Autumn leaves are falling here at Camp Evergreen as we transition from our summer camp ministry into our busy guest group ministry. The question that comes to my mind is - "where did summer go?" When people ask me how summer was - I say great! Our total number of campers was 1,071 which brought our occupancy to 103% - so that's good. We had more than enough staff and volunteers - so that's also good. And campers once again came to know Jesus for the first time - that's very good!
As most of you know (and experienced) we had a fairly wet/cool summer. The bright side is there was never a camp fire ban, our grass continues to be green, and we didn't have much in the way of sun burn as there were maybe two hot days in a row! While we did make some hospital runs, for the first summer in a while not a single ambulance was called! That's also a good thing!
I love summer camp! When asked my favourite time of year - hands down it's summer camp. When asked my favourite age - I always reply our Sparks Camp (youngest camp). Sparks once again did not disappoint as many (many) sticks found their way from the forest to the door of our cabins and dining hall. Flashlights were always handy, Smarties and Skittles disappeared at a phenomenal pace, and lights out was a glorious 8 pm!
Campers of all ages grew in confidence this summer. Campers who were afraid of horses conquered their fear and went on a trail ride. Campers who were afraid of heights leaped into the zip line with pure joy on their faces. But beyond the candy, beyond the activities and games, it's always a joy to see the singing in chapel and hearing stories of how God transformed lives again this summer.
Guest group ministry is also close to my heart as we get the privilege of portraying the love of Jesus to a wide variety of children, youth, and adults each week. Traditionally 40% of our summer campers have no church connection. A lot of those campers come to Camp Evergreen with their school or scout groups and then return in summer.
This September and October are again very busy as several of our guest groups are a little larger than normal. Great for revenue, a little hard on us as staff! In fact if you are available to join us between October 15 and 20 we would love to see you here at camp. William D Pratt school is joining us for the first time with 146 students plus adults! Yikes! (Where is that new lodge when you need it?). Lunch on the 17th has William D Pratt plus Ecole Madeleine d'Houet for a total of 231 students over lunch! Did I mention we're looking for some extra help?
And what about those ducks? Remember we hired Finn back in March to start wrangling those ducks. Reaching Higher continues to move forward. We've drilled two new water wells as a part of the water licensing process. The application for our septic system is moving forward as we've been asked some clarification questions from Alberta Environment. (That's a good sign!) And we're planning on meeting in a couple of weeks with four companies who will be bidding on phases 1 and 2 of our septic upgrade.
In case you missed it, just before summer CrossRoads Church in Red Deer gave us a grant for $10,000 to build a new kitchen across the creek at Foothills Outfitters Camp. Rolf was able to get phase one done for this summer which allowed our camps across the creek to cook (Sous-Chef Kato whipping up breakfast) and eat under shelter from the rain, Our goal is to finish the kitchen in spring. Thank you very much CrossRoads!
Thanks for your continued support. If you ever find yourself in the neighbourhood please stop by. I would love to show you around.
Bob "Ranger" Kroeker