Pioneer Camp Blog
A Faithful God
By Nate Rempel, Director of Programming
In the spring we made the decision to hire a small four-month staff team of 10, who would prepare for any programming that became possible, while completing regular maintenance and site projects on MacKinnon and Cash Island. Hiring a smaller team allowed us to plan and prepare adequately for what programming we thought might be permitted once the summer arrived, while also keeping the core team lean enough to keep everyone busy with essential tasks. Fortunately, as the season progressed, the type and capacity of programming we were allowed to offer increased to the point where we required more staff to meet the need. I’d like to highlight for you 4 of those programs that became possible.
For the month of July, we offered 3 weeks of day camps for children aged 6 to 12, which were held at the Canadian Mennonite University campus in Winnipeg next to the Assiniboine Forest. Our intention with these day camps was to transplant to the city what we do best: from table talks to outdoor education to ‘Evening Program’. Our young campers were excited and engaged each day, eager to learn and play, to make new friends and spend time with old ones.
While the day camps were keeping a team busy in the city, our Leader in Training programs saw an excellent group of 14 teenagers, aged 15 to 17 out to camp for a full month, running from the beginning of July. The LIT program is incredibly important for maintaining the health and strength of our summer staff team from year to year, and so we were very eager to make this an effective and fruitful season in building up new leaders. Though we did not have campers or regular camps with which our LITs could hone their practical cabin leading and programming skills, they did go through an intensive month of training in discipleship and leadership, site maintenance, canoe trip leading and other outdoor education.
Near the end of July, due to some changes in public health regulations and the easing of border restrictions between MB and ON, we were given the go ahead to send out small cohorted canoe trips on Shoal Lake. We were able to put together 4 Voyageur trips geared towards campers aged 12 to 16. These 4-day trips were an incredible opportunity for those who were able to participate, campers and leaders alike.
Summer staff retention was and is still a major point of concern for most camps across the country. Having missed out on two regular seasons, many seasonal staff have gone in search of ways to employ their time, skills, and energy in the absence of summer camp. With this in mind, and with the significant easing of public health restrictions near the end of August, we invited our seasonal staff from previous years, as well as our 2021 LITs to join us at the camp for a week of site work, training sessions, and community building.
We are grateful to God for his faithfulness this last season, for binding our team together in our common mission, for sustaining us in this work, and for providing a safe, fun, accepting, exciting, and challenging environment to communicate the love of Jesus Christ.
Email Nate: [email protected]