Well, we are one day into Week 5 which means we are just over half way through the summer. It has been a very busy summer with full camps which has been awesome. I just left the lodge where during lunch a dance party to The Macarena and The Chicken Dance broke out which was soon followed by a whole room rendition of Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer. Yup, it's kids camp. I'm now sitting at a picnic table in the middle of the camp watching a furious game of gaga ball, which just had a major crisis because the ball exploded and so we are madly scrambling to buy another one, campers are in the middle of the lake in kayaks, beach time is in full swing and the boat is getting loaded up with another group of power tubers. Yup, it's camp. But, some highlights from Week 4.
Week 4 Update
Week 4 was Middle Camp, Ages 11 - 15 and we had 87 campers in Day Camp, 98 in Overnight and 22 in 2nd Year CLTD. The theme was Around the World and our Dead Cow Ceremony saw the kitchen staff make us Chinese Food. It was soooooooo good. Great week of camp.
Connie Jakab was our guest speaker. I can never say enough good things about her. She is one of the best speakers we have the pleasure to work with. She just has an incredible way to present the gospel in such a non threatening, safe and welcoming way. She truly has an incredible gift and ability to connect with people, no matter their age. I think she should be speaking at conferences all over the world. She is that good and we are so blessed to have her. I love how she brings in so many quests with her and the way she uses rap, hip hop and dance is awesome. I love how she uses those platforms not as a way "to connect with youth" but rather it is an authentic expression of who she is and the community she works in. Connie you are amazing and we were so blessed to have you.
Here are some of the staff highlights from Week 4
"The first one is I had the pleasure of teaching power tubing this week. I do the Macarena on the boat when we aren’t going too fast to try and get the kids to do it so they fall in. They only lasted a couple min. My other one was last night during worship. On either side of me I had two campers who I barley knew, and one camper leaned over to me and said “this is why camp is so awesome” Nomad
"I had a really good week. I had an awesome moment with one of my campers. I got her into worship by head bobbing with her, it was awesome to see her really getting into fireside with everyone else" Treble
"My highlight would be Tuesday night worship." Giraffe. There were a number of staff who mentioned Fireside on Tuesday night. It really was an amazing night.
"All the girls in my cabin were really funny and we went star tipping one night and it was really nice to just laugh with them" Peaches
"Launching the kids off the floating thing on the beach and catching them" Spoon
"The last day the beach was super empty so I went kayaking with Statics group and it was so fun to participate with the kids and watch him lead the kids, they had so much fun. He’s such an incredible leader, definitely my favourite to watch teach kayaking" Chime
"My biggest highlight was the rapping in fireside. It was really good to hear Static and Frostbite rap and also Goomba’s singing. I felt like Connie just really spoke to me, fireside overall was a highlight this week" Cheeto
"Would be devos one night with my campers. My co and I opened up to our cabin about what was going on in our lives personally, and stayed up until midnightdoing devotions. They said those devos were the best they’ve heard, and it really touched their lives and meant a lot to them. That and being a co with Prodigal. He’s an incredible guy. He’s the best co I could ask for" Frostbite
"So this was my first week and OH MY GOSH my girls were AMAZING. They were so perfect, did nothing wrong, did everything I said… My highlight would be when my girls COVERED me in face paint. Literally everywhere. And I think we used an entire container of face paint on me. They were amazing and I couldn’t have asked for a better first week" Andro
"My highlight was definitely evening worship, it was really fun playing drums. My second one would be handing out popcorn on movie night with Wind. We made fools of ourselves, but it was a really good time" Rev
"My highlight was convincing there was freshwater sharks in the lake. So every time we went power tubing and saw big waves I would tell them it was the sharks. They even tried to convince the lifeguards the sharks were real" Goomba
I realized I had anxiety these last couple weeks. Last night during fireside I started crying because everything inside me was just like being held by Jesus. I just felt God saying I love you Erik. I just felt so free and I just cried. I felt truly free for the first time in a long time" Baloo
"Having a big team of volunteers and staff in the kitchen, it is nice to have a team in the kitchen since the staff team of leaders etc. can be such a good support system but when you’re in the kitchen you don’t always feel like you’re also part of the big team. But the staff are really great about dropping by and saying hi and checking in and we also had so many great volunteers this week!" Hockey Mom
"Seeing a friend who was struggling come to camp and say she wanted to get back into church and being encouraged by her growth" Roshe
What I love about the highlights every week is the mix between just sheer fun and excitement in activities and the incredible things that happen in Fireside. This week I witnessed staff walking around with a guitar singing worship songs, staff praying for each other in various places around the camp, incredible sessions with CLTD and so much more. Again, I am sitting in the middle of the camp right now as I type this and it is just awesome to sit here and be a part of this.
Shoutout to the Kitchen Staff
I know Hockey Mom mentioned something as her highlight but I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible job our kitchen staff is doing this summer. They've made so many changes to the kitchen and it is awesome to see. One of the things they've done is create a 3 week rotation for meals. That means that staff do not see the same meal for three weeks or will only see the same meal 3 times during the summer. This has made a huge difference and staff are loving it. We have a juice machine now, impact mats throughout the kitchen, each kitchen member works an eight hour shift and has the rest of the day to connect with the camp and have been experimenting with a variety of different menus and desserts. I've alwso witnessed Kitchen Staff cover for each other and extend their shifts because there has been a nasty bug ripping through some of our staff, especially in the kitchen. AND!!!!! on top of all of that, they've been knocking it out of the park with guest groups on the weekends. Simply an amazing job by our kitchen staff. Thanks to Erik (Baloo), Suzanne (Honey), Michelle (Hockey Mom), Marlo (Nemo), Rachel (Piglet), Landon (Ice) and the other staff and volunteers who have done such an amazing job in the kitchen.
Blessings to the Staff
Thanks to the organization of Board Vice Chair Susan Thiessen, once a week various people from the community come and drop off a treat for our staff. Well I forgot to mention the amazing gift we received in Week 3. On Wednesday night of Week 3, Board Member John Mabey dropped by with a $5 Tim Hortons gift card............. for every staff member!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He was the hero of the summer. Coffee is currency around here. Thanks John for your amazing blessing to our staff.
Donation for Our Helping All Campers Succeed Program
This year we introduced a new program called Helping All Campers Succeed. This program has been done for years here at the camp in various ways but this year we formalized it more. The idea behind the program is to offer 1 - 1 to 1 - 3 care for children with Special Needs. We have 4 dedicated staff members working in the program and the program is fully funded by FCSS United Way Chestermere. This week we received a $2500 donation from Juniors Foods Services Ltd. to put towards this program. We are sooooooooo grateful for this donation as it will help us to offer even more support for the children in this program. With the money we will be purchasing a number of items to help better support the needs of the children. Thank you again to Juniors Foods Services Ltd. for your generous support of this program.
We continue to host groups throughout the summer. Here is an email I received this morning from the group that was here this weekend:
"Thank you so much for a wonderful weekend at Camp Chestermere! Our event was a great success and we thank you all for your hard work!! The grounds are amazing!! The food exceeded our expectations again!! The staff is beyond wonderful!!"
Always nice to hear great feedback.
Work around the site continues to happen. We had to do some repair work in the washhouse this week and it looks like we will be facing some major renovations in there this fall. The fun never stops really ;). We've been blessed this summer to have a work crew of between 5 - 10 people every week and this is a huge blessing. Thank you to former Seasonal Leadership Member Devon (OP) who came and helped give oversight to this team this week while we had some staff on holidays. If you're looking for some volunteer opportunities this summer then give us a call. We have a need if you have time.
As always, thanks for your ongoing prayers, love and support. Thank you to Board Chair Otto for coming by for a visit this week and to former CLTD Coordinator Marie (Willis) who has been coming to volunteer and was able to take me offsite for a couple of hours. Hope everyone is enjoying their summer. I know we are here at Camp Chestermere.