Coronavirus: Information for our Guests and Campers

May 28th Update

Dear Camp and Retreat Families,

The Florida Conference camp and retreat ministries have transformed the lives of campers, participants, guests, staff, and volunteers for over 70+ years. Today, we write to you in the midst of one of the most challenging times our camping community has faced. Yet we know, God’s steadfast love extends to us as we adapt to this new world.

After much prayer and careful consideration, the Board of Camps and Retreat Ministries have made the challenging decision to suspend our summer programs at all Florida Conference sites—Centenary Camp, Riverside Camp & Retreat Center, and Warren Willis Camp & Conference Center for the 2020 season. This decision includes traditional overnight summer camp, day camps, and Mission Riverside.

This decision is difficult and unprecedented. We truly believe that camp provides a unique opportunity for people to experience the transforming love of God in the context of Christian community. We mourn the loss of that opportunity this summer.

We are devoted to providing a safe environment that allows for social, emotional, and spiritual growth as campers. We consulted guidelines from the American Camp Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Florida State Department of Health. It became clear that their recommendations for social distancing, PPE, sanitization, and quarantine protocols would need to be in place for summer programs to run. These measures would force new challenges on campers and staff and would not allow for the nurturing environment on which our programs rely.

Even with these new protocols in place, health and safety are not something we can confidently provide this summer in the pandemic context. While our staff are trained and have the experience to keep our community safe during normal camp activities, we are not all trained medical professionals. Even with our best efforts, the risk to our communities is too high. We decided to suspend summer programs to protect our campers and staff, and every guest, volunteer, parent, sibling, and grandparent connected to our broader community. Our Board decided to follow John Wesley’s edict to “Do No Harm.” Those who have already registered and made a payment toward a program will be contacted by their site by the end of next week to discuss their options going forward. The four options are:

  1. Apply funds to next year’s deposit: Turn your refund into a deposit for next summer.
  2. Donate your deposit to help support the continued work of camp.
  3. Full refund.
  4. Refund and donate: Do both! Consider taking a partial refund and making a partial donation. Let us know how you would like your payment divided.

We know this is disappointing news, and we share in your disappointment. This summer will look like no summer any of our sites has ever seen. The loss of summer program for this year has already begun to cause our hearts to grieve. But God’s steadfast love and faithfulness extend to our communities just as it has to all generations before us, and just as it will to generations of happy campers for years to come. We draw now on God’s strength as we choose to keep our communities as safe as possible, and we pray for every member of our extensive network of Florida Conference families every day. We are so grateful for the love and support we receive from you and will do all we can to love and support you in whatever ways we can during this time. We can’t wait to see you all again: safe, happy, and healthy.

In Christ,

The Florida United Methodist Conference

Board of Camps & Retreat Ministries and Staff

May 15th Update

Dear Camp Family,

We were hoping to be able to announce our final plans for the remainder of the summer today, but we are awaiting the release of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the American Camp Association guidelines for summer camps.  We are also awaiting guidelines from our local health officials and the state of Florida.  These resources are imperative to our decision-making process and we cannot make well-informed decisions without this information. As we await this information we remain resolute on one clear principle: We will not return to ministry until we are sure that we have policies in place that ensure the safety of our campers, our guests, our staff, and all of their families. 

As we continue to make plans based on the data available to us, this week we sent a survey to the parents of currently registered summer 2020 campers. If you are the parent of a registered summer 2020 camper and have not filled out our emailed survey, please do so as it will help us in our decision making moving forward.

We are optimistic about running the remaining sessions of camp beginning June 22nd following all state and local guidelines. We will notify you next of our plan for the remainder of the summer once we receive more information from the resources listed above. We currently have hundreds of campers registered for a week of summer camp. We are hoping for the remaining weeks of summer to continue in ministry, here is information you need to know:

  • If you are registered for weeks three through seven, there is no need to make any changes at this time.
  • We have changed our refund policy to allow a full refund up to two weeks before your camp session for any reason, and up until the day of your camp session if your camper or someone in their household shows symptoms of contagious sickness.  If you would like to make changes to your campers current registration status, please email Mindy at mindy@wwumccc.org
  • Scholarships are available and the due date for application has been extended to May 18th.
  • We will consider adding additional weeks to our summer program if we see there is an opportunity to serve more campers.

In our next announcement, on May 29 or before, we will share our amended policies, cleaning regimen and approved camping weeks for summer 2020. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding; we continue to pray for opportunities to serve our camp family and prepare a sacred space, in a natural setting, for all to grow in community and connect with Christ. 

May 1st Update

Dear Camp Family,

As we enter our 5th week of total shutdown of our camp and conference center facilities, we just like the rest of you are feeling the powerful frustration that comes with uncertainty. We have been in regular conversations with Florida clergy, youth pastors, United Methodist Camps across the nation, and our own local health workers to discern the best options for moving forward in our works of ministry. As we await information from the state and federal health officials we remain resolute on one clear principle: We will not return to ministry until we are sure that we have policies in place that ensure the safety of our campers, our guests, our staff, and all of their families. These policies will be guided by standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and best practice advice from the American Camp Association. With that in mind, we have decided to extend the closure of our site to guests until May 15th. We will make an announcement that day, or sooner, should more information become available.


As we look at the Step-By-Step plan that has been crafted by the Governor’s office, we believe that it will be unlikely that we will be able to safely re-open our site, gather our staff, and make preparations in time for our original intended summer camp start date of June 8th. Considering this, we have decided to cancel weeks one and two of summer camp sessions, June 8th – 20th.

What does this mean for your family? We currently have hundreds of campers registered for a week of summer camp. We are hoping for the remaining weeks of summer to continue in ministry, here is information you need to know:

  • If you are currently registered for weeks one or two of overnight camp or day camp, our staff will contact you via email with information about moving your camping session.
  • If you are registered for weeks three through seven, there is no need to make any changes at this time.
  • We have changed our refund policy to allow a full refund up to two weeks before your camp session for any reason, and up until the day of your camp session if your camper or someone in their household shows symptoms of contagious sickness.
  • Scholarships are available and the deadline for applications have been extended to May 18th.
  • We will consider adding additional weeks to our summer program if we see there is an opportunity to serve more campers.

The summer camp ministries of the Warren Willis Camp and Conference Center are built on faith in Christ and 70+ years of trust built with Florida United Methodist churches and the families of our campers. Our staff is already working diligently to make changes to our ministry that will bolster our existing health screening, and eliminate large group gatherings of campers and staff. 


We say this to make it clear, summer camp will look different for us this year. With this being said, we will certainly develop and implement some new and unique experiences for our campers that will be life-changing memory makers. 


We will be prepared to outline these changes once we receive clear guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Camp Association. We continue to honor the trust that churches and families place in us as we adapt and move forward together.
Our staff is working and available to answer any registration or program-related questions. You can find a list of staff contact information here.
Thank you for your prayers and continued support of the Warren Willis Camp and Conference Center during this unprecedented time.

April 2nd Update

The Warren Willis Camp and Conference Center will extend suspension of operations through at least May 1st. Our staff is working closely with local and state health officials, as well as annual conference and industry leadership, to determine when we can safely return to full operation. We continue to place our top priority on the health and safety of our campers, guests and staff. At this time, we’re still planning for an amazing summer camping season, beginning June 8th. We are working on a survey for parents, summer staff and church leaders to share their thoughts and plans to help us in deciding any changes to our summer ministry. We will announce on May 1st changes that will be made to scheduled events for the summer. Our cancellation policy has been adjusted to allow for a full refund up to two weeks prior to the start of your week at camp. Scholarships are available and the due date has been extended to May 11th. The staff is working and available to answer any registration or program related questions. Our email addresses can be found at wwumccc.org under the Contact link. Thank you for your prayers and continued support of the Warren Willis Camp and Conference Center during this unprecedented time.

The safety and health of campers, guests and staff is always the highest priority at Warren Willis United Methodist Camp and Conference Center. We have a long history of planning for and managing communicable diseases. With the potential spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) within the United States, now is a great time to share our ongoing commitment to providing safe places for our campers and guests.

We recognize there may be anxiety and apprehension around the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak and attending summer camp. We understand your concerns. To help ease some of the anxiety, we have modified our refund policy. For summer 2020, we will provide a full refund for the cancellation of any camp registration up to two weeks before the start of the event. Reserve your spot today and sign up for camp worry-free!

As an American Camp Association accredited operation, our standards for safety and best practices around cleaning and sanitizing are already considered the highest in the industry. However, due to a potential COVID-19 outbreak, we will enhance our procedures in the following ways: 

  • Disinfect all contact surfaces. Our staff always cleans, sanitizes and disinfects all spaces in-between events we host.  As a heightened measure, we will begin sanitizing surfaces daily while groups are on site.
  • Regularly remind guests/staff to wash their hands frequently while on site 
  • Place hand sanitizer in additional locations around the camp and conference center, and encourage guests/staff to use often 
  • Urge anyone with symptoms of illness not to attend scheduled events at our site
  • Require staff to stay home if they are unwell 

We will continue to monitor the situation in our state and community as we move closer to summer camp season.  We work closely with local and state public health departments to maintain effective protocols for the identification and appropriate treatment of any illnesses that may occur at the camp and conference center, including COVID-19. We will keep you updated as new information becomes available. 

We already require pre-camp and arrival day screening procedures for each session. We will update these health and wellness screening policies and procedures to reflect the current best practices recommended by public health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes questions about international travel in the past two weeks or exposure to any known carriers of the coronavirus. As the situation develops in the US, our staff will consider the impact on any requirements for admittance to camp. If expectations change significantly, we will make sure to communicate these changes to parents, staff, and all program participants well in advance of arrival at camp. 

If you have questions regarding COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for more information on how you can best protect yourself and your family. 

We are continuing to prepare for an amazing summer camp season!  We have revised our cancellation and refund policy due to COVID-19 concerns, and we will be following any changes to the American Camp Association standards to be sure we are up to date on best practices for the health and safety of our campers. You can register for a week of summer camp with confidence knowing that should this season of social isolation continue into the summer months, you can cancel your registration for a full refund up to 2 weeks prior to the scheduled week.  So, it is time to begin dreaming and planning for your week at camp.  Here is information on all of our summer camp options.

With Christ’s Love,
The Staff of the Warren Willis United Methodist Camp and Conference Center

One Response to “Coronavirus: Information for our Guests and Campers”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *