Well, since puns seem to be all the rage at Camp Chestermere, let me just say that Week 2 was a very electrifying experience. Literally. A bad thunderstorm rolled through Chestermere on Monday night and there was some of the loudest thunder I've ever heard. Two of our main buildings were hit during the storm. The first lightning strike struck an electrical pole on the Chap and some campers watched as the electricity danced along the power lines. We called emergency services and the fire department came out right away and checked on everything and assured us that we were ok. They also put in a phone call to Fortis Alberta who also came and assured us that the Chap was fine.
Then less than 30 minutes later we were having to call emergency services again as there was another lightning strike and a strong smell of smoke in the lobby of the Lodge. We mustered everyone on site into the Chap while emergency services checked the Lodge. Again all was fine. However, our projector has not been working properly since and so we will have to look more into that. Yup, a very eventful Monday night. I would like to personally say thank you to the Chestermere Fire Department and Chestermere RCMP. They were incredibly professional and patient when they came out on Monday night and really ensured we were all safe and ok. They also answered all of the questions we had. Thank you to everyone in the Emergency Services Departments in Chestermere for the incredible support you give the camp.
Week 2 was Middle Camp and we had 18 1st year CLTD's, 94 Day Campers, 100 Overnight Night Campers and 15 3rd year CLTD's who were in practicum (more on the CLTD's in a moment). It was busy, it was loud and it was amazing. It was also a little wet all week. Seriously, we were almost able to time it. Everyday at 4 o'clock, here came the thunder and the rain. I hope Week 3 has a little more sun.
Our 3rd Year CLTD's had quite the week in Week 2. First of all, it was their practicum week. This means that they work as either Overnight or Day Camp Cabin Leaders. This is a chance for them to try out all of the skills they have been learning in CLTD and in staff training. They also complete an interview with the Team Leads to see about the possibility of coming on staff. Completion of the CLTD program does not guarantee that one will be hired on as staff. However, I am happy to announce that all 3rd year CLTD's were hired on to be staff this year. I also say with confidence that they truly were leaders this week. Their ability to be successful in cabin during their practicum is a testament to the incredible job done by CLTD Coordinator Marie (Willis) and her incredible team.
The 3rd Year CLTD's also got a special treat at the beginning of the week. We received a very generous grant from FCSS. Part of the grant paid for a guest speaker to come in and speak to our CLTD's about leadership. We invited in professional business and life coach Steve Osmond from Rhapsody Strategies. Steve's topic was "The Work that Great Leaders Do" and he spoke on three points: Great Leaders 1) Craft Vision 2) Build Alignment 3) Champion Execution. These are fantastic points for any leader of any age and I love the fact we are instilling this kind of teaching into 15 and 16 year olds. Great session and great opportunity for growth for our CLTD's. Thanks Steve.
Then on Friday night the CLTD's had their graduation ceremony. We were very pleased to have Board Chair John Picard join us and say a few words about the program and open the graduation in prayer. Thank you also to Board Members Alex Wright (Crumpet) and Darlene Davis for joining us for the grad. At the Grad Ceremony the CLTD's receive their Dog Tags and receive many words of encouragement from their leaders. They are then welcomed onto the Staff Team with a big giant group hug. This is then followed by a jump in the lake. It's a great night, even in the rain. Congrats CLTD's and welcome to the staff team.
The theme in Day Camp this week was High Seas. One of the highlights from this was Site Coordinator Vic (Poppa Smurf) dressed in his "Captain's Outfit" and greeting all of the Day Campers in the morning. Just awesome. We also had a bunch of campers get in on the fun of dressing up for this day and one camper came dressed in one of the most epic hammer head shark outfits I've ever seen. It was fantastic. Day Camp Team Lead Nicola (Anchor) had some issues getting through doors during the theme day cause the anchor on her back was too big but is was a ton of fun to watch. And a bunch of our cabin leaders all dressed up as pirates. It was a great theme day in Day Camp.
Our guest speaker last week was Connie Jakab and WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! it was incredible. Man, like I love Connie and we always love having her come and speak but she was simply next level last week. Like wow. Just incredible. The night where she did a sermon of inviting people to the table was one of the most incredible nights I've ever had at camp. She set up chairs around a table and went to each table to describe who Jesus invited to sit at his table. She pointed out that Jesus welcomed everyone to his table. Then campers and staff went and sat in the chairs and people prayed for each other and blessed each other and it was just an awesome night. Like every night of Fireside was like that last week. Just an amazing week. Thanks Connie. Can't wait to have her back again.
As you may be aware, we continue to look for new ways to offer new programming to our campers. We have now developed a new partnership with a local jewelry company called CZIN. By partnering with Eric's No Frills and ATB boostR, Camp Chestermere and Czin jewellery will provide a series of workshops for children in our Day Camp Program. Last week they made these really cool necklaces. This is another example of us building relationships in the community so we can offer cool new programming to our campers.
At Dead Cow we once again held our highlights of the week. Some highlights from last week include:
Sometimes campers have some incredible insight and wisdom. I mean the Bible does say to not look anyone look down on you because you are young. And one camper dropped some incredibly insightful wisdom on one of our Cabin Leaders. One of our Cabin Leaders was trying to convince the campers that he had dated Taylor Swift. The rest of the week, it was their mission to prove him wrong. On Friday, one of them got in his face about it. The camper said, "I know you didn't date her because you haven't shaved your face this entire week." The Cabin Leader asked, "Why does that matter?" Camper said, "You haven't shaved - so it means you're deeply lonely." Out of the mouths of babes.
There are many things that happen in the kitchen. Food gets made, devotions get done, songs get sung, dishes get dirtied and cleaned and more. This week also saw an amazing dance party break out. Seriously, if you want to have a good reenergizing week then you need to sign up for a week of work in the kitchen.
We deal with home sickness a lot at camp. One of leaders was encouraged this week as she spent an hour and half talking with a camper about..... well, everything. The camper had wanted to go home but on that night, by the time the conversation was over it was midnight the leader told her it was too late to call home. The camper stayed the whole week.
The week was also filled with incredible God moments all week. A camper who accepted Christ said he always questions God. The leader was encouraged that we are still doing the right things in that campers not only come with their questions but they are willing to ask them. I also love the fact that when our staff do not know an answer they don't make something up and are willing to say "I don't know". There is honestly and vulnerability in being willing to admit you don't know something. Another Cabin Leader's highlight was seeing her girls really get involved in devos. She said is was really cool seeing them get engaged. Another mentioned that in the middle of the week, they did 'popcorn prayer' and campers really opened up saying 'we don't really know how to pray." The Cabin Leader said there wasn't really a way of specifically praying. They really opened up in that moment and started to pray. Other Cabin Leaders said they loved seeing campers open up throughout the week in fireside.
Then there are the 'I'm sure that should happen but, well, it did' moments at camp. While at the beach after one of the many rainfalls, a group of the 8 - 10 boys made a "poop factory" and discussed how to make the best artificial poop etc.Yup, boys are fun. Then, this one little girl came out of the Day Camp room and she was covered in blue face paint and marker. Like covered. I said to her, "Hey, you look great." To which, without missing a beat, this little 8 year old said, "No Coach, I look like you before coffee." Seriously, how can I not love my job. Another camper offered these words of wisdom, "when I toot it's my tummy going woohoo."
And, I've said it 1000 times but, as is our number one value, our staff build relationships. One leader remarked " I had a great opportunity to sit with some of the day campers and talk and they treated me like a grandpa, and this little girl was so sad she had to go to Canmore on the weekend because she was missing her cat having kittens, after I cheered her up they were so friendly all week, high giving me and making a point to come talk to me." Another, "my camper was so sad the first few days, she opened up to me though and I was able to get her excited about coming back." Like I tell staff, a successful week is one where kids go home with a smile on their face and they want to come back.
There are SOOOOO many more stories but you'll just have to come out and visit to hear them. Thank you again for your continued love, support and prayers. We appreciate it. Week 3, here we come.
Shannon Dean (Coach)