A b o u t C a m p C h e s t e r m e r e
At Camp Chestermere, we present the love of Jesus Christ to youth and communities by Building Relationships, Creating Experiences and Developing People.
Located just a quick 15 minute drive east of the city of Calgary, Camp Chestermere has been a vital part of the community for over 80 years, providing a venue for recreational, spiritual and social interaction for all ages.
M e e t t h e T e a m
Shannon "Coach" Dean
Shannon has been involved with Camp Chestermere since 2010, primarily in the role of Speaker at both summer and winter camps, and was humbled to take on the role as Executive Director at the end of 2015. Prior to this transition, Shannon was as a teacher and vice principal for 13 years and had been a bivocational pastor since 2005.
Shannon will often recall that he has been on an incredible journey since working here at the camp, full of ups and downs, highlights and lowlights. Shannon's personal mission statement is to use the gifts, talents and abilities God has given him to help others discover their own identities and passions.
Shannon's desire is to see Camp Chestermere continue to Build Relationships, Create Experiences and Develop People so that it can continue to be a gift to the community.
Josh "UA" McAuley
Josh is one of the newest members to Camp Chestermere's year round team, having begun his new role as Camp Coordinator in the fall of 2022.
The majority of his professional career has been conducted in a church setting, most recently as the associate pastor of Drumheller Alliance Church.
Josh loves the idea of “building people” and creating a place of belonging for everyone.
His interests include sports, music, coffee, and board games. He enjoys laughing with others, and deep conversations.
Michelle "Hockey Mom" Dean
Guest Services Coordinator
Michelle has been involved with Camp Chestermere for the past 7 years in various capacities. In 2015, when her husband was offered the position of Executive Director, she felt that God was calling her here and had begun her journey at Camp by volunteering in the kitchen. In 2018, an opportunity presented itself to take over as Kitchen Lead. And while Michelle had been working as a healthcare aide for the past 20 years—and had never single handedly ran an industrial kitchen beforehand— she decided to accept the role and was kept very busy between guest bookings and summer camps; which Michelle especially enjoyed working due to her love of kids!
In 2020, Michelle decided to go back to school to be a massage therapist in conjunction with her role here at Camp Chestermere. Since then, Michelle's taken over as our Guest Services Coordinator and has been enjoying the change. You might spot Michelle walking around Chestermere with her big dog Aspen, who is a St. Bernard crossed with a great pyrenees!
Natasha "Shut-Eye" Karcz
Natasha has been involved with Camp Chestermere since 2019, largely serving in administrative roles such as Office Administrator and Guest Services. She was first drawn to camp for its notable inclusion culture, best summarized in Camp Chestermere's motto of "A Place to Belong."
Natasha is passionate about building meaningful relationships with those around her and looks forward to each opportunity to do so in her role here at Camp Chestermere.
Some of Natasha's interests include travelling, hiking, wildlife conservation, photography/videography and the band Great Big Sea—who she can often be found listening to while working away in the office!
Ben has been coming to Camp Chestermere since his first year of CLTD, and has been involved with the community ever since.
He graduated from SAIT with a hospitality and management diploma, and has been working in the events industry for over 6 years.
Ask Ben what his favourite part about camp is and he'll tell you "serving God through the food I make, and the people I help. "
Heather "Bookie" Allan
For more than a decade, Heather has been connected to Camp Chestermere in a multitude of ways, including being a parent to campers (both of her sons actually came to Christ through camp ministry!), staff, and by serving on our year-round team and board of directors for a time.
Heather lives in Langdon with her husband Mike, their two grown boys and beloved bulldog Maximus.
Heather is a natural when it comes to all things math, so it only makes sense that she does such an amazing job as our bookkeeper! And when she's not crunching the numbers here at the camp, she works tutoring youth in her community. In her free time, you might find her getting her nails done (she always has a fresh set!), helping lead worship at her church, or travelling to her favourite vacation spot—Belize!
Vic "Papa Smurf" Niekraszewicz
Vic has been involved with Camp Chestermere since 2016. He primarily oversees maintenance of our facility, but ask him and he'll also tell you that his job is to make Camp Chestermere "a safe place to belong"—something truly encompassing of his spirit. Vic has earned himself the reputation as "camp grandpa", as children are always eager to hear one of his many exciting stories from his days spent working as a policeman in his youth, or a commercial fisherman/tour guide on the west coast.
Ask Vic his favourite part of working here at Camp Chestermere and his answer is simple: the people. Vic will tell you that he has had opportunity to work with a number of great staff and volunteers, each who contribute greatly to accomplishing tasks around site. Vic and his late wife, Kathy, have had the distinct pleasure of watching our camp kiddos grow into amazing young adults and leaders, and it warms his heart knowing that with the guidance of God, he was able to make a positive impact on their lives.
Bill "MacGyver" Cozens
Bill has been a part of the Camp Chestermere family since the late 1980’s when he worked a Cabin Leader. From there, Bill advanced his relationship with camp by becoming a Board Member in to the 90’s, and most recently working as a volunteer boat driver during the summer months as well as a highly experienced maintenance hand.
Bill thrives on being organized and efficient. This has shown through his detailed organization of tasks and “checked-off” items after completion.
Bill finds that working with youth in summer camps is the most effective and rewarding way to see the love of Jesus practiced and God’s kingdom grown.
Bill's current role as a Maintenance Coordinator is perfect for his multi-handyman abilities. “We can fix that” is a great motto, and one that you'll hear him say often! Bill also enjoys flying, bike riding, water sports and disc golf.
M e e t t h e B o a r d
Kara "Snow" Wilfley
Whether Kara was dropping off her own children in 2006 or her youth group as Campers, CLTD or staff, Camp Chestermere has always been a great Place To Belong.
In Kara’s capacity as mom, teacher, pastor or board member, it is clear that Camp has the potential to encourage and disciple countless young people as they learn to walk with Jesus. What could be a more important community to be involved with?
Her passions are great food, eaten together with great friends, gardening, and helping others know the LIFE who is the LIGHT of all humanity (John 1:4) – JESUS!
Vice Chair and Treasurer
John has been associated with Camp Chestermere since 1999, when his eldest daughter first attended. He would go on to join our board of directors just a few years later after asking if he could participate in any way on a volunteer basis—careful what you wish for, John! But John had witnessed the love and joy the camp provided to kids of all backgrounds and simply knew he wanted to be more involved.
Having been a board member for many years, John has seen the ups and downs that all camps experience, but the love and acceptance of our staff, leadership, partners and most of all the smiling faces on our kids keeps him striving for more. John keeps busy working as an accountant, volunteering, enjoying time with his wife of 32 years, their six grand kids and one grand puppy. Other passions of John's include sports—which, being a diehard Leafs fans sure keeps him humble! As camp continues to grow and thrive, John's hope and prayer is that we can continue to be a shining light and “Place to Belong” in a broken world.
A member of the Board of Directors since 2020 and Chair of the Governance and HR Committee, Charman is a human resources leader with more than 20 years experience in strategic HR including change management, business transformation, acquisition and integration, organizational design and talent management. Christian Camp ministries played an important role in the development of Charman’s faith as a child and she is excited to continue to be involved in this important ministry in a board capacity.
Charman is a member of Northwest Community Church in Calgary and actively engaged in a church renewal marketplace group. In her spare time, she enjoys camping and cooking for family and friends. Charman and her husband of 31 years have three young adult children.
Lisa "Dutchie" Fox
Lisa has been involved with Camp Chestermere since 2009 when she first attended as a part of the CLTD program. After completing the three-year program, she served as a cabin leader for two summers, and eventually on the Programs Team for three summers.
Once she began working as an elementary teacher, she wanted to continue being involved with the camp and so decided to join the board.
Lisa fell in love with the camp through the community and relationships she built and never could seem to leave. In fact, she loves the camp so much, she and her husband had their wedding at the camp in 2017!
Alex "Crumpet" Wright
Alex has been a member of the board on and off since 2014, and has been a part of the organization in various roles such as cabin leader, team lead, waterfront coordinator, CLTD leader and volunteer coordinator since 2010.
Most of the experience that Alex brings to the board table is from his frontlines camp experience and from volunteering with construction and maintenance projects around the camp. Alex is also a member of Canyon Creek Christian Fellowship Church, which, prior to launching Camp Chestermere's new membership structure, had been a member church of ours for many years!