February 3, 2021 Update
Providing a COVID Response update is a little like predicting weather in the Ohio Valley. You never really know what it is going to be from day to day. . . and it can change without notice. We continue to host groups that meet gathering guidelines and continue to take additional precautions related to spacing, sanitizing common areas and meeting spaces, and taking appropriate food service measures to offer quality meals in a safe environment.
Country Lake has long been a place of respite. A place to come and reset. Whether you’re a third grade camper, an avid quilter or a retreat participant, the need for responsible person to person gatherings and social interaction is more critical now than we have ever seen it. Isolation and stress continues to take a toll that often lead to devastating consequences. The crisis that we have faced for the last 12 months garners a wide range of perspectives, opinions and insights. We have witnessed heartbreaking loss along with financial potholes, but we have also witnessed inspiring courage and heart-warming generosity. The ministry of Country Lake is based on the simple mission of connecting people to Jesus and one another. Jesus offers hope in what seems like a hopeless world. Connecting people to one another offers relational and social connection. . . a sense of belonging. A basic human need.
We must not take for granted the need to once again gather together with the purpose of warming the soul and offering inspiration to all. We have witnessed incredible creativity, innovation and ingenuity from people around the globe as we try to adapt to the situation we face. The Country Lake Team has been resilient in doing the same. Making accommodations, concessions and adjustments that support our efforts to minimize distractions while offering an environment that is safe, comfortable and effective for accomplishing the ministry objectives of our guests. Public confidence is important to us and we recognize that circumstances change often. Here are a few things we have implemented in response to the COVID pandemic:
We have adjusted cancellation policies to limit unreasonable financial risk on behalf of event planners, organizations and ministries. Even with these adjustments, please understand that Country Lake may still require partial compensation when specific hard costs have already been required (i.e. food purchases, rental equipment, etc.) due to the timing of cancellation.
We have adjusted our policy for deposits, refunds and transfers. Our desire is for groups to honor their contracts and reservation arrangements, but we recognize that there can be extenuating circumstances beyond our control. If it becomes necessary to cancel or postpone your scheduled event, we are allowing a transfer of deposit to be used toward the future event. We are asking that a transfer only be used one time (not for multiple cancellations) to honor the integrity of this accommodation. Deposits will be refunded if the event is permanently cancelled due to COVID related circumstances ONLY.
As we have witnessed across the country, there are many different state and local responses to the COVID crisis. Our desire is to offer a socially responsible and effective environment for guests who see the need for group outings related to spiritual development, leadership, team building, relational connection, activity or mental health – among others. We will continue to implement the suggestions, recommendations and combined ideas of the federal, state and local authorities as deemed appropriate for our particular situation including food services, lodging accommodations, meeting spaces, facilitation of activities and encouraging responsible distancing when possible.
We are eagerly anticipating a full summer of camps and have been putting a significant amount of energy into preparation. Guidelines continue to evolve as the COVID vaccines are distributed and as various entities formulate recommendations. Since there are many pending scenarios for summer camps and much speculation, we will plan on releasing a statement with more details in May in order to limit confusion with an ever changing landscape.
If you are considering bringing a camp group to CL or if you have a child that is considering camp at CL, we recommend registering as soon as the opportunity is available. Because of the low risk registration (full refund if cancellation due to COVID), it is to your benefit to secure a spot as soon as possible.
Our prayer is that the spirit of gathering together, inspiring relationships and building community can soon be restored and that Country Lake will continue to serve as a venue that introduces people to Jesus through our desire to offer hospitality, service and love.
August 14, 2020 Update
To say that information changes constantly would be a gross understatement, but we also want to make sure we are offering adequate information for our visitors and guests to plan effectively. Although many organizations have been forced to cancel due to COVID-19, we continue to host guests, group outings and retreats in a socially responsible manner. We work hard to address the things that are necessary to address in order to offer a clean and sanitized facility, while still maintaining the warm and inviting environment Country Lake is known for.
Country Lake was created for guests to come and find a respite while unplugging from the stresses of life, whether that is through a retreat, an event or a summer camp. We recognize now, more than ever, the need for engagement, spiritual encouragement, mental health and a relational community so we will continue to take necessary steps to make that possible. Of course, we will adhere to the professional guidelines issued by the State of Indiana and the local health department – while adding a pinch of common sense along the way.
Here are a few of the guidelines that often require a little clarification:
Social Gathering Limitations: Large groups are limited to 250 where social distancing is possible (Back on Track Indiana Stage 4.5)
- Social Distancing is the key phrase here. We have over 200 acres at Country Lake so accommodating 500 people in different areas is quite possible while still maintaining distancing recommendations
- Groups that will be meeting indoors will be limited to accommodate necessary distancing and space (talk with your booking coordinator about details)
Mask Mandate in Indiana (Executive Order 20-36) ordering that masks should be worn in public WHEN SOCIAL DISTANCING IS NOT POSSIBLE
- Social respect and responsibility is what we are asking – not because there is a right or wrong position to the mask debate, but because it is a peacemaking gesture
- When possible and when in the space of others, we ask that you carry a mask to be used at appropriate times. If you are more comfortable wearing a mask at all times, please do. If you prefer to keep your distance in order to stay mask free, we support that as well.
Lodging and Overnight Accommodations
- We are limiting (non-family units) to a maximum of two guests per room in our main lodge/hotel and reducing our dorm accommodations to 50% capacity in order to offer plenty of personal space
- Cleaning and sanitizing efforts continue at our established standards as before
We are praying for our nation, for our leaders and for all who are faced with the challenges we are experiencing in the world today. We will continue to make the necessary adjustments and accommodations to offer Country Lake Christian Retreat as a place that our guests can be spiritually, physical, and emotionally recharged. Thanks for your grace and understanding as we continue to explore ways to serve our community and function responsibly during this time.
June 5, 2020 Update
We have been blown away by the outpouring of generosity and the creative innovation during the pandemic response.
In an unprecedented time where schools, sports and so many summer plans have been cancelled – including camps, Country Lake has been faced with swiftly adapting to new regulations and employing our own creativity and innovation. . . not to find a creative loop-hole, but rather to consider all of the many safety practices that have been offered or recommended by various agencies, while still honoring the gathering restrictions for the state of Indiana. It would be easy to project criticism due to contradictions in those guidelines and information that changes often, but in a spirit of humility and unity, we recognize the collective desire for public safety, the significance of this virus and the fact that, even with the best of intentions, new information could cause a widespread shutdown or increased restrictions at any time.
We also recognize the social, mental and emotional strain the last few months have had on our society and we believe that now, more than ever, the need for summer camps, retreats and activities that provide exercise and relational engagement is at an all-time high.
For the past 20 years, Country Lake has operated as a resource to ministry organizations as well as the community as a rental facility that also offers the benefits of well trained staff and lifeguards to facilitate adventure-style activities as well as a beach and pool for water recreation.
With a 200 acre property and over 680 beds, Country Lake is in a unique position to offer an environment that promotes safe hygiene and supports distancing recommendations – especially for retreats. We are also modifying our food service operation and dining in such a manner that we actually exceed most of the recommendations for restaurants.
We recognize that the majority of concerns stem from three key areas which are dorm style lodging, dining & meal accommodations and the ability to social distance or create personal space.
We have adjusted, and in many cases, eliminated our dorm lodging to offer alternatives to the traditional overnight summer camps and to address the lodging concerns. We have explored many new alternatives to our meal service and adjusted activities to allow for social distancing when possible.
Nothing at Country Lake is business as usual, including our standard practices and procedures. Most of the camps that were scheduled for the summer have cancelled – so we are taking this time to exercise our own creativity, partner with some local friends and ministry leaders to offer unprecedented opportunities for our community. For the past decade, summers have been exclusively reserved for camps and has allowed little flexibility since we were booked every day for 10 weeks, but 2020 has dealt us a different hand and we are excited to use this opportunity to announce a heavily modified schedule that focuses on four key groups. The Family, The Community, Our Local Youth & Retreats.
Focusing on Family Activities during this time is a natural and safe way to invest our time and energy. We have the ability to host 64 families at a time in private lodging quarters, with private facilities so we are shifting much of our energy this summer to providing a respite for families. We are also using this opportunity to extend an invitation to our community as we will be announcing designated days for families and individuals to come and enjoy the beauty of Country Lake along with the family friendly environment that it offers as well as some additional opportunities for overnight stays in private rooms or cabins. Participation will be fee based, but heavily discounted from normal summer pricing. We look forward to this being a bonding opportunity for our community and a rare chance for us to share the blessing of Country Lake with our friends, neighbors and families. We also want to offer a socially responsible environment for our students to gather at a time when many of those opportunities have been removed, but are still desperately needed. We will be announcing those dates soon. Due to the circumstances, we also have rare opportunities to book summer retreats or private events utilizing the Main Lodge and Conference area as well as the 52 private rooms it has.
We certainly find ourselves in unusual times, but it is because of these unusual times that we get to offer some unusual opportunities. Opportunities that we have never explored or attempted before. Although it can be a bit overwhelming, we approach it with eager anticipation of what God can do with and through the ministry of Country Lake, the staff and the many ministry partners during this time.
Country Lake Christian Retreat
April 2020 Update
Country Lake Christian Retreat is committed to the safety and well-being of our staff as well as our guests and, like so many others, we are taking the precautions recommended by the CDC. We have increased our already aggressive cleaning standards and have sanitized all communal areas and high touch areas like door handles, handrails and light switches as well as counter tops and coffee pots.
We recognize that information is changing rapidly. As a ministry we will support these restrictions and continue to monitor the announcements that are made daily.
We recognize that plans are in limbo for everyone and we are often asked if we have cancelled everything! Although we aren’t hosting groups at this time, we have our staff working on isolated projects as well as juggling the booking calendars that have been affected so much by the pandemic so we will be ready to open when the time comes. We are currently only accepting cancellations that would be covered under the most recent federal & state restrictions. Indiana is in the process of re-opening and for us, we’re basing it on their guidelines which are currently:
Stage 3 – May 24 Group Size 100 or fewer
Stage 4 – June 14 Group Size 250 or fewer
Stage 5 – July 4 Group Size 250+
Our desire is to preserve as many reservations as possible, but in the event that you need to cancel, the financial obligation will be limited to the non-refundable deposit that you paid for your group. If government guidelines require your group to cancel, we are open to utilizing your deposit toward a future date. While we certainly understand that many are forced to make decisions months in advance (or at the request of their leadership), cancellations requested for dates outside of the state of Indiana or federal governments’ mandated social distancing requirements will forfeit their deposit. Our prayer is that we will be able to host your group even if the circumstances are different than originally planned. We are navigating this new territory as well and expect to see a lot of exceptions in the weeks and months to come. Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we strive to accommodate all of our guests and make the most of this situation.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns and thank you in advance for your patience as together we navigate these uncharted waters.