Update: Oct 17-Nov 2
Well, I guess this will have to be a bit of a monthly update as opposed to a weekly update since I have been so delinquent on these lately but man have we been busy lately at camp. Being busy is great as it helps keeps the lights on and the doors open but man, it makes it tough to write weekly updates. Plus the family is now into full swing with fall programs as Evan is playing hockey, Julia in girl guides and basketball and Michelle doing a ton of decorating projects for our church and the camp. Then there's my hockey and I decided it would be fun to separate my shoulder last week so ya know, it's busy. And somewhere in there we find time to sleep. Whew.
But, camp is good. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. We have some amazing new things coming out very soon including a Christmas Banquet, a Staff Christmas Party, a Christmas campaign known as Under the Tree and much, much more. The staff continue to dream big. What I love about our year round leadership team is every time we sit together in a meeting to talk we just end up dreaming. One idea builds on another and builds on another and its awesome. I mean the problem is we continue to create more and more work for ourselves but wow this team is a cohesive unit. I truly love working with the members of our Year Round Leadership Team. Kitchen staff Ruth (Momma Ruth) and Sherry (Curry), bookkeeper Heather (Bookie), Office Manager Chantel (Lilac), Assistant Director Collin (Deuce), CLTD Coordinator Marie (Willis) absolutely have a passion for this place and cannot help but dream and brainstorm how to do what we do better. They are contagious team to be around and it is amazing getting to work with these guys everyday. Today for example we scheduled a budget meeting as we discussed the budget meeting for next year. Now honestly, who loves a budget meeting. It's a budget meeting. But with this team, even a budget meeting becomes a dreaming and brainstorming session. All of a sudden we go from simply discussing numbers to talking about Momma Ruth running an activity, or restructuring our staffing, or better advertising practices and more. A budget meeting becomes a dream session. Seriously, I love this team.
Ok, back to the month. This weekend we held an event called the Halloween Howler and it was awesome. Now, to be honest, we took a little flack from some people for holding an event on Halloween as some people in our Christian community do not believe that Christians should acknowledge Halloween in any way. However, on Saturday, over 150 people attended the Howler and had an amazing time. Both kids and adults bobbed for apples, went through a dark maze, navigated a spider web in our climbing room, shot arrows, sling shots, and BB guns at pumpkins, made smores, drank hot chocolate, carved and decorated pumpkins and more. I had one grandfather come and thank me for putting on the event as he said it was great to have something that he could come to with his grandkids. I watched parents play games with their kids. One mom got caught in an obstacle we had set up in the dark maze and had to be helped by her kids. Some parents who's kids have attended camp for years were having conversations with total strangers about how they should send their kids to camp this summer. People were asking about our year round programming and about renting our facility for various events. It was simply awesome. Some parents were asking if we do this every year. Well, we will now. Next year we hope to partner with some other local not for profits and gather some more support from local corporate sponsors. A huge thank you needs to go out to Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) who worked his tail off to pull this thing off in a very short amount of time. Also, thank you to the many staff who volunteered their time to pull this event off. As a small thank you we celebrated with Dairy Queen treats after but those guys worked their tails off for free. An awesome event and an awesome job by our staff.
There are a few others we need to thank for helping pull this off. Thank you to my wife Michelle who basically decorated the entire camp on her own. Thank you to our kitchen staff, Ruth (Momma Ruth), Sherry (Currie) and Ryan for being ridiculously accommodating with meals and snacks. Thanks to Chantel for the incredible job she did in the office with registrations, taking phone calls, setting up the climbing room and more that I'm not even aware of. Seriously, that girl just gets stuff done. It's incredible. Thanks to Shelley and Dan for answering the last minute call for volunteers on Friday. And I know I am probably missing people and if I have missed you then I am sorry. Again, great job everyone.
The Halloween weekend actually started off with a school year camp for 11 - 15 year olds. We partnered with Sun West for this event. Due to low numbers because of people wanting to go trick or treating, we actually made the camp a one night overnighter. While we were small in number, the campers had a great time and our staff did a great job. It was also extra special as Eric (Baloo) was our guest speakers. So cool to see campers become staff and then be guest speakers at a camp. Simply awesome.
Office Manager Chantel (Lilac), Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) and myself also attended the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) this month. It was incredible. Next year we plan to bring the entire Year Round Leadership Team. The event is put on by Willow Creek Community Church and was hosted in Calgary at First Assembly Church. Amazing speakers and an amazing professional development opportunity. Speakers this year included Bill Hybels, Criag Groeschel, Jim Collins, Horst Schulze, Sheila Heen, Brian Houston, Liz Wiseman and many more. The teaching on these two days was simply next level. Just unbelievable and certainly challenged me in areas I can grow as a leader. Just awesome. Thank you to First Assembly in helping to get our staff to be able to go. An amazing two days.
In the middle of this conference I had to leave as I was asked to speak at Calgary Christian School at the PCCE teacher. I was honoured to be asked to speak at this event and to spend a few hours back in my old stomping grounds.
We've also had a number of band camps this month at Camp including my old junior high school. A HUGE, HUGE, HUGE thank you to Office Manager Chantel (Lilac) for stepping up twice this month to run bingo dance party. This may not be Chantel's favourite thing to do but she stepped up and did amazing. Again, this is what I love about this team. They serve, sacrifice and do so many things that hardly get noticed or recognized but they do it because they believe in this place and they believe in each other. Awesome job Chantel.
I've also been meeting again with lead pastors from our member churches and this has been great. It is always great to share stories from camp with our lead pastors and to hear about how things are going in our member churches. We keep looking for ways to support each other and this is great. I still have a number of meetings to fit in between now and the end of December but I really want to make sure I meet with our lead pastors at least twice a year. Pastors work so hard and often do not get recognized for the work they do so it is always awesome to be able to sit and hear them share about their ministries.
Also this month, Assistant Director Collin (Deauce), CLTD Coordinator Marie (Willis) Seasonal Leaders Eric (Baloo), Kylie (Trinket), Evan (Stret), and Summer Staff Sam (Oak) and myself went to Canyon Creek. The team mentioned above led worship and I spoke. Thanks to Justin Bills for this opportunity to worship with your congregation. Great to be able to share with our member churches.
Camp Chestermere is also in new serious conversations with a company to offer some exciting new programs next summer at camp. The details are still being worked on but this company and the camp both want to get this figured out and are looking forward to solidifying this new partnership. I cannot wait to make this public but.......... well we have to finalize the deal first.
Also, later this week we will be having a new sump pump system installed in the chap to take care of our flooding issues that we have had there. It will be great to get this work done and we look forward to having a fully functioning Chap again soon.
There was so much more that happened this month but this email is getting way too long. Congrats to you if you are still reading at this point. But seriously, we love to tell the story of Camp Chestermere because we believe that it is a good story. But we believe that it is a good story because we have a Good Dad who has given us a good story to tell.