(RNS) – Hundreds of campers may have been exposed to COVID-19 after attending a Christian camp hosted by Fellowship Church, an evangelical megachurch in Grapevine, Texas. The church’s Allaso Ranch Retreat Center, located near Dallas-Fort Worth, has been welcoming campers of varying ages this summer since June 13.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that at least three campers who frequented the Allaso Ranch in the previous two weeks have tested positive for the coronavirus, with one child hospitalized.
A parent whose daughter tested positive after attending the Allaso Ranch in early July told the newspaper she had heard of at least 80 other campers who had tested positive for the virus.
The parent also reported that more than 200 children attended the camp the week of July 5 and at least 140 came the following week.
A July 13 Instagram post shows hundreds of maskless campers gathered singing in Allaso Ranch’s indoor auditorium, loving the mosh pit style. Other photos show children close together without masks in an outdoor swimming pool.
“We all take calculated risks. We still have to live,” said another parent whose child contracted coronavirus at Allaso Ranch. “It’s all a calculated risk, whether you go to the store or let your kid play sports. How are we going to defend not letting him go to camp when he’s playing baseball and going to work every day? days ? “
“I don’t blame the church for having the camp, I blame myself for sending it when I knew better,” she continued. “But they have to take ownership of the alert from people in the community.”
Fellowship Church in Grapevine did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to Texas Monthly, Camp Pine Cove, another Christian camp in Texas, reported that as of July 6, more than 100 people, including campers and staff, had contracted coronavirus while attending camp. As a result, four of the camp’s 10 locations in Texas have been temporarily closed.
The camp typically hosts over 40,000 campers each year.