October 14, 2020
Dear Friends of Timberline Ranch,
We are so thankful for all the support we have received and all who have asked us how Timberline is doing. The simple answer, of course, is that it has been a challenging year!
Yes, it has been tough. We have had to temporarily lay off many fantastic people from our year-round staff. Our revenues will be a fraction of normal, yet our expenses are still significant. Perhaps worst of all, we have been unable to fulfill our normal mission of serving our community.
However, we will survive! We had been carefully saving these past years for some building improvements, so we have a decent buffer to keep us going for many more months. We have received some generous donations to help us along. We have two movies filming at Timberline, each for several days this fall, which has meant some good, unexpected revenue. We have even been able to improve the facilities during these slower times.
Best of all, we are very excited for re-opening in the spring! Although we cannot possibly know what it will look like, exactly, we are planning to at least host day groups and run day camps. Hopefully, by summer, we will also be able to run overnight camps, but if not, we are working on other plans. Stay tuned!
Although there has been talk of camps having to close down, I can tell you confidently that Timberline Ranch is not one of them. We are not simply hoping to survive this pandemic; we are planning to come back even better than before. In fact, thanks to some previously dedicated donations, we are still moving forward with some building plans in the coming year. We can hardly wait to run camps again!
Next year is our 60th anniversary as a camp, and we are looking forward to a brand new start of “Bringing Hope, Building Lives” – hopefully for generations to come!
Thank you for your support, and we look forward to celebrating our re-opening with you sometime in the next few months. All the best to you and your family.
Keeping the Faith,
July 29, 2020
Dear Friends of Timberline Ranch,
I must say, it is rather disheartening to live at camp and never see any campers!
We must now announce that our 2020 fall camps and events have been cancelled. This includes:
- Fall Mother & Daughter Camp
- Thanksgiving Family Camp
- Fall Blast
- Country Christmas 2020
We are so grateful for the many who have expressed concern for Timberline’s future and for those who have been able to support us during these difficult times. Our costs are considerable. We continue to care for 40+ horses, employ key staff, and pay for insurance, taxes, and other unavoidable expenses. Donations can be made here.
Fortunately, prior to the pandemic, we had been carefully saving money for some building projects. This is providing us with a financial buffer for the next few months. Although we are sad that some projects may have to be put off indefinitely, we are confident that we will be able to weather this storm, at least until next spring or summer.
We are also looking at some new ways to bring in some revenue, including two brand new initiatives:
For as little as $25 per month, you can help us keep this great herd together! In return, we are able to show our appreciation with a number of tiered benefits to the donors.
Now you can shop from home and get those great hoodies and souvenirs, while continuing to support Timberline.
Thank you for your understanding and the many ways you support this ministry. We look forward to much better times ahead.
Keeping the Faith,
May 25, 2020
Dear Friends of Timberline Ranch,
It is with great sadness we announce that all summer camps have been cancelled. It is devastating, and we are heart-broken, especially because we know how many of you will be heart-broken as well.
Based on the direction of Dr. Bonnie Henry and the BC Camps Association, we have made the difficult decision to suspend and cancel all programs through August 31, 2020.
It has been a difficult two months for all of us, and it has been no different at Timberline. From cancelling our Spring Day Camp halfway through, to seeing all of our spring guest groups cancelled, to laying off most of our staff members, and now having to cancel summer camps, it is almost too much to bear.
Over the past number of days, after receiving news that overnight camps will not be allowed to run in BC, we have debated whether or not we can re-imagine summer under COVID and run some kind of day camps within the allowances and protocols given to us by our government. Unfortunately, we have determined that we are unable to do so. Although we have a very creative and talented team, it came down to three primary factors:
- The risk is too high. We had to ask ourselves, what is the acceptable number of children or adults contracting the virus at Timberline? The answer, of course, is none. If just one person caught it at Timberline, that could mean major health consequences and even death of a child or family member. That would be catastrophic. Although the chances of it happening may be relatively low, the consequences are far too high.
- It wouldn’t be “camp.” Camp is all about building relationships and being part of a community. It is about the freedom of running, playing, exploring, making new friends, and trying new activities. However, with the protocols required to run any kind of day camp program, our staff would be wearing masks, strict measures on movement would be in place, many of our activities could not be run at all, and other activities would have to be dramatically altered. We are not convinced that it would feel like camp or be effective in giving children an excellent camp experience. With sweeping adaptations, we might be able to meet the requirements for “daycare,” but it wouldn’t be “camp.”
- There are still too many unknown factors. Although the “numbers” are easing in BC at this moment, we don’t know where those will be once things start opening up again. Also, with all this new information coming out about COVID’s effect on children, we can’t be confident that it will be safe for children to gather together. Furthermore, the protocols and standards keep shifting, and we don’t know if we would even be able to meet those standards by the time camps would start.
In the end, we had to ask ourselves, is the “reward” worth the “risk” to Timberline and all the people who love this place? Although it feels devastating for our campers and staff, we do not believe the benefits of running camps nearly outweigh the potential costs.
Therefore, as of today, for the protection of our campers, staff, and families of both staff and campers, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel all summer programs.
For those who are registered for a summer camp, there are a few things we need to let you know:
- We have already invested tens of thousands of dollars into your summer camp experience. From hiring and training staff, to upgrading facilities, to keeping horses on throughout the winter, to paying credit card fees, licenses, insurance, and staff costs, we will be entering summer with a deficit of well over $100,000 so far this year. Over 90% of our budget is based on camper fees. We would appreciate any help you can give.
- We will refund all or part of your fees, whatever you prefer. ***Please complete this form to help us process your refund.*** We will need one form for each registered camper, both for day camps and for overnight camps.
- You may also choose to forward your fees (or a deposit) to next year. If you choose, we can pre-register you for next year, guaranteeing your spot in next summer’s programs at this year’s prices. This will also help our cash-flow for the next few months.
- Please wait patiently for your refund. We have over 1200 refunds to issue, and it will take time! The goal will be to get this all done in the next 2-3 weeks, but you can imagine the amount of work this will require.
For those who would like to help Timberline get through these difficult months with no revenue, donations are gratefully accepted. With 46 horses, several petting zoo animals, and a small staff to look after the animals and facilities, it is costing over $30,000 per month to keep going. We know this is tough on families as well, so please only donate if you can afford to do so.
Again, we are greatly saddened for all of our campers, families, volunteers, and staff members who were looking forward to being at Timberline this summer. We value all of you, and we will do our best in the coming months to improve Timberline and prepare for the day in the not-to-distant-future when we will open again and get back to doing, with excellence, the things we love to do.
Holding the Faith,