IFC Executive Director shares decision for 2020 camp during COVID-19
By Lani Hansen, Reporter
DAVIS, Oklahoma– Although Falls Creek youth camps have been canceled for the summer, Indian Falls Creek will be going virtual for their week of camp.
According to the Baptist Messenger, the official cancellations have been made due to the COVID-19 and CDC guidelines. Members of the Indian Falls Creek (IFC) Board came together and made the decision to do a virtual camp.
“This will be the first year since we’ve had to cancel the camp and the first time to go virtual,” IFC Executive Director Victor Cope said.
Indian Falls Creek is a Christian camp that has been around for 73 years. The main focus of this camp is to reach the Indian churches in Oklahoma and outside of Oklahoma. IFC is also known as a family camp, it is for all ages. IFC is different from the youth weeks at Falls Creek.
“The youth weeks only reach the middle school and higher to college-aged,” Cope said. “Whenever Falls Creek first began we wanted it to impact the whole family.”
According to the IFC website, this camp has hosted many campers who represent between 25-40 tribes and over 250 churches each year as well as non-Native people. IFC could possibly be the largest Native Christian encampment in North America.
Aside from this year, during IFC week they have bible classes for the adults, Vacation Bible School for the children, activities for preschoolers and nursery for the babies. In the afternoon they have recreational activities.
Cope said, “Falls Creek is known for its recreational activities. Kids can swim, they can play ball, they can do all kinds of sporting events, fish and we have also done archery in the past.”
With IFC being a church camp, they host a morning service and evening service. The evening services have been livestreamed online the past few years and this year everything for the camp will be virtual.
“It will be very different, but I’m glad we have a lot of young people on our board because going virtual is not difficult for them,” Cope said.
The decision to go virtual this year was made through the IFC board members and the Oklahoma Baptists. The decisions were made by following the CDC guidelines, Falls Creek sees over 40,000 kids in eight weeks.
“I believe many of the churches were fearful about coming and sending their kids,” Cope said. “For us at Indian Falls Creek, we were just concerned of the large numbers of senior adults that attend Falls Creek.”
Since IFC will be going virtual, they will offer classes for specific age groups. IFC will target children, youth and adults which the staff are planning something for those specific age groups.
“We are also looking at virtual activities which are being planned,” Cope said. “We will continue our blood drive, where our Assistant Board Chairperson and Director of Health Jade Hansen is going to plan a state-wide blood drive. People can go to a site and give their blood, then designate their blood to the Indian Falls Creek blood drive. It may go on for weeks or months.”
The main event after all activities will be in the evening, where campers will tune in and listen to Mike Keahbone who will serve as the camp pastor this year.
“This is our main event,” Cope said. “We’re hoping people from all over will be tuning in and taking part of Indian Falls Creek that way.”
On behalf of the IFC Board, Cope is hoping and praying that many of the Indian people will tune in looking for answers, hope and something they have never experienced in their life which is the preaching of the gospel.
Virtual Indian Falls Creek will be July 26 through 31.
For more information about IFC and to stream the online services visit www.indianfallscreek.org.