Update: Feb 15th

Happy belated Valentines/Hallmark/Flower Store Day everyone,

Last week was a tough one for Camp Chestermere as we mourn the loss of one of our Seasonal Staff Members, Jordan (Jar Jar) Caldwell. Jordan was one of the boys who was killed in the accident at Canada Olympic Park on February 6. Jordan worked at Camp Chestermere for the past two summers and even worked the January School Year Camp just a week before his passing. On Thursday February 11, many from the Camp Chestermere community attended the funeral at Centre Street Church. We took up about four rows of seats. Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) and I were asked by the family to do a tribute to Jar Jar at the funeral. I have added the tribute to the end of this email. The church was filled with people who came to celebrate the life of Jordan and his twin brother Evan.

The week was also filled with us dealing with requests from the media for tributes for Jar Jar. The tragedy touched many lives and got coverage around the world. We were contacted by NBC for an interview. Huge thank you to Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) who fielded many of these requests.

We also want to thank the many people who contacted us to express their love and support. Thank you to Jamie Vanderkooi and Ed Tops who covered for Office Manager Chantel (Lilac) and Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) at Teachers Convention so that they could attend the funeral. Thank you to Beryl Ascott who contacted us and offered to cover the phones and the office while we were away. Thank you also to Synergy for your card and to Heritage Christian Academy for contacting and praying for us. Thank you to Langdon Community Church for the flowers. And thank you to many others who emailed and called to express their love and prayers for our team. We are still connecting with various members of our community who have been affected by this tragedy. One of the difficulties with this has been that our community is so spread out and so connecting with those affected is a bit of a challenge. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we journey with people through this process. Jar Jar's death has had a deep impact on our community. We are currently looking at some ways to honour Jar Jar here at Camp Chestermere and will be working with the family on this. We are also planning on hosting an event for him here at the camp in the next week or so.

In regards to journeying with people through the process, I would like to make special mention of the staff at Rocky Mountain Calvary Chapel. They have been doing a phenominal job of pastoring people through this process. Paster Glenn Nudd gave an outstanding message at the funeral and has been incredible through this process. Pastor Quinn Davis was amazing at the funeral as he stood with whoever needed support as they shared their thoughts and memories of the boys. Pastor Colin Schlegel has done an amazing job with the families and other children who have been dircetly and indirectly affected by this tragedy. And Camp Chestermere Board Director and Pastor at RMCC Stan Block has been an incredible support to people. I know that there are many other staff and leaders at RMCC who have been journeying with people through this tragedy and the people I have mentioned have done more for people than one update would allow to be mentioned. Please keep the leadership, staff and community at RMCC in your prayers.

As mentioned earlier, Camp Chestermere attended the Calgary City Teachers Convention last week. This is a great chance for us to let schools in Calgary know about the many different options we have available for schools. We also held a draw for a school to receive $300 off their next booking with us. Ironically, a former staff member who is now a teacher with the CBE won the prize. Funny how things like that work out.

In addition to Teacher's Convention, Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) and Office Manage Chantel (Lilac), also attended Inspiract at Calgary Christian School. This is a chance for various organizations form around the city to let students know about the volunteer and job opportunities that are available to them. Thank you to Collin and Chantel for the great work you always do with these events. It was also exciting because our brand new promotional display board arrived this week. Seriously, Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) was like a kid in a candy store when it arrived. He was so excited.