Winter Session Registration opens on Monday, October 1st! While we’re super excited for all the wonderful things that the winter will bring, we’ve also got a few changes coming this year that we wanted you to know about - read below for more!
Removing Some Winter Sessions
After some very hard discussions, we’ve decided to remove our Boys, Girls and Wilderness Winter Weekends. We love those weekends so much, but the reality is that the registration numbers we’ve had for those sessions over the last number of years aren’t high enough that we can keep the sessions running. In some cases, the cost of renting a bus to pick up campers in Toronto and Newmarket was more than the income that we were making for the weekend, excluding any of Beacon’s costs.
One of the big reasons we’ve heard from parents that campers aren’t coming to winter sessions anymore is that many churches are now participating in amazing youth retreats around the province. Beacon’s mission has always been to support the local church, and so we’re glad to see that our campers are plugging into those winter weekends. (Hey - if you want to go to one, and don’t have a connection to a local church, let us know - we’ll help you find one!). One positive side effect of putting a pause on these weekends is that we’ve been able to book some new church groups into winter rental weekends, meaning that our winter will stay just as full as ever!
Knowing that we’ve had to pull those three amazing weekends from our schedule, we didn’t want to leave families without the opportunity to come to camp during the winter season. So, we’ve created a new, family camp-style weekend in the winter, which we’re calling “Winter Getaway”. This is our first year trying something like this, and we’re very excited to see how it might grow! For 2019, we’re hosting the Winter Getaway on the same weekend as our Family Day Festival, which means that families can start the fun on Friday night and stay until Monday afternoon if they choose! We think this will be a great way to introduce your younger campers to great winter activities like snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing and other great parts of what Beacon is all about in the winter. Younger campers, this will be a perfect chance to show your parents how much fun the tube run really is! Pricing is very similar to any weekend rental pricing, but includes amazing teaching for all ages, and will be a blast!
For the past three years, we’ve trialed a Men’s Retreat that has started to see some really encouraging growth. This year, a session director has stepped forward to run a Women’s Retreat as well, which is very exciting! All the details are listed on the Women’s Retreat webpage, but you can rest assured that we’re going to bring some great restful time to an amazing weekend for those who need to catch a break in mid-February.
Family Day Festival
Our Family Day Festival (#FDF2019) will be back and better than ever in 2019 - we’re really excited to bring new programs to the event, and we’re hopeful that we can somehow pack even more people into camp - last year saw a record 150 people show up. We’re exploring the possibility of offering a bus to Beacon that day, so if taking a bus to and from camp would be helpful, please let us know. One small change we’ve made to the festival is our pricing: in the past, we’ve offered a $5 entrance free + $5 for lunch. In reality, more than 85% of our family day participants take us up on the lunch offer, so we’re just going to be going with a straight $10/person fee in 2019. We’re still sticking with our $40 maximum/family, so if you have more than four people joining you that day, give us a call and we’ll help sort that out.
So many exciting things are happening this winter, and we can’t wait to see some of you here! If you have any questions or feedback, we’re all ears - the camp office email is firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call us at 705-762-5333. Thank you so very much to everyone who has given us great feedback already over the years that has led to these changes - we look forward to hearing from you as we work to make things even better going forward!