Well we are just nicely under way into Week 3 here and I am excited, as always, to tell you about some of the amazing things that happened last week.
First of all, I need to start with a HUGE thank you to Arrowwood Gospel Church who have stepped up in a tremendous way to support our BEAR HUG campaign. Arrowwood Gospel Church caught on to one of the ideas that we had with BEAR HUG of raising funds specifically for needs that we have listed on our website and that we identified at the BEAR HUG Fundraiser back in May. In a very short turn around time, this country church raised enough funds for us to purchase a brand new large BBQ. But wait, there's more. Due to the timing of their cheque coming in we were able to take advantage of being able to purchase a new large grill on sale and will still be able to purchase another smaller more mobile BBQ and a cover. Yup, two brand new BBQ's and a cover all because of the hard work of one of our Member Church. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. This is a tremendous blessing to our camp and meets a specific need. Amazing. Thank you to Camp Chestermere and Arrowwood Gospel Church Board Member Darryl Gass and the entire congregation at Arrowwood Gospel Church for blessing us in this way. The BBQ has already been used once and the staff truly are humbled at how they stepped up to meet a specific need. Thank you.
Other needs that we have can be found on our website or by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Families, organizations, churches, or individuals can find out about specific things we would like to purchase, both big and small, raise the funds for that item, donate that money to the camp and then we will go and make that purchase. It seriously makes a huge difference and helps us do what we do better. Without the efforts of the congregation of Arrowwood Gospel Church we would not have the new BBQ's. We'd love to have more churches, families, organizations and or individuals get involved. Whether the item is big or small, everything helps.
Another thank you goes to another of our Member Churches; Varsity Bible Church. For the past two weeks, different congregation members from this church have been showing up with a treat for the whole staff. This is another huge blessing and really makes our staff feel blessed and appreciated. Thank you to Board Vice Chair Susan for organizing this and thank you to all those who are participating in this program.
This week I had the opportunity to go for lunch with two pastors from two of our Member Churches. It was great to be able to connect with both of these gentlemen and talk to them about the exciting things that are happening in their churches. One of the most favourite things of my job is connecting with people from around the community, whether they be pastors, politicians, people from other not for profits or whoever. Building relationships and talking to people about the exciting things that are happening in their lives and organizations and having the chance to talk a little bit about camp is always awesome.
Now, for Week 2 at camp. The theme for this week was Midway and we had 70 campers in Day Camp, 98 in Overnight and 13 1st Year CLTD's. We were also excited to welcome 16 new staff members as we hired 16 of our 3rd Year CLTD's. It was a busy week with lots of campers which is always great. The more the merrier you know.
Our guest speaker this week was Connie Jakab and, as always, she did an amazing job. She also brought a number of other guests with her who did some rap, spoken word and dance. Connie just has such a heart for people and to see people discover their potential and for people to know they are loved. We love having her and she is always a blessing to us.
This Friday saw the graduation of our 3rd Year CLTD's. This is always an exciting time and, as mentioned, we welcomed 16 of these grads onto our staff team. Graduating from CLTD does not necessarily mean that they become staff members. Some CLTD"s choose not to work for camp and some may not be ready. We have had some CLTD's do a second week of practicum before they get hired or we have them wait until the next summer. But as I have said in the past, the greatest compliment that has ever been paid to our CLTD program is "Camp Chestermere is not just training leaders to be staff at the camp but Camp is training leaders who are making a difference wherever they are." Of course it is awesome when CLTD's become staff. They're not 'better' staff but there is a difference. But, to me, what good is it if we are only training people who will impact our community. I don't think that is a biblical model of discipleship. Of course we could try to train staff to just work here but it is awesome that these young people go and be leaders outside of camp as well. For example, some of our graduating CLTD's are currently doing missions trips, part of YWAM, are youth pastors and are leading in other jobs as well. We are excited to see this latest group or graduates and we cannot wait to see what they do next. Big thanks to our CLTD team this year.
Another thank you has to go to Site Coordinator Vic (Poppa Smurf) and his wife Kathy (Sweat Pea). They have stepped up in a big way and are now the ones preparing the meals for Dead Cow. And on their first week of doing it they had to prepare for not only the staff but for the parents of the CLTD grads as well. Oh, and I guess I should mention that Kathy is doing this all as a volunteer. WHAT???? Man I am continually blown away by the amount of extra hours staff and volunteers put into this place and ask for almost nothing in return. From Cabin Leaders who basically volunteer and work from 8:00am or earlier when campers up until campers go to bed, to Seasonal Leaders who could be working other jobs and make more but come here and work ridiculous hours and a bare minimum salary to people like Poppa Smurf who are a little older than some of us and the engine just keeps goin. And then people like Kathy who make entire meals for the staff and ask for nothing in return. Amazing. This week was chicken wings and some of the the best potatoes I've ever had. Thank you to Poppa Smurf and Sweat Pea for stepping up and taking this on.
And truth be told, Poppa Smurf deserves an extra congrats because I said I would step up on Fridays and help him with this and then on the first Friday he is on for I bail and go to Regina (I got my potatoes as left overs). My sister had a baby daughter on my birthday and this weekend was the baby shower and so many of the staff, especially Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) and Poppa Smurf stepped up to take care of things so I could go and visit my niece.... did I mention that she was born on my birthday. BEST B-DAY PRESENT EVER.
Because of the CLTD Grad we did Weekly Highlights a little different and had staff write down their highlights. I just finished reading them and some of the stand outs include:
I went power tubing for the first time on Tuesday and did the stairway to heaven, flipped and survived. (Now I am not sure why it is called the "stairway to heaven" but maybe it's because if something happens at least you know you were headed in the right direction?????)
Best night break ever. 2 hours on the trampoline, watched a movie and then went to the island and watched the sunset. It was amazing.
I got a girl in my Day Camp group to participate in Fireside. She would normally just sit and watch.
The 8 - 10 boys all wanted food nick names so we re-named them all. Always a good time shouting for Hamburger and Doughnut to be quiet from across the room.
Acting more like a friend than a leader to my campers.
I reintroduced something we started last year called Time With Coach. This is where we reward some staff members with a time away from camp for a few hours and they and I go and do something. This week 4 boys and I went to see Transformers. We had a ton of fun and it is always a recharger to me to be able to connect with our leaders offsite and spend a little money to reward them for the work they do. Thanks Wind, Polar Bear, Atlas and Henry for a great night out. It was fun.
And finally thank you to our Kitchen Staff who continue to work their schedules to make sure we are still doing a great job hosting groups on the weekends. We hosted a wedding here on the weekend and so thank you to Kitchen Manager Sherry (Curry) for organizing things to make sure this ran smoothly. Thank you also to CLTD/Guest Services Coordinator Vanessa (Ember) for hosting this weekend. Great job team.
AND, one last thank you to Assistant Director Collin (Deuce), Seasonal Leader Kevin (Neckbone) and Seasonal Staff Yarlie (Buckets), Tess (Maverick), and Daniel (Wind) for volunteering their time on Saturday at the First Alliance Show N Shine Event. First Alliance selected us once again this year as a charity they wanted to support and so the listed staff volunteered their time at the event. Thank you to First Alliance church for your incredible support and thank you to our staff for volunteering. The money donated by First Alliance will go to our Jar Jar's Kids Campaign.
I wish I had the room in these emails to capture all of the amazing things that happen in a week. The struggles of a Kids Camp and a Middle Camp are sooooooo different but amazes time and time again how these young leaders step up to meet challenges, minister to campers, minister to each other, and just live out the value of Relationship at Camp Chestermere. Great job team.
So thanks as always for the prayers, love and support. PLEASE continue to pray for us as while these emails only highlight the amazing things that are happening, there are struggles and hard ships that go on behind the scenes. We see a lot of campers, and staff for that matter, who are struggling and having tough times. We see a lot of hurting young people and the days are long and sometimes exhausting. But the rewards are great. But please, keep us in your prayers.