Hello supporters of Camp Chestermere,
So I know it has taken me a couple of weeks to do an update. The past couple of weeks have been very crazy here at the camp. The smoke has caused us all kinds of problems. And, for whatever reason, for the past couple of weeks, if it could go wrong on a Sunday, the day I write these, then it did. This kept me from being able to write updates and then the weeks were always just so crazy. I know that it is busy every summer but this summer has been particularly challenging and the pace has just been constantly fast. BUT, do read and be encouraged by the awesome things that are happening.
Last week had some unique challenges of its own. We had to make some staffing changes in to our Day Camp Program as 5 of our Seasonal Staff were involved in a car accident. At just before 7 pm on Tuesday night I received a phone call informing us that 5 our our Day Camp Staff were in Calgary and were involved in a car accident with a C-Train. I went to the scene of the accident and we are so happy to report that all 5 staff walked away from the accident with hardly any injuries at all. Seriously, they were hit by a train and only had a couple of minor scrapes and a couple of girls were a little sore the next day. Thank you Lord. All 5 staff went home to settle and recover but all 5 were back before the end of the week. We are so thankful that God kept our girls safe in a situation that couple have gone very differently.
So I would like to take some time to update you on some of the other things that have gone on at at camp over the past 3 weeks.
Week 6 - Middle Camp, Ages 11 - 15
We had 109 campers in Overnight, 73 campers in Day Camp and 14 participants in our First Year Session B CLTD Program. Our Guest Speaker for Week 6 was Chris King. Chris has spoken at Camp Chestermere for years and currently works for the Billy Graham Association. Unfortunately due to work circumstances beyond his control, Chris had to leave us before the end of the week. But this gave our very own Disciple Pastor Austin (Rev) and chance to speak. This was Rev's first time speaking at a camp and he did an amazing job. It was great to see how Chris and Rev communicated so that they built off of what each other talked about.
The theme for Week 6 was #Trend. It was fun watching the Programs Team come up with some unique slide shows for meal times that involved current or former trends.
Some staff highlights from Week 6 include:
"Campers made me feel really good. Campers actually know who I am and it’s really nice to be recognized by both girl and boy campers." Raven
"I had lots of highlights this week. One was gender night and just seeing the female staff have so much fun. Another one is I got to hang out with ______ a lot this week and she just came on a boat ride with me and would follow me around and it was so cute she looked like she was having the time of her life." Giraffe
"I had a really good week. It was nice to be in day camp and a nice break to not have a one on one kid. One day camper not in my group was hanging out with me after everyone left, and I was giving him a piggy back ride and he was just so cute. My campers were so cute and I was having so much fun with them playing with the hose this week." Treble
"This week was pretty hard. My kids didn’t really listen and it kind of made me feel like a bad leader. But I had one camper who was super interested in God and we talked a lot this week and she really got to know who God was. And it just really made me realize even if that’s the only thing I did right this week that would be worth it." Spark
"Making the slideshows and seeing people's reactions and working with Stokes" Gimli
"Seeing and feeling the support I have from staff" Boots
"Last week I was talking with my brother and he loved his week as he met new people and bonded with the staff team, and I felt the same coming as a ‘new staff’. The team has a great bond." Wolf
"Last night at fireside when Rev was speaking, and all of the campers couldn’t stop clapping during his sermon. It was hilarious." Sailor
"Speaking was a lot of fun this week, and also Stokes super long joke was hilarious" Rev
" I got some great wipeouts on the tube this morning, and some of the kids called me the best boat driver and that felt great to hold that title." Kermit
"I was having a pretty stressful night, and then I was asked to bring all of the campers to our campfire and keep them there until I received a phone call, and so I decided to tell an incredibly bad joke, and make a story around it. The joke lasted 35 minutes, every camper was so engaged until the very end, and I left the campfire completely refreshed and had a complete change of heart." Stokes
Week 7 - Kids Camp, Ages 7 - 11
We had 122 campers in Overnight, 99 campers in Day Camp and then the 14 participants in CLTD completed their first year of Foundations. The speaker for Week 7 was Josh Butterfield. This was Josh's first Kids Camp Speaking experience and it was awesome to see him grow as a speaker throughout the week.
Our Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) was able to get away for the week with his family which was a great chance for him to recharge. Great job by our team stepping up to fill his various responsibilities while he was away.
The theme for Week 7 was Jurassic Park. We had the opportunity to bring in a cool program called Let's Talk Science. The representatives from this group taught the kids how to extract DNA from a strawberry and learned how to uncover fossils. Great new program to add to our camp. Lots of fun for the campers and staff.
One down side of Week 7 was the smoke. On Wednesday the smoke was so bad that we had to keep campers inside for much of the day and then on Thursday we did a mix of inside and outdoor activities. We kept parents in the loop as to what we were doing via email. Thank you to the numerous parents who responded positively to our keeping them informed as to what was going on.
Some staff highlights from Week 7 include:
"Doing devos with my kids and feeling connected with them."
"A little 5 - 7 year old boy was constantly coming up to the 5 - 7 leaders and hugging us. Very cute. Very nice hugs" Tumnus
"Being able to see my little brother for the first time this summer. Our moms nickname for him is Little Bear but his cabin changed it to Alpha Bear and called him that all week. Look out Brother Bear" Raven
"My girls were little angels this week. I couldn't have asked for a better cabin" Raven
"After my co and I had a really tough week, when the worship team played Jesus Freak. It improved my co and I's mood instantly" Flicker
"After disrespecting each other a lot, at the last Fireside, almost all my kids swayed together. It was amazing" Flicker
"My weeks highlight was when I asked Kiwi to talk to my campers and he asked them "who is Treestump" and first, instead of saying "leader" they said, "My best friend." Treestump
"My weekly highlight was creating stronger relationships with the leaders and connecting with the kids by helping them build confidence and friendly relations with leaders and other kids." Neptune
"My highlight this week was seeing how well CLTD's got supported when all 4 leaders were under pressure dealing with a tough situation. The rest of the CLTD's as well as staff really stepped up to get gratis done and support each other and us as leaders" Star
"During Fireside on Thursday night when we were singing Awesome God. I loved seeing more and more campers joining in"
"I overheard a camper say he was going to join CLTD. 5 of my kids accepted Christ" Qrow
Worship Thursday night after feeling broken and tired. Good to be filled up with God's love and in the presence of other leaders who felt the same
"My weekly highlight was how friendly and encouraging all the leaders and staff were. Also, Fireside worship" South
Week 8 - Teens Week, Ages 14 - 18
We had 52 campers in Overnight and 97 in Day Camp. We do not run a CLTD Program during Teens Week.
A prayer request that we would have coming out of Teens Week would be for the numbers in the Teens Week to grow. We are going to look at some new and creative ways to increase our numbers in our Teens Week Programming. If you know of a youth group who is looking for some summer programming then please pass along our information as we would love to have some conversations.
We had a few guests join us to help with programming this week. We had the Chestermere Rugby club come and do a rugby clinic before The Game which was awesome and then on Thursday Fire Exit Theatre joined us and did classes on Clowning, Intro to Acting and Stage Combat. I really like the creativity that our Programs Team has brought this year and the effort they have put in to bring in special guests. Great job Programs Team.
Some highlights from Week 8 include:
"I saw major growth in one of my campers this week and it warmed my heart big time" Flower
"There was a girl who I had met while volunteering at Street Light back in the winter and she had the opportunity to come to camp. So my highlight was watching her go from extremely nervous the first day to having so many friends by the end. She also gave her life to Christ this week so that was super sweet to witness" Giraffe
"In annihilation Nomad went to tackle me but instead gave me a hug" Jughead
"When I got switched to Day Camp and had to teach kids how to play basketball which I loved because I didn't get to teach my sport all summer" Flo
"All of my hard work paid off with planning Teens Week. It was especially satisfying running events and seeing so many kids have fun with the amount of effort I put in. Also, annihilation, even though my body is now broken" Stokes
"My highlight was praying and prophesying over campers on Wednesday Night. God spoke to them AND refreshed me. Prophesying made me feel like myself again" Bonzai
"My highlight this week was seeing how during such a difficult situation, God unveiled himself in so many instances holding campers and staff close to His heart. God did incredible things this week and I'm so thankful that this team supported one another so well during all of it" Huevo
I loved seeing my kids playing with all the toys and getting so creative. Lego is so fun for them. It's awesome to see the kids using their creativity" Wonka
"My highlight of the week was seeing Kermit drive around on the scooter and when Soul wore 32 sweaters" Vinny
"My highlight was during devos on the last night my girls were bonding over common interests and making plans to get together outside of camp. I love how much they loved each other. They got along so well. It was super sweet to see" Raven
"My weekly highlight was nearing the end on Thursday night my girls told me this was the best week of their summer and thanked me for being a fun, supportive and outgoing leader. They told me I've positively impacted their lives and enriched their relationship with God" Neptune
Between Week 7 and Week 8 we once again hosted the Canadian Wake Surf Nationals. This is great exposure for the camp. We really enjoy hosting this group and we look forward to the opportunity to hosting them again in the future. Another big shout out to all the staff who helped to host these weekend events and continue to help us build great relationships with the community and promote the camp as A Place To Belong for everyone.
Ok, so that's three weeks worth of updates. We are in a our final week right now and then we flip to Fall Programming. The flip happens pretty fast as we are hosting a group here this weekend. It's just a different kind of busy.
Thanks, as always, for your ongoing love, support and prayers.