Camp Arcadia Town Hall Takeaways

Thank you to the over 225 people that attended our town hall gatherings last week. The support of the Camp Arcadia family means a lot to the staff and board as we discern the best path forward. If you were not able to attend, here is a link to a recording of the second town hall gathering. 

Camp Arcadia Town Hall Gathering – Wednesday, April 22

Here are the major takeaways from our town hall gatherings. As always, if you have questions or concerns please contact Chip May at or you can reach him at (231) 920-0447. We want to hear from you.


Our top priority …

Carrying out Camp’s mission, no matter what the season ahead of us holds, is our focus.  We desire to connect people with a community of Christian believers, foster faith, inspire joy, and point to our Savior, Jesus Christ. What guides all of Camp Arcadia’s leadership decisions is a commitment to ensuring that Camp’s ministry will be here and able to carry out our mission when the pandemic is over. 


Our biggest asset …

You, the Camp Arcadia family, are our biggest asset. For almost 100 years your love, encouragement and support has preserved this place. Armed with God’s love and His eternal promises we are up to the challenge.


On deciding to cancel or not cancel portions of the season …

We are monitoring the situation closely; any decisions about the summer season will be based on recommendations from federal and state government health organizations as well as our commitment to providing a safe environment for you and for our staff. 


On the decision timeline …

The Lutheran Camp Association (LCA) board of directors is meeting at the end of April to revisit the viability of our retreats through June 27. This includes the Summer Starter, and the Alpha and Omega teen retreats. Going forward, the LCA board will be meeting every few weeks to assess our season. 


How are decisions being made?

The LCA board created a COVID-19 Task Force that includes members of the board, staff and the LCA. This task force is researching the many implications of this crisis on Camp’s ministry – financial, staffing, retreat models, health and safety, etc. We have spent significant time learning from others in the camping world through our associations with Christian Camp and Conference Association, National Lutheran Outdoor Ministry Association, ELCA – Lutheran Outdoor Ministry, and the American Camping Association. The LCA board and staff will take this information and work together to make decisions going forward. 


What are some of the biggest financial concerns?

With the potential loss of registration revenue if Camp is not able to host retreats there will be a significant need for donations to cover this loss. If the season is cancelled there will be a focus on cutting expenses and raising funds to make sure Camp can continue to operate now and be financially viable when the pandemic is over.


How much does it cost to operate Camp if there is no season? 

Even after reducing all unnecessary costs it still costs around $730,000 to operate Camp if we don’t have a season. Insurance, utility costs, building and property maintenance are included in the $730,000. This assumes that our full-time staff salaries and benefits are not affected. We are looking at different scenarios for reducing these staff costs. 


What are other revenue sources?

If the season is cancelled, donations will have the biggest impact on the financial health of Camp Arcadia’s ministry going forward. This takes the form of new donations to Camp’s ministry as well as encouraging those that have made a deposit for a retreat this season to make all or a portion of their deposit into a donation. Of course, we will offer a full refund to anyone that would like one.


What about our savings?

We have approximately $850,000 in cash and investments, comprised of $400,000 of cash in checking and savings accounts and $450,000 in an investment portfolio. Of the $400,000, $325,000 includes registration deposits for the upcoming season. Thus it’s important to understand that Camp’s financial position will benefit greatly if as many of the deposits as possible can be converted to donations. 


Did Camp Arcadia receive the PPP loan?

Yes, Camp Arcadia received approximately $137,000 through the Paycheck Protection Loan Program. We have through June 11 to use these funds for payroll and utility costs. If we follow the guidelines for the program it is our understanding that this loan amount will be forgiven. What is not used by June 11 will become a loan at 1% interest rate for two years.


What about the Spirit of Arcadia Campaign?

Thank you to everyone that has made the Spirit of Arcadia campaign successful. We have $3.75 million in pledges and gifts with around $500,000 still to come in to pay off pledges over the next few years. It is still too early to know if the economic recession will affect pledge payments. 


What about other capital projects?

We are currently working on the flood prevention project to keep our buildings dry, a shoreline protection plan to shore up a few areas of concern, and installing a new kitchen septic system that failed last summer. We have around identified $110,000 in expenses towards these projects that still need to be paid out. 


Dewatering pipes surrounding Wigwam.

Are the flood prevention and shoreline protection projects effective?

The dewatering system, a large pump and series of pipes that pull water from the ground, is working well and keeping our basements dry as the lake rises to record levels. Our shoreline in holding up well except for some erosion on the southern most portion of the property next to the public beach. We are currently exploring options to protect that area. 


What about current debt?

Camp Arcadia has around $630,000 in debt from the Spirit of Arcadia campaign through a line of credit with the Michigan Church Extension Fund (CEF). We are thankful and very appreciative of our relationship with CEF. They have been very responsive to our needs.



What about taking on more debt?

The LCA board will be looking at how much we need to keep in our savings and how much we can borrow and reasonably pay back. The CEF has offered a new line of credit at a reduced rate.


Erosion on southern boundary of Camp’s property

What about your summer staff that you have hired?

We have been in regular communication with them through emails and weekly Zoom gatherings. If we decide to cancel our season we are looking at ways to offer some professional, personal and spiritual development remotely. 


What about different retreat models that would fit the COVID-19 restrictions?

We are exploring different retreat models that would take into consideration factors such as the number of attendees, meal delivery mechanisms, different programming, a new cleaning/sanitizing regime, length of stay, staffing availability and responsibilities, and health and safety measures. 


If you have questions or concerns please contact Chip May at or you can reach him at (231) 920-0447. 

4 Responses

  1. Thank you for this informative recap…sorry I was not able to participate in the t own hall gatherings. I am sincerely hopeful that the family weeks will be possible . So many of us really need time at Camp this summer. Praying and leaning on God to end this crisis.

    Donna Walz and family

  2. Praying for opening of the camp this year. Thanking God for the work of the Camp Staff and the LCA Board for all of their tireless work dealing with a lot of challenges. Knowing that our God is an awesome God who brings peace as we all go thru these troubling times. You are the Lord’s hands and feet as we seek to do His will. May God grant you wisdom and strength for the journey.

  3. Thank you for the very informative and straight-forward recap. It’s time we all get down to business and do our respective parts to save camp. Accruing more debt to survive is not an alternative.

  4. Chip, as I read the minutes from the Town Hall meeting I couldn’t help but cry. You have been fighting a courageous battle for the benefit of hundreds of Arcadians for years. There seems to be no end to the problems that arise in maintaining this amazing property and you have met each challenge with determination, always seeking God’s plan first. I thank God for sending us YOU. It is obvious that you truly have your heart and soul in this ministry. I trust you and the Board whole-heartedly and know you will do what is best for us.
    Blessings to you, the staff, and the board,
    Carol Keenan

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