During the Semi-Annual Board Meeting held on Saturday, February 6, 2021, President & CEO, Stephen Mabry outlined for the Board of Directors a structured approach to offer TLC's summer program and facilities to families for the very first time in the organization's history. "I can't tell you how many times, I have heard siblings, parents and other extended family members say during check-in, 'I wish I could come to camp!' Well, now is their time," said Mabry.
COVID-19 has demanded that the world's population, find ways to socially distance and to avoid large gatherings and despite the release of new vaccines, the need to continue non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI's) - such as minimizing exposure to others - is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, and certainly through the Summer of 2021.
"I told you at this time last year," said Stephen, "that given Time, Planning and Information, TLC would be back. Well, we have had time to evaluate, plan and mount what we believe to be both a reasonable and creative response and the entire organization, from top to bottom, is excited to be in a position to offer, TLC-4-Families for the Summer of 2021."
The quick answer: Families who have a child with special medical conditions living under their roof qualify to attend TLC, along with their siblings and parents or guardians.
This is going to be a very different format for our long-time or returning campers, who will be invited first to make their family application. Much of the application will be the same, but it will be shorter and more relaxed as we will need less diagnostic and care instructions conveyed to TLC.
Families registered for the program will be assigned to their own, private quarters as a family. If you are familiar with TLC bunkhouses, this will work by converting the A & B Wings to a family unit with the furnishings arranged as a living room and sleeping quarters in-one. If you are new to TLC, imagine a condominium or duplex arrangement with two families per building, but both with their own private quarters assigned as "A" or "B" to themselves.
Healthcare and medications during the week will remain the responsibility of the head-of-household but TLC will have a nurse available for first aid as needed.
TLC will offer food service through its dining hall and food service staff for those engaged in the program.
Once checked-in to the campus, guests will be asked to remain on the campus for the duration of their stay. Moreover, outside visitors will not be allowed on campus and vendors will follow protocols for deliveries.
What will families get to do while at TLC? The answer is a great deal and all of it will be done as a family unit. Families will have the opportunity to pick and choose many of the activities they wish to pursue each day while some of the activities will be scheduled.
Non-pharmaceutical Interventions (NPI's) to prevent the introduction or spread of COVID will be observed at all times; therefore, guests and staff will be asked to wear face coverings and socially distance from others while at TLC. Children less than 10 years of age will be exempted from the masking requirement, in harmony with public health guidelines.
The format for the schedule will consist of a Tues-Wed, one-night stay for those who prefer a shorter event during the week, followed by a Friday-Sunday, two night stay, for those who prefer a weekend. As you will note, the schedule has been shortened and spread out so that the staff can clean and santize between sessions.
Please be patient as we put the finishing touches on this dynamic change to operations. Keep your attention focused here at our website and upon our social media outlets for additional releases and information about the program as well as how to register. Registration is now open and the response so far has been very positive indicating that the limited spaces are likely to be quickly filled.
Q. Why are the 1-week, residential camps normally hosted at Lions Camp not being held this year? A. Due to COVID-19, large gatherings of people, particularly those from the geo-graphic area of Texas are considered high-risk. Combined with the populations we serve also being at higher risk as listed by the CDC, we have elected to modify our operations to a much smaller group that has already been "exposed" together and then ask that they distance from others not in their group while using other NPI's to avoid infection.
Q. Is this change going to be permanent? A. No, this change has been made for the summer of 2021 and while COVID protocols are necessary.
Q. Will TLC2U be held again this year for those who are unable to attend camp in person or who would prefer a virtual option? A. Yes, but we are planning on making some changes that will enhance the program.
Q. If we are a family with diabetes and can't come in July, can we come to one of the June sessions? A. Yes, so long as you realize that there will be neither diabetes education, nor our normal contingent of diabetes medical support and educators available.