Christmas Update!

Merry Christmas everyone.

I just wanted to write a quick update before we head into the holiday season. This will be the last weekly update until after Infuze which happens January 8 - 9. Check out our website for more information about this amazing annual young adult conference. And while we are very excited for this annual event, we do want to let you know that the camp office will be closed until January 4 as our year round team takes a much needed and deserved break. There will be someone on site throughout the holidays for emergency situations and to oversee the site but the office is officially closed until the New Year.

I want to start off this update with some exciting news. We have hired an individual for our brand new Site Coordinator position. His name is Vic Niekraszewicz. Don't worry we are still learning how to say his last name too ;). We are very excited to welcome Vic to the team. Vic brings a very diverse range of experience to our team and he and his wife are very excited to be joining us at Camp Chestermere. They've only been on site a couple of times and already Vic is talking about ways to improve some of our buildings and his wife has already started to measure out material to make new covers for the mattresses in the cabins. Amazing. Vic will start on January 4. Please keep Vic in your prayers as he transitions into this new role.

I also want to say a huge thank you to our Year Round Leadership Team for their diligence through this hiring process. The decision to hire Vic was truly done as a team and I commend our team on their ability to discuss difficult topics while all the while demonstrating an incredible amount of love and care for one another. As in any process, not everyone agrees about everything all the time. Actually, one of the things that I love about our team is that we have the courage to disagree with each other and everyone is able to freely express their thoughts, ideas, and opinions. But the way our staff do this is incredible to watch and be a part of. At one point during the process one of our staff said, "It's hard when we disagree about something because we all care about each other so much that we do not want to see anyone get hurt when we don't agree with each other." If you haven't heard me say it enough, I love this team. There is no question that this Year Round Team loves this camp and is working their tails off to see it thrive. Great job team through this process.

Last week was a week of banquets as companies celebrated Christmas with us. Our year round kitchen staff, Sherry (Curry) and Ruth (Momma Ruth), were very busy preparing for multiple banquets. A special thank you also to Janice, Courtney (Crayola), Kaiden (Tardus), Sidney (Sully), Natalia (Nutella), and Kelsey, for all of their help as well in making the banquets a success. First a local restaurant held their Christmas Staff Party here and then we welcomed the Canadian Tae Kwon Do College. The Canadian Tae Kwon Do College event was fun as after the dinner they put on a demonstration that was incredible to watch. There were kicks, punches, flips, jumps, breaking boards and more. It was an incredible demonstration and a lot of fun to watch.

I had the pleasure last week of meeting Ryan Lindstone for the first time. He is the new lead pastor at Arrowwood Gospel Church. He started back in September and my meeting with him was long overdue. It was an incredible meeting and I quickly learned why I have been hearing so many good things about what Ryan is doing at Arrowwood. It is great to welcome Ryan and his family to our extended Camp Chestermere family and I look forward to getting to know him more in the future.

With schools being closed for the Christmas holidays, Little Leaders joined us for the past couple of days. We love having Little Leaders here as the kids energy reminds us of summer camp. There is just a different buzz around the camp when kids are here and it just feels........ right. Kids bring that certain kind of energy that only kids can and it has been great having them on site going into the Christmas break.

Assistant Director Collin spent much of last Saturday meeting with the Heritage Christian Academy (HCA) Junior High Missions Team. We are partnering with HCA for our February Middle School Camp. The HCA Junior High Missions Team was looking to do something different this year for their missions trip and so we have partnered with them and they are planning the entire camp. We think this is a win win for both HCA and Camp Chestermere. Camp Chestermere is mentoring and discipling these young people on how to do camp ministry and we have grade 7 - 9 students planning a camp for their peers. We are also working with Siksika for this as well. The theme for the camp is Maze Runner and there are some cool plans in the works already. Check out our website for more information.

I had the opportunity to meet with Empowering Minds Executive Director Rowena Browne this week to discuss further ways for Camp Chestermere and Empowering Minds to work together. I've mentioned this before but we really enjoy the working relationship we have with Empowering Minds and believe that they do incredible work with their leadership program. It's always great to sit with another Executive Director and discuss similar successes and struggles we are having. It was a great brainstorming and collaboration meeting.

We also held our annual Staff Christmas party this week. Our kitchen staff Sherry (Curry) and Ruth (Momma Ruth) again did an amazing jobs preparing desserts for this event. It was also great to reconnect with staff from this past summer and to hear about how their fall has gone. We also announced at the party that Lisa Nieuwenhuis has been hired as our Program Coordinator for the summer. She will begin working on a part time basis starting in January and will come on staff full time in April when she is done school. Lisa did a great job in programs last summer and we are extremely thrilled that she has agreed to come back again this summer. We cannot wait to see the things she is going to dream up for this summer.

The party ended Sunday night with me being invited to/ me inviting myself to watching the new Star Wars movie with a few of the members from our summer staff. The movie is amazing. But even better than the movie was the opportunity for the old guy to tag along with the summer staff to see it. The staff here truly bring me life and are a constant reminder of why I do what I do. Thanks guys for letting me come along.

Thanks again to everyone reading this for your ongoing support, love, and prayers. Remember, our Under the Tree Campaign is still going and is a great practical way to support camp. Also, just another plug/reminder for Infuze on January 8 - 9. It is going to be great as we have a number of incredible guest speakers lined up. With that, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.


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