Update: May 5th

So it is funny how when you go on one little 12 day missions trip that you get totally out of routine and then it is almost impossible to get back into routine. Plus, after 12 days in Manitoba I just feel like I am just now sort of thinking about the idea of getting caught up on work and I got back April 7. HOW IS THAT ALMOST A MONTH AGO ALREADY?????!!!!!!! Yup, a month ago today I was in - 22 weather working in a soup kitchen and today it was almost plus 30. But, have you ever got to a point where you get so far behind on something that you don't know where to start and so you kinda just spin your wheels and then all of a sudden you realize you're even more behind. You, know, kinda a procrastinating snow ball effect. Well, that sort of happened with these updates. I say all of that to say that I am sorry you haven't heard from us in a while. Please don't take that as suddenly there isn't a lot happening here. It's actually the complete opposite. April was a CRAZY month, as you are about to find out.

However, before I update you on what April looked like at Camp Chestermere, I want to start by acknowledging what is currently happening in Fort Mac. Our prayers go out to the City of Fort Mac and to the people who's lives have been deeply affected by this tragedy. We have a few members on our staff team who have friends and family in Fort Mac. It is unbelievable what is happening there and we stand in prayer with our brothers and sisters who are being affected by this tragedy.

April was an amazing and incredibly busy month for Camp Chestermere. Out of the 30 days in April we had bookings on everyday except for 3. Amazing. We hosted a little bit of everything this month including adult and kids birthday parties, Empowering Minds Leadership Training, school band camps, a women's conference, girl guides, cadets, dog training, a show from MPact Movement, Little Leaders, and more. We get excited when people utilize our facility for a variety of events. We want to be a gift to the community and we look forward to new opportunities for working with people. Thank you to those who have been booking with us and we look forward to continue to work with past, current and future clients. And a huge thank you to our staff for the fantastic job they did this month. Special mention needs to be made of Site Coordinator Vic (Poppa Smurf), Kitchen Manager Ruth (Momma Ruth) and Assistant Kitchen Manager Sherry (Curry) who worked miracles in ensuring everything was ready to go for groups this month. Great job team. Thank you also to Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) for ensuring Vic had help with hosting when needed.

Our Board held their AGM on April 11 and it was a night of mixed emotions. First of all, it is with sadness that we announce that Board Chair Glenn Minnesma stepped down after 3 faithful years of service. Glenn has a long history here at the camp and the lodge in which I am currently writing this update is here in large part because of him. Glenn is a valued member of this community and we want to acknowledge and thank him for the incredible amount of work that he has done. He has seen Camp Chestermere through some difficult times, including many transitions at the Director position. Again, we thank Glenn for all the work that he has done as a Board Member and as Board Chair and we honour him for his invaluable contributions to the camp.

While we value the incredible work Glenn did as Board Chair, it is with excitement and anticipation that we announce that others have now stepped up into the executive positions on our board. John Picard is our new Board Chair and Susan Thiessen is our new Vice Chair. Darlene Davis is the new Board Secretary and Tim Kurulok is our new Treasurer. We are so fortunate to have so many who donate their time and energy to Camp Chestermere at the Board Level. We could not do what we do without them and I am excited for what the future holds.

I had the opportunity this month to sit for a few hours with former Camp Director Frank Littel (Pumba). I've been saying this for a little while now but one of the things that we would like to do more of as an organization is being more intentional of connecting with alumni. It was great to be able to sit with Frank and pick his brain on some things he used to do as the Director. Frank had a very successful run here as the Director and he is full of wisdom and insights. I am grateful for the 3 hours I spent with him and for the fact that I have him on speed dial. Like I said though, we would love to continue to connect and reconnect with the alumni of this place. This includes former staff, campers, and anyone else who has been associated with Camp Chestermere. Camp Chestermere has a rich 63 year history and we wish nothing more than for our alumni to be a part of that. Any help you can provide in getting us connected with alumni would be greatly appreciated.

Camp Chestermere has developed a new partnership with Student Works Painting and this is a huge blessing to the camp. Every year we have many people who apply for Seasonal Leadership positions or who wish to work as cabin leaders in the summer but need employment for May and June. Student Works Painting has partnered with us to provide employment for those people who may be unsuccessful in obtaining a Seasonal Leadership Position or who will be working with us this summer. I would strongly encourage any of our readers out there who may be looking at doing a painting project this spring or summer to hire Student Works Painting. As part of this agreement, Student Works Painting has painted the interior of 3 of our brown cabins..... for free. All we had to do was buy the paint. This is a huge blessing to the camp and, like I said, please strongly consider booking Student Works Painting for future painting projects in your home. Information about them can be found on our website.

We had the girl guides join us for a Saturday to help do some clean up work around the camp. They did an amazing job. It was a little unfortunate though that it was nice all week and then the day they came the weather was wet and cold. However they were troopers and got a lot of work done around the Camp. Thank you to Office Manager Chantel (Lilac) for organizing that and to Vic for working with the girls that day.

Camp Chestermere continues to look for ways to be connected with our community and to let people know about the many different opportunities we offer. This month we attended the Mom 2 Mom sale at The Chestermere Rec Centre and The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo in Calgary. The Comic Book show was a new one for us and it was a cool experience. Huge thank you to Jordi (J-Baz) in the kitchen who prepared 800 cake pops and 700 cookies for us to sell at the event. While we didn't sell quite as much as we would have liked to, the exposure was awesome and the left overs are delicious. Thank you to Chantel, Bookkeeper Heather (Bookie), Assistant Director Collin (Deuce), CLTD Leader Devon (Optimist Prime), Kitchen Staff Jordi (J-Baz) and my wife Michelle (Hockey Mom) who all attended the event. Special mention though of Chantel who spent basically her entire weekend there. It is incredible how many weekends this team gives up to help Camp Chestermere grow. From attending member churches, to hosting groups, to attending promotional events, the Year Round Team is working hard to raise the profile of Camp Chestermere. Amazing job team.

Our Fundraiser is just one week away. Wednesday May 11 is the banquet and tickets are selling fast. Just $25 for the dinner. We are offering FREE BABYSITTING for the event as well. Tickets will be on sale until end of day Monday May 9. We will launch the silent auction on line on Monday May 9 as well. Please come and support our HUG Fundraiser and Help Us Grow. Please contact the camp at campoffice@campchestermere.com or at 403 272 6030 for more information or to get your tickets. You can also make donations to HUG online. We have now partnered with ATB Financial who will add 15% to every donation that is made online. More information on this can be found on our website at www.campchestermere.com.

Ok, that's a lot in one update and I haven't even had the chance to tell you about how we have been able to attend some of our member churches this month including Chestermere Christian Fellowship and Arrowwood Gospel. And I haven't been able to tell you about the people who came out to volunteer to help Vic do some work around the site. And I haven't been able to tell you about the amazing compliments we have received from clients about the changes we have been making. And I haven't been able to tell you about how planning is going for Seniors Week in Chestermere, the work Collin has been doing in hiring staff and much, much more. But this is why these updates need to be weekly and not monthly. Expect the next one Sundaynight because I can't wait to tell you about the incredible job our Seasonal Leadership team has been doing this week.

Blessings everyone. Hug your children, phone your loved ones and take care of each other. We again are praying for those affected by the situation in Fort Mac. As I was praying for For Mac today these lyrics came to mind and I would like to end with them.

When the oceans rise and thunders roar

I will soar with You above the storm Father you are King over the flood

I will be still, know You are God


Shannon Dean

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