Friday, October 25, 2019


Steaks!  I was going to start my blog by saying - "who doesn't like a good steak?"  But I stopped myself just in time because a lot of people don't like steaks.  And that's OK.  So I'll start by saying, "I like a good steak!"  The one thing I don't like about steaks - is BBQing them for company.  You see I haven't quite mastered how long to cook them.  I have this guide from Lobel's (some sort of fancy meat company from New York) that I get out every time.  I pull out the tape measure, faithfully measure how thick the steaks are (and then ask Bev to confirm), check out the chart as to how long to cook them, and inevitably the steaks are either still mooing or completely done in.  I have a hard time finding that sweet spot in the middle of the steak.

So the only thing I really like BBQing for company is pre-cooked farmer sausage from...Super Store.  You read that correctly.  Now I know I work at a Mennonite Camp and consider myself fully Mennonite, so I should be talking Winkler or Rempel farmer sausage from Downes Rd in Abbotsford.  But here's the deal, both Bev and I prefer the "Mennonite Style" farmer sausage from Super Store!  Easy to buy, easy to cook, and if you have - let's say almost your whole family over for lunch - you can cover the entire grill with sausage and not worry about giving anyone the gills because you forgot to rotate the meat.  But as usual I digress...

The steaks we're talking about in today's blog are stakes!  Our survey company (it's not like we own it) Al-Tera was on site Wednesday to survey the new lodge, the grease trap, the road way, and the new 10,000 gallon exciting and dynamic septic tank.  Bob T,  Don, Rolf and I (well I actually didn't do a lot!), were the roadies who tied survey tape to long spikes and then pounded them and the stakes into the ground. The picture below of Rolf, Don, and Bob T, is a little misleading.  At this point we were still waiting for Corey (Al-Tera) to finish setting up, and were just giving him some friendly advice.

It took Corey quite a bit of time to get ready to survey the lodge.  First thing we had to do is find Julia to get her to move her car (Mazada not a Honda as we thought) because last time Corey was here he left a spike in the ground to help connect to a satellite.  So he set up his $85,000 machine in the parking lot, headed over to where the new lodge is, set some reference points, came back to the parking lot for his machine, set it up near the new lodge, and we were ready to go.  It seemed like it took longer to set up than to actually survey out the lodge.  (I can sense a blog coming about how long it's taking us to get ready for the new lodge vs the actual time needed to build the new lodge!)

Within a couple of hours and after a great lunch (a good tasting potato and bacon chowder made by Autumn - thanks Autumn!) we were finished.  I can now take you to the four corners of the new lodge, show you where the grease tank is going, and yes, we can actually stand right where the fabulous septic tank is going!  (As someone once said, 10,000 gallons is a lot of poop!)  Some of us on staff saw the stakes for the lodge and thought, that looks smaller than I was expecting.  Others thought it looks pretty big.  One thing is for sure, the new lodge will allow us to not only grow, but to serve our guests, campers, and staff, so much better.  I can hardly wait!

We are still waiting (patiently...) on the Alberta government to respond to our septic system plan and well water licensing.  The bids for phase 1 and 2 of the septic upgrade are due in at the end of the month with construction slated to start April 15th.

When people ask how is Reaching Higher going?  My response is great!  We have been working as hard and as fast as we can from day one - April 7th, 2015, up to and including today, and not once has finances slowed us down! How cool is that?

Thanks for your ongoing support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director

Friday, October 11, 2019

Picture This

Pictures.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  They also say that Henrik Ipsen was the first person to use the phrase!  I've had a few favourite pictures over the last seven years I've been at Evergreen.  I'll focus (pun intended) on one picture in a minute but let me share a couple in the preamble!  And as far as the preamble goes it was difficult to narrow the "field" down.

For those of you who know the Kroeker family, you know that we really (really) like Disneyland.  Bev's parents used to be snowbirds in Palm Springs (Sky Valley) and we would vacation there every year.  Disneyland was a quick trip away and so our love for Disney was launched.  Here we are as a family on Radiator Springs Racers playing Uno.  I wonder who won?

Thanks to our friends Andrew and Lisa we discovered Maui back in 2015.  It has become one of our most restful vacation spots.  No matter how good your picture is, it's not even close to being there in person.

Finn and I go on regular walks.  Sometimes I bring my phone and often I don't.  Very happy I had my phone on me for this shot.  Anyone know where I was standing when I took the picture?

Kids!  My mom used to remind me that kids were baby goats and that I should call them children.  Well we are a children's camp for sure.  While we have all kinds of groups during the year, our focus has always been children in summer.  Here are a couple of my favourite campers!

This is the picture I wanted us to "focus" on.  You've seen this picture before and it's on track to be one of my absolute favourites.  We brought back the rodeo this summer and even though it was a bit of a work in progress, the summer campers and family campers really enjoyed it.  One highlight of course was the exploding outhouse.  (Have you heard of the book Race To The Outhouse?  Written by Willy Makeit and illustrated by Betty Wont)

Isn't this a great picture!  Starting at the far left and moving to your right we have Willy Makeit (Harold), Router (Ken), Acre (Helmut), and Stinky Pete (Dylan) - who's obviously fully engaged with the YMCA song!  Take a moment to click on the picture to make it bigger.  One of the first things you'll notice is the different understanding of the letter Y.  Willy has the tightest Y and by time we get to Pete...well I'm not sure if that's much of a Y anymore.  Willy looks like he is really concentrating, Router and Acre look a little surprised, and Pete  - as we already mentioned - is fully on board!  Did anyone notice Acre's boots?  One cowboy boot and one rubber boot.  Seems like there was a 50% chance of rain that evening.

I just want to say a big thanks to these four men for serving us this summer.  Harold was at the barn all summer, Ken built us a wack (and by wack I mean a wack) of directional signs, we had a hard time getting Helmut off the lawn tractor. and Dylan served us in maintenance alongside Rolf.  There is no way that we could run summer camp without our staff and volunteers, so if you think you've got the mojo to sing the YMCA song complete with actions, consider joining us next summer.  (We'll take you even if your actions are off key!)

We had four companies on site last week for a mandatory pre-bid meeting.  These companies will be bidding on phase 1 and phase 2 of our new and exciting septic system.  (You'd be hard pressed to see the septic system as exciting based solely on this picture!)  The bids will be awarded in November with construction scheduled to start April 15th - subject to frost!

We would appreciate a few extra prayers (and bodies) next week as we have a very busy week.  One very large guest group, followed by a large group, followed by our Lead Retreat with over 100 youth! Did I say busy?

Thanks again for your ongoing support.

Bob "Ranger" Kroeker
Executive Director