Camp of the Cross staff reflect on successful, different summer, plan for 2021

Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 12:58 PM CST
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GARRISON, N.D. - We have heard dozens of stories about businesses and nonprofits closing their doors during this pandemic. The financial hardship has just been too much for many to recover from.

At Camp of the Cross near Garrison, it’s been a different story. They had a successful, although different, summer. Now, they are preparing for an even better 2021.

Staff at Camp of the Cross is thankful to be here. They are also thankful to be planning for retreats and summer camps.

“We have stuff pretty much every weekend all year round,” said Taylor Helgeson, program manager for Camp of the Cross Ministries.

That’s something many camps haven’t been able to accomplish during the pandemic.

“We have definitely worked to stay open,” added Rev. Janis Sloka, III, the camp’s executive director.

Summer camps were limited; only half the normal number of campers could come at one time.

“We had to turn campers away,” said Sloka.

Retreats this winter will be smaller as well. That will take a toll on the camp’s budget.

“We do worry about our bills, but this is a great place that’s been here since the 50s and we want it to stay for at least another 50 years,” Sloka said.

For full-time staff, it’s meant smaller paychecks. They have all gone to three-quarters time, an effort to save a little money, save the camp and return to times like these, before COVID.

“I think it’s important our ministry continues,” said Helgeson. “People love this place, and it means so much to so many people. It is a great place to go and escape the real world. You can find peace in this place.”

Peace, even during a pandemic.

You can learn more about Camp of the Cross and sign up for retreats or summer camps on their website,

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