Ummmm, could someone please tell me where the past few weeks have gone. Somehow we went through Week 7, Week 8, Mini Tyke AND the first couple of weeks of September. WHAT???!!!! I literally need September to slow down here as it is going way too fast and there is still a lot going on. One of the fun statements we always hear this time of year is, "You must be so glad summer is over. Things must be slowing down for you." Sometimes we wish. Our Year Round Team took the long weekend plus a day off after summer but then on our first Wednesday and Thursday back we all worked 12 hours plus. Yup, it's one season to another at Camp Chestermere. But, God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
And I apologize in advance that this is going to be a longer update. But, we want you to know about some of the exciting things that are going on and that happened in the last couple weeks of summer. I believe that these updates let you know what you can celebrate with us and what you can continue to pray for. We want to keep people as attached to the camp as we can. So, thanks in advance for reading, praying, and staying connected.
So, looking back at some weeks I was not able to update you on. Week 7 was our final Kids Camp of the Summer and it was a BUSY one. We had 121 Overnight Campers, 104 Day Campers and 11 CLTD's. Our Guest Speaker that week was Kara Wilfrey (Snow White) and it was amazing having here here. Kara is a very busy lady as she is the Youth Pastor at North West Community Church and the Youth Pastor for their Chinese Church plant. She also works for the CBE with Chinook Learning Services. On top of her incredible ability to engage the campers during Fireside, I personally appreciated Kara's constant willingness and initiative to pray for and with our staff. She would pop into the kitchen in the morning to say hello and take prayer requests and prayed for me personally a couple of times during the week. Thank you Kara for the incredible blessing you were to us all throughout the week. We enjoyed having Kara out because so many of the youth and young adults from North West Community Church are either campers or on our staff throughout the summer. We have had lots of young people from that church coming to the camp over the past number of years and we really appreciate their participation and involvement. Thanks North West Community Church for your continued support in the number of staff and campers you send us and for loaning us Kara for the week.
Some of the highlights from staff from Week 7 include:
"Power tubing for gender night was awesome. We had 6 People on the tube at once. Another highlight of this trip was Flower doing backflips"
The CLTD's went floating down the canal. As they were floating down the river, one of the CLTD boys, who has a fake tooth, ended up having his fake tooth fall out in the middle of the canal. He didn't have it for the rest of the week, and, according to his leaders, "he looked so ridiculous"
"Definitely the Disney Dinner. Loved having everyone out for Peter Pan"
"Loved tug of war and pulling a fast one on the kids"
"One of the kids came up to me and said the first job he wants to work is Cabin Leading for us. He said he really felt like this was a place to belong"
"One girl in my cabin didn't really like me. She was yelling at me. I responded and she started crying and then I started crying. The cabin came around me and supported me saying that it was ok and that I was their favourite and they just loved on me."
"He said he had 6 porcu-pinnaples - they were six pine cones"
"I was in Day Camp - it was fun, really cool. My kids were energetic. It was really tiring"
"Camp is a place where God moves through friendship. ____ was in fireside because ____ and _____ were there. ____ came in and ____ and ___ were all just swaying together, singing the song and not hitting anyone"
"Loved 5-7 activity room. Were all screaming, having a good time, and not really caring about anything. I loved it"
"Throwing kids in the lake left and right. I had so much fun. Lost count of how many kids wanted to go in"
"Girl in my activity group. the whole week, she was just humming various worship songs. It was so nice. Just so pure"
I LOVE the vulnerability in this comment from one of our Cabin Leaders:
"Last week I was kind of disappointed with how Devos were going. I was really bummed out about it. This week, I spent a lot of time before the kids came praying for Devos and that God would move. All throughout the week, Devos were so good. I really felt like I was impacting the campers. It ended up being that 6 of them wanted to get Bibles before they left. I was really encouraged by how God moved through that situation."
"Hard week in terms of energy. I was really sick. During fireside, I was just so exhausted I went to the infirmary. I just started to praying to God and said I'm so done. He said to me, 'Don't you think I was stressed and tired on the cross? You can do this' He gave me the energy and I was able to be with them and give them everything I had."
Week 8 was Teens Week and it was awesome. We always try and ramp it up a little every year for Teens Week. This theme this year was Insanis and WOW did the theme live up to its name. We had 79 Overnight Campers and 82 Day Campers. Like I said, at Teens Week we amp things up a few notches and this year our Programs Team went out of their way to take things to the next level. From the classic Annihilation, to Human Foosball, to Tractor Pull Bowling and Oversized Volleyball, our Programs Team really made the week live up to its theme of Insanis.
Our guest speaker for Week 8 was my good friend Chris King. We love having Kinger out as he always does an incredible job with the campers. On top of speaking, he helped us out by driving boat during the week as well. Chris throws himself into the life of the camp while he is here and it is always great to have him. One of the my favourite things that Chris did during the week was the Q&A sessions. The campers had a lot of questions and there was some good debate during these times as well. Thanks Chris for your willingness to answer questions and for another amazing week.
And finally, we ended off the summer with Mini Tyke Camp. This is a chance for the little guys to get a small taste of Overnight Camp. 5 - 6 year olds get to come for a 2 night 3 day camp. We had 23 campers in Mini Tyke in Week 9 and 62 in Day Camp. Our guest speaker for Mini Tyke was our very own Bookkeeper Heather (Bookie). This is the second year in a row where she has been our speaker for Mini Tyke and she did an incredible job. Thanks Bookie for stepping up and ministering to the little guys.
The last week of camp is the time we transition the camp from our summer to our fall programming. I want to say a HUGE thank you to all of the staff for the incredible work they did in the final week doing a deep clean of the place. I think this was the best job I've seen done by a staff during the final week. As tired as they were, they all stayed until almost 9 pm on Friday night cleaning and transitioning the camp. Great job team. It is such a weird feeling to be here one day with 80 staff and then on our first day back have only 6 people at a staff meeting. Feels a little more empty around here.
BUT, what would the last week..... last day of camp be without a little fun. On the last day, the VERY last day of camp, our Camp Medic discovered head lice in one of our leaders. After some investigation we soon learned that it had spread to some other leaders as well. All of the leaders were in Day Camp. We quickly pulled all of them out of Day Camp, put other leaders in and called all of the parents who had children in the program. What a mess at the end of the day. And then, to really top things off, two of our male staff members who had longer hair discovered they had lice in their hair as well. So, to end the summer there was a head shaving party that happened in front of the lodge. YUP, the very last day, THE VERY LAST DAY, of camp ended with shampoo and head shaving sessions because of lice. Ahhhhh...... camp life.
September has started off well and we are hitting the ground at a full sprint. We have attended two Energizer Night Promotional Events, Participated in the Chestermere Parade, hosted two teacher Professional Development Days, a 2 day grade 8 retreat and 2 overnight groups last weekend. Yup, things are slowing down after summer ;).
On our first Wednesday back the Year Round Team met to discuss the summer and go over the feedback forms from Seasonal Staff and Seasonal Leadership. Thank you to all of our Seasonal Staff for the great work you did all summer. You loved kids, ministered to kids, took care of kids and so much more. Thank you also for ministering to me. Seasonal Staff bring so much life to this place and we miss you already.
One other celebration note. For the past 3 years we have worked with the Calgary Police Department on a program called Gateway. Gateway is a program where young people who have committed a minor offence can do community service so that they do not end up with a criminal record. This year we received a grant from the United Way and FCSS Chestermere to hire someone to run the program. We had 22 young people go through the program this year. It was amazing. 2 of those people ended up on staff before the end of the summer and 1 has said he will be applying next year. We are so excited about the success of this program and want to thank the United Way and FCSS for funding the program this year.
Oh, and on an even bigger celebration note, 7 people were baptized on the last day of camp as well. SEVEN. That's awesome.
There's lots more exciting things happening as Collin and I have been attending some community meetings and building and strengthening some partnerships. Things are busy but things are good. We thank you for your continued prayers and support and we continue to proclaim and hold on to the truth that God is good all the time and all the time God is good.