Dear Camp Families…

As you know, the CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines have been changing rapidly over the last few weeks.  We’ve been watching the changes and have updated our Health and Safety Plan (many times) accordingly.  Our primary accountability in regard to guidelines is to the PA Department of Health, as they are the agency that provides our certification.

The PA DOH made a major update on Monday, May 31 that informs our Health and Safety Plan moving forward.  We have written our plan based on the CURRENT recommendations and guidelines.  We also expect a PA DOH update relaxing face covering requirements on June 28.  We will update our guidelines accordingly and will notify you of the change.

Please read the document that corresponds with your program…

We believe it will be possible to run Best Week Ever Day and Overnight Camps for Summer 2021 and registration is open!  It will be our top priority to keep your camper safe and we intend to honor CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines.  We expect to receive new guidelines this spring and plan to publish a Health and Safety Plan by mid-May.  Previous versions of our Health and Safety Plan are still available below (or on our COVID-19 Updates page).  You can read through them to understand the tone of our efforts throughout the year.

We want you to be able to register for Best Week Ever camp programs with confidence!  We will provide a full refund if an event needs to be cancelled due to COVID-19.  We will also provide a full refund if you are unable to attend your program based on illness, quarantine or changing comfort level based on COVID-19.  You would still have the opportunity for a refund after you review our Health and Safety Plan in May.


Our board of directors met last night and made the difficult decision to cancel the rest of our Winterblast 2021 calendar, including February and March dates.  Current guidelines specifically restrict this type of event and we do not expect that circumstances will change over the coming weeks.

Next Steps: If your group reservation is still open, we will take care of the next steps of cancelling your group and individual reservations, as well as issuing refunds for payments that you’ve made toward your weekend.  You can expect your refund to be issued within 48 hours in the same form as your original payment.

As youth leaders – this email group includes some of our favorite people…friends and partners in ministry who understand the spiritual impact of the Winterblast season.  Some of you were forced to cancel reservations weeks ago, some are just absorbing the disappointment now.  We are so aware of the loss!  We’re grieving it with you and we’re intentionally trusting it to God’s hands.  He has proven SO faithful over the last year and it gives us confidence that He is at work and will meet every need!

We believe that restrictions WILL lift…and we can’t wait to serve you!  We’re moving forward with our summer plans and expect to open registration for Best Week Ever Overnight Camp very soon!

COH Mission: July 11-17, 2021 Registration is now open for this foundational missions experience designed for group leaders and their students!  Reply to this email to request additional information or to book space!

Spring, Summer and Fall Retreats: As restrictions lift, bring your group to Camp Orchard Hill – to reconnect and build spiritual strength!  We have weekend, as well as week-long dates available from April through December!  Reply to this email or contact the office at (570) 333-4098 x100 to discuss opportunities!

Best Week Ever: Looking to build relationship with your students? We always invite youth leaders to gather a group of students for a week at classic summer camp.  We will cover all of the details while you build relationship with your students!  Join us for…

  • Thrive (Ages 13-17): July 18-24
  • Surge (Ages 11-14): July 25-31
  • Roots (Ages 8-12): August 1-7

Please contact us at any time with questions about Winterblast or to talk about opportunities for your groups to be at Camp Orchard Hill in 2021.  We’re praying for you!

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you. Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.”

Psalm 86:11-12

Dear Youth Leaders,

I have some difficult, but probably not unexpected news this morning regarding WinterBlast 2021.

The PA Department of Health issued new requirements and COVID mitigation efforts on November 17th and 23rd that change our ability to host WinterBlast weekends. In addition, the temporary guidelines issued yesterday point to the trend of tighter restrictions over the next few months, instead of looser. You can read the November 23rd order here. The most difficult new expectations include:

  • 10% overall capacity for conference facilities even when using multiple spaces.
  • More stringent requirements for face coverings (100% of the time, even while in cabins).
  • Quarantine expectations for groups traveling from out of state

Because this decision has such huge implications for all of us, we waited to make a decision until our Board of Directors was able to gather on Zoom, discuss, pray and clarify our new direction. They met last night and have made the following decision:

  • All January WinterBlast events are cancelled.
  • A decision on February and March weekends will be made by January 15th.
  • We will work with January leaders to adjust their reservation to a later weekend if they prefer.

We are also hopeful that as restrictions lift, individual youth group retreats will become possible in the spring. We would love to book an exclusive retreat weekend for your group to reconnect during March, April or May. I included all WinterBlast leaders on this email – those that are currently registered and those that have cancelled – just to keep you informed. We understand that February – March weekend leaders may choose to make a final decision at this point and we will continue to offer a flexible cancellation and refund policy. We welcome your feedback! If your situation has changed and you have decided not to run registration for your students – please reach out to let us know. We will not be offended and it will help us to plan.

It’s been very difficult for us to reach this decision, knowing the spiritual impact of the WinterBlast season. But, God IS providing wisdom, direction and financial provision for ministry to continue. We are so grateful and filled with courage as we experience God’s faithfulness. We’re praying the same for your ministry!


The Entire Camp Orchard Hill Team

We’re excited that you’re considering Winterblast 2021: Undivided for your student ministry or for your child!  Many of our policies and procedures will be different this winter and are based on the PA Department of Health guidelines for operating a conference facility.  These guidelines are subject to change and participants will be notified of any changes.  Please read the Healthy and Safety Plan for Winterblast (below) so that you know what to expect!

Dear Camp Orchard Hill Community,

As you know, on July 1 the PA Department of Health issued an order requiring anyone ages 2 and above to wear a face covering when in public both indoors at all times and outdoors when they are unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet from individuals who are not members of their household.

Yesterday afternoon, July 9, the PA Department of Health released additional guidance specific to our Day Camp setting. The FAQ sheet below confirms the requirement for anyone age 2 and above to wear a face covering in public including summer camp programs.

At this time we are asking parents to have their child wear a face covering as they enter the recreation center in the morning and have one available to wear if they are required to enter a facility for a rainy day program. We will continue to focus our activities on the outdoors.

A number of exemptions to the face covering requirement are listed in the original order and individuals are not required to show documentation that an exception applies. We ask that parents read the original order to determine if an exemption applies for their child.

Our focus continues to be on the health and safety of our campers and staff while providing a positive and engaging summer day camp program!

Thank you for registering for Day Camp this summer!  Many of our policies and procedures are different this summer and are based on the PA Department of Health guidelines for reopening summer camps.  These guidelines are subject to change and you will be notified of any changes.  Please read your handbook carefully so that you know what to expect!

Best Week Ever Day Camp at Camp Orchard Hill will be able to reopen for Summer 2020 on June 29th with an emphasis on camper safety and outdoor adventure!

Our Health and Safety Plan will be posted to our website next week and will include daily health screening, increased cleaning and sanitation, limited group sizes and careful communication according to CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines. The health and safety of our campers and staff will remain our highest priority.

You can expect a modified program full of friendship, fun and the excellent service you expect at Best Week Ever Day Camp!

➡ Our pool and Lake Manjo will be open!
➡ The Apple Tree snack shop will be open!
➡ Chef Steve will be delivering fresh & healthy lunches directly to camper groups.
➡ A wide variety of activity choices will be available daily!
➡ Enjoy onsite speakers & presentations from the local area!
➡ Transportation and extended day services will be available!

Dear Camp Orchard Hill Community:

We miss you!

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we’ve been forced into a “new normal” and honestly it has been difficult.  A big part of that is missing all of you.

Our team has had to cancel our Father and Son retreat, Family Camp, retreat groups, school field trips, birthday parties and banquets.  However, we rest in the fact that God is in control even when the world around us seems out of control!

Throughout this process our focus has been and continues to be on the health and safety of our campers and staff.  The Orchard Hill team has continually monitored the guidelines and recommendations from the CDC, PA Department of Health and PA Governor’s Wolf’s administration.

Based on the most recent CDC guidelines for shared housing and an approach that currently emphasizes attendance by local youth only to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the board and staff have made the difficult decision to cancel our overnight camp programs.  These include our Best Week Ever camps, leadership training and COH-Mission weeks for summer 2020.  It was not an easy decision to make but we believe it is the best decision given the facts and information we have at this time.

However, based on the current guidelines, we do believe there is a path forward for a modified day camp program to provide much needed child care services for our local families.  Our staff will implement the CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines including social distancing measures, daily health screenings, and increased cleaning and sanitation.  Additional Day Camp reopening expectations can be found below.

Currently, Luzerne County is under the red phase guidelines to shelter in place until June 4th.  Although there is not a definitive time table for moving to the green phase which will enable us to reopen, our team anticipates a delayed start to the day camp program.  We have targeted June 29 as our starting date for Day Camp.  As additional guidance is provided by the PA DOH, we will provide concrete details and starting dates to you, our parents and camp families.

The Orchard Hill team looks forward to the day when we can meet again in person.  Until then, we are determined to meet your needs in new and creative ways through social media and beyond.

Your prayers, financial support and encouragement have meant a great deal to us over the last two months.  I want you to know that our staff team and our board of directors are praying for the health and safety of our camp family.  God bless you!


Jim Payne
Executive Director


We are available by email at [email protected] or by phone at (570) 333-4098 to answer your questions and provide any guidance.

Support Camp

As you know, this will be an incredibly difficult financial season for Camp Orchard Hill to weather.  We will proceed with great care to ensure our financial strength for the future and we trust that God will provide for ongoing ministry.  Click here to set up a one-time donation or a recurring monthly donation.