Summer Camp is open
We have been working to ensure our camp programs can open safely and as close to normal as possible. The Wisconsin Division of Food and Recreational Safety has provided guidance for camps to open this summer. This guidance provides comprehensive recommendations for many different aspects of infection mitigation and preparedness.
Unable to Attend
We created this video to share with campers who are unable to attend camp this summer.
CoVid-Infection Mitigation Guidelines
A generous donor has provided a $100,000 matching gift offer to encourage all of us to raise the necessary funds to help Phantom Ranch survive and thrive.
This is a time to dig deep, we need your help now. Our deadline is July 1, 2020.
Impact on Phantom Ranch
From Olen Johnsen, Executive Director
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones doing well as we all navigate the significant challenges of COVID-19 together. Please know that, even as I grapple with the best way to respond to the impact of this on Phantom Ranch, I'm aware you are also struggling with job loss, medical concerns, and worry about the future. 'We wait quietly before God, our victory comes from him. He alone is our rock and salvation, our fortress where we will not be shaken'. This is our prayer from Psalm 62:1-2.
The first part of Phantom Ranch's written vision and goals for the future starts with words of the Apostle James - "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'" (James 4:13-15).
Even as I thought about this verse last year in preparation for our 65th Anniversary, I usually still thought, "What could happen". Our ministry was in a good state, we were growing, we were reaching more people for Christ and providing more camp opportunities. But then along comes a microscopic virus....
As stewards for what God has entrusted to us, the Board of Directors and the staff are working together to navigate through this crisis. We are seeking ways to save money, meet our financial needs, pay the staff, generate income, and generally continue to do what God has called us to do. We are grateful for you - our donors and prayer warriors - who support these efforts.
In mid-March, the Wisconsin Health Department ordered all non-essential businesses to close to customers, and only to carry on 'core business functions' or work from home. Of course, this meant that all of our groups scheduled for this spring had to cancel. This crisis impacts our ministry and our finances. It will cost at least $130,000 in lost revenue through the end of May 2020.
The Board of Directors had a virtual emergency meeting on March 29, and made some key decisions:
- Make sure we have enough money
The Board authorized the Executive Director to obtain a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan, obtain a line of credit from our bank, and to apply for a COVID Emergency Disaster Relief Loan from the Small Business Association (SBA).
- Use the money wisely
The Board authorized the use of loan money and our savings (non-restricted funds) to continue to pay our full-time staff and bills as necessary, and to limit borrowing as much as possible. The Board also required shifting to a crisis management budget to reduce expenses as much as possible.
- Be ready to reopen
The Board authorized the staff to continue to plan for summer camp and summer church groups. This means we are still accepting camp registrations and booking groups starting in June. We are hiring staff and otherwise planning as normal.
On April 15, 2020, we received $84,113 in PPP funds. This is a loan, but most of it will be forgiven if we use the money for payroll or utilities by June 15. Our budget for using these funds is $10,000 for utilities for April, May, and June and $74,000 for our employee salaries and wages through June 15. This is a tremendous benefit to the camp and allows us to be ready for summer.
Thank you to the US taxpayers for providing these funds.
We applied for the COVID Emergency Disaster Relief Advance through the SBA. Upto $150,000 is available as a loan.
From April through June, we have a bare-bones budget of $10,000 for non-payroll and non-utilities (not covered by the PPP money). Most of this is for insurance, the rest is for horse care, software licenses, supplies, gasoline, printing, etc. To make up the difference, and to cover the pre-April 15 salaries and utilities we have had to use up most of our savings and rely upon your faithful and generous donations.
We obtained a line of credit from our bank. In the worst case, we will have to borrow funds using this line of credit to make sure all our bills are paid.
What about Summer?
We will have Summer Camp sessions beginning June 28, 2020.
We modified our schedule to allocate the maximum number of bed space to campers, while keeping our actual number of campers at appropriate levels.
We are confident that God will provide for all our needs as we keep our camp facility, our staff, our horses, and everything else in good shape. We want to be ready to open when the time comes.
Hope for the Fall
Our fall schedule is fuller now than it has ever been at this point. Many of our groups, who had to cancel their spring retreats, have booked for fall weekends and weekdays. We are confident that this crisis will have subsided by then. Fall income will help us pay back our loans and be ready to finish the year well.
Our Board of Directors decided, first and foremost, to ensure that we do not use any of the Climbing Center and Daniel J Johnson Memorial restricted funds for operations. Instead, the Board has authorized us to move forward with construction. One of the positive side effects of this crisis is the availability of contractors. Before COVID, contractors were so busy it was hard to even get a quote. Now they're looking for work. Their time is available and their fees are lower!
We will spend the balance of our restricted Climbing Center funds to continue building and borrow the remainder to complete the project.
The Climbing Center will be a key new feature for camp! The climbing wall will be a welcome additional activity for groups this fall, and the activity will also generate new income and be an additional incentive for groups to book retreats.
Many of you have diverted your donations from the Climbing Center to the COVID-19 fund. Thank you for continuing to give. Others of you are unable to give until the stock market improves or until you can return to work. We understand. We appreciate your past giving. Our hearts are with you.
We have a few other funded projects to work on, so even though we are tight with money, we are completing these projects using the saved restricted funds. For example, several years ago, we received a very generous gift to replace the old stairs with new concrete stairs. During this downtime, because of increased contractor availability and excellent pricing, we were able to complete the stairs project. They look great! I can't wait for you to come and see them.
When We Reopen
To keep our guests and staff safe we will continue to follow the Wisconsin Department of Health and CDC guidelines on cleaning and disinfection.
The number one way to limit the spread of any virus is by hand washing and not touching our faces. To help with hand washing we will install outdoor hand washing stations to supplement our indoor facilities. We will have sufficient quantities of disinfecting wipes and cleaners. This summer, we will assign a summer staff person to be in charge of disinfecting camp daily.
We are also developing plans to help with social distancing, while still encouraging the fun and relational nature of camp.
Food Service staff will follow all Department of Health and CDC guidelines. Our Food Service staff already follow ServSafe procedures, including hand washing, sanitizing surfaces, hair nets, gloves, and so on. We will continue these procedures.
Our camp sessions and church group partners will each have other protocols in place, depending upon the situation.
We are Secure in Him
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it seems change really is the only constant. That is, change and God. Let us not forget that, even in these difficult times, God never changes. We are secure in Him.