Week 4 was another incredible week at Camp Chestermere. We had 18 Second Year CLTD's, 76 Day Campers and 72 Overnight Campers. The Overnight Camp was 11 - 15 year olds and the theme was Olympics and the Dress Up Theme Day in Day Camp was Tropical.
Our Guest Speaker in Week 4 was Alison Springer, or as she refers to herself, the tall gorgeous black girl. We love Alison and have had her out many times to speak. Alison runs a great program in Calgary called Young Women of Power. My favourite part of hearing Alison speak is how encouraging she is and how she uses her giftings to empower people. She truly understands her identity as a child of the king and from walking in that identity she invites others to walk in their identity as well. She does an incredible job teaching people how to hear from God and how to communicate with him. Great week and thanks Alison for all you did.
I think that my favourite, albeit gross, activity that we did this week was Fishbee. Simply put, it is Frisbee Football....... with a small twist. Imagine all of the fun and excitement of Frisbee Football; running up and down the field, going for a long pass, making a big catch, scoring the points for your team, intercepting a pass from your opponent....... all played......... with a FISH!!!!!! Yup. We played Fishbee. Frisbee Football.... with a FISH!!!! It was amazing. And sooooooooooo gross. Like kids had fish guts..... everywhere. The best part was that by the end of the game we had local neighbourhood cats coming out to feast on the left overs. I mean come on, when was the last time cats benefitted from a sporting event. It's what we do here at camp. We Build Relationships and support our community, for humans and felines alike. It was a great game.
I do want to mention the incredible job our programs staff is doing this year. We have so many new games, activities and programs. We have rewritten all of the curriculum for our activities. It is so organized and running so well. Great job to all of our staff on the execution of our programs this year but a special thank you and kudos to Program Coordinator Lisa (Dutchie) and Program Assistant May (Flower) for all of your efforts. Great job ladies. I love the direction you have taken our programs.
Week 4 was filled with some exciting meetings about some future partnerships for Camp Chestermere with other members and stakeholders in the community. One of the best parts of my job is I have the opportunity to get to know so many people from the City of Chestermere and surrounding area. I have the chance to talk about camp and tell our story but I also get to hear about other people's and organizations stories and journeys. I really love how we have been working so hard to build relationships and connections with members of the community. I am a firm believer that the more relationships an organization has with the community, the better that organization will be and we have been working hard over the past year to improve and deepen our relationships with the community. I further believe that having healthy positive relationships with your community is a biblical principal. Since day 1, my wife and I have had one word for this place, potential. I think that to capitalize on our potential we need to build, maintain, foster, and create meaningful and lasting relationships with our community. This week was another example of that and I just love the direction we are headed in as an organization.
Week 4 was also exciting as we had a few alumni back to join us on staff. Assisting in CLTD we had Evan (Stret), helping in Overnight Cabin was the youth pastor from Canyon Creek, one of our member churches, Erik (Baloo) and helping in Day Camp was Board Member Alex (Crumpet. It's great having people come back to serve for even just a week at camp. Thanks to all of these gentlemen for your work this week.
The weekend also saw a new booking for us. We had a dog training group here on the weekend. There were lots of very fast dogs running around and owners learning how to work better with their dogs. Great event. As I have mentioned before, a new feature we have added this summer we are taking bookings on weekends throughout the summer. This has been a great addition to our programming and is helping us in a number of ways. We do want our facility to be a gift to the community and I appreciate the flexibility from our staff to make these weekends happen.
And, before I get to the highlights from staff, I want to make mention of something very exciting that happened. We took the fire pit apart. Those of you who have been around camp in the last year know that this needed to happen. Our fire pit really needed to be repaired and replaced. Well the process started this week. Thank you to the Site Coordinator Vic (Poppa Smurf) and his work crew of staff and volunteers for taking the pit apart in preparation of getting it rebuilt. Great job team. I can't wait to see what the new pit will look like.
Ok, so now onto the highlights from staff.
For those of you who may not know, pranks is a part of what we do here at camp. It's just a part of the culture. Well, this week was the week of the prank that back fired. Our kitchen staff was cooking some hotdogs for lunch and accidentally overcooked one of them. The staff thought it would be funny to prank Poppa Smurf and put the sausage into the toilet. They then called Poppa Smurf to tell him that the toilet was plugged. So Poppa Smurf comes up and sees the plug and quickly realizes that it was a sausage. So he decides to get the kitchen staff back. He pulls the sausage out of the toilet, goes out into the kitchen and in front of the entire kitchen staff takes a huge bite of the sausage and eats it. Well, the kitchen staff nearly fainted and/or puked. It was awesome. It has become a standing joke now every time we are making sausages or hot dogs.
We have a lot of young staff who work here at the camp and sometimes working with a younger staff can create some challenges. But the vast majority of the time our staff absolutely knock it out of the park. Well this week we saw an example of this with one of our 15 year old staff members. I took this staff member down under to show him the vision we had for turning the down under area into a bit of a games room. Well, this staff member just owned it and by the end of the week he had completely reorganized down under and created the games room complete with a pool table, 2 foosball tables, a pingpong table and an air hockey table. Great job Daniel (Wind). This games room is a great addition to the camp.
A number of our staff mentioned how they had a number of God moments this week. This included incredible conversations with kids both at Overnight and Day Camp Firesides, to great devotional times, incredible speaking from Alison and more to kids wanting to be baptized by the end of the week. Amazing week.
And then there are the funny moments that are the kind of memories you always remember. One of our groups had a bit of trouble kayaking this week. One of our leaders sunk, or had her kayak sunk by a camper, and they could not get it back out. So they made the decision to tow the kayak back to shore. So the other cabin leader "ties" her kayak to the submerged kayak and starts paddling back. As she is going she thinks to herself, "Wow this is going great. I am doing so well. I thought this was going to be way harder but I am just powering through this. I am in way better shape and way stronger than I thought I was." Then she turned around and realized that the rope had actually come undone and that she wasn't towing anyone at all and her partner was still out in the middle of the lake. So she had to go all the way back out to get her to then bring her in. Yup, it was much harder the second time.
So that was Week 4. Thanks again everyone for your continued love, support and prayers. We need it and appreciate it.