Hello again everyone,
Well we did something different this year.... Well, truth be told, we tried to do something different but it didn't really work out and so we tried something else different and that really worked out well. As you know, we tried to run a Family Camp this summer but unfortunately we were not able to secure enough registration to actually run the camp. We made the unfortunate decision to cancel Family Camp. However, I love how even in disappointment things can work out. One of the reasons for wanting to to run Family Camp was because we have been noticing a bit of a trend over the past couple of years where the week after a long weekend tends to have low registrations. So we thought, "Why not run a Family Camp on the long weekend and then run a shorter week?" When Family Camp got cancelled we decided to leave the camp timeframe the same. This meant our entire staff got the long weekend off. It was AWESOME. A few of us from the Year Round and Seasonal Leadership Team decided to get away and go camping for the weekend. It was a great little break right in the middle of the summer and it is definitely something we are considering continuing next year.
Week 6 was Middle Camp, ages 11 - 15, and we had 82 campers in Overnight, 93 in Day Camp and 11 started their First Year of CLTD: Foundations. Our guest speaker this week came all the way from Regina. It was my brother Sheldon. It was great to have him and his family here. Not only did he speak but he and his wife both helped us out by driving boat numerous times throughout the week. Thanks Sheldon and Val for all your help.
Before I get into the highlights from the staff, I want to tell you about some of the other cool things that happened last week. First of all, on the weekend we hosted the Canadian National Wake Surf Competition. It was an awesome event and it gave the camp some incredible exposure. The event was live streamed all over the world and on Saturday alone the event was viewed by over 6000 people. It continues to amaze me how when we continue to say yes, doors continue to open and we meet new people. This weekend, as part of the event, there was one rider who is a local church planter and some of the people expressed an interest in partnering with us to help expand our programming by offering sessions on Wake Boarding and Wake Surfing. Something like that would be a huge addition to our Teens Week Program. Huge thank you goes out to Year Round Team Members: Kitchen Manager Sherry (Curry) for the amazing job with the breakfasts and then especially the banquet on Saturday night, Site Coordinator Vic (Poppa Smurf) for... well everything, Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) for helping with the BBQ on Saturday and to Office Manager Chantel (Lilac) for the work she did behind the scenes in helping get things ready. Equally huge thank you's go out Seasonal Staff Wind, Kenya, Lazlow, Maverick, Stokes, Thistle, Frostbite, Goose, Fozzy, Spade, Auntie T, Bungalow, Chai, Glimmer and Kermit for all their help in hosting the event. Great job team and great exposure for the camp.
We were also blessed this week to have 4 interns from Prairie Bible Institute join us for the week. Thanks for CLTD Leader and Prairie student Simon (Spruce for connecting us. Thanks to Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) who put together a schedule for them so that they could see every area of our camp. By the end of the week they had worked in Day Camp, Overnight Camp, been on the worship team, worked in the kitchen, worked on work crew and helped with CLTD. This was the seventh camp they had been to this summer. On Thursday night I had an opportunity to sit down with them and I listened to them talk about our camp. They had some amazing perspectives, both positive and areas of growth. It was invaluable to us to have them spend time in every area and give feedback. Great food for thought for us as we prepare for Summer 2018.
I do want to share three things they shared though. At the end of the meeting I asked them "What is your number one takeaway from the week?" Here are three of their answers:
The Gateway Program and the fact that anyone who wants to be a camper can register to be a camper at Camp Chestermere. The representative from Prairie said "You (the camp) are creating a family for children who may not have one."
The representative from Prairie said, "I learned that you don't always have to have your life together to be a leader. Camp Chestermere is finding ways to have broken people lead broken people."
The representative from Prairie said, "how much respect and care the leadership team has for the staff." The representative from Prairie talked bout how they appreciated how we build breaks and times of rests into the schedule. The one representative said that he loved the fact they were able to play Super Smash Bro's for a little while because it literally help him to recharge. They appreciated how our staff were able to go offsite on their breaks so they could recharge, grab coffee or a snack, and spend time away from the camp if only for 20 minutes.
The other piece that was a common theme was that the representatives from Prairie felt welcomed and accepted by the staff. This was cool to hear because it is the same feedback we got from the missions team who came from Philly. Again, Relationships is our number one value and it has been awesome this summer to see how our staff are continually communicating that value to guests. Great job team.
Thanks to the representatives from Prairie for coming, for your feedback, both positive and constructive and thanks to our team for doing such a great job hosting them.
Here are some of the highlights from the staff for Week 6:
One Cabin Leader commented, "This week in general. I was ready to move on from camp. Felt empty and sad. I decided I needed to come back to camp. The whole week has been filled with so much joy. Now I want to be here for the rest of the year"
"First fireside - girls looked bored and sad. I somehow got them to barely move in the second. I got to meet them where they were at, and by the end, they were mosh-pitting with everyone at Fireside"
A new staff member commented, "Talking with people. Everyone is really nice."
"Cool to see the CLTDs ask very deep questions. Awesome to see the leaders take them on. The wisdom blew me away."
"Yesterday I couldn't really breathe for some reason. After my kids left, apparently I had inflamed lungs. I got a pill from my doctor. Thursday night fireside it was really spiritual, and I feel like God helped me heal through that too."
"Camper told me that they want to be like me when they were older. Didn't know how to play basketball at the beginning of the week. By the end, they were so good at ball."
"Fireside yesterday was soo good. Worship was really what I needed. Just a really good week."
"My group had target shooting, they all thought they were going to do the slingshots with the marbles. Once they saw the bb-guns, they got SO STOKED! They grouped together and they were a firing squad. They started doing British accents."
"So cool to see returning campers that I led so long ago come through CLTD"
"Hanging out with CLTDs, one came up to me, told me a story about this close encounter with a Hornet. She said 'IT WAS SO SCARY, IT WAS LOOKING ME RIGHT IN THE EYES!!!"
Our Male Team Lead mentioned how his highlight has been something he has been able to do all summer. Each week we have some children here who come as part of the Jar Jar's Kids Campaign. These kids would not be able to come to camp without this program. As you may recall, last year we named the program after Seasonal Staff Member Jordan Caldwell (Jar Jar) who was killed in an accident at COP. We offer the campers who come as part of this program the chance to write a letter to Jason and Shauna, Jordan's mom and dad. Our Male Team Lead said his highlight has been being able to sit and write these letters with the campers and hear their stories. These letters will be dropped off with Jason and Shauna at the end of the summer.
So, only 2 and half weeks left. It's been an awesome summer and it has definitely been going by way too fast. As always, thank to our Year Round Team, Seasonal Leadership and Seasonal Staff for all the work you do. Thanks also goes to the readers of these for your ongoing love support and prayers.