Friday, January 27, 2017

Reaching Higher vs Reaching Higher Capital Campaign

You've heard us talking a lot about Reaching Higher lately.  Sometimes we talk about reaching higher as a camp by adding a grease trap, a week of camp or with new coffee mugs.  Sometimes we talk about Reaching Higher our Capital Campaign with the current focus being our two new staff homes.  While there is a difference, both are equally important.  Let me try to explain.
Our vision here at Evergreen is to see lives transformed by the power of Jesus.  We accomplish that through two main ways, our guest group ministry and our summer camp ministry.  Both ministries are equally important and we want to reach higher in everything we do to become more effective.

We reach higher at Evergreen with big things like adding another week of summer camp which allows us to impact more youth and children.  We reach higher with smaller things like new coffee mugs because drinking coffee at camp is a good way to build relationships.

As a camp we don't want to stagnate, we want to continue to improve in how we interact with our guests, our campers and our staff. We want to reach higher in everything we do.

Camp Evergreen is currently experiencing a challenge of not enough room.  If all our summer campers, all our summer staff and volunteers wanted to sit down in the dining hall at the same time, there wouldn't be enough room.

Our summer camps are filling faster every year and the reality is that before we hit this summer we will be turning many campers away.

Guest groups continue to grow and we are turning guest group after guest group away simply because we do not have the room.

This is where our Reaching Higher Capital Campaign comes in.  The current focus is on phase one - our two staff homes - that we need in order to keep up with our growing staff.  We also need a new lodge which includes a kitchen, dining hall, lodge rooms, meeting rooms and an Activity Centre.  By building a lodge we can increase both our guest group ministry and summer camp ministry.

Our desire and need is very simple.  We need more room so that more children and youth can have the opportunity to have their lives transformed by the power of Jesus every summer.  It can't get any simpler than that.  And that is the vision we are asking you to join.

What about the sea cans?  Those sea cans were full of donated showers and tubs that we can use for our new staff homes and the new lodge.  A big shout out to Paul who connected us with this opportunity.  Things got a little dicey as the truck was trying to turn around, but thankfully all is well and as a staff we were able to unload and organize the contents this morning.

A big thanks to Brian, Dustin, Kevin and Jesse (our fourth father/son volunteers) for joining us this week.  We had more plumber action, the electrician made his first appearance with his black sharpie (that three on the stud actually means a two way switch), the HVAC (furnace) is being installed and Scott and Brian had a bit of a ballet with the trusses as they moved them to the house from the parking lot.

Thanks again for your continued support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director

Friday, January 20, 2017

Are You Sitting Down...

If you're not sitting down you might want to for this weeks blog.  Starting last Saturday it was a very busy week here at Evergreen.  In case you missed it, Saturday was our annual Pond Hockey Tournament and we raised $30,000!  A big shout out to all who participated, volunteered, played and donated.  Craig Wiens and his Dalhousie Divers won the coveted top fundraiser trophy and took home this years prize, the Evergreen hockey jersey.

Lots (and by lots I really mean LOTS!) of action on the house build this week.  Our plumber started plumbing, the windows and doors went in and we now have up and down stairs to the basement.  And if that is not enough, we need to talk about the tin roof action.  By tin roof we're not talking tin roof sundae ice cream - which by the way tastes very good!  (tin roof is one of my favourite flavours in case you ever take me out for ice cream...)

The tin roof we're talking about is our first house!  Through one of our Gem MB Church connections, Norseman Metal Supply not only supplied the tin and installed the tin, they did this at no cost to camp!  (that's why you should be sitting down!)  A HUGE thanks to Ron and the rest of his team out of Duchess.  Ron brought with him Chapo, Jacob, Alex and his son Brock - who at age five - was picking up scrap pieces of tin for his dad!  Gem MB Church supplied some extra hands: Andrew, Dylan, Peter, Richard and Ethan - thanks for coming, it was great to see you here.  You will recognize Richard and Ethan.  This was their third time volunteering as father and son.

Craig, Jordan and Gary were here Friday making sure things are in place for our plumber who is coming back Monday.  Gary moved the laundry room door over a couple of inches.  Jordan was busy with I P D (has nothing to do with an internal police department) at the fireplace.  Craig did finally realize after a moment of reflection that the tub didn't go in the middle of the bedroom.  Good thing Kevin was here!  Apparently he was just measuring in the middle of the bedroom.  (measure once cut twice as the saying goes :))

And if that wasn't enough, the highlight for me this week was when two of our campers made a donation for Reaching Higher.  Can we stop and talk about that for a moment.   Two campers, at a young age, on their own initiative, donated a significant amount of their own money towards camp.  It makes me incredibly proud and humble to be part of this ministry.  It also challenges me and motivates me in my own support of Evergreen.

What's next?  Its time to start thinking about drywall, flooring, painting and appliances.  If you or someone you know has some good connections please let us know!

Thanks again for your continued support as we reach higher to see more lives transformed by the power of Jesus!

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director

Friday, January 13, 2017

Record Breaking Fourth Time!

Our good friends Walter and Don are back volunteering on the house build.  Walt is back for his record breaking fourth time and Don is back for his third time.  How cool is that?  And not only is Don back volunteering, he brought us some more Gem beef!  Thanks Gem for keeping us in the beef.  Don't forget the forecast for next week, we are still looking for volunteers and it will be a good week to be here!  You might even get away without long johns!  (unless of course you're talking donuts)

The outside walls are up on house number two and today was spent "strapping" the first house.  Some of you might be thinking the same thing when you hear the word strapping.  You might remember waiting for your father to come home from work after your mother read on your report card - for the second report in a row - Bobby (for example only) continues to be the class clown.  I can still hear it in my mind, "Just wait until your father gets home..."  Don't worry, this kind of strapping is totally OK and I had good reasons for being the class clown in grade four!

Any guesses to what this is?  We reached higher this week with a grease interceptor!  I know, you might be rolling your eyes thinking Ranger you're stretching it, reaching higher with grease?  Well we eat a lot of bacon here at Evergreen and we've had our 4" sewer line plug up with a very solid white, greasy looking blob.  (hope you are not eating right now! And if you are, you should put your cell phone away at the table)  The last time the steam truck came to blow out the line it took eight (8) hours to unclog!  So this is good news all around.  Bring on the bacon as we reach higher and hopefully we won't need the steam truck for a long time!


Pond Hockey is tomorrow!  Saturday, January 14th.  The man and woman hours of preparation continue to mount as we are now in the final hours.  9 teams are joining us this year and we're looking forward to a great day.  The forecast is a high of -1!  That's almost plus temperatures!  There is no cost for spectators, just let us know you're coming so we can prepare to feed you.  And since it's one of our two main fundraisers for the year don't forget your cheque book - we have a great silent auction selection.

Thanks again for your support,

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director

Friday, January 6, 2017

We've Moved!

We've moved from the first house to the second house!  While the first house isn't quite finished yet, we've started on house number two.  Things are looking very similar except for all the snow!  A BIG thanks to all the volunteers who have joined us so far and if you're able to join us on the second house that would be great!  You never know how good you can use a chop saw until you try. Remember, measure twice, cut once!



Our third father/son team joined us this week in spite of the cold.  Walter Loewen - our first full time director here at Evergreen - and his son Matthew joined us for two days.  We will be seeing a lot more of Walt over the next little while as he helps us reach higher by re- connecting with previous campers, staff and supporters.  Speaking of father/son we've got early plans underway for our father/son retreat in June. There is a strong rumour of Dad's Root Beer!



Summer camp registration is now open!  Its always an exciting time to see camper after camper register for summer camp.  This year we have added an additional week of summer camps including our brand new Jr Explorers camp for campers entering grades 2-4 next fall.  As a staff we will take the next six months to plan on how we can make each week of summer our campers best week of their year!  Our theme for 2017 is Shine based on Matthew 5:14.

As we continue to move forward with Reaching Higher a question that we often hear is, "Is Camp Evergreens Vision Changing?"  The answer is an emphatic no. Camp Evergreen was started over 50 years ago with the mission of seeing lives transformed by the power of Jesus.  That vision has not, and will not change. Everything we do, every decision we make, points us in that direction.  


The way camp operates, our facilities, our schedule, and our staff will always be changing.  Doing callisthenics before breakfast was something that we used to do here at Evergreen, but I don't think our campers would appreciate that this summer.  We used to have one counselor for 8 or 9 campers.  One of my favourite stories from Seniors Day several years ago, was a young man showing up to camp and being put in charge of two cabins!  Apparently he spent most of his time that week running back and forth from each cabin.  I don't think our staff or parents of our campers would appreciate that today!  There will always be parts of camp that need to change, need to be updated.  

However, preaching the powerful Good News of Jesus Christ very clearly each and every summer to each camper will never change.  Reaching Higher, whether that's with new staff homes, a new lodge or even new coffee mugs, will enable us to stay on point with our vision and continue to minister more effectively for the next 50 years!


Thanks for your continued support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker - sipping hot chocolate while plowing snow!
Executive Director