Well, there are only two and a half weeks left of summer camp. That is crazy. All we have left is a week of Kids Camp, then Teens Week and then Mini Tyke Camp and we are done. I have no idea where the summer has gone. It has been great but wow it has been fast. Week 6 was our final week of Middle Camp for overnight. The theme for the week was Spy Week and the Dress Up theme in Day Camp was Safari.
Our guest speaker for Week 6 was Richard Sampang (Mr. T). It was great having Richard here as he is a former summer staff member from back in 2011. He is now the youth pastor at Word International Ministries. Richard did an incredible job last week and staff and campers alike were super impressed and blessed by his ministry. Richard also gave the Year Round Team a lot of great feedback about the differences he sees in the camp since he was last here in 2011. He especially appreciated the new speakers room we have built so that he and his wife had their own personal space while at camp. He also mentioned how he felt totally accommodated for at camp and said that he really sees the staff creating A Place to Belong for everyone. It is always great having alumni back and we appreciated getting his take on what he sees that has been maintained since 2011 and what has been improved. Thanks Richard for an amazing week.
One of the cool things, albeit making my life far more busy, that has been happening this summer is the number of people who are contacting us inquiring about future bookings. We are currently taking bookings all the way up to October 2017. That's amazing. Great job to our team who have been doing a fantastic job of getting out and promoting the camp and raising the profile of our availability. An example of this is that a few of our current summer staff volunteered their time to go to the Chestermere Ag Society Farmers Market on Saturday to promote the camp. That's right, after putting in another full week at camp, these young people VOLUNTEERED their time to promote camp at a community event. HUGE!!!!!! thank you to Summer Staff members Ann (Roo), Courtney (Crayola), Chelsea (Berry), and Hanna (Quinoa) for taking the time to promote camp. Awesome job ladies.
On Wednesday I had the opportunity to have an incredible dreaming session with Connie Jakab. I have spoken about Connie many times as we book her as much as we can to be a guest speaker. Connie, Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) and myself sat and chatted about what a family camp could look like for Summer 2017. An amazing meeting. Watch for details on this new camp to come out in the near future. I just love how in August 2016 we are already dreaming about August 2017. This to me shows health in our organization as we are not just living in the moment but are dreaming a year or more down the road. Exciting times at Camp Chestermere.
Thursday this week was a very colourful time at Camp Chestermere. A few months ago when we were ordering the new merch for Horton's Hut, Office Manager Chantel (Lilac) ordered me a very bright pink t-shirt. The colour is actually called safety pink. Well from there the idea was developed that each year round team member should have their own brightly coloured shirt. So these were ordered and on Thursday we wore them. We looked like a bunch of M&M's. It was awesome. Pictures can be seen on our social media.
Speaking of social media, I would encourage all of you receiving this to follow us on social media and to encourage your friends to do so as well. We do a ton of promotion and updates through social media and it is a great way to stay connected to the camp. We post photos, updates, scripture verses, quotes from speakers during Fireside, videos and much, much more. We are on many social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and we recently launched our own Youtube channel. Below are the handles for each of these platforms:
Facebook: Camp Chestermere
Youtube: Camp Chestermere
The main hashtag that we use for all of these platforms is #lovecampc. Again, following us on social media is a great way to stay connected to the camp and find out what is happening. There are some hilarious videos posted there right now. In fact, one of our Seasonal Leaders for her Weekly Highlight simply said, "the video." You'll need to go to Youtube and find the power washing video to see what she is talking about. Hilarious.
Ok, so now on to the Weekly Highlights. First of all, let me again mention the incredible job the staff have done in supporting each other through the loss of Meldina. The staff have prayed for each other, cried with each other, supported each other and made things happen so staff can attend memorials and grieve with others outside of camp. I have been so impressed with how staff continue to support each other through difficult situations.
Now here is a classic "you know you have a unique job" when moments. Each Friday at lunch our Year Round and Seasonal Leadership teams meet to discuss the week and what went well and what needs to be tweaked for next week. One of the things that happened a lot last week was staff dying their hair. It was a thing. Even my own son is sporting some new blue hair. Unfortunately the clean up after the hair dye was not exactly happening as well it should be. So, a number of Seasonal Leaders were expressing their frustration about the hair dye. A few minutes into the conversation I stopped everyone and said, "Hey team, do you ever stop and think how funny and absurd this all is? Here we are having a 5 - 10 minute convo about how frustrated we are with hair dye. In what other job does hair dye become the problem of choice for the week? I mean c'mon team, you gots to love/know you work at camp when hair dye is a thing. And, we have gots to be doing something right when our biggest concern is hair dye." We all had a good chuckle and then moved on. Oh, hair dye has been kiboshed for the week. Seriously, where else do you have to ban hair dye for a week. I love camp.
During the weekly highlights on Friday night, one of our cabin leaders mentioned "This kid today told me she loved me and she doesn't want to leave camp cause she is gonna miss me. I love working here. I almost cried." Awesome.
And then, in the strange conversations category, one camper asked one of our cabin leaders how old she was. The cabin leader said, "I'm 4." Well of course the camper didn't believe her and said, "No, how can I be older than you." To which our cabin leader, without missing a beat, said, "Well when I was 4 I didn't pass the age exam." The camper replies, "There is no age exam. Because if there was I would have had to take it." Cabin leader, "No there is an exam and they only tell you if you didn't pass. They come to you in your dreams and tell you that you didn't pass. And so you passed because no one came and told you that you didn't pass. They only tell you if you fail. And they told me so I am still waiting to grow older." Well somehow this satisfied the campers curiosity and she was excited about the fact she had passed the 4 year old exam and was older than her cabin leader. Yup, these are the things that happen in Day Camp.
Worship on Thursday night was AMAZING. Like usually every Thursday at Fireside is pretty incredible but this one was something special. Wow. An amazing night of worship, dancing, speaking and an incredible movement of the Holy Spirit. Some other cool moments included a camper who seemed totally uninterested everyday during Fireside and then was heard singing Jesus Loves Me over and over again to herself throughout the day on Friday. One of our leaders commented, "There wasn't one leader or camper who wasn't transformed in some way this week." Powerful. There were also come cool stories of Cabin Leaders sharing their testimonies and campers engaging in some incredible conversations. One Cabin Leader said, "This was the best week I have ever worked at camp, there was two campers that just had Mr T (camp name for our guest speaker) touch his heart and last night they wanted to keep talking about God so they went for a walk and out of nowhere one the camper said "I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior" ... I didn't mean to say that out loud. Another camper was the most spiritual guy I have ever met." There was an altar call on the first night and half the room stood up. Another Cabin Leader said, "Cabin was good. All of my cabin gave their life to Christ this week." God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
Then there was a hilarious dare story that happened. One of our campers dared one of our Cabin Leaders to go and ask one of the Seasonal Leaders for their phone number. This camper said there was no way the Cabin Leader could get the phone number of the Seasonal Leader. After a few minutes of daring and chirping back and forth, the Cabin Leader got up and walked over to the Seasonal Leader. After informing the Seasonal Leader of what was happening, the Seasonal Leader immediately wrote down her phone number on the Cabin Leaders arm. The Cabin Leader then went back and showed the number to the camper and he was very impressed and could not believe he got the phone number. Feeling as though he had lost, the camper then said, "Ok, you got her number but there is NO WAY you can get that other Seasonal Leaders number." So, after confirming a bet of an item from Horton's Hut, the Cabin Leader walked over to the second Seasonal Leader. He explained what was happening and she immediately wrote down her number and added some hearts around the number for good measure. The Cabin Leader went back and proudly showed off the number with the hearts. The camper was in complete disbelief. He did however hold up his agreement to buying tuck for the Cabin Leader. Suckers bet??? I believe is the term???? No word on if the Cabin Leader shared the Horton's Hut item with the Seasonal Leaders.
Speaking of budding relationships, one camper said to one of our Cabin Leaders who was leading worship, "If i could marry a voice i would marry your voice."
One female Cabin Leader commented, "It was my first time in day camp and I was nervous. I had all boys and it was just so much fun and chaotic. My whole week was awesome."
So that was Week 6. I know this was a longer update but it really was a great week.