Hello again everyone. I hope you all have recovered from all the turkey, mashed potatoes, pirogies, deviled eggs, gravy, pumpkin pie and all the other deliciousness that makes up Thanksgiving. I know in our household we are just finishing off the rest of the left overs. It's been a great week of food but I think I may actually be done with turkey.
First couple of weeks of October have been great at camp. Starting with the last weekend in September, we had a Cubs group here who were ridiculously adorable. Part of their mandate for their participants is to have them doing chores and so here were all these little guys learning how to do dishes in the dish pit. Most were far too short to reach the counter so we had to pull out crates for them to stand on. It was awesome. Thanks to Guest Services Coordinator Vanessa (Ember) who did a great job hosting this group.
We've hosted a wedding on each of the last two weekends and it has been great. We are starting to get more and more requests for people wanting to hold their wedding at Camp Chestermere. Part of the thinking when the Lodge was built is that it would be a great facility for people to use for all sorts of different functions including weddings. The Year Round Team has worked very hard over the past year to let people know about the Lodge and pictures of some of the things that are possible are posted on the website. I think through the work of the Year Round Team and through word of mouth, word is spreading about the use of the camp for weddings and we are seeing some huge rewards with it. Great job team in getting the word out there. Please help our team out in this regard. If you know of someone who may be looking for a wedding venue then please let them know about us. We have many unique options that other facilities just can't offer so help us spread the word. Just this year alone we have held 4 weddings and we already have several booked for next year. Help us get the word out about what we have available here at the camp and direct them to our website www.campchestermere.com.
We started the process this week of prepping next year's budget. Please pray for guidance and wisdom as we move through this process. We did great in some areas as a camp this year and then took a hit in some other areas. Over all our camper numbers are down and we believe a large part of this has to do with the economy. People simply do not have as much disposable income. Yesterday on the news it was reported that downtown Calgary is facing a 25 - 28% vacancy rate. I have been speaking with people from many different churches and other not for profit organizations and they are consistently reporting that giving is down. Again, please pray for wisdom and God's provision for Camp Chestermere.
This week I had the opportunity to attend a professional development opportunity at First Alliance church called Preaching Lab 21. It was an incredible day. The speakers who were at this conference were just amazing. My favourite quote from the day was: "We have lived for far too long that original sin and total depravity is our true identity. We were created in the image of God first. We need to be calling people into their true identity as being created in the image of God. Everything we leave behind is sin and everything we embrace is Jesus. There’s no reason to make the news bad before it’s good. I don’t need to convince them they’re sinners. I need to convince them that there is a God who loves them. Take note of how Jesus talks to sinners and just do that and you’ll be fine." The whole day was like that. An amazing day to refresh and recharge the batteries.
I was pleasantly surprised to run into people from our member churches as well. Pastors from Varsity Bible Church and Arrowwood Church were there. It was a great opportunity to connect, chat, and grow together.
We met this week with the Chestermere Ag Society to plan Country Connections that will be held in May 2017. This will be the second annual Country Connections held at the camp as we held the first one in May 2016. It was a great meeting and a great chance to dream of future possibilities of working together. More information on this will follow soon.
The Year Round Team is having ongoing meetings about future ideas and things we can do differently. We can announce that for Summer 2017 we will have a Family Camp on the August long weekend and Mini Tyke Camp will happen again at the end of August. More information on Summer 2016 can be found on our website. Please have a look at upcoming events including Halloween Howler, Infuze, and much much more.
Speaking of upcoming events, we have our first School Year Camp this weekend. We are happy to have partnered with Sunwest Church for this camp as they are bringing many youth from their youth group to the camp. Looking forward to a great weekend.Our guest speakers this weekend are in house as myself and Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) will be handling the speaking duties.
Camp Chestermere would like to say a special thank you to Deloitte for coming out last Friday and volunteering for the day. They were a huge help and it was a huge blessing to have them here. As I have said before, it is always a huge blessing to our camp when people come out and volunteer their time. We are a mighty crew of 5 full time staff and 2 part time but we are only 7. Having extra hands and feet is always welcomed and needed. If you'd like to volunteer then please contact the camp and we'd love to have you out. Bring yourself, your family, or a small group. Any and all help is appreciated. Thank you again to Deloitte for blessing our camp with your help.
One final note on the volunteering piece, in the past Camp Chestermere used to run something in the spring called Work Days and I heard from a couple of churches that they were waiting for the information on these to sign up to volunteer. Camp Chestermere is no longer running the work days as they were not well attended over the past couple of years and so we made a change and now offer the opportunity to any church, school, corporate group or organization to book a time to come and volunteer. This can be done at any point during the year. We have had corporate groups like Deloitte out as well as youth groups coming and doing work. If you would be interested in bringing a group or just coming yourself then please contact the camp and we would love to have you out.
Thanks as always for your ongoing support, prayers, love and concern.