Hello again everyone,
We are just 2 weeks away from Staff Training. YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is so much to do it is unbelievable. I am not sure how we are going to get everything done but it will get done. There is a small measure of feeling overwhelmed starting to settle in. Thank you for prayers, love and support. It is needed and appreciated.
We continue to host a number of schools for activity days. This is again great promotion for the camp and a good source of spring revenue. We have 7 different activity days in the next 10 work days. Schools love coming here for these events, especially when the weather is like it is today.
Last week we also held the grade 9 graduation for Prince Of Peace School. It was an awesome event and our Seasonal Leadership Team and kitchen staff did an fantastic job. Momma Ruth commented on the fact that she had never seen a team work as hard as our team worked on Friday night. Our Seasonal Leadership is creating a culture here at camp and it is an incredible culture to be a part of. Also, as always, the food was off the charts. Chicken, salads, ribs, potatoes, and sundaes for dessert. It was AMAZING!!! Great job team. And the weather was great too.
Assistant Director Collin, CLTD Leader Kylie and myself had the pleasure of spending Sunday morning with Lakeview Baptist Church and it was an awesome time. Collin and Kylie led worship and I spoke. I am humbled by the opportunities I have in this job to worship with the various churches who are a part of what we do.
Also on Sunday, a small group from Sunwest Church came and helped do some work around the camp. Many of our campers, CLTD members, and staff come from Sunwest and they have really started to become involved in the camp. It was great to have some of their members come and volunteer their time on Sunday.
Also, another huge shout out goes to Dan Styles for spraying the whole camp on the weekend to get rid of all the dandelions. We have a lot of them and Dan spent much of his weekend riding around on a tractor to kill them all. He is incredible. Also, thank you to Darrell Gass for donating the product to the camp.
Our 30 days of prayer continues. However, we still have some dates available including June 13, 14, 18, 20, 22, 24 and 25. Also, one of the things we would love is to hear feedback about your day praying for camp. Earlier this week I received this email from someone who was praying for camp:
"It is now noon and I have had a wonderful morning with God. He has confirmed to me that He is involved in every aspect of Camp life and He will do great things if we trust Him and always give thanks in all situations. Now I will continue to pray and especially for the staff and the kids coming into camp. God bless you all and enjoy the rest of the day."
Messages like this are so encouraging. Feel free to email us, write a letter or post on social media using the hashtag #cc30. Thanks again for your support in this area and let us know if you can take one of the dates mentioned above.
Things are going really well at camp but I do feel like I should spend some time in this update talking about some of the concerns and needs that we have right now as we prepare for the summer. One area of concern completing the reno work we started before the summer starts. One of the struggles the camp has seen in all of the transition we have gone through is the amount of TLC a lot of our buildings need. Up keep has been an area of concern for the past little while. However, we are getting on top of the work that needs to be done. Ido Kerpel and Chris King have been serving us well as part time maintenance people and been doing amazing work. The Chap is starting to look awesome but we are running out of time and there is still a lot to do. If you have any time at all to come and volunteer at the camp then that would be amazing. The to do list for summer continues to grow and the days continue to get fewer and fewer. Come for an hour, a morning, an evening, or a day. We will feed you. Any time you could give would be greatly appreciated. Bring the whole family.
Another area of concern for us right now is our Financial Assistance Program. There are many people who wish to send their kids to camp but simply do not have the means to do so. Camp Chestermere tries to provide opportunity for as many kids as possible to attend the camp. However, right now we have way more requests than money. This is something we will be discussing at the board meeting tonight but we do have a great need this year. We have started a sponsorship program where you could sponsor a child to come to camp. One member of our community has stepped up and is sponsoring one child for every week of camp all summer. If you would like to sponsor a child then please contact myself or Office Manager Chantel email@example.com. You could sponsor a child for as little as $50. It costs $375 for a week of overnight and $275 for day camp and we try to sponsor up to half. Again we have varying needs from $50 to the entire amount of $375. Let us know if you could help in this regard.
A third area of concern would be boats. While we have purchased a great boat for the summer we are still in need of another. So, if you have a boat that you could donate for a day or two a week, or if you would like to drive a boat this summer, or if you have a lead on a boat that we could look at securing for the summer then please let us know ASAP. Assistant Director Collin will be in charge of boats this summer and so you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So ya, lots going on. I will say this though. Our staff is amazing and are working their tails off. This weekend I was reading Nehemiah and really feel like we are in the spot Israel was in in Nehemiah 1 - 7. We are rebuilding the wall. We are welcoming people back. We have opposition that is against us but we are working still. Time is against us, resources are against us but we are still rebuilding. And when we finish rebuilding then people are going to come back. Right now I am reading Nehemiah as a prophetic declaration for Camp Chestermere. We are rebuilding towards success. Things are busy. Time is tight. There is a lot to do. But things are good. The team is amazing. And we are headed in the right direction. We are holding onto Daddy's hand, gripping it tightly at times, and just believing that His favor and goodness is restoring this place. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
Good afternoon everyone,
he pace at camp continues to pick up as we edge closer and closer to summer. It is unbelievable to me that it is June already. I cannot believe that my family and I have now been on site for 6 months. It feels like we just started a few weeks ago and now we are just 4 weeks away from our first camp. Wow. Yikes. Insert gasp here. Breath Shannon, breath.
We continue to have successful activity days at the camp. Again, activity days are when students from various schools come to the camp and participate in a wide variety of activities. These activities are led by our Seasonal Leadership Team and they are doing an amazing job. These activity days expose kids to activities they could do in the summer if they come to camp and help pay for the salaries of our Seasonal Leadership Team.
We were also on tour a lot last week. On Wednesday Assistant Director Collin, CLTD Coordinator Marie and CLTD Leaders Gary, Kylie and Evan and myself led three chapels at Prince of Peace. We had an amazing day there and the kids were awesome. It was a great chance to share chapel with them and to promote camp.
Collin and I also had the opportunity to sit down with our CLTD team to talk about their plans for the summer. CLTD is going to be awesome again this year. We are adding a number of new things to the program and really trying to raise the level of what we do. CLTD has been a big part of what we do here at Camp Chestermere and we are looking at ways of improving and expanding this program. The leaders for this program care deeply about it and about the students who are in the program and have been coming up with some amazing ideas. If you know of children between the grade of 9 - and 11 who you think would benefit from being in a teen leadership and discipleship program then please contact the camp for more info.
Collin, Kylie and myself also led chapel at Trinity Christian School on Thursday. Before chapel Collin and I led a workshop on doing worship. The kids in the workshop asked a lot of great questions and we had a lot of very good discussion. One of the best parts of this job is I get so many opportunities to talk kingdom with people from various backgrounds and walks of life. It's awesome.
On Thursday night the staff surprised me with a surprise birthday party at a local restaurant here in Chestermere. I was completely caught of guard. My actual birthday isn't until next week and so it was a huge surprise and I felt very blessed. However, the surprise birthday party wasn't the best part of the night. At the end of the night the waitress came up to Ruth and mentioned how that was the best large group of young people she had ever served. She mentioned how there was something different about this group and she appreciated the vibe she got from the group. She then asked where we were from and Ruth told her all about Camp Chestermere. This waitress then mentioned how she would like to send her daughter to the camp due to the way our young people treated her. Yup, our group of Seasonal Leaders witnessed to this waitress just by being who they are. This is exactly what we want to create at Camp Chestermere. We want to create an environment, a culture, an atmosphere that is contagious. We want to walk into restaurants and people just know there is something different about us and whatever that something is they want to be a part of it. Great job Seasonal Leadership team on being witnesses just by being who you are.
Collin and I also had the opportunity to meet with a pastor from a church in Calgary and we had a great meeting. We talked about future partnership opportunities, especially in regards to discipleship programs and leadership development programs. I love these dreaming/big picture conversations. They get me absolutely fired up. However, the coolest part of this conversation was the compliment we received about our CLTD program. This pastor mentioned how he loved the fact that with our CLTD program we don't try to steal leaders away from local churches but rather we build them up, equip them, and then send them back to their local church. Many of the key leaders at his church are current members or grads of our CLTD program. It's great to see how other churches get the kingdom mindset that we have here at camp. What we do at camp isn't about camp but it is about the kingdom and it was amazing to get this feedback from this pastor.
On Friday, Collin and I completed our week of touring at Calgary Christian School where we made an announcement about camp at their chapel. It was a great week of talking about and promoting camp. It felt like the old days when I would go on tour for theatre shows. Great week.
The weekend was CRAZY in terms of bookings. We had a group here from Synergy, Sea Cadets, two birthday parties and a local singing group. Amazing. Busy. Hectic. Stressful. All of these are words that easily describe this weekend. Team Lead Daniel and CLTD Coordinator Marie did an amazing job of hosting all these groups and special mention goes to Gary, Kristen, and Amanda Emsley for volunteering their time to help Daniel and Marie out. It is amazing to see how our team supports each other.
Collin and the team leads continue to book interviews for summer staff. So far we have hired 22 people for the summer which is great but well below what we need. If you know of people who may be looking for work for the summer then please point them our way. They can check our campchestermere.com for more information.
As part of the past few updates I have been mentioning the great support we have received from some of our member churches in completing some work around the camp. I also wanted to make special mention of someone who has served the camp for a long time and continues to do so. Dan Styles is AMAZING. The amount of time and effort he puts into this place is unbelievable. From doing the recycling to maintaining the grounds, to pushing a push mower all over the site and more. It is absolutely incredible. He is a true blessing to this place and we are extremely grateful for the ministry he provides to this place. Thanks Dan for your ministry and service to this place.
Please continue to support us in your prayers and by volunteering your time. In the last weekly update I mentioned how we needed sod. Well, a gentleman has stepped up and donated sod and volunteered his time to lay the sod for us. AMAZING. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to jump in and help. Lots of volunteer opportunities.
Finally, one more mention for our prayer initiative. We are again looking for 30 people to take one day each to pray for the camp. We still have a few days open. More info can be found at the following link: http://www.campchestermere.com/#!cc30/c14lThank you again for your prays and support. Greatly appreciated.
Hello again everyone,
It has been an amazing couple of weeks at Camp Chestermere. Our Seasonal Leadership Team is simply amazing. They are working incredibly hard in order to ensure we are ready for the summer. They have created a true sense of community here at the camp and they have brought a new sense of energy and passion. Working with all of them is an absolute blast. We could not have asked for a better team.
The week started off with 2 full days of first aid training for our staff. While these were long days, I am happy to announce that all of our Seasonal and Year Round Staff are now fully certified in first aid. This will help to ensure that we provide a safe environment for everyone who comes to camp. Not only is Camp Chestermere "A Place to Belong," but is also a "safe" place to belong. Eh? Eh? Ok, that was incredibly corny. I'm sorry. But seriously, you come and wound yourself, we can take care of you.
Much of the past couple of weeks has been dedicated to planning for the summer. We have had some incredible conversations about ways we can improve what we do. One of the values we have moving forward is involving more voices in the conversation. The various members of our team have so much wisdom and knowledge that it is important that we include as many of them in the conversation as possible. We spent time as a full team planning kids, teens, middle and day camps. People expressed lots of great ideas and those who attend camp this summer can expect to see some great changes. We have been examining everything we do including activities, firesides, camp events, themes, and schedules. We all have this feeling that while what we have done in the past has been great, there are many areas of our camp that need new flavour. Get ready for this summer because you are going to see some new and exciting things.
We have also tried to add variety to how we do the planning meetings. Sometimes we brain storm as a whole team, sometimes we break into smaller groups, and sometimes we have worked in partners. One day we took the team over to the Waiting Room Cafe to plan kids camp. The Waiting Room Cafe has been a great supporter of the camp this year. They came to our fundraiser banquet and also donated a basket to our silent auction. We wanted to bless them as well and so we took our team to the Waiting Room for our staff meeting. It was great to get offsite and plan for the summer. If you get a chance, please go and support The Waiting Room Cafe. They are right across from the camp and, like I said, a great supporter of what we do here. It was great to be able to give back to someone who has been supporting us.
The white trailer is gone. YAY!!!!! Many of you know about the white trailer that was located between the lodge and the gym. Assistant Director Collin Daws worked tirelessly to have it taken away and it is finally gone. Now we just need to finish cleaning up the area and then sodding it. Anyone have some extra sod laying around???
We have also hosted our first few activity days. Activity Days are when students from local schools come to the camp and participate in a variety of activities including ice blocking, kayaking, archery, bottle launching, making smores, and more. This is a great promotional opportunity for the camp and our Seasonal Leadership team has done an amazing job hosting these days.
I also had the opportunity to take a day and get some professional development. I attended a establishing your organizations values session at First Assembly Church with Dave Taylor. This was a great day and I gained a lot of tools that will help us do what we do at camp better. I love opportunities to grow as a professional. It is also great being able to use this growth in real time to benefit the work we do here at camp.
Over the long weekend we had Next Gen here from River of Life Alliance Church. This is a youth and young adult group who I help pastor. Connie Jakab was our speaker and Collin Daws led worship. If you ever need a speaker or a worship pastor, I highly, highly recommend both of these individuals. They did an amazing job and it was a great weekend despite the weather.
The cute factor was way off the charts last weekend as we had 200 Girl Guides on site. Seriously, all of our hearts were melting all weekend as we hosted this group. They participated in lots of activities and some slept outside in tents while others used our triplexes. Thanks to Marlo Hepburn, Kylie Berstad, Daniel Weeks, and Evan Shier for hosting this group. All of these people are on our seasonal leadership team and did an amazing job hosting the Girl Guides. We heard lots of great compliments from many people from the group. And, as always, the food was amazing. Thanks to Sherry, Momma Ruth, and their team for all they did in the kitchen to make the weekend a success. It is such a blessing to work with such amazing people everyday.
We continue to have great support from our member churches. Over the weekend members from both Lakeview Baptist Church and Varsity Bible Church came and did some work around the camp. This included raking around the site, cleaning up garbage, putting up drywall, and more. We love hosting volunteers here at the camp and appreciate the support we get. It is very encouraging to all members of our team when people take time out of their schedules to help support the work we do here at the camp. Again, people are welcome to come and volunteer at the camp whenever they wish to. We still need to people to help paint and drywall but there are many, many other projects as well. There is a lot of TLC needed around the camp right now and the more people are able to come and help the better. Just contact the camp at least 24 hours before you come and we ensure that we will be able to have you help somewhere around the camp. We also feed anyone who comes to help. Thanks again to Lakeview and Varsity for you help this weekend.
On Sunday May 24, Assistant Director Collin Daws, his lovely wife Shay and myself had the opportunity to gather with the members of our member church Arrowwood Gospel Church. Collin and Shay led worship and I had the opportunity to speak. Thank you again to our member churches who have been hosting us in this way. It is such a blessing to come and worship with you and to be able to share the gospel. I am humbled and blessed every time I am asked to speak at one of our churches. For those of you who have never been to Arrowwood, it has an amazingly cool vibe to it and a strong sense of community. It is very clear that the people in this congregation care deeply for one another and pray for each other on a regular blessing. It was great to join them and I look forward to joining them again.
We also purchased a boat this week. We have been able to raise enough money to purchase the boat we needed and it should arrive here at the camp in the next couple of weeks. Huge thank you to Board Chair Glenn Minnesma for his tireless work in finding us the right boat. Thank Glenn.
And this is only a small snap shot of what has happened over the last couple of weeks. If I were to mention everything that is going on here at camp then I would be typing for days. Seriously, the pace of this place is unbelievable. It is full speed all the time and there is A LOT happening. Please continue to pray for the team as we prepare for the summer. And again, we do need some volunteers to help complete work around the camp so feel free to contact the camp and come on out. It would be great to see lots of people helping us do what we do. The renos in the Chap are coming along nicely but many hands make lighter work.
Finally, one more reminder of our month of prayer and fasting that we have starting this week. From May 28 - June 27 we are looking for 30 people who are willing to take a day to pray and fast for the camp. Please check www.campchestermere.com for more info. Please contact us to get involved as we prepare for the summer.
Hello again everyone. I hope you all treated your mothers well this weekend.
Well, they...... have........ arrived. And by they I mean the Seasonal Leadership Team. The energy of this place certainly changed this week as we were joined by the 10 new staff members who make up our Seasonal Leadership team. This group includes Team Leads Erik Davis, Marlo Hepburn, and Daniel Weeks, Program Assistant Lisa Nieuwenhuis, CLTD Leaders Gary Lewis, Kylie Berstad, and Evan Shier, Water Front Coordinator and Lifeguard Kristen Shier, Day Camp Assistant Team Lead Amanda Emsley, and Office Assistant Amanda Woolly. They are an amazing group of young people who love Jesus, love the camp, and love what they do. We are so excited to have them here.
We started off welcoming this team on Sunday night May 3 with some ice breaker, getting to know you games, a barbecue, and then we watched the Flames game together back at my place. On Monday morning we were joined by Human Resource Team member Susan Thiesen, and Board Member Alex Wright as they, alongside Assistant Director Collin Daws and myself cooked breakfast for the staff. We had waffles (fully loaded of course), bagels, eggs, bacon, yogurt, fruit, juice and cereal. We then started off the morning with 45 minutes of worship and prayer as the team prayed for each other, for the camp and for the summer. The Seasonal Leadership Team and Year Round Team were all together for both the barbecue and the breakfast. One of the interesting and somewhat unique things of working at a camp is that you work for so long with a smaller staff and then over night you have a sudden influx of new people. It was great to have the Seasonal Leadership Team and the Year Round Team come together and talk about the upcoming summer. Monday was spent in meetings where we updated everyone on many aspects of camp, talked about how the spring would work, did personality and spiritual testing and took care of many administrative tasks that needed to be done. While the day was a lot of sit and talk, it was a very productive day and we got a lot done.
Unfortunately I was away on Tuesday as I was quite ill. I was actually sick on Monday but knew I needed to be here for the Monday kick off to spring meeting and so by the grace of God I made it through the day but then went home Monday and could not get out of bed on Tuesday morning. By Tuesday afternoon I was feeling well enough to come into the office for a bit and then by Wednesday I was feeling mostly like myself again but it was a tough couple of days. However, the staff met on Tuesday as planned in the teams to start off with. We have organized our schedules into four distinct times for the spring. We have what we call Team Time, Breakout Time, Site Time and Activity Time. Team Time is when the Seasonal Leadership Team and Year Round Team meet together, Break Out Time is any combination of a smaller group of people in a meeting, Site time is when we do work around the camp and Activity Time is when we host schools for Activity Days. One of the things that we are really pushing right now is the use of common language. One of the draw backs of having so much transition over the past few years is that there is a lot of different language that gets used to describe the same event and this leads to confusion and sometimes an inefficient use of time. So, in order to fix this problem we have been establishing simpler common language so that we all know what we are referring to. This is really helping staff to use time far more effectively and is leading to greater organization.
So the team met in Breakout Time Sessions to start off Tuesday morning. This was a chance for them to get to know other people on their team and talk about how they would need to use Breakout Time during the spring. The Team then met for Team Time where they had an orientation on camp. There are a lot of moving parts here and we need everyone to have lots of information. The orientation time was a great chance to update staff on some changes that have been happening around camp and to introduce staff to some of the new language I referred to earlier.
Tuesday afternoon was Site time and the staff got a lot of work done. This included cleaning up down by the beach area, working in the Chap and more. We also discovered a problem in the Hex that needed to be fixed asap. The floor in the bathroom was rotted through and needed to be removed and replaced. The Site Time also continued on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon and for much of the day on Friday. One thing I will say about this team is that they work. They got a ton of work done and I am confident they will have this place looking amazing by June 28.
Wednesday morning was AWESOME. The team came together and we brain stormed activities for land, water, rainy days, at camp fires, and camp wide activities. It was amazing. The staff came up with so many ideas. It was inspiring to watch the team collaborate and freely toss out ideas and work together. A great day. On Thursday morning the team met for Breakout Time and again lots of great work was done. This is an excited and motivated team and they are doing some incredible work already.
On top of all of the above we had a junior high band group here for Tuesday and Wednesday and then Empowering Minds was here for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It was great having the band group here rehearsing in the Chap while we were doing work in the back of the chap. I have to admit that I was dancing and singing along to Uptown Funk, and a bunch of classic late 80's and early 90's hits while I threw up sheets of drywall. It was awesome.
I also took some time last week to drop off thank you cards to the people who supported our Silent Auction in April. We had so much support and we were so thankful for it and we wanted people to know how much we appreciated their support. Each organization and individual who supported the camp for the silent auction received a personalized thank you card that was signed by the Year Round Team. Again, our fundraiser went really well and we wanted to help people feel appreciated for supporting us.
Yup, a BUSY week with a lot going on. But this is what we want for camp. We want this place to be busy. We want this place to be a destination for people from schools, churches, corporate organizations, and more. Again, the continual dream for Camp Chestermere is that it be a preferred destination for lots of people from around the province.
Finally, we want to invite people into a new dream for Camp Chestermere. We are launching 30 days of Prayer and Fasting. We are asking for 30 people to sign up for one day each to pray and fast for the camp. The 30 days will start on May 29 which is 30 days before the start of our first camp. The hashtag for the event is #cc30. We would like people to either post on social media things they are praying for and/or are hearing from God about camp, email prayers or declarations email@example.com and possibly come out to camp during those 30 days to pray for the camp. More details on this event will follow but for now, if you would like to be involved, email me a day between May 29 and June 28 when you would like to pray and fast for the camp and I will add you to the list. I have just been feeling for the past while that everything we do should start from a place of prayer and worship. To that end the Seasonal Leadership Team and Year Round Team are starting each week with 30 minutes of worship before we start the work week. I am just feeling that in our own small way we can live out Acts 2 here at the camp:
44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity[j]— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
I believe that as we worship, as we pray, as we fast, as we meet together in community and as we share meals and devotionals together, God will add to our number everyday and people will meet Jesus. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Blessings.
Hello again everyone,
Well you can feel the tempo starting to pick up a bit as we get closer and closer to the summer. Summer registrations are coming in, our Seasonal Leadership Team is coming on site, the weather has been great, and I am a couple of days late sending this out. I've actually sat down about 6 times to write this and each time been pulled away to do something else. It's awesome that we are getting so busy that it is hard to keep everyone updated but I do want to let you all know how things are going.
On Tuesday Assistant Director Collin, Office manager Chantel and myself had the opportunity to attend the Calgary Child Magazine awards luncheon for winners and nominees of the 2015 People's Choice Awards. Camp Chestermere was a nominee in the Best Residential Sleep Away Camp Category and we came in second place. The plaque we received for recognition of this achievement can been viewed in our lodge. However, one of the things that we learned while at this luncheon is that Calgary's Child Magazine has 50 categories for which they hand out awards and Camp Chestermere would be eligible to be nominated in a number of different categories. Awards are given to organizations based on votes from people in the community. We are going to explore the various categories that we are eligible for and then promote these categories through our various advertising and communication mediums and then encourage people to vote for us in these categories. This is great free exposure and promotion for camp. We also learned from people around our table how valuable advertising in Calgary's Child Magazine can really be and so we will soon be promoting ourselves through this magazine. Finally, we were able to make some great connections with various organization from in and around Calgary. Chantel even managed to make a new possible booking for a corporate function simply by making conversation with people at the table. It is amazing how as our staff tell the story of Camp Chestermere that people want to be a part of what we do.
The Year Round Team has had several meetings in preparation for our Seasonal Leadership Team who came on board on Monday May 4. I will update everyone as to how it has been going in the next weekly update. However, I will say that we are very excited to have this team here and it has been going very well. They bring a new energy to the camp and they are refreshing presence to the year round team. We have a very strong Seasonal Leadership Team this year and they are bringing a ton of energy and experience to the camp.
We continue to take new bookings. One young woman booked her wedding here at camp for July 2016. We have also had new bookings for birthday parties as well. God is opening new doors and new opportunities. Again Camp Chestermere has a new attitude and our attitude is an attitude of yes. The answer to the question is yes, now let's have a conversation. I feel that God is honouring this new attitude and is bringing new opportunities our way.
Speaking of bookings, we had a number of bookings this week as we had another band group from a Calgary Board of Education School and Empowering Minds was here as well. We were also a location for the advanced polling. The advanced polling gave us great exposure to the community. It is amazing to me how many people come on site and say, "I've lived in Chestermere for over 10 years and I've never been here. Do you guys take bookings for.........." Again, each new opportunity leads to another new opportunity. The more we say yes, the more questions we get asked. Wouldn't it be amazing if we got so busy that we had to hire more staff to facilitate new opportunities. Yes Jesus, let it be so.
And speaking of Empowering Minds, they have been a great partner with us for a number of years. They run leadership development programs for young people. I actually took their level one training when it was called Rapport. It's a great program and it is a pleasure to host them here at our camp.
I also had the opportunity to meet with one of our long time alumni this week. I LOVE these opportunities as I always learn so much about the history of the camp. Part of my Professional Growth Plan is to continually gain a greater understanding of the history of Camp Chestermere, both the good and the bad, and to hear the stories of those who have been a part of the place over the past 62 years. The story of Camp Chestermere is a good story and I love to hear more about it. So to all of our alumni who read this, please continue to be involved and to connect with us. Again you are welcome here. "A Place to Belong," is not just a slogan but it really is something we want to live out for everyone who is connected to this place.
Pastor Rick Gordon from Lakeview Baptist Church also came out this week to look at how their youth group could do some work around the camp. They will be joining us on May 22 to help clean up and help us get ready for the summer. Again, we love it when our member churches get involved both financially and practically in the work we do here. We could use a lot of help right now in prepping for the summer. We have two workdays coming up. One is on May 30 and the other is on June 13. It would be great to see lots of people out here on those two days. Please contact the camp firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to come and volunteer on either of those two days.
Shaw Go WIFI will be installed early next week. This will be a great new service we can offer to our clients who come on site and will help to solve some of our own internet speed issues.
The weekend was a VERY busy time for camp. Not only was the graduation for the Empowering Minds here but we also, in partnership with the Chestermere Rec Centre, held a Jellybean Dance for junior high students, and we hosted a birthday party in the afternoon. Our Seasonal Leadership Team volunteered their time at the Jellybean Dance and it went very well. One parent commented, "It was awesome having the event here as your staff really got involved with the kids." Loving kids and being involved in what they do is what we do best here. Whether it be a camp or a dance, our staff just know how to love and welcome kids. Awesome job staff.
Wait, the weekend bookings were not done yet as on Sunday we hosted more than 25 vendors here at camp as part of Open For Business. Again, this was great exposure for the camp and they have already talked about booking again next year. We were also able to make some cool connections with some companies who may be able to support us in various ways moving forward. We are also thinking about joining the Open For Business group who meet on an ongoing basis to explore ways to support each other. Again, we keep looking for ways to tell the story of camp and find new opportunities to be a part of our community.
As always, thank you again for your love, support and prayers for Camp Chestermere. There is A LOT going on, it is busy, and at times a little overwhelming but God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Blessings.
Well the week started off slowly which was a nice and needed change of pace after the hectic week that was the fundraiser. However, the quietness of the start of the week was shattered by the craziness of Thursday night. Let me explain:
The week started with all of us trying to accomplish various administrative tasks around the office. This included little things like catching up on emails, phone calls, social media communications, etc. Program and Guest Services Coordinator Vicki Welsh took some time to get off site to start planning for School Year Camp and for the summer. She also had a meeting with several members from the community about some further partnership opportunities. Again, one of the things we are trying to do is increase our footprint in the community. We are actively looking for ways to be involved in different events that are happening around the city and we are meeting on an ongoing basis with other not for profit organizations and community businesses. Our desire is for Camp Chestermere to be an integral part of this community and we believe that one of the ways to do that is to continually look for ways to partner with people in a variety of ways. This includes us hosting events, us attending events hosted by other organizations, and by helping to provide volunteers for other events around the city.
I also had the opportunity to connect with an alumni of Camp Chestermere. He and I went for lunch together and this individual is now in full time ministry as a youth pastor at a church in Calgary. It is so awesome to see how alumni from Camp Chestermere are continuing on in various ministry roles after they leave camp.
My family and I also had the opportunity to connect with a family who has a long history at Camp Chestermere. This husband and wife have both worked at camp and have since volunteered at camp for many years. One of the things we are trying to improve is our connection with Camp Chestermere Alumni. We want alumni to be involved in camp. We need alumni to be involved in the camp. Alumni are a vital part of the future success of this camp and so to all alumni out there, please know you are invited and welcomed at camp. Please feel free to come volunteer your time and energy at camp or just come and say hi, have a coffee and share your stories. I think it would be great if more alumni came and hung out during the summer and shared their stories of camp with staff and campers. You are welcome and needed here and all alumni have a place to belong. A place to belong isn't just a slogan but it is a mission we intend to live out.
In regards to volunteering, we could really use some volunteers right now to finish the work that was started in the Chap. Summer is coming way too fast and the building needs to be done. Please contact us if you could volunteer your time. Also, please promote this opportunity in your churches, to family, friends, neighbours and coworkers. We also have three designated work days coming up on Saturday May 9, Saturday May 30 and Saturday June 13. These are designated times for people to come and volunteer to work alongside our staff to do some work around the camp. More info on these days will be sent out soon.
The Year Round Team has also started meeting in preparation for our Spring Leadership Team who come on site May 4. We are really excited to have these individuals join us as there is a lot of work to do in preparation for summer. This team actually starts on May 2 as they will be volunteering their time at a Jellybean Dance that we are hosting in partnership with the Chestermere Rec Centre. Then on May 3 we will be having a welcome BBQ and games night and then watching game 2 of the Flames vs Anaheim. Then Assistant Director Collin Daws and I will be cooking breakfast for the team on May 4 and then we will get going for real. Please pray for us as we prep for this team coming on site and pray for this team as they prep for the summer.
We also had a visit from a company who supplies one of our partner churches with their cleaning supplies. One of the things that we are really focusing on is why we do what we do. An answer I dislike as a leader when I ask why we do something is "well, that's how we have always done it." As we have seen with our website and emails, as I will explain in a moment, when we explore new ways of doing things we can find ways to improve our financial situation. The fact that this organization is already a supplier to one of our member churches a great starting point for us. Hopefully this will help us to find new ways to do what we do better and to improve our spending on cleaning products.
Speaking of doing things differently, as you know, Assistant Director Collin Daws has been working tirelessly on our new website. Not only is our new website more user friendly and looks a lot better, it is also much cheaper than our previous provider. However, we have some even better news in regards to saving money. We learned that Google offers gmail for free for not for profit organizations. After a few emails and many phone calls back and forth, Collin was able to set us up with Google as our email platform. On your end you will see no changes but this has been a HUGE undertaking on our end. However, Camp Chestermere, thanks to the program offered by Google, now pays nothing for email. So, not only are we saving money on our website, but we now have an email platform that is free due to our not for profit status. Awesome.
We continue to have band groups on site throughout the school year. We do need to look at purchasing some things to help host these groups. One group arrived and did not have music stands and had to borrow some from another school. I think it would be great if we could supply groups with things like this to improve what we offer. If anyone out there has connections for music stands then that would be a need we have right now.
Funds continue to come in for our 5 for 1 campaign. I will send an update as to the total amount currently raised in next weeks update.
A HUGE, TREMENDOUS, AMAZING, GREAT NEWS item that we have is that Office Manager Chantel Woolly is now on full time. Our camp just simply runs better when she is here because she is amazing at what she does. Chantel has been finishing school and we provided the space for her to do so and still be on staff. While this at times has been a struggle to stay on top of things, Chantel was for sure the right hire as our Office Manager and we are so happy that she is now on full time. So happy. Can you tell we're happy??? Relieved almost. Welcome Chantel.
Ok, so now to get to the crazy part of last week. On Thursday youth from Sunwest joined us to do some work around camp. The plan was to have them do some raking, cleaning up around the site, prepping the swimming area, etc. Well, then everything just went crazy. I have never in my life seen so many things go wrong within an hour as I did on Thursday night.
Assistant Director Collin Daws, Chris King, the youth pastor from Sunwest, and myself arrived back on site at about 6:30 pm in preparation for the youth group to arrive. Chris was donating some items to the camp and so he and Collin went to bring these to the basement of the lodge. When they got to the basement of the lodge they found that it had started to flood on the south side as the drains had backed up. They started immediately to clean this up but then the drain on the right side backed up, badly, and then we had a real mess on our hands. Then at about 6:50 Program and Guest Services Coordinator Vicki Welsh had to go home as she was feeling very ill. The problem was that we also had another band group on site. So here we were, in the space of 30 minutes, with over 100 people on site and our main building just went down and now we are short a staff member. But the problems didn't end there. About a half hour later my son was involved in an incident where he hurt his hand very badly. His hand was so injured that it when it was swelling it looked like he was growing a small orange on the top of his hand. So here we are with two different groups on site working all over the camp, sewer lines backed up, a hurt child, and we are down one staff member. Again, all of this in less than an hour. WHAT??? It was crazy. I finally got to a point where I was able to duck away from people for a moment and just started praying and asking Jesus to put an end to the craziness. Honestly, it was insane. However, we were able to stop the back up, the band group still had a good time and Sunwest was able to complete some much needed work for us. However, please continue to pray for camp. There is a lot going on and we seem to continually have plumbing issues lately. Please pray that these issues would end and would not distract us from the important work that needs to be done.
On the weekend we had our final School Year Camp and it was amazing. We had over 50 campers and over 20 CLTD's. Our guest speaker was Chris King and he was awesome. He spoke with the kids about how God sees you, hears you, and knows you. He used the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel. The campers were engaged with what Chris was talking with them about and we had lots of great feedback.
Then on Saturday we completely flipped our schedule around and watched the Flames beat the Canucks in game 6. It was awesome. Over 80 people joined in cheering for the Flames. I thought the roof was going to come off the Chap when they went up 5 - 4. During the first intermission we opened the tuck shop for kids to purchase items and then during the second intermission we gave everyone one free item from the tuck shop. After the game we had a time at the fire pit where we did smores. Assistant Director Collin Daws said to me at the fire pit, "This feels like camp." It was awesome. Even the kids who don't like hockey and didn't care about the Flames had a good time. I spoke with one girl at the fire pit who said, "I never watch hockey and that was a fun night."
This is camp. It's a place where we care more about relationships and fun then we do about clocks and schedules. It's a place where building relationships with campers, staff and with each other is at the top of our priority list. It's a place where you do not know what is going to happen from one minute to the next. It's a place where we introduce people to Abba, Father, lover of our souls. We introduce people to a God of Love. It's a place where we stuff ya full of sugar and still some how manage to sleep at night. I love Camp Chestermere and I can't wait to see what else is to come.
Good morning everyone,
It has been an incredible couple of weeks at Camp Chestermere. We are truly seeing the goodness and blessing of God.
On the Tuesday after Easter I had the opportunity to meet with Pastor Quinn Davis from Rocky mountain Calvary Chapel. This is a continuation of me meeting with pastors from all of our member churches. My hope is to meet with the pastors from each of our member churches at least twice a year. I think the communication between our member churches and the camp is vital to the longevity and success of this ministry. My meeting with Pastor Quinn was great and my favorite part of the meeting was when he asked how he could be praying for my family and I. He asked how the church could pray for something that maybe has been a challenge in this transition that maybe my family hasn't talked about. I was so blessed, humbled, and thankful for his question. This my first time meeting Quinn and I was touched by his and RMCC's concern for the wellbeing of my family.
The second part of our meeting that was amazing was when he informed me that RMCC is donating $5000 to Camp Chestermere. Amazing. Thank you to RMCC, their staff, board, and congregation for your incredible donation to the camp.
At the end of our meeting, Quinn introduced me to John and we had a great conversation about sound and some possibilities for improving what we do at Camp Chestermere. It is great to see how many people want to help the camp improve. I look forward to future opportunities of partnering with RMCC.
During the Rocky View School Division spring break we had Little Leaders join us here at the camp for a week. This is a day care facility here in Chestermere who we partner with. They use our facility when schools are closed for things like spring break and PD Days. It is always great to have these little guys running around the camp as they bring an amazing energy.
We also had a new church plant, New Arising, here at the camp for their national conference. New Arising is a new Spanish Church here in Calgary who's mother church is in Toronto. There were people from both Toronto and Calgary here for their conference. It was great to have them and we hope to have them back again next year.
We continue to have a number of band groups here at the camp as two different junior high schools joined us for overnight trips. One of the things that would be great for us moving forward is if the camp could purchase and/or acquire music stands and some percussion instruments. That way we could advertise that we have them and then either more band groups would come and/or we could help offset the costs for band groups who do come in terms of them having to ship their own equipment. The more things we can offer here at the camp the more attractive our camp becomes for rentals.
I also had the opportunity to give a tour to a lead pastor from a fairly large church in Calgary. He was impressed with our facility and the work we are doing. The word about Camp Chestermere is starting to spread and more people are wanting to know about this place. This church has already booked their youth retreat for here in the fall and this is the first time this church has come. Again, the word about camp is spreading and it is exciting to see.
I also had the opportunity to go for breakfast this week with someone who I consider to be a friend and mentor. It was a little rough because I met with him at 8 am on the day after our fundraiser but this is exactly why God made coffee. But in all seriousness, I haven't seen this gentlemen for a little over a year and the first 30 minutes of our conversation was about how are things, what are you up to, how are the wife and kids, etc. But then the next hour and half was spent talking and dreaming about how we could work together moving forward. It was an amazing meeting. There are few things I enjoy more then sitting with people and talking about and dreaming about possibilities for Camp Chestermere. Any time I get the opportunity to talk about participating the work of the Kingdom is a good day. Great meeting. Hopefully more to follow on this soon.
Last weekend we hosted a ladies retreat for Foothills Alliannce Church. Sherry and Maureen received a huge compliment in the kitchen as the ladies said they felt pampered and they were blown away by the quality of the food and service. Sherry always kicks it up a few notches for our adult groups and it was noticed and appreciated.
This weekend I had the opportunity to speak at Varsity Bible Church. A number of our staff were involved in leading worship including Assistant Director Collin Daws, CLTD Coordinator Marie Picard, CLTD Leader Kylie Berstad, board member Brad Knibbs, Cabin Leader Sam Brown and former staff member Bryson Ritchie. It was great to be able to join another one of our member churches for worship and thank you to Varsity for the opportunity to speak. Also, during the service the youth highlighted the work they did here at the camp over spring break. It was great to hear testimonies of some of the youth about their experiences here during the week they helped to renovate and how they realized that the work they did was assisting in the expansion of the Kingdom. Thanks again Varsity.
On Thursday April 16, Office Manager Chantel Woolly and Assistant Office Manager Amanda Woolly attended a dinner for volunteers hosted by Synergy here in Chestermere. This was a great opportunity for the camp to connect with other not for profits from around Chestermere. Chantel said that the guest speaker Tina Varughese was really good. Tina spoke on Communicating With Your Community and Chantel said she learned about diversity in workplace and how different things can mean different things to different people. Communication is something we are working at improving here at camp and so having one of our key staff members attend a session on this was great. Also, Chantel said that it was just great to connect with different people from around the community. Thanks Chantel for going to this the night after our fundraiser.
Finally, I have danced around this for this entire email but I wanted to end off this update by talking about the fundraiser. Our 5 for 1 campaign had three components to it and it has been a huge success. The first component of the fundraiser was picture in the lodge that was covered by 500 puzzle piece. Each piece was worth $100 dollars. People can purchase a piece of the puzzle and then we take the piece off of the board to reveal the picture. To date we have sold 229 puzzle pieces.
The second part of the fundraiser was the dinner held on Wednesday April 15. Over 140 people attended the dinner. The food was AMAZING. Prime rib, cranberry chicken, salads, desserts. There was even real butter (inside joke). But seriously, amazing job done by the entire kitchen staff. Also, I want to acknowledge that to help with the raising of funds, the entire kitchen staff donated their time for the event. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to Sherry Nickel, Melissa Jeffrey, Kyle Jeffrey, and Janice Ince for donating your time and putting on an incredible meal.
The third part of the fundraiser was a silent auction. We had a lot of incredible items. It was amazing to see how the community of Chestermere came together to provide silent auction. Please see the list below and, if you have the opportunity, go to these businesses and thank them for supporting camp.
· Robin McDonald at Hockey Canada.
· Sarini Fine Jewellery
· Signed Jon Cornish Jersey (may not be exact replica) Courtesy of Calgary Stampeders
· Dallmann Computers
· McIntyre Crane & Rigging Ltd.
· Herbal Magic
· South Hill Designs
· Hyperactive Watersports
· Lifepath Wellness Chestermere
· Lash out Loud
· JK Apparel
· Rainbow Falls Dental
· Canadian Tae Kwon Do College
· Jakes Spices
· Sharp Edge Barbershop
· Vicki Welsh
· Marita Ladic
· Simon Vanderploug
· Stacey Ariel
· Waiting Room Cafe
· Consumer Care Maids
· Collin and Shay Daws
· Chestermere Taxi
· Lifepath Wellness Chestermere
· Tim Horton's
· Westcreek Car Wash
· Bruce McAllister MLA
· Empowering Minds
A special thank you also goes out to Robin McDonald. Robin is the equipment manager for Canada's olympic hockey teams. He allowed us to borrow his medals and rinsg from a number of events. It was amazing to have my picture taken with the 2014 Canada Women's Hockey Olympic gold medal and ring. Thanks Robin.
To date we have raised $26 266. AMAZING. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. This, in combination with the $18 000 grant we received from the Chestermere Conrich Recreation Board, provides us with over $44 000 for the purchase of new boats. Again, God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
We still have puzzle pieces left to purchase. Puzzle pieces can be purchased by contacting the camp. Check out our webpage for updated information.
I want to end by acknowledging the incredible amount of work that was done by our year round staff to make this event a success. Thank you to Sherry and her team for the meal. Thank you to Chantel and Heather for your help with set up and for processing all of the transactions. Thank you to Collin for managing the website, for your help with set up and tear down, for your help in contacting businesses for silent auction items and for all of the numerous behind the scenes things you did. Thank you to Vicki for securing donations for silent auction items and for your help with set up and tear down. And finally thank you to my wife Michelle for decorating the event. Thank you to all involved and I am already looking forward to next years fundraiser. I know I am missing things that were done and work people did but please know we are very grateful and thankful for all the work involved. When I was speaking with one of my friends about the fundraiser and told him the amount that was raised he said, "Wow what a great start to the summer camping season." This truly is a great way for us to launch into the summer. Thanks again.
Good afternoon everyone,
Last week was a bit of a slower week here at camp which was not necessarily a bad thing considering how crazy it has been the last few weeks. The big push right now is our fundraiser on April 15. I will be sending out an email with more details about our fundraiser later this afternoon. Thank you for the promotion you have already been doing for this event and please continue to help us promote our 5 for 1 campaign and our fundraising dinner.
As I talked about in my last weekly update, Assistant Director Collin Daws and I joined Langdon Community Church forSunday morning worship. Collin led worship and I had the opportunity to talk about camp and then preach. We had a great time and I always love these opportunities to connect with our member churches. However, I mention this again because I want to talk about a praise item that came out of this trip. A gentlemen from Langdon Community Church contacted me and asked if he could volunteer his time to come and do some work at the camp. Another gentlemen said that he was also willing to come in the fall to do some work at the camp. It really is an encouragement to the staff here at camp when people ask to volunteer to support this ministry. There is a lot going on right now at camp and it can seem overwhelming at times. However, when people like these gentlemen from Langdon ask to get involved it really breathes new life into all of us. Few things are more powerful than when the Body of Christ bonds together to do the work of the kingdom. Thank you in advance to these gentlemen for volunteering their time and expertise.
Speaking of volunteers, Josh Labrecque and Board Member Brad Knibbs came out one night last week and volunteered their time to do some construction work in the Chap. They assisted by putting in new insulation and drywall. The construction work being done in the Chap is a huge undertaking but is work that is long over due. We are very grateful for the people like Josh and Brad who have been volunteering their time to help with this project. Please contact the camp if you would like to help with this project. What we could really use right now is someone who is good at mudding and taping to come and volunteer their time to mud and tape the drywall in the Art Spot and Duct Tape rooms. Like I said, it is amazing when the Body of Christ works as one to do the work of the kingdom. The Chap is really starting to look amazing and we cannot wait to see the final product.
We only had the one booking last week and this was a school band group who came in on Tuesday. I tell ya, there is nothing like working all day while listening to grade 7 band students...... But seriously, we love it when the camp is booked and is great that we can be a facility to Chestermere and the surrounding areas.
On Wednesday I met with Troy Paschal from Shine FM for breakfast and then recorded a commercial that is now being aired on Shine FM. Actually, as I was typing this email I received a call from a mom who had not heard of Camp Chestermere before and then heard our commercial on Shine FM and so she called the camp to register her child. There is one new person who has booked because they heard the commercial on Shine. I have also received messages from people who have heard the commercial. It is just exciting when people start talking about and hearing about camp. We are hoping that this commercial will lead to at least 20 new registrations for the summer. Camp Chestermere will also be a feature camp on Shine for week later in the spring. We are also giving away a free week of camp through Shine FM. Listen and you or someone you know could be the one to win this free week of camp.
On Thursday I met with the Youth Development Coordinator from Synergy. They are looking at partnering with us for staff training. They've heard about some the great things we do for staff training and with our CLTD program and we are looking at ways to partner and learn from each other. We will be partnering with them for some staff training days in May and June and they have also booked a weekend here at the camp. It is cool to see how Camp Chestermere is having a positive impact in the community and how the work we do here at camp is respected by people from around the community.
We also learned last week that through Wix, our new website provider, we get $275 in certificates for web advertising including advertising on Bing, Google, Facebook, Twitter and more. Assistant Director Collin has already created an ad for camp on Facebook and we are already getting some returns on this ad. It's great to see the positive returns we are getting on some of the changes we are making, like the change we made in our website provider. We are getting far more for far less.
Program Coordinator Vicki Welsh met with Empowering Minds last week to discuss new partnerships moving forward. Empowering Minds has been booking leadership training events here at the camp for many years. They have also bought a table at the fundraiser and are providing a gift basket for the silent auction.
Program Coordinator Vicki Welsh has also been doing a great job securing items for the fundraiser. As I said before I will be sending out another email shortly and in this email I will be giving some details on some of the items that will be available at the auction. However, I do want to point out that Vicki has been able to secure many items from local business from around Chestermere. It is great to see that local businesses are willing to support the work we do here at camp. Camp Chestermere is an established part of this community and it is cool to see the city get behind us.
On Sunday we had River of Life Alliance Church here for their Easter service. This was their first time here and it was awesome. It was great to have a church here for Easter service. Camp is such a beautiful site and what better place to celebrate the resurrection and victory of our Lord Jesus Christ then looking over the lake. They have also booked their youth retreat and some small group retreats here as well and are planning on doing a service and church picnic in August. Despite the weather, it was a beautiful service on Sunday and I hope that hosting an Easter service becomes an annual event at Camp Chestermere.
Thanks again for your support and prayers. Please continue to pray for camp and for our fundraiser next week. Like I said, I will be sending out more information about the fundraiser shortly. God bless.
We had an AMAZING week last week at Camp Chestermere. It started last weekend with Rocky Mountain Calvary Chapel here for a retreat and then we had a band group here on Wednesday and Thursday as well. This was this band groups first time coming to camp and they had a great time.
It's always great to have a new group and it is even better when they rebook for another time as well.
However, the biggest news from last week was the work that was done around the camp by one of our member churches. Varsity Bible Church brought their youth here on a missions trip and did an AMAZING job.
While I cannot list all they did I will attempt to give you a snap shot.
In four days this group:
- Removed all the old tile from the Chap
- Removed an old kitchen counter
- Gutted the old pantry and duct tape room
- Took down all the damaged ceiling tiles in the Duct tape and
- Put new insulation in the old pantry and Duct Tape room
- Painted the Chap
- Organized down under
- Started putting the new drywall into the duct tape, art spot
and storage rooms
- Raked out the ditch
- Started raking the site in front of the brown cabins
- Put new dry wall where the sliding doors and old speakers
used to be in the Chap
- Started painting the green triplex
- Washed the lodge from floor to ceiling
- Washed the new staff lounge from floor to ceiling
- Removed rocks from the boat and swimming area
Again, this is just a snap shot of the work this group did. We are truly grateful for the work this group did. Also, the youth held a fundraiser at Varsity before coming to do the work and donated $3000 towards the project. I would like to invite all of our partner churches to participate in the work of the camp in a similar way. Please feel free to bring a group of youth or adults and volunteer your time to help us complete work around the camp. We were truly blessed by the work this group did.
The Varsity group scheduled to work for about 5 hours per day and then had devotional, worship and event times as well. However, on the Thursday night a group of the boys worked for over 12 hours on putting up new drywall. The group really bought into the project and it was amazing to see their commitment. We cannot say thank you enough for the work this group did.
However, a prayer item came out of this work as well. I threw my back out from buffering the floor and was completely out of commission on Friday night and am now starting to move a little more normally. I will be seeing my chiropractor later today but am still in a bit of pain and moving around pretty gingerly. Your prayers are appreciated.
I also had the opportunity to meet with Chestermere Mayor Patricia Matthews on Thursday morning and we had a great meeting. It was awesome to learn about how the City of Chestermere is in support of the work we do here at Camp Chestermere. Patricia's children have been a part of Camp Chestermere and it was great to hear her perspectives as both a mom and the mayor. One of the things that I am beginning to learn and love about Chestermere is that this city truly is a community who supports each other. There is a sense of togetherness in this city and it is great to be a part of it.
On Thursday night I presented to the Chestermere Conrich Recreation Board. This board provides grant money to different not for profits around Chestermere. In 2013 the board granted $9250 and in 2014 the board granted another $2000 for the building of a new playground at Camp Chestermere. At the meeting on Thursday night I requested that the
$11250 that had been previously granted for a playground be transferred to the purchasing of new boats for Camp Chestermere. I also requested an additional $6750 for this year. On Sunday morning I walked into Tim Hortons here in Chestermere and ran into one of the board members. He informed me that not only did the board agree to transfer the previous funds that had been granted but they also had granted the additional $6750. I am very pleased to announce that Camp Chestermere has been granted a matching grant of $18000 for the purchase of new boats. Praise Jesus. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. So now we need your help in matching the $18000 which is why we have launched the
5 for 1 campaign. Again, we are looking for 500 people to donate $100.
By matching the $18000 we will have $36000 to put towards new boats. The
$18000 is an amazing blessing in jump starting the funds we need to purchase boats. Power tubing is a huge part of the programming here at camp and right now we do not have a boat for the summer. Your assistance in helping us to meet this goal is greatly appreciated.
Also, we just finished our latest School Year Camp for kids 7 - 11. We had nearly 100 people on site this weekend for the camp and it was amazing. There was a ton of energy at the camp this weekend. Zach Manntai was our guest speaker and he did a great job. He spoke with the kids about how we are princes and princesses of the king and about the majesty of God. Truly a great weekend. After the weekend we had a staff party at my house where we ate a ton of food while watching Wrestle Mania. One of the things we are bringing back are staff celebrations at the end of every School Year and Summer Camp. At the end of the last summer camp we all went to Tim Hortons and then this weekend was a party at my house. I have to mention my wife Michelle who cooked the majority of the food for the staff as well as Sherry who made chilli and veggie tray. We had a great time.
Another praise item from the weekend came from the closing program where we presented the 5 for 1 campaign to the parents and spoke about our Financial Assistants (FA) program. Four parents purchased puzzle pieces and one parent donated $200 to the FA program. Like I said, God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
On Sunday morning I had the opportunity to speak at Langdon Community Church. I am always humbled and grateful for the opportunities to go and speak at one of our member churches. Collin and Shay led worship as well. I have to say that if you have the opportunity, please book Collin to come and do worship at your church. The man truly is a gifted worship leader and is someone who I believe could and should be leading worship at conferences all over the world. The man truly is a prayer warrior who consistently seeks after the heart of God. We had a great time at Langdon Community Church and look forward to the opportunity to go back again.
I want to end this update by saying I believe we are really starting to gain some momentum and traction here at camp. There is an unmistakeable energy right now and we truly feel the blessing of God all over what we are doing. Thank you for your continued involvement here at the camp and please continue to talk about the camp at your churches, with your friends, with your coworkers, and in your other circles of influence as well. Also, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns or if you would like to volunteer your time to help around camp.
One final note. We are in need of silent auction items for our fundraiser on April 15. I will be sending out a separate email shortly about the fundraiser but did want to mention it here as well. If you have any ideas or connections, please contact me asap. Thanks again.
Hello again everyone,
I want to start off by apologizing as I am a full week behind in sending out the weekly update. However, there has been an incredible amount of events happening over the past couple of weeks and we are currently juggling a lot of different pieces. Your prayers are greatly appreciated right now as a number of us on staff are feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment.
We have launched our 5 for 1 fundraiser and started to sell tickets for the upcoming fundraising dinner. To date we have sold 16 puzzle pieces. Please help us promote this campaign in your churches, your offices, throughout your social networks, and where ever else you can think of. Attached is a brochure you can hand out or email to people you know. If each family of a member church bought just one puzzle piece we would exceed our goal. Thanks for your continued support with this. Please contact the camp for more info or to purchase tickets to the dinner or to purchase a puzzle piece.
On Monday March 9 the year round team met and we continued our conversations about the future of Camp Chestermere. These conversations are amazing. We are currently in the process of rewriting our mission and vision. The plan for this is for the staff to write it and then present it to the board in the next few months. We are taking our time with this and being very methodical about this process. Camp has seen a lot of transition over the past number of years and so we do not want to rush this process. I believe that a vision and mission should be revisited every 4 – 5 years but it also takes 2 – 3 years to really see the fruit of the written mission. Also, we are involving many people in the process of casting vision and mission. We are asking ourselves and each other a number of difficult questions and we are having honest conversations about where we are at as a staff and as a camp. A realization of where we are and dreaming together about the future will allow us to write a solid mission and vision.
I also want to mention again that board members are always invited to our year round staff meetings. Our next meeting is on Monday April 13 at 9:30. Please let us know the Friday before if you plan on coming so we can ensure there is enough food for lunch.
I also met with a gentleman last week about looking at getting new apparel for camp. One of the things that we will be doing moving forward is getting better camp clothing and swag. Some of the ideas around this are golf shirts for the year round team, a higher quality shirt for our spring leadership team and then continue with the t-shirts for our seasonal team and CLTD’s. We also want to continue to offer shirts, hoodies and sweatpants for children who come to camp. However, I would like to see us offer higher end clothing and more adult friendly clothing as well. When people wear clothing with the Camp Chestermere logo’s on it then the camp receives free promotion. From experience, I know that the better the quality of the product you offer, the more likely people are to wear it. So, we are meeting with different sales reps to get the best price on some improved clothing gear for camp. Pay attention to the store section on our website for more information. We will be presenting our new ideas for clothing to the board at our next meeting in April.
I also had the opportunity to sit down with a pastor from a local church here in Chestermere. It was an incredible meeting. I love the opportunities I have to meet with different people who are focusing on the work of the kingdom. We spoke of some possible opportunities for this local church and the camp to work together in the future. The work this church is doing in the community of Chestermere is AMAZING and I look forward to the possibilities of partnering with this church in the future and possibly having them join us a member church.
Unfortunately, we had a bit of a cold/flu bug rip through the camp last week. A number of us were coming down with something and then on Wednesday I could not even get out of bed. Chantel has been dealing with a headache everyday for about two weeks, Vicki's leg has been acting up again and Collin has also been feeling a little under the weather. Please continue to pray for the health of our staff at camp as there is a lot of work to do and we need healthy bodies to complete this work.
I also took some time last week to meet with a personal mentor and bounce some ideas and questions off of him. I left that meeting feeling reenergized about what we are doing at camp. Having the opportunity to sit down with other visionaries is a process that I find inspiring. So, to any out there who may wish to sit and dream together, I look forward to your phone call or email.
On the weekend we had two groups in at the same time!! We had a ladies group from one of our member churches as well as a quilting group. Sherry truly outdid herself in the kitchen for this weekend as she stepped it up a few notches for the meals and snacks. It was amazing. Vicki also knocked it out of the park with these groups. One of the groups was so impressed with the work Vicki did that they sent a very long email of thanks and appreciation for the work she did. It was the first time out for one of the groups and Vicki did such a great job hosting them that they have already booked again for next year. In fact, both groups enjoyed themselves so much that they have decided to partner and book together for the same weekend for the next couple of years. Awesome!!!!
WE HAVE INTERACT AT CAMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well...... almost. This week we signed a contract to get interact at the camp and we are now just waiting for the machine to be dropped off. We believe that this is really going to help us with collecting money and speeding up our registration processes. We also believe that it will help us with our fundraiser and in other areas of the camp as well. We are very excited about this and can’t wait to get it hooked up and working.
I have also started meeting with all of the year round team about their Professional Growth and Ministry Plans. These meetings are my favourite times of the week as I get to sit with staff and hear their heart, vision, ideas, and goals for the camp. We will also be having our spring leadership team write a Professional Growth and Ministry Plan. Please know the camp is in the hands of good people who love Jesus, care for each other, and are inspired to do the work of the kingdom.
I also had the opportunity this week to sit with one of the lead pastors of one of our member churches. I am also a big fan of these meetings as I get to hear about the exciting things that are happening at our member churches. We started to chat about some cool new opportunities moving forward. I am excited to see what God has in store for camp and the member churches as we continue to explore ways to further partner together.
Also, I have now been booked to speak at 4 of our member churches and I am excited and humbled by these opportunities. Collin is also coming with me to 2 of these churches to lead worship. Please feel free to contact the camp if you would like us to come and speak about camp or participate in other ways during your service.
Finally, we have a new church that has now booked our church for several events in the near future including their Easter service, youth, small group, and ladies retreats and are looking at booking a staff retreat as well. The word about the awesomeness of this place is starting to spread and this is amazing to be a part of. Please continue to talk about this place and tell the story of camp.
Thank you again everyone. Again, prayers are really needed right now as there is a lot going on and many things happening all at once. Please pray for me specifically that I will be able to keep my eyes above the waves and focus on the One who will give us the strength we need to do the work of the Kingdom. The lyrics to "I Need Thee Every Hour" have never been more true in my life than right now. Thanks and God bless.