Friday, February 24, 2017

That "Aha" Moment

Have you ever had an "aha" moment?  That moment where something "clicks", where something resonated with you maybe for the first time?  Has an "aha' moment ever moved you to action?  Our guest group ministry recently became my "aha" moment.  Alberta, like the rest of Canada is not really that excited about church or Christianity.  And yet Alberta is excited about Camp Evergreen.  We continue to turn guest group after guest group away, simply because we do not have the space in the calendar or our facilities.

And here is the big "aha" moment for me.  We hear story after story here at Evergreen about summer campers who attend our camp directly because of their experience as a guest.  Alberta is coming to Camp Evergreen in summer where they will hear very clearly, the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Think about that for a moment.  Sit down if you need to.  The very people we want to reach out to, are coming to us.  The very people we want to reach, are excited to come to camp.  Our unique style of guest group ministry, our ability to build relationships with our guests because of our full programming is bringing guest after guest back as campers.

Camp Evergreens vision is "to see lives transformed by the power of Jesus."  That was evident again this year as one of our junior staff members wrote the following.

"Camp has allowed me to grow in God more than any other place.  The deep talks between the leaders and other interns has made me more on fire for God than I have been in years.  This summer at camp has taught me so much."

When we talk about Reaching Higher it is really that simple.  We need to grow camp to reach more children with the Good News.  Everything we do, every decision we make has to measure up to whether or not it will help us reach more children.  Why do we need a new lodge?  Here's a very good reason.  It's only the end of February and we already have waiting lists for this coming summer!

What is your "aha" moment with Camp Evergreen?

We continue to make progress on the homes.  In spite of a good dump of snow last night the roof continues to go up on the garage of house number two.  We're waiting for the fireplace to be installed in house number one before we can call for the rough in inspection.  Our good friend Ethan was back to today volunteering.  His sister Ella was volunteering today as well.  We really like Ethan and Ella!

This weekend is our annual junior high camp - Rise-N-Shine.  We're expecting about 80+ youth and sponsors to join us.  There is rumour of a new night game called "Captain Sonar" that involves submarines.  We'll see how it all plays out in the snow.

And what about that strange picture we posted on Wednesday?  Any guesses to what this is?  I'll keep you in suspenders for a couple more days!

Thanks again for your continued support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker - living in a blue submarine!
Executive Director

Friday, February 17, 2017

A New Home For The Trombones

One of the unique things about Camp Evergreen is our guest group ministry.  Working with guest groups in and of itself is not unique.  Most other camps have guest groups.  The Banff Springs Hotel has guests.  Disneyland (I really like Disneyland) has guests.  The unique thing about Evergreen is how our guest group ministry is so effective in getting our guests back as campers in summer.

It starts with our staff.  We have a staff who are passionate about seeing lives transformed by the power of Jesus.  How do I know?  We get phone call after phone call and hear story after story about children coming to summer camp because of their experience as a guest.  Stories of parents who are impressed with our staff and that is the reason they are sending their children to our summer camp.

It continues in the kitchen.  We are known as a camp that puts out some good grub!  (And by grub I mean that in the most awesome sense)  Parents are impressed on how hard we work to accommodate special diets and needs.  Guests are impressed on how good our food tastes.  Our food service is drawing children and youth back in summer.

And its our activities.  Trail rides, the climbing wall, and up on our zip deck.  We start after breakfast and end with yodel and hum.  Our unique style of full programming (at a very competitive price!) draws more guest groups than we can handle.  Every week we are turning groups away because we not have room.  And every time we turn a guest group away, we are turning potential campers away.

That is why we are Reaching Higher.  That is why we are moving ahead with the new lodge.  By expanding our guest group ministry, we are expanding our summer ministry and those stories of children and youth having their lives transformed by the power of Jesus will continue to grow.

We've reached higher this week with some behind the scene projects that most of you will never see, but a lot of you will feel!  Last week when the temperature dipped to -37, the cold took its toll on our furnace in Moose Junction (General Store).  Cornell, Rolf and Jonas were busy this week upgrading our ancient hot water system to a new furnace.  We all know how important candy is in summer!

And finally, we're putting some heat back in our CAB (Creative Arts Building) which has been without permanent heat since 2008.  After putting the trombones in the washroom to practice at our last band camp, we realized it was high time to bring heat back to that building.  We really need the extra space and are looking forward to sprucing up the CAB so the trombones have a home next time they come.

Our homes continue to move forward.  The electrical is ready for inspection and thanks to Kevin and Jesse helping Brian this week, the second roof is strapped and ready for tin.

Thanks again for your continued support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director

Friday, February 10, 2017

Trombones In The Bathroom!

Last week Bev, Courtney and I took a road trip to the west coast to visit with our staff who are currently attending Columbia Bible College.  It was a real treat to connect with them and to be able to take them out for supper at Red Robins.  Not only was my burger very good, (don't forget the bottomless fries!) it was fun to tell camp stories and reminisce about last summer.  Our staff are really the heart and soul of Camp Evergreen and the main reason for our success as a camp.  We're excited that these staff can spend time deepening their relationship with Christ and their knowledge of the Bible at CBC.  We would love to see them all back this summer!

The new homes continue to move forward in spite of a -37 feeling like -45 Wednesday morning!  Our electrician was back and is close to finishing the first house.  We've started strapping the second house (remember, strapping is a good thing) in preparation for those fabulous boys from Gem and Duchess to come back for roof number two.  We met with Ben and Craig this week to talk about cabinets.  Ben's excitement for the homes and Camp Evergreen is very contagious.  All the kitchen, laundry room and bathroom cabinets will be custom built (with love) and installed at no charge to camp!  That is exciting and that is worth sharing!

In other excitement I've discovered the selfie stick.  Similar to Crocs, in that I never thought I would use them, a selfie stick is actually fun and simple to use as you can tell by this blog.  I'm still working on focusing and where to look in the phone.  My kids are already dreading the next holiday with their dad, and as you can tell the staff are pretty "excited" about it as well!

Our two family camps filled up this year in less than three hours.  You read that correctly.  Last year our family camp filled so quick we added another one.  This year we were ready (so we thought) with two family camps.  Registration opened at 9 am and both camps were full before noon.  We are now in the early stages of planning a winter family camp on the February 2018 Family Day weekend.

What about those trombones?  One of the reasons we need a new lodge is because we are running out of room.  Cochrane High School Band joined us this week for their band camp and the only room left for the trombones to have their clinic was in our outdoor washroom block foyer.  Not necessarily the best place to practice, although the acoustics are pretty good.  I guess the plus was they didn't have to ask permission to visit the washroom!

As we continue to reach higher would you consider becoming a monthly donor to either our general fund or Reaching Higher campaign.

Thanks again for your support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director