Friday, April 20, 2018


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.

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