Summer 2016 Week 3

Well, week 3 was a lot less exciting weather wise which is fine with us. I mean as I write this we are still cleaning up from ping pong size hail yesterday and are watching another storm blow through. The weather has certainly seen a lot of ups and downs this summer. I would rather we continue with more ups and a lot less downs.

Week 3 was another Kids Camp of 7 - 11 year olds, the final week for our first round of year 1 CLTD's and Day Camp. We had 102 Overnight Campers, 75 Day Campers and 18 CLTD's. Great numbers for week 3.

Something that is new for us this year is that we are hosting groups on the weekends during the summer. Going into the summer we had some worries about how this would go because it was new. I have to say that it has been a HUGE success and our staff have really stepped up to the plate. Thank you to all of our staff who have been incredibly flexible to make this happen.

Camp Chestermere wants to send a big thank you to First Alliance Church for the Show N Shine Event at First Alliance on July 16. Show N Shine is a car show held at First Alliance every July. 100% of the proceeds from the show are donated to charities as chosen by their church counsel. First Alliance has many sponsors that help to put on the event, so there is no registration fee. In turn, they ask that people support their door and raffle draws. 100% of the funds from these draws (along with food sales, t-shirt sales and activity sales) went towards supporting the Sherwood School Breakfast Program and Camp Chestermere. Thank you First Alliance for letting Camp Chestermere be a part of this event. Thank you also to Board Member Alex (Crumpet), Summer Staff Member Breanne (Raven), Summer Staff Member Rachel (Lampshade), Camp Medic Emily (Lilo), Assistant Director Collin (Deuce), Office Manager Chantel (Lilac), Assistant Office Manager Amanda (Calico), Summer Staff Member Andrew (Coopa), Summer Staff Member Sydney (Troopa), Summer Staff Member Heather (Clover), Day Camp Team Lead Nicola (Anchor) and Summer Staff Member Molly (Misty) for volunteering your time to help.

Now, back to the week of camp. As I have said before, our Dead Cow ceremony is my favourite time of the week. We get together, eat, celebrate and then share highlights from the week. Some of the stories from this week include a girl who said to her cabin leader, "You know, I don't have a dad but now I do because I know God and He loves me and so now I have a dad." Those of you who need to wipe a tear from your eye before continuing on please feel free to do so. I have heard this story a couple of times and now wrote it out and I get a little chocked up myself. Many of the cabin leaders this week mentioned how well devo's went at night and many talked about how engaged the kids were throughout the week.

Huge thank you to Pastor Stan Block at Rocky Mountain Calvary Chapel who hooked us up with our guest speaker for the week. Blair Butterfield, who is the chaplain for the Calgary Hitmen, was our guest speaker this week. We had sent out a message to let people know that we were in desperate need of a guest speaker as the speaker who we had booked was not able to come due to an injury. Stan stepped up right away to let us know about Blair and Blair was able to come. He did an incredible job. Thank you Blair for the amazing job you did with the campers and thank you Stan for the connection.

Another highlight from the week is all of the one on one work that is happening. We are trying to do a better job of working with kids who have special needs. Some of these children require more specialized and one on one care. It is incredible to watch as 16, 17 and 18 year old kids work tirelessly with these children and meet them right where they are at. And sometimes these kids lead us to new challenges. One of the children accidentally wandered into a residence and another child locked her cabin leader out of the board room. However, later in the week, this same child grabbed a mic and started singing "You Are My Sunshine" while her leader player guitar. And don't even get me started on how ridiculously cute the pillow fight video that is on our Instagram. Many of the staff mentioned the work people were doing one on one with kids and it is incredibly beautiful to watch.

And, some of our highest needs kids bless our staff in the most incredible ways. One day one of the cabin leaders got up from the table for something. When he got back, one of his higher needs children was missing and so he started looking around for him. This child has a tendency to wander every now and then. However, just as the cabin leader was about to get frustrated by the fact that he couldn't find the little guy, the camper came back with a plate of food for his leader and said, "I just went to get you seconds." How awesome is that.

The other cool thing that happened this week was the new signs that have been made for the fire pit. They are AMAZING!!!!!!!! Sorry, to see them you'll either have to look on our social media or come out to the camp and see them. But wow, they are cool. They are cabin and activity signs down in the fire pit and there were new signs made for all of the cabins. Now when you show up for Blue 3, you actually know which one is blue three because it has a cool cabin labeling it. Great job work crew.

We have had some problems with our ice machine the past couple of weeks and so having ice on hand has been an issue. Ice is a must when you run a camp as active as ours. However, another strength of our staff is their ability to improvise. One little guy was having a rough go and had a bit of an owie. So, the kitchen improvised and made him an ice pack made of freezies. So, after his owie was feeling better, the little guy got to eat all of the freezies. Now, while there is not enough of a sample size to scientifically prove that freezies cause faster healing than ice, I would suggest that we are on to a new healing method.

I also love how children problem solve. There were three little girls who were scared to go power tubing but they did it anyway. To assure her cabin mates, one little girl exclaimed, "It's ok, all you have to do is just hold on tight and pretend it's one of your stuffies." That is solid advice and may even make it's way into the official power tubing guidelines for summer 2016. Imagine if we said to all the little peeps, "Just hold on to the tube like it's your favourite stuffy." I love how kids are writing new policy. Ha.

I also love the stories of confidence we hear. Remember, this camp was 7 - 11 year olds. One little guy walked up to a female cabin leader and exclaimed with great confidence, "I am such a boss." He then proceeded to show the cabin leader how he had obtained two other female campers phone numbers. Love it.

One camper made a point of telling her leader how much she loves this place and can't wait to come back next year. Comments like this are such a reminder to me of the amazing job our staff does. The staff, especially the summer staff, are the heart beat of this place. They are the ones in the trenches with children for 120 hours per week. And they basically volunteer their time. Yes there are always things we are needing to improve and remind our staff of but man they do a great job. The work they do with children in groups and one on one is nothing short of incredible. I tell staff all the time that a successful week is when kids go home with a smile on their face and they want to come back and time and time again these young people make that happen. The people who should really get the credit for the work that happens here are the summer staff who do what they do day in and day out. Great job staff.

If you would like to support our staff then I invite you to give to either our Staff Bursary Program or to our Staff Support Fund. Our Staff Bursary Program is for staff who are in post secondary and they receive money towards their education. Our Staff Support Fund is for staff who are in high school and they can access money to help pay for missions trips. Please go to learn more about these programs and/or to give to them.

Thanks again for your on going prayers, support, love and encouragement. More updates coming. Blessings.

Oh, and prayers for less rain couldn't hurt ;)

Shannon Dean

Camp Director

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