By Stan Friedman
ESTES PARK, CO (October 31, 2013) — Covenant Heights Bible Camp lost more than $100,000 when groups canceled their stays and outdoor education visits following the flooding that overwhelmed this area in September, Jesse Bolinder, director of development and marketing, says.
The camp is beginning to regain its footing in the wake of the flooding, and Covenant churches in the area continue to reach out to neighbors who lost their homes to the raging waters.
The camp sustained only minor physical damage from the flooding, but the financial losses represent 10 percent of its annual budget. Most of the camp’s losses occurred between September 16 and October 9.
“During that almost four-week span we lost every single guest and camper, and we had every day booked before the flood happened. We have also lost groups from a few other weekends in late October and early November due to things like the drive being a bit longer when coming from locations like Fort Collins.”
The situation has improved in recent weeks. Although some groups have canceled their weekend plans, most of the rest of the schedule is full, Bolinder says.
Several churches have taken special offerings to help the camp. To watch a video about the effect of the flooding on the camp, click here.
Much of the region was overwhelmed by the flooding, and Covenant churches are helping their neighbors in what will be a long recovery.
Members of Crossroads Covenant Church in Greeley have helped a couple clean and repair their home. The couple attended a service and thanked the church, which helped them after their own congregation had only sent them to the Red Cross, says Pastor Reid Olson.
“Our members have mudded, mucked out the basement and first floor, torn out the carpet, the drywall, and the electrical at no cost to them,” Olson says. “They have returned on Saturdays to continue cleaning and working on the electrical system, plumbing, and heating. They also have installed drywall, insulation, carpet, and painted.”
Alex Velasco from the Covenant’s Merge Ministries also is helping to organize teams from elsewhere. “We even have two families from Kansas churches First Covenant Church in Salina and Hillcrest Covenant Church in Prairie Village come for two weeks to offer free electrician help,” Olson says.
People wanting to send funds can do so through the church website.
In other areas, some residents still have not been allowed to return home. “Some cleanup is going on in Jamestown, Glen Haven, Drake, and Lyons but they are saying it may be next spring before Pinewood Springs is accessible,” says Win Jackson Houwen, pastor of Life House Covenant Church in Longmont, where water rose to within a block of their building.
The church is partnering with the Key Club at a high school, where one member of the congregation is a counselor, to collect clothing and new toiletry items for the flood victims.
Other congregations in the area also have formed help crews and are working with additional organizations and churches to provide assistance.
After national tragedies, it is easy for the rest of the country to turn its attention elsewhere, but the same is true locally, says Houwen. “There is a strange disconnect between the areas that were flooded and the areas that were not. You either were wiped out or you weren’t affected. So, most of our town is going about its busy-ness while parts of the town swarm with rebuilding and cleaning.”