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


Friday, April 20, 2018

Eleven

Two things came to my mind yesterday when I thought of the number eleven.  First I'm reminded of our good friend Fritzi who was part of our first group of German volunteers back in 2012 - the same year I started here at Camp Evergreen.  We were at a fundraiser in Edmonton (Lendrum) and were heading back to camp late at night.  In need of a snack to help keep us awake at night we stopped at the 7-11 just before exiting the city.  Fritzi was having a hard time deciding what to buy (which if I remember was a regular occurrence!) when I suggested she try a slurpee even though it was quite cold outside.


As she was browsing through the cup sizes, one of the cups had a movie theme on it.  With the movie cup in her hand she realized that this was way too scary of a cup to drink out of, and in replacing the cup back on the stack, knocked a whole wack of cups (a wack is equal too or greater than 4 stacks of cups) behind the slurpee machine.  Fritzi was very apologetic at the counter and that's how we came to calling her Jessica Seven-Eleven Fritzi!  Fritzi ended up coming back a second time to volunteer here at Evergreen and I would like to say thanks again Fritzi, you are welcome back anytime!


Our German connection has become very important to helping us in our ministry.  I think that it is safe to say that without their help over the past six years we wouldn't have been able to serve as many guests and campers as we have.  Claudia arrived this week from Neu-Ulm and is now German number 34!


The other reason I'm thinking of eleven is because when I started this blog we were eleven campers short of our total last summer.  This morning that number eleven dropped to six.  We are 162 campers ahead of last year at this time.  21 of our 28 camps are full.  We recently tweaked a couple of our camps in an effort to create more room for campers.


We are fielding calls every day from parents who are hoping that our web site is wrong, that we're not full and there is room for their child.  I was in the dining room yesterday when Josh was inviting the St. Alphonsus students at the end of their band camp back in summer.  Unfortunately there were very few spots open in their age group.

That is why we are Reaching Higher - to create more room and expand our ministry.  The board will be meeting this Saturday with the only agenda item being Reaching Higher.  We need to grasp the urgency, we need to realize the potential and we need to make a pledge!

And what about the blog word of the week?  St. Alphonsus band left one of their mallets here at camp simply because some of the students couldn't get enough of our dogs.  Sometimes I'm still surprised at how much they are loved.  As the bus was about to leave a couple of boys came into the Welcome Centre to say good-bye - to the dogs - not me!  And they forgot their drum mallet.  I'm glad the dogs are helping us give our guests and campers a great experience, but there must be some way to send the mallet back home with one of the dogs...

Thanks for your support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director

Friday, April 6, 2018

It Happened Again!

Well it happened again.  One of our student guests came with his band camp in March of this year, had a great experience with our staff, and went home very excited about Camp Evergreen.  His parents caught his excitement and registered their family for Family Camp - only to find out that Family Camp is full.  (Remember our first Family Camp filled in less than an hour after registration opened!)  This family is now 7th on the waiting list and hopefully there is enough movement on the list that we can get them in.


This challenge is not new to us.  We are entering our very busy spring season next week.  From Tuesday until the end of June (actually till the end of October) we will have a guest group on site every day.  Many of our student guests will have the same great experience this young man had.  They will bond with our staff, (we have a great staff!) and will go home excited about Evergreen.  However, when they try to register for summer camp it will be full.  As of writing this blog we are 132 campers ahead of last year at this time.  16 of our camps are full.  We have made some adjustments to ages and camps in an effort to squeeze a few more campers in this summer.  And yet, we have been turning children away as early as January.


Between now and the end of June we will see approximately 1,500 guests, the majority of which are camper age.  We will be turning campers away for the next two months.

That is why we are Reaching Higher.  The board has recently talked about increasing our ministry capacity by 50% in 5 years.  That is an aggressive goal.  But the reason is as simple as it is clear - we want to see more children have a life changing experience here at Evergreen.  Pray for us as we work hard to accomplish that goal.

With all our guests and campers we are still looking for a few more spring staff and summer volunteers.  The spring staff positions are paid positions and you can contact Lane for more information.  staff@camp-evergreen.com


In summer we're looking for adult volunteers to spend a week in the (fun) kitchen.  And if you're 16 years or older and love working with children, we need you to volunteer for a week or six!  Again, please contact Lane for more information.


And what about that blog word of the week?  Some of you are thinking, "How is Ranger going to tie hatchet into Reaching Higher?"  Sometimes I wonder the same thing myself.  Well, this weekend is our Ladies Retreat.  There will be lots of ladies.  (read LOTS of ladies!)  The small lodge reno was finished just in time.  We have a coffee plan ready to kick in, (did you catch the pun?) and it looks like we will huck some boots again.


New for this year...well you will just have to wait to find out about the hatchet.  But I can say with great confidence, there is a hatchet somewhere in Ladies Retreat 2018!


Thanks for your continued support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director


Friday, March 23, 2018

What's Going On?

I often have people ask me how things are going and what do you do in the winter?  While it is true that we have less guest groups in winter, that doesn't mean we are less busy.  In fact, in some ways we are busier, especially when it comes to projects.  Here is a list of ministry expansion projects (formerly special projects) that we've either completed or are currently working on since the beginning of November.

 - Built 30+ shelves.

 - Built 7 bunk beds.


 - Painted the shoe shelves.
 - Painted the mini lodge interior.
 - Working on the beverage counters.


 - Painted both mobile home interiors.
 - Installed new beverage counter lights.
 - Painted the upstairs lodge - "staff" side.


 - Added equipment to our archery range.
 - Many, many, (many) hours spent making ice.
 - New flooring in the upstairs lodge washrooms.


 - Making a new Nine Square game - thanks John!
 - Working on a new guest group orientation video.
 - Painting the boot rooms and hallways in the lodge.
 - Installing an en-suite door into the guest washroom.
 - Installed a permanent video projector in the Heritage Room.


 - Shoveled snow.  Lot's of snow.  More snow than we wanted to shovel!
 - Renovated the Creative Arts Building.  (CAB)  Including some new shelving, painting the floors and the walls.
 - Continued work on The Fort.  Took down scaffolding, cut down two trees in preparation for finishing this spring.


As I look at this list I'm thankful for our staff working hard to keep Camp Evergreen looking good and moving forward.  A BIG thanks to Rolf as his hand was pretty much in every project!  We would like to finish these projects and if time and resources allow reach a little higher by starting a few more projects.  You can help us by making a donation to ministry expansion.

June 23rd.  I'll stop blogging for a minute while you get out your calendar.

Did you find it?  It's the second last Saturday in June, right between the 22nd and the 24th.  Go ahead and put Camp Evergreen Annual General Meeting in your phone/ipad/calander.  I'll wait for you.


June 23rd is our AGM, the perfect way to support Camp Evergreen and check out all the new projects.  I look forward to seeing you there.

And where does the blog word of the week fit in?  We're talking about none other than Ken's Uncle Ben VanHaga!  Uncle Ben is Ken's mom's younger brother, number 7 out of 10 siblings to be exact.  Uncle Ben helped us out by donating his truck to deliver hay.  On  behalf of our horses - thanks Uncle Ben!












And thank you for your continued support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director