Happy November, or for some, Movember everyone. I hope this email finds you doing well and preparing for the upcoming Christmas Season. This is a great time of year as we come off of Thanksgiving and remember what our veterans and those who currently serve do to keep our country safe and free. It is also a time of year of some awful mustaches. And for some, they are gearing up for American Thanksgiving. I think this is the one time of year where I'd like to be an honorary American just so I can have two Thanksgivings.
October was a great month for rentals as we hosted a number of school groups, weddings, leadership seminars and more. One of the events that we were again happy to host was the Diwali Festival. This was a great community event and again fireworks were set off at Camp Chestermere. It was a great show.
With our fiscal year end being October 31, I am happy to report that rentals were up this year which is great. This is due in large part to the incredible work of the Year Round Team here at camp. Great job team in getting out and promoting the camp and letting people know that we are open year round and we have lots to offer. You can help as well. If you hear of people looking to book somewhere for a work, church, youth, or adult retreat, then let them know about Camp Chestermere. Know someone who is getting married? Let them know about us. Know someone looking to do something different for a child or adult birthday party? Let them know about us. Know someone looking for a spot to hold their AGM, Dog Training, booking floor hockey, sports training, meeting, spiritual retreat, one day event, evening event, movie night, etc, etc, etc. You get the idea. Our best promotion is people who believe in Camp Chestermere talking about us and letting people know that we have a ton to offer. The answer is yes so ask the question. Let people know about this amazing place called Camp Chestermere and let people know that if they can dream it then we can probably make it happen. And, special thanks to Guest Services Coordinator Vanessa (Ember) who has just jumped right into the fray and done an outstanding job.
However, while rentals were great, camper numbers were down. This has had a significant negative effect on our financial bottom line. Like many other non profit and charitable organizations in Alberta, Camp Chestermere is feeling the crunch of this economy. Families simply don't have the disposable income to send their children to camp. Please keep us in mind this season and throughout the year. We provide tax receipts for every donation given. The best way to give is through our ATB Cares Foundation on our website. ATB kicks in an additional 15% on top of any donation given. Any support you can give would be greatly appreciated and would help us to keep providing the services we do to the community.
Our Halloween Howler this year was a great success. Over 270 people came out to enjoy the festivities. Thanks to Synergy who partnered with us on this event. It was a great day of mazes, shooting pumpkins with arrows, eating marshmallows, drinking hot chocolate, decorating pumpkins and more. We are looking at doing more one day events like this throughout the year. The next one will be our Winter Wonderland. Info on this can be found below. Thanks to Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) and Office Manager Chantel (Lilac) who do a ton of work behind the scenes to put these events together.
Renovations, renovations, renovations, and.... well more renovations. Site Coordinator Vic (Poppa Smurf) is currently hard at work laying new flooring in the triplexes. Camp Chestermere would like to say a HUGE thank you to Alberta Hardwood Flooring who secured a donation for enough new flooring to do ALL THREE TRIPLEXES. Amazing. The flooring that is in there is the original flooring from when the triplexes were built in 1998 so an upgrade is due. Getting this donation from Alberta Hardwood Flooring is a HUGE blessing to the camp. A special thanks also goes out to Board Member Alex (Crumpet) who has been volunteering a lot of hours to help Vic instal the new floor. And we have continued work in the Chap and it looks outstanding. Thanks to Darcy who has volunteered countless hours to renovate the Chap. Seriously, if you haven't seen the Chap for a while you may not recognize it.
Special thanks to Office Manager Chantel (Lilac) and Site Coordinator Vic (Poppa Smurf) who attended the Chestermere Play Day at the Rec Centre on Friday morning. Chantel (Lilac) was covered in a powdery mess as she interacted with lots of kids who played with corn starch and water at our booth. A great event put on by the Rec Centre and a great chance for us to promote the camp to the community. Great job team.
Last Monday saw our Board get together for it's monthly/bi-monthly board meeting. While I cannot be public yet about everything that is happening, I am happy to say that there is a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes and I am excited for the direction we are starting to head in as an organization. There is a lot of work to do but it is great to have a committed group of people who are starting to plot a vision for the future of this organization. More to come in upcoming updates.
I have also spent the last couple of weeks meeting with the lead pastors from our member churches. I LOVE and look forward to these meetings. We spend some time talking about camp and a lot of time talking about ministries and common struggles and successes we find in our leadership roles. There are some quality people in leadership in our member churches. Please keep them in your prayers and if you are receiving this email and attend one of our member churches then please take some time to encourage our lead pastors. They do outstanding work.
The Christmas Season is coming and Camp Chestermere has a few different things coming up that you can be a part of. First of all, our annual Under the Tree Campaign has launched. This is a chance for people to purchase a gift for Camp Chestermere that will help us do what we do better. Items that are on our wish list can be found at www.campchestermere.com. You could also donate money to the campaign through ATB Cares and indicate in the comments section which present you'd like us to pick up. ATB Cares will kick in an extra 15% on top of every donation made. Just go to our website and click on donate to get to the ATB Cares page.
Our Christmas Banquet is on December 11 and everyone is invited to come. We are adding something new this year in that the theme of the night will be 50's Hollywood Glam. Come dressed in your best 50's red carpet outfit and enjoy the festivities. Tickets for this event are just $25 per person or $15 per person if you were a staff member at any point in 2016. Punch will be served at 5:30 and dinner at 6:00. Tickets can be purchased by either by calling or emailing the office at 4032726030 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The last day to purchase tickets is Monday December 5th, 2016. This will be a great time to enjoy some awesome food and fellowship with the greater community of Camp Chestermere.
And finally, we are having a Winter Wonderland Event on Saturday December 17 from 1 - 4pm. We will have Santa and the North Pole, Sleigh Rides, and a Christmas Market! We are looking for vendors who would like to take part in the Christmas Market. If you are interested just send us an email and we will send along all the necessary information to you! This is a family drop in event and tickets do not need to be purchased in advance.
Last but not least, I am spending a lot of time right now searching for and applying for grants. Today alone I have sent out 3 grant requests. We are still awaiting word on a major grant that, if we get it, would pay for our CLTD Program for 2017. That would be huge. Please keep these grants in your prayers. We have applied for grants to fund CLTD, our bike program, hire staff for children with special needs and more. All of these things would make a huge difference to our camp.
Early Merry Christmas everyone. Hope to see you at the Banquet and Winter Wonderland.