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COVID-19 Vaccination for Adolescents: a UMCRM perspective

07 Jul 2021 4:20 PM | Jen Burch (Administrator)

On July 1, UMCRM Director Jessica Gamaché joined a panel of experts to discuss vaccine advocacy in camp settings as part of the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project. As the only presenter who was not a health professional, she brought a faith-based perspective to the conversation,  highlighting ways that our Christian faith is informing vaccine promotion in our camp communities. Gamaché described UMCRM Association foundations and United Methodist values as they relate to caring for our neighbors, building community, and promoting public health. 

The featured speakers:

View the hour-long presentation in its entirety here:

Following are key quotes from the presentation worth sharing with parents, caregivers, and camp staff. 

From Dr. Cohn:

"It is really important that we as a community of healthcare providers, as camp providers, as educators help support a parent's decision to vaccinate their children. And are confident ourselves in the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines."


From Dr. Blaisdell:

"For many, camp provided a reason to get vaccinated ... I have heard anecdotally, 'I wasn't going to, but now that my kid is going to camp, we will go ahead and do that.' I heard that from our staff as well, 'I wasn't going to, but now that I understand that you have unvaccinated community at your camp, I will do that for your camp.'" 


From Association Director Jessica Gamaché, on behalf of UMCRM:

"...Health and safety has a long-standing spot as the number one priority in the youth camping field. ... This priority of safety, specifically in the United Methodist camping and retreat field, is deeply rooted into the fabric of our ministries. We prioritize safety, not because a manual tells us to or out of fear of being sued. We prioritize safety because we are called by God to love one another."

"John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, urged Christians to  'Do no harm' & to ... 'Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can.' Promoting COVID vaccination is one way we can live that out."

"In the Wesleyan tradition, the Christian faith is not a solitary journey. We are part of a larger community — our church families, our neighborhoods, and the world.  UM camp sites can leverage our visibility and trust within our own communities to help increase access to life-saving vaccine, especially in rural areas that may be underserved."

"Additionally, our Camp & Retreat Ministries are oriented around 7 core foundations... (One is) to 'Inspire & Equip Lives for Love & Justice' and a second is to 'Extend Christian Hospitality & Community.' For us, advocating for vaccination is a justice issue and practice of hospitality as we follow our call to love our neighbors."

Questions?  Please contact our Association Registrar

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