The last two months have been full and fruitful up here in Northern Minnesota. The trees have grown buds, the birds have returned, and the snow shovels are stored. New life is springing up all around us.
These months have also been full of thinking, praying and listening, as we’ve worked to figure out our place in this time. We’re glad to share that our next steps have become clear. However, they do not come without disappointment. Because we are committed to safe practices, and because we want to participate in preventing the spread of this virus, we are canceling all summer 2020 Coldwater Foundation programs through July 31, 2020. The current situation holds too high a level of risk to ignore.
This may feel confusing, as stay at home orders are being lifted, businesses are reopening and local trips are being outfitted into the BWCAW. However, the MN Governor’s Stay Safe order, the DNR’s guidelines for outdoor recreation, recommendations from the MN Dept. of Health, the CDC, and the Forest Service, as well as consensus from local tripping organizations, all indicate a need to maintain the practice of social-distancing. We are 100% committed to your safety, and right now, safety means social-distancing. It is simply not feasible to social-distance while traveling through the wilderness with individuals from multiple households.
We have not rescheduled the courses we had planned for this summer and will resume scheduling traditional courses when we know we are free to run those courses.
We can’t say enough that we are really going to miss you this summer. We know how much you’ve been looking forward to getting out on an adventure with Coldwater and the friends you would meet here. This decision comes at a great cost to us all. Camp is so much better when you are here!
We trust that you are embracing the spirit of adventure, rising to this challenge, finding creative ways to do the things that you love. We encourage you to participate in experiences where you are, to be a good neighbor, and to see the ways that God is at work. As we said in our recent newsletter, whatever happens, God is not social-distancing from us. He has not abandoned us. He is our guide through this time.
There are still many ways that we can stay safe and get outside. We can have fun, challenge ourselves, and serve others. We are committed to being a resource for you. You are on our minds and in our prayers daily. In this time, we will build momentum, strengthen programs, focus our trainings, and become even more ready to serve you and your families.
While the ability to run traditional youth programs has been interrupted, we are still eager to see God at work and to use the resources he has given us. We have been in conversation with an amazing group of young leaders who were planning to serve as our 2020 summer staff. What a gift to have such capable young Christ followers eager to set aside their summer and join our team. Our intention is to invest in them this summer. They are the leaders of the future. This group will still come to Mink Lake, but not to lead wilderness trips. They will come for a 6-week learning community where we will live together as a household at Mink Lake, focus on personal growth and practice the spiritual disciplines important to lifelong faithfulness. This comes as a sacrifice for this group also, as they will self-quarantine prior to arrival at Mink Lake. They will social-distance from others while part of the program, and will not receive the normal summer stipend. Despite all this, they are eager to pursue personal growth and serve in the ministry. This summer still holds a lot of encouragement and potential.
We can help you have a family adventure! If your household wants to come to Mink Lake for a summer adventure, we’d love to make that happen. Whether it’s your own Boundary Waters canoe trip, a hike in Superior National Forest, or a family retreat at Mink Lake Wilderness Camp, we are excited to custom design an experience that fits your family!
We are also going to invest in our camp this summer. We have loved and used Mink Lake Wilderness Camp thoroughly over the years, and are excited for this opportunity to strengthen and give back to this place. Projects include repair and reconstruction of our yurt, completion of a timber frame outdoor bakery and pizza oven, upkeep of trails and campsites nearby, and plans for an entirely new kitchen (pending USFS permit).
This was not what we had planned for our summer! But, to have the space and time to invest in these people and this place is a gift and a privilege, and is really the cornerstone of our ministry. We will be better for it.
But more than ever, we need you with us this summer. Here’s what you can do…
1) Pray for the Coldwater ministry! Pray that we would come out of this time refocused, strengthened and energized.
2) Spread the word. Tell people about Coldwater! Share our mission and our summer plans.
3) Talk to us! Please reach out. We want to hear from you, and we promise to do the same. We’ll be using email, Instagram, Facebook, our website, snail mail and phone calls!
4) Send money to feed our young leaders at camp this summer! We are jumping into this exciting opportunity, even without the financial gain of program revenue.
5) Financially invest in big upcoming camp projects: the timber frame pizza oven and outdoor bakery, and kitchen renovations.
6) Call or email to plan your family adventure.
Hope and Peace,
Father, I thank you for this day, for what it shall bring, opportunities, life, hope, strength. And for what it may take away. Teach me to trust you in the comings and the goings of life. In the name of your Son, Jesus, I pray. Amen.