Update: July 19-26th
Hello again everyone,
Well last week certainly blew by. You could also say that we are really blowing through this summer. Ok, enough with the bad puns. Actually, puns, unfortunately.... (well, maybe secretly I love them).... are a huge part of our culture here. A lot of puns get made in a week. Some good. Some groaners. But there are a lot of puns.
But seriously, last week was insane in regards to the weather. A lot of wind. Thunder storms, rain, hail, and tornado watches were all the rage. Assistant Director Collin (Deuce), Seasonal Leader Sidney (Sully), and I watched a funnel cloud go right around the camp. No serious damage was done to the camp and all campers were well taken care of. After the storm we sent an email to all of the parents of day and overnight camp and of the CLTD's to assure them that everyone was safe. During the storm Camp Chestermere took immediate steps to ensure that all children were safe and cared for. The initial warning came while Overnight Campers were having lunch and Day Campers were in siesta. Seasonal and Year Round Leadership team members quickly met to develop a plan for if a tornado were to head towards Camp Chestermere. All Day Campers were brought to their activity rooms and all Overnight Campers were brought to the Chap to watch a movie. The idea being that if the storm intensified that we would have two large groups of people who could be transitioned to a safer place if needed. After everyone was in these locations, Assistant Director Collin Daws and myself personally searched every building to ensure they were empty. If a tornado was to hit, the plan was to move all children and everyone on site to the basement of the lodge known at camp as Down Under. Down Under has no windows and is the only basement space large enough to hold a large amount of people. This would have been the best space to wait out a tornado should it have hit the camp.
Thankfully however, Camp Chestermere only experienced some rain and a small amount of hail. The Day Campers played games, did face painting, baked goodies and were involved in some other activities while Overnight Campers watched a movie. All campers were safe and cared for. Again, I would like to extend a thank you to all staff who did a great job in looking after the campers. Special mention should be made of Assistant Director Collin Daws who stood in the middle of the field during the storm watching the clouds, Office Manager and Assistant Office Manager Chantel and Amanda for fielding many phone calls from parents and to the CLTD leaders for getting the basement of the lodge ready for a possible large influx of children.
It would be a huge understatement to say we are done with the severe weather patterns we have seen. Also, bad weather affects some of the programs we are able to offer. It is really difficult to be outside and doing anything on the water when the weather is bad. So many of the kids who come to camp come for power tubing and it is disappointing when they are unable to do this. As I write this we have kids out on the water but it is not super warm. I am missing the days of lack of sleep because it was so hot. Hot weather just helps for making a better camp experience. While kids still have a ton of fun, sun helps. So we are hoping for some nicer weather for the rest of the summer.
We also had another two kids here this week from the Gateway program. They volunteered in the kitchen and were a huge help. Camp Chestermere is really benefitting from the new partnerships we are forming with various other agencies around the city. Please feel free to contact camp Chestermere if you would like to work with us in any capacity or if you know of someone who may be a good fit.
In regards to working with Camp Chestermere, I received a message from Kim Fontaine this week. Kim works with Deloitte. Deloitte” is the brand under which tens of thousands of dedicated professionals in independent firms throughout the world collaborate to provide audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, tax, and related services to select clients. They are looking to serve some local businesses on a serve day in October. So, on October 2, 2015, we will have approximately 30 volunteers from Deloitte coming to volunteer to do some work around the camp. I just love how so many people volunteer to help us do what we do. For more information on this company please go to http://www2.deloitte.com/ca/en.html.
Last week Overnight Camp was ages 11 - 15. We had 102 campers in Day Camp, 120 in Overnight and 17 CLTD's. AWESOME. I really hope this becomes our normal for every week which will then lead us to expansion plans for the future. Already we have some kids on waiting lists and finding places for all of our staff to sleep is becoming an issue. But these are good issues to have. Expansion is a dream of Camp Chestermere that we believe will become a reality.
The theme last week was superheroes and there are a few things I'd like to highlight from last week. First of all, one of the things we do here is cabin awards for the cleanest cabins. Cabins have been doing a lot of bribing this year in trying to tip the scales in their favour. Money and treats are getting left behind for our Team Leads. But this week a cabin got super creative. Following along with the superhero theme, one of our campers had a spiderman hoodie with him this week. The cabin decided to stuff the hoodie to make it look like someone was in it and then they took the some duct tape and hung the hoodie upside down just inside the door. So when the Team Lead walked into the cabin, there was spiderman hanging upside down waiting for him. Yup, that cabin won the challenge for the end of the week.
Our guest speaker last week was Connie Jakab. Connie is one of our regular guest speakers and always does a great job. I have also heard Connie speak dozens of times. However, last week Connie was next level. She helped to create such an amazing atmosphere. Kids were sharing their testimonies, dancing, beat boxing, rapping and just getting really involved the sessions. It was awesome. One kid felt so confident that he got up and interrupted Connie in the middle of her speaking because he felt like he had a word from God that he wanted to share. One of our CLTD's was even rapping during worship. It was an amazing week of worship, speaking and people experiencing God. I don't know what Connie did to prep for last week but she was amazing.
Connie is also a published author and we sell her book in our Horton's Hut. Her book is called Culture Rebel and is on sale for just $10. A great read and a great way to support a local urban missionary.
Also, a personal highlight for me was when my wife got up and shared her testimony. My wife has NEVER shared her testimony in public before and here she was standing in front of almost 200 people, holding a mike and sharing what God had done in her life. It was awesome. God is not only working in the lives of the people who come here but he is continuing to work in the lives of the Dean family as well. I fully believe that the Dean's are here because God called us to be here and watching my wife give her testimony in public for the first time was further confirmation of this.
Following along with the theme of super heroes, we had pizza during our dead cow staff time. Pizza came up because last week I grabbed a bunch of seven year old campers and said to them, "What is the first food that comes to mind when I say the word superhero?" Right away all of the kids yelled "Pizza like Ninja Turtles!!!!!!!" Well, that solved the debate for what we should serve staff for dinner. And our kitchen makes the most amazing home made pizza.
During the dinner we again heard from staff what their highlight was of the week and again, there were many. We simply ask the staff one question and that is "What is one or two highlights from your week?" One staff member said that her highlight was that her cabin was just awesome, two of our male leaders said they had the best cabin they've had all summer, and another said that her favourite moment was being able to sit and enjoy some gummy bears. Also, one cabin leader participated in a water fight wearing dress clothes and rumour has it that a certain camp director may or may not have been ambushing a group of boys with buckets of water. A certain director also may have been ambushed by these same group of kids. Another leader commented on how she was moved by seeing a mom cry when she picked up her child and was even more moved as the mom expressed to her child how much she had missed him all week.
Before camp started, one of our summer leaders went looking for a dress for the theme day for Day Camp. While she was at the store she found a dress that she loved but was not able to afford it. While she was trying it on a lady walked by and commented, "That dress looks really nice on you." Our leader thanked the woman but said that while she really liked it and it would work perfectly for the theme day for camp, she said that she could not afford it. Right away the woman said, "Here, I'll buy it for you." It amazes me how God is so faithful. Here was one of our leaders looking for something for camp but not able to afford it and a complete stranger paid for the item for her. Amazing.
Another fun story was we had a camper who wouldn't change all week. No matter what his leaders did he insisted on wearing the same thing. Then on Wednesday night we had a huge water fight for the night event and the kid got soaked. This caused him to have to change his clothes. The Cabin Leader said, "That was the best water fight ever because it was the only way I could get the kid to wear something new." Ha, love it.
The CLTD's also had a cool experience this week. One night the CLTD's were all given some form of disability. These ranged from not being able to see, to not being able to use a limb, to not being able to speak, and to not being able to walk. They were then given various tasks including playing pictionary and eating dinner. They were also brought out into the field and all of them stood on one blanket. They were given the task of flipping the blanket over while all still being on it. While it took them over 45 minutes to complete the task, they were able to work as a team to accomplish the task. This whole experience taught them to work as a team and communicate with each other. This is another great example of the outstanding work our CLTD leaders do with these kids.
Also, one of our worship leaders had a cool experience where there was a kid here last week who had no interest in fireside at all. No matter what she did the kid stayed at the back of the room lying on his pillow just not wanting to be there. But then on the last night this leader was playing piano and there was this same kid in the front row fully involved with worship. Amazing.
So again, this is what we do. We also heard the most EPIC bathroom running out of toilet paper story ever. I just don't think it translates well when you just read it. Please ask me about it the next time you see me. Trust me, it is hilarious.
Thanks again for your love, prayers and support. Loving Camp, loving God, and loving getting the chance to do what we do. Blessings.