Update from Camp Chestermere

Well, the wind is picking up again here at the camp. It has been a bit of a brutal year here for wind. We had a lot of damage back in May due to the wind and have just completed the insurance work that needed to be done as a result. And then, wouldn't ya know it, we get hit again.

Last week there was another wind storm we lost our two car port tents. We had some other damage as well but don't think it is enough to enact an insurance claim. But we did suffer some loss. We actually ended up having to call in emergency services to help take apart the one tent because it was just too dangerous for us to deal with. Some of the metal poles actually ended up falling onto the head of a firefighter who, thankfully, was wearing his helmet. Thank you to the Chestermere Fire Department for once again helping us out.

Right now as I write this, we have a large group of grade 6 students on site and the wind is picking up again. Please continue to pray for the safety of our staff and the user group who is on site. So done with wind. I mean, it may be better than the floods from a couple of years ago but I am not sure. I could handle just some calm for a while.

Despite the wind, we have some amazing news to announce. Camp Chestermere would like to say a HUGE thank you to FCSS Chestermere and The United Way Chestermere for three grants that were just approved yesterday. FCSS Chestermere and The United Way Chestermere have approved grants for the following:

  1. One grant will allow us to hire four individuals, ideally two male and two female, to work with children with special needs in Summer 2018. These individuals will provide 1 to 1 or 1 to 3 care for campers in either our Overnight or Day Camp Programs who need some extra care and attention. This is a program we launched last year and saw incredible success with. Watch for more updates and details on this.

  2. The second grant will help offset the costs of our CLTD Program. This grant will help pay for staffing, programming supplies, and will allow us to bring in some more guest speakers for our CLTD Program.

  3. The third grant is for a Volunteer Coordinator Position. This grant is an expansion to our Gateway Coordinator Position. The individual hired for this program will oversee our volunteer program from May - August of 2018.

These grants are a HUGE blessing to our camp and will really help us do what we do better. Again, thank you to FCSS Chestermere and Chestermere United Way for your support.

Saturday night was an amazing night at Camp Chestermere. On Saturday we partnered with Lakeridge Community Church for a worship night called One: One People, One Hope, One Night of Worship. It was incredible. We had over 150 people out from Chestermere and the surrounding area. People from the Camp Chestermere worship team joined people from Lakeridge's Worship Team to lead worship for over two hours. We really hope we can do more events like this. It was great to partner with a local church for the common goal of hosting worship. HUGE shout out to Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) who put in a tremendous amount of hours on this event.

A couple of weekends ago we had our first School Year Camp. One of the directions we have been trying to move in with our School Year Camps is partnering with churches so that they bring their youth to our retreat. It is a win win for everyone. Camp Chestermere would like to thank Northwest Community Church, Sunwest Church, Canyon Creek, True Light Gospel Church, and Abundant Life for supporting this School Year Camp. Thank you for bringing your youth and their leaders. It was a great weekend. Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) and I shared the speaking responsibilities for the camp. I spoke in the evenings and he took the morning sessions. It was great to have a chance to speak again at the camp. It's been a little while since I spoke here and it was a ton of fun. But again, thank you to Northwest Community Church, Sunwest Church, True Light Gospel Church, Canyon Creek and Abundant Life for supporting the weekend. Hopefully we can get more churches involved in this way and then offer even more School Year Camps. A special thank you also goes to Kara Wilfrey from Northwest Community Church who helped to organize other churches to be involved.

October continues to be a busy month with rentals which is great. Nice to be busy. We have schools, leadership groups, hockey teams, church groups, corporate groups, adult and child birthday parties and more all here this month. Please continue to help us out by letting people know about the opportunities to book at Camp Chestermere.

Yesterday I attended a meeting on Diversity held at the City of Chestermere. Camp Chestermere is sitting on a committee called the Rural South Central Alberta Regional Inclusion Coalition. Sitting on this committee are representatives from the City of Chestermere, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, representatives from Brooks, Cochrane, Airdrie, and Vulcan and a few other organizations as well. The purpose of this committee is to discuss diversity in our communities and to explore ways we can learn from each other and support each other in the work. There is some tremendous work going on all over Alberta and we are excited to be a part of this coalition.

In the afternoon there was a presentation called "17 Characteristics of a Welcoming and Inclusive Community" with Jany Mathews-Thusoo. It was an amazing workshop. Two quotes I took away were "The future of cities belong to those who believe in the power of dreams." And, "Progress happens at the speed of trust. You have to have those relationships in place in order to move forward." Great presentation and sitting on this committee is really helping us reach our goal of being involved in the community.

And last, but certainly not least, we have some staffing news to announce. Unfortunately, our Guest Services and CLTD Coordinator Vanessa (Ember) has decided to step down from her position and move on to new opportunities. Vanessa (Ember) has been a tremendous blessing to our camp and we are so grateful for the work she has done over the past year at Camp Chestermere. She has been a tremendous addition to the team and she will be missed.

To help facilitate the transition, we are excited to announce that Erik Davis (Baloo) has accepted a position as Kitchen Lead and Admin Support. He will be supporting the ongoing work we do with user groups in the kitchen and will be providing support in various other areas including Guest Services. Welcome aboard Erik. We are excited to have you help in this time of transition.

We will have lots more announcements about CLTD and Guest Services in the coming weeks. Right now we are doing some internal reviews of the delivery of our programming as a whole and after we complete this then we will have news about the go forward on CLTD. If you have any questions or concerns about our CLTD Program then please feel free to contact me. CLTD is a tremendously high priority for us and an integral part of what we do at Camp Chestermere. We will have exciting updates about the program in the next few months.

WHEW!!!! So, lots going on. Thank you for your ongoing prayers, support and encouragement. As we near the Christmas Season, like it is actually two months today until Christmas Day, please keep us in mind as an organization to give to this season. Donations make what we do here possible and we need people like you to be involved with us financially.

Thank you again. Blessings.

Shannon Dean

Camp Director

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