This has been a difficult week for the world of Day Camps as this past Tuesday we finally sent out, to all recent host churches and communities, the information and survey regarding the future plans for the program.

Despite having sent the email to approx. 50 people we have so far only received 5 replies, which is discouraging although we did give a deadline of September 1st for responses.

The Day Camp committee, after much discussion and prayer, has come to the conclusion that, in light of the pandemic and the many resulting obstacles, we will no longer be able to send out Travelling Teams to assist churches and communities in facilitating their Camps.

Moving forward, we have created plans for 3 options that we are offering. The first is designed for communities who have hosted our program before and who would be more capable of running an in person Day Camp using a complete program package. The second is the same program package but with the addition of a Mentor who would be paired with the host community and would join then on a virtual platform to attend their set-up and team meetings and to offer additional support via text message. The third is a virtual program, which will be an expanded version of Terrific Tuesdays. A church or community group would purchase the virtual experience and then receive a secure link, which they could distribute to families holding a “Day Camp” in their homes.

The decision to switch to a locally led model has not been made lightly.  From the perspective of the Team Members themselves and their families there are fears about travel during the time of pandemic and parents are reluctant to agree to their young people taking various modes of public transportation and living in the homes of strangers. On the flipside, host communities are dealing the financial burden caused by many months of church closures and a lack of stable income compounded by the increase in airfares and other travel costs as airlines try to recoup after suffering huge losses. From the perspective of host billets, many of whom are senior citizens, there are fears of hosting a young person in their homes who has been travelling from other parts of the country and interacting with many large groups of people.

Prior to COVID-19, for a number of years we struggled to recruit a sufficient number of suitable young adults to build our Teams and with all of these additional obstacles we have to see that we must search for another way to offer our programs. Above all we have to TRY because we do believe we have something special to offer to communities and our core mission is“Helping People of All Ages to Become Strong Disciples of Jesus Christ”.

Am I worried about all this? YES!!!! Am I fearful? YES!!! But I am trying to look at all the positive aspects of this situation and am extremely grateful to be surrounded by a dedicated, prayerful and creative group of people on the planning committee who share this vision and are willing to continue working to see it bear fruit.

Enough ranting! 

Yes, there still is a small portion of my time when I try to step away from all of this in order to maintain a balanced life. This week I was blessed by two visits (the third is postponed to next week) both of which were most welcome as, after 6 months of social distancing breaking bread with another person is still a real treat (mind you I never eat a meal alone since my furry companion is always very close by in the hopes I will share a bit with him).

I have also done some more sewing of birthday gifts and am knitting away on my second stripy shawl. A friend kindly gave me several pocket books she had recently purchased  so I’ve had some fresh reading too! A dear friend gave me a Kobo e-Reader a couple of years ago and I love it but I have never figured out how to join a public library on it despite many attempts so it only contains a few books, all  of which I have read many times!

For a while I have also wanted to experiment with making Cold Brew Coffee so I tried that this week too and am very happy with the results.

Having had one friend to lunch and the other to dinner this week I was able to set a pretty table and cook for another person, both of which I have missed doing SO much. Unfortunately when Thursday’s lunch visit was cancelled I had already made fresh Summer Rolls, which do not keep well so I had them alone for both lunch and dinner  and ate the last two for lunch yesterday. I like Summer Rolls very much, but not for three meals in a row!

Since I am now rambling on about food it is probably the best time to end off this post with a recipe.

When Jenna came to dinner I served “Warm Israeli Couscous Salad” for the main course followed by Lime Olive Oil Cake for dessert with Mango Sorbet. I like experimenting with olive oil cakes and this one was really tasty

 

Lime Olive Oil Cake.

¾ cup olive oil

2eggs

1 1/ cups sugar                           

¾ cup milk

1¼ cups unbleached flour 

½ tsp. each, baking powder, soda & salt

1 tsp. dried rosemary or 1 Tbsp. fresh

Zest of 1 large lime

 

Line a 9” Springform pan with parchment paper and grease lightly with olive oil.

In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil and sugar. Whisk in the milk, lime zest and eggs, beating well. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and rosemary and fold into the wet ingredients, just until combined. Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 350º for approx. 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool on a rack for 10 minutes then remove the sides of the pan and leave until completely cooled before removing the base and transferring to a plate.

Serves 8-10. Nice served with mango sorbet or peach ice cream.