Many family camp registrants who couldn’t come to the Canyon last year were rebooked for micro-retreats, which began in March. (The first retreat had been set for February, but a winter storm delayed the reopening.) Smaller retreat groups this year have half as many attending families and two-thirds fewer staff members on site.
“I think the feeling will be refreshing—it’ll be slower, but in a good way. It’ll be quieter, but in a good way,” said Cary Hendricks, senior director of Laity Lodge Family Camp. “I think relationships are still going to flourish.”
Summer retreats will also host fewer people at a time in the Canyon. While building relationships has always been a highlight for guests, with smaller groups, those relationships could become much deeper this time.
“No doubt it’s going to feel different,” Hendricks said. “We’re really excited to get families back out there and confident that what we’ll offer will be an excellent experience.”
LLYC to look a little different
Without campers last year, Laity Lodge Youth Camp focused on building for the future, replacing 47-year-old cabins with brand-new lodging. Those new cabins will be equipped with hand sanitizing stations, as will many other buildings.
Attendance should be similar to previous years, with last year’s registration rolling over into 2021.
“We’re going to have camp,” said Chandler Pruitt, senior director of the Laity Lodge Youth Camp. “Our campers and staff are hungry for it. We’ll try to preserve as much normalcy as we can.”
Youth camp staff are making adjustments—staggering arrivals, tweaking Roundup and activities, and reconfiguring dining practices. One of the biggest changes will be limiting campers’ interactions with each other, instead emphasizing inter-cabin activities.
“In some ways, we’ll be running 15 different camps,” Pruitt says.
Like the micro-retreats at Family Camp, this set-up could enhance relationships and reveal new traditions that last beyond the pandemic.
Of course, the LLYC plan will continue to be adjusted as COVID realities shift in the weeks and months ahead.