As we consider the impact COVID-19 is having on Lakeview Ministries now, and its future impact, please join us in praying for continued and increased support for this ministry. The reality of our financial situation is explained in more detail below. Please know we are doing everything in our power to make sure we are in a position to continue to serve you well into the future.
Reality #1: Summer Camp revenue is critical.
Lakeview’s primary ministry is our summer camp program. This program was budgeted to bring in close to $700,000 of income this year.
This income sustains our ministry throughout the entire year. It allows us to:
- Maintain, upkeep, and provide utilities for the 45+ buildings on camp property.
- Retain our incredible team of full-time staff as they work hard throughout the year planning, running programs, hosting guest groups, recruiting, promoting, cleaning, visiting schools and churches, working on projects, and more.
- Serve as a constant resource and support to our churches, families, and young people.
- Create new activities and programs to better meet the needs of our campers.
The bottom line is that without summer camp income, or something to take its place, it is unlikely we will be able to continue with “business as usual.” Changes would have to be made in order to preserve as much of Lakeview Ministries’ operations as possible. These decisions would be incredibly difficult to make as we consider how God has grown Lakeview Ministries into an amazing organization that serves tens of thousands of individuals each year.
This is why we are creating a plan now, so that we can preserve our ability to serve in the future.
Reality #2: Refunds, while necessary, could be crippling.
We currently have over $375,000 of summer camp deposits on our books. As is typical, the majority of this money has already been spent to sustain operations throughout the non-summer months and prepare for the upcoming summer season.
We deeply desire to support our camp families, especially during these challenging times, and will be offering a full refund to everyone who requests one. But if every camper requests a refund, we will be forced to take on significant debt in order to complete these refunds. This debt will have implications on what camp is capable of doing for years in the future.
As mentioned previously, the absolute BEST way camper families can support camp during this time is to make their full camp balance a donation to Lakeview Ministries. We recognize the tremendous trust and confidence in us as an organization that this requires. But we hope and believe that if summer programs are cancelled, many will consider this a LEGACY SUMMER; a chance to support and care for the ministry that has cared for and supported them over the years.
Reality #3: We are currently financially stable, but the longer this pandemic impacts camp, the harder that will be to maintain.
Lakeview Ministries has been diligent in minimizing debt as we continue to grow. The majority of our growth has been achieved through donor support and capital campaigns, allowing us to carry minimal debt in order to complete projects and sustain operations.
We are currently in the midst of the “A Place For You“ capital campaign, launched this past summer. This current situation has obviously had a large impact on the campaign. All campaign projects and spending are currently on hold, with the exception of the 5th Village Cluster project.
Our current total debt is $400,000. We were on track to completely eliminate this debt, and complete several important projects for the future, through this campaign. With the current economic situation, those goals are more uncertain. Here are some of the challenges facing us:
- In this current uncertainty, campaign contributions have greatly slowed.
- People may be unable to fulfill their pledges for the immediate future due to financial difficulties.
- We may be forced to consider using current campaign funds to sustain operations. Please know this would not happen without first contacting donors and requesting they give us that freedom.
Our goal for the immediate future is clear:
We want to ensure camp is able to survive this current crisis, and arrives on the other side with the ability to continue to provide the programs and ministry people love.
Here are some current steps we have taken toward that goal. We have:
- Frozen all current spending and projects, with the exception of what is absolutely necessary to allow for the possibility of summer camp programs happening.
- Shut down buildings to lower our utility costs.
- Minimized expenses as much as possible.
- Applied for and received a loan through the Cares Act PPP program. This loan will pay for staff salaries through the end of June, and is expected to be forgiven in the future.
Here are possible steps we may need to consider depending on the length and degree of impact of this current pandemic:
- Use our current line of credit with our financial institution to cover refund requests.
- Seek permission from campaign donors to use campaign funds to sustain operations.
- Request help from the Camp Lakeview Foundation for funds to sustain operations.
- Have year-round staff take pay cuts to provide for the long term financial well being of the ministry.
None of these steps is ideal, but may be necessary to make it through this crisis. Our long-term hope is to avoid drastic steps such as firing staff or selling property. We firmly believe that with continued action and strong support from our camp family, we can avoid such steps.
It is that belief which brings us to Reality #4.
Reality #4: God is good, our supporters are too, and together we can do amazing things.
Ever since 1963, when the idea for a summer camp in southern Indiana was conceived, God has provided camp with individuals who have risen up to support this ministry, and we know that He will continue to provide.
The following words, spoken at the dedication service for camp’s original buildings on July 19th, 1964, still ring true today:
We dedicate these grounds and buildings of Camp Lakeview to provide Christian recreation, inspiration, and fellowship so that all who participate in the activities of this camp may grow in faith toward God and in love toward one another. To the days that lie ahead, when many persons yet unborn will use these grounds and buildings, to the end that they may find joy and growth in their calling in Christ’s Kingdom. We, a grateful people, dedicate ourselves and these grounds and buildings of Camp Lakeview to the glory of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The individuals present at this dedication service had no way of knowing what would come of this small camp. They did not know that 55 years later, thousands upon thousands of children and families would call this place home. They did not know that their children, and their children’s children would still be attending camp today.
That future was unknown.
Yet still they sacrificed, giving their time, their money, and their labor in order that “persons yet unborn” would have a camp to call home.
Do you count yourself as someone who calls this place home? Do you hope that others will be able to? Help us speak these words again so that Lakeview Ministries will be here for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to have a camp that they can call home.
Give to camp in whatever way you are able. And know that we thank God for you, and can’t wait to see how He leads us through into the future.