Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Freiwillige


Thanks?  Thank you?  Thanks lots?  Thanks a bunch?  Danke?  

How does one adequately say thank you to all our volunteers?  As with most summers we could not do what we do without the help of many (many) volunteers.  This week alone we have 43 volunteers on site.


Volunteers make me happy for so many reasons.  They are an encouragement to us staff who are here for the summer.  They have energy that is infectious.   They have ideas and different ways of thinking which often helps us.


What do they do?  A wack of things as you can see from the pictures.   Laundry, flowers, kitchen, organizing, making signs, weed wacking, mowing, roofing, garbage runs, cabin leading, AV, hanging tarps, the list goes on and on.  Sometimes we need certain skill set and sometimes a cheerful heart with willing hands does the trick just nicely.

Claudia, who helped me with the blog word of the week – which means volunteer in German - joined us for May and June and journeyed back to Germany where she decided after about 2 weeks at home to return to Evergreen for 3 more weeks.  How cool is that?


Kato was a seasonal staff back in the 1990’s and has returned from Abbotsford to join us for a week.  I’ve been here six years and the cereal boxes have never looked so neatly lined up.  Thanks Kato!


Brian is back for his second summer and brings a whole new meaning to BYOH. (Bring your own horse.)   This year he brought Chevy who is a little afraid of our little donkey Puzzles... 


The list could go on and on.  But for now, thanks very much to our volunteers this week:  Brian, Caleb, Claudia, David, Doris, Eden, Ethan, Esperance, Fiona, Harry, Helmut, Jana, Janice, Jannik, Jaxson, Jesse, Josiah, Joy, Julia, Kathy, Katie, Kato, Kelly, Ken, Kiah, Lennard, Lois, Marni, Micah, Michael, Mirja, Naemi, Nathan, Nathaniel, Noa, Ponn, Rebecca, Rhea, Ron, Shauna, Tamara, Tyson, Yliza



And thank YOU for your continued support.  We are still looking for some help to get us through the summer.  You can connect with Lane for more information.  staff@camp-evergreen.com

Walter Loewen (our first full time director) started his 40 day prayer walk today in Coaldale.  He will be arriving at Evergreen on September 1 and you can follow his progress here.  Walter would love to pray for you if you send him your prayer request.  wbloewen@gmail.com
 

Bob “Ranger” Kroeker
Executive Director




Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Two Hundred and Fifty-Five

It is my favourite time of year - summer camp.  This will be my 26th summer of camping ministry.  Every summer is different.  Every summer has it's unique joys and challenges.  And every summer is exciting.  Why do I like summer camp so much?

C - Christ.  The best thing about summer is that we get to share the life changing Good News of Jesus Christ each and every day in summer.  Morning chapels, evening campfires, cabin devotions, Pit Crew Bible studies, Intern quiet times, morning staff meetings are always focused on Christ.  While we will never coerce or pressure any camper or staff into making a faith decision, we will very clearly present the Gospel each and every day and trust that the Holy Spirit will work in all of our hearts.


I love the stories that we hear each week of different campers growing and seeing their lives being transformed.  I love giving Bibles out each week to campers who do not have God's Word in their home.  I love seeing our staff being challenged and stretched, relying on Christ's strength to get them through the week.

I love being able to share Christ with campers who have little or no idea of who Jesus is.  We are entrusted with our campers lives and need to make sure we do our best to give them their best week of the summer here at Camp Evergreen.


A - Atmosphere.  I love the atmosphere of summer camp.  Last week was our first week of summer camp and even though we had just come through a long training week you could sense the excitement in our first staff meeting.  Everything we talked about, all the activities we practiced teaching, all the food we had prepared, came together when the Welcome Centre windows opened and we registered our first camper.

For those of you who have worked at a summer camp you know what I'm talking about.  The atmosphere of excitement and wonder.  What's happening next?  Will we have bacon for breakfast?  Are we playing Jug and Jog tonight?  There is energy in the atmosphere!


M - Munchies.  If you know me at all you know that I love munchies.  I can't remember not liking munchies.  Thinly sliced vegetables (chips).  Dairy and grain (ice cream sandwiches).  Root beer (root beer).  They all taste good.  In summer we have tuck time every day.  (every day!)  Tuck time is a great opportunity to hang out with your cabin, to connect with your campers and of course to play Willson Ball.  Tuck time is a great opportunity for the director to get out of his office and relate with the campers by having an ice cream sandwich!


P - People.  The second best thing I love about summer camp is all the people.  This week Ainsley is our youngest person on site at age one.  Helmut could be our oldest but I didn't actually want to confirm his age because ice cream partners have to look out for each other!  This week is one of our busiest camps.  102 Trail Blazers, 21 Charge campers, 12 Roughin' It girls, 16 Pit Crew 1, 16 Interns, 77 staff and volunteers and 11 guests for a grand total of two hundred and fifty-five people!  255 people is a great segway into reminding us to pray for Ken and the kitchen staff and to consider volunteering in the kitchen!


My blog word of the week is Levi.  Levi is a future camper and future staff member who already loves tuck time!  Levi is one of the people that makes us a summer camp.  Levi is the reason we're reaching higher.  By the time Levi is on staff he will be able to serve his campers even better than we're serving our campers today because of our commitment to see more lives transformed by the power of Jesus.

Thanks for your continued support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director










Friday, June 22, 2018

A G M

Our Annual General Meeting and Open House are tomorrow, June 23!  Before you run away because you read the words AGM let me remind you that Camp Evergreen's AGM is a little different.  We'll start with a few warm ups because every AGM needs a few warm ups!  We'll sing a couple of camp songs and two staff members will share a brief testimony of how Camp Evergreen has impacted their lives.


Kevin will give a great, exciting, and understandable (maybe short?) financial report.  We'll update everyone where we're at with Reaching Higher (our capital campaign).  I'll share my passion for summer camp and about half way through we'll stop for ice cream.  I see you didn't run from the word ice cream!  Right there in the middle of the meeting, before lunch, real live ice cream!  Mentioning ice cream was enough to get Helmut and I to attend.


Three new board members will need to be voted in and our board chair Eric will give us a great report!  (No pressure Eric!)  Courtney will be sharing about what is happening at camp and we'll get our first peek at next years summer camps and dates.  We'll end the meeting by heading over to our Fort fire circle to dedicate it and pray for our summer staff.  There, that doesn't sound so bad does it?


After lunch we have our Open House where activities will be open and the day ends with a BBQ, and you guessed it - more ice cream.  It's helpful to know if you're coming so we can better prepare meals.  If you haven't already let us know please give the office a call.


Thanks for your continued support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director




Friday, June 8, 2018

Story Time

I like stories and have been an avid reader from an early age.  One of my favourite stories as a child was Bartholomew the Beaver.  Bartholomew was a young beaver who didn't want to grow up (I can relate) or work very hard.  (sometimes I can relate to that as well!)  That all changed one day when suddenly he needed some adult skills when he met a wolf!  A story that I like to tell new staff members is about the man who went ice fishing and didn't catch a thing all day!  For some strange reason the moment I start telling the story, other staff who have heard the story groan and ask me to stop!  I'm not sure why.

Here are a few recent Camp Evergreen stories as we continue to reach higher.

Centre for Learning at Home is a Christian school that works primarily with home school students.  They have been coming to Camp Evergreen the last couple of years for their fall retreat and about 100 students are booked in again this year.  Barry, one of our current board members, was at their graduation ceremony last week as his oldest child graduated this spring.



It was the usual grad ceremony with pictures, good food and stories.  Each grad was asked to share briefly their memorable moment from their entire school experience.  Student after student shared about their experience at Evergreen.  Some of the students conquered their fears at the zipline.  Other students enjoyed the activities, while still others met their best friend at camp.  Nearly half of all the grads shared that Camp Evergreen was their highlight.  How cool is that?  A big shout out to our seasonal staff for giving each guest who comes to Evergreen such a great time!

Jim was a camper at Camp Evergreen many, many years ago and wanted to re-connect.  After spending some time on our web site he gave me a phone call.  We chatted for several minutes and Jim ended up sending us a donation for campership aid.  This story encourages me that if we give someone a good experience today, someday they may encourage us back!


Speaking of campership aid, we raised just over $10,000 with our Dalhousie and Bob Thiessen pancake breakfasts (at lunch) last Sunday!  Thanks very much for the staff, board members and donors who served us so well.  Here is a picture of my pancakes, covered of course in whip cream out of the can!  Our third and final pancake breakfast (at breakfast) will be in Linden on Saturday, June 16.




And finally - the blog word(s) of the day - Tough Camper Run!  Our first ever Tough Camper Run will be happening tomorrow - June 9th.  We're excited that over 60 individuals and families will be joining us for the fundraiser.  We've put together some obstacles, there's a mud pit, and John actually changed the course to run through more mud!  It's not too late to come out and support us as a spectator.  Just call camp so we know you're coming!



Thanks again for your continued support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director

Friday, June 1, 2018

Extra Curricular

Can we talk pancakes for a second?  Who doesn't like pancakes?  Well I know some of you don't like pancakes, but I'm pretty much a pancake lover.  Breakfast, lunch or supper it doesn't really matter.  Denny's Grand Slam with pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon along with a glass of ice and a glass of milk.  I'm getting hungry just blogging about it!


I'm not super big on crepes or what we would call German pancakes as a kid.  (Entschuldigung, meine deutschen Freunde!)  Thin pancakes do taste pretty good when you spread lemon juice, sugar and whip cream on them.  (Especially with the whip cream in a can that you accidentally spray directly into your mouth - hypothetically speaking of course!)




I'm also not big on adding extra curricular activity to pancakes - blueberries, chocolate chips, bananas, whole wheat etc.  I'm a firm believer in the "pure" pancake, swimming in syrup, and if there's any left over whip cream from the crepes...

Why am I going on about pancakes today?  This coming Sunday - June 3, we are having two pancake breakfasts at lunch.  (Just saying pancake lunch felt a little awkward.)  A crew of us will be at Dalhousie Church after the morning service and a second crew will be up in Edmonton at Bob and Marianne Thiessen's starting at 12 noon.  A third pancake breakfast (this time at breakfast) will be on Saturday June 16 in Linden.


Photo Credit Tammy Hanratty


The purpose of these three meals is to raise money for our campership aid.  In 2018 we have already designated $24,000 to help campers who otherwise could not come to camp - come to camp!  The board has said that we will not turn any camper away due to finances.  How cool is that!  We are looking for your help to make sure these campers can come.  Don't like pancakes?  Can't make the dates or locations above?  You can easily skip the pancakes and send your cheque directly to camp marked "campership aid!"





We have just heard back officially from Canada Summer Jobs that we will not be getting any funding this year because of our beliefs.  While the result is not surprising it is still disheartening.  In some ways I feel that our Prime Minister is more supportive of faith and religion in other countries than here in his own country with the people he was elected to serve.  Sorry for the rant!  :)



Currently we have students on staff who really need the extra income the grants provide to get them back to Bible college and university in fall.  Last year we received $30,000 from the Canada Summer Job grant program and we would like to raise that again this year.  It would be very encouraging if as an Evergreen community we could rally around our seasonal staff and support them better than their own government.  Bev and I will dig a little deeper.  Will you join us?  Please mark your cheques "CSJ."

Thanks for your continued support and I hope to see you at our AGM on Saturday June 23rd!

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director

Friday, May 18, 2018

Thirty-Six

What comes to your mind when you hear Annual General Meeting?  As a kid I remember associating Kentucky Fried Chicken with my churches AGM.  I'm not sure if that was an actual AGM I'm remembering, but I for sure remember enjoying the chicken!  It seems to me that during the actual "meeting" I would just run around and play in places I shouldn't.  Hiding way up above the baptism tank was always a little scary.


As a pastor I remember using snacks at one of my churches in an effort to get people to attend.  I think my favourite church snack is Elsa's lemon thingys.  They are a cross between a danish and a strudel, flaky (good flaky not bad flaky), and oh my lanta do they taste good.  I'm pretty sure folks came out just because of her dessert!

Camp Evergreen's AGM is coming up in just 36 days.  That's plenty of time to make plans to attend or adjust some of your current plans so you can attend on Saturday, June 23rd.  Our AGM is one of the most important calendar days of the year for us as a Society.  Article 6.1 in our constitution states we need to have an AGM within six months of our year end - December 31st.  June 23rd is cutting it close, but we like to live on the edge!


Article 6.3 states we need to give you at least 21 days notice.  We've been talking about the AGM for months now, but in case you missed it - in 36 days we are having our AGM!  (June 23rd)  :)

One of the most important parts of the meeting is electing our board members who ensure Camp Evergreen keeps operating in the manner our Society expects.  We'll hear some reports from the board, myself and new this year is our financial audit.  (I was hesitant to use the word audit in an effort to get  you to attend, but Kevin our treasurer reports in normal language so you should be OK)

We usually sing a few camp songs and start with warm ups.  We will hear a few testimonies from staff members who have seen their lives changed at Evergreen.  Often we try and have small group discussions on a wide variety of topics that will help us do our ministry better.  And the other important thing...we have ice cream right in the middle of the meeting!  You read that correctly.  How many AGM's have you attended where they serve ice cream?

Photo Credit Tammy Hanratty
I've often said that Camp Evergreen is only as strong as it's support.  That is true.  Without your prayers, financial giving and volunteering, we would simply not be able to be as effective as we are with our ministry.  However, I recently thought of this from a different angle.

Photo Credit Tammy Hanratty

Not only are we as strong as our supporters, but as our support grows or increases, so do our ministry opportunities.  Our current ministry is huge.  We are seeing lives transformed every season.  But our ministry potential is astronomical!

Imagine having a full camp year round.  Imagine more campers coming to know Jesus.  Imagine more public schools joining us, more guests with different faiths.  Imagine more activity options and more structures for Rolf to build...


I hope you can imagine joining us on Saturday June 23rd? 

Thanks for your continued support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director


Friday, May 4, 2018

Return of the Jedi..Or was it the Tractor?

If your children are as crazy about Star Wars as our children are, you know that they are celebrating today by saying as often as they can, "May the 4th be with you!"  Bev and I aren't huge fans so their love of Star Wars came from the Braun cousins who got them started at a young age.  Just to be clear, Bev and I like Star Wars, we're just not analyzing each movie four ways from Sunday to see who matches what in the 2nd movie which is the 6th movie or who is related to who.  Spoiler alert - Luke's father was Dar...I digress.


Our tractor was supposed to return today from a long overhaul up in Bob T's shop in Edmonton so we were all ready to celebrate "The Return of the Tractor" but it turns out "The Tractor Strikes Back".  The tractor front wheels were not cooperating this morning so it needs a bit more love.

Bob took the tractor back in November and along with Don and several others have put many (many) hours going over the tractor with a fine tooth comb or should I say a finely polished lightsaber (welder).  By my count they have fixed over 35 things, at times fabricating the part to save money.  Shops who have no connection with Evergreen have donated parts - simply because we are a children's camp.  How cool is that?  Complete strangers supporting Camp Evergreen.

Why is a tractor important to blog about?   This is an example of the strong support we have for Camp Evergreen and an encouragement that we still need volunteers supporting our ministry.  As our support grows, so do our ministry opportunities.  While it is true we need volunteers on site, volunteers who fix our tractor in Edmonton are just as important.  You may remember Bob and his Posse from Lendrum also fixed our Gator as well as building and donating our horse wagon.  We will use all three with the goal of seeing lives transformed by the power of Jesus.



Does a tractor help us Reach Higher?  One of my current board members and previous staff members may remember the time at a former camp where I was up in the bucket of a tractor, being driven around (slowly, oh so slowly) in the middle of a wide game (read middle of a wide game), throwing buckets of water on the campers.  Of course this was before insurance restrictions, safe place etc. (sorry Harry if you're reading this).  Of course we would never do this today (John), but technically speaking I was reaching higher in a tractor!

We use the tractor on a regular basis to feed our horses and plow snow (sometimes in summer).  We cut grass with it, move gravel and even outhouses.  I realize from experience that it is possible to feed horses without the tractor - but it is very difficult.  A tractor is a much needed tool to help us share the life changing news of Jesus with our campers.

Thanks Bob's Posse for your continued support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director