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PIONEER PRESS

 
Welcome to the Pioneer Press! For over ten years we have been publishing our annual update, filled with reports from our year-round staff along with photos and stories from this summer’s staff and also a camper. In a year unlike any of our 80+ years of camp ministry, the shores of MacKinnon island this season were quiet. Pioneer Camp Manitoba was mandated by the Ontario government to remain closed for the 2020 season due to Covid 19; no overnight camps were to run. We were thankful for the straightforward instructions, and our team went straight to digging into what we could do instead.
 
And so, we invite you to read each of the stories from our team members, as they reflect and share from their perspective, on how their roles changed and reshaped as we creatively continued to play out our camp mission and saw the transformation of lives even amidst a pandemic.
 
Donate
Welcome to the Pioneer Press! For over ten years we have been publishing our annual update, filled with reports from our year-round staff along with photos and stories from this summer’s staff and also a camper. In a year unlike any of our 80+ years of camp ministry, the shores of MacKinnon island this season were quiet. Pioneer Camp Manitoba was mandated by the Ontario government to remain closed for the 2020 season due to Covid 19; no overnight camps were to run. We were thankful for the straightforward instructions, and our team went straight to digging into what we could do instead.
 
And so, we invite you to read each of the stories from our team members, as they reflect and share from their perspective, on how their roles changed and reshaped as we creatively continued to play out our camp mission and saw the transformation of lives even amidst a pandemic.
 
Donate

To Quote the LIT Girls, “The summer that still happened”

 

By Neil Steward, Executive Director

 

Hope, excitement, thankfulness, waiting, and learning seem to be the focus of our lives right now; it has been a wild ride working as a team to see how we can connect, manage projects, and help each other through all these changes. I look back at what was my ninth summer at MPC and see all that was accomplished and try to focus on the fact that we still got to see lives changed.

 
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Nate and Spencer came on into the program department only months before the start of Covid and had dreams and energy to see another record summer of growth and ministry. Then we cancelled the Spring Celebration and things started to change. Right along with it came adapting and dreaming up new ways to deliver camp. To run programs, we investigated day camps and canoe trips based out of Manitoba. We learned about permits and regulations and in the end pulled together a summer where lots of things happened and people’s lives were changed positively. From the beginning, our team felt the strong need to stay connected with each other and our community. The Community Food Share program has been a way we could take the expertise and resources of our camp and apply it outside its normal context, as we implemented methods used to pack our canoe trips to packing groceries and meals along with our camp recipes.

 

The upcoming winter season is exciting as usual, as our program staff will be creatively engaging and ministering to staff and senior campers regularly. Pete has winter work weekend plans for what could happen in the new building while starting other capital projects that we have already received support for. While we are accepting donations for Generation to Generation, we have changed our fundraising focus from areas including scholarships, maintenance, site renewal, to solely try to help our community see the importance of supporting our staff and general budget so that funds can be used where needed, in order to keep our camp ministry going.

 

Along with all this change, we have had to shift from looking at numbers and trackable items year over year (such as camper numbers and school groups booked) to a view that truly focuses on our mission. That has taken us to developing how we can bring the expertise which camp has given us, and use that to fulfill our mission. In March 2020, summer camp registration was higher at that time than the year before and it was looking to be another major growth year. Now, we have written a schedule for summer 2021 which if able to run, would see 50% or less of: campers, number of camps and rental groups than in recent years. This will bring us back down to numbers similar to 2013, a time when Pete and I first started seeing the growth that had brought us to full capacity in 2018.

 

Our community has continued to reach out and keep us encouraged. Watching MPC alumni and staff affect their own communities in positive ways has only driven us to continue to have camp fulfill its mission during a time of change. Thank you for your help and your continued support. Please reach out if you have any questions or just want to have coffee, over ZOOM.

A Reflection on the 2020 Season

By Nathan Driedger, Office Administrator

 

A reflection on the 2020 season from the camp office administrator

 
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The Year We Reimagined LIT

 

By Spencer Kushir, Staff Registrar

 

As I joined the camp year-round team in February to help staff and volunteers with their application process, there was no way that we could have predicted what all was going to change over the course of the next year.

 
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Unexpected Gifts

 

By Sharon Steward, Chef & Special Projects

 

In what was our 9th summer of camp ministry, our family was given a reprieve of island life. Certainly not planned, or easy, but gifted none the less. Our three boys experienced a summer taken straight out of my own childhood on the farm in the prairies with daily garden work and yard chores. They had not known a summer beyond camp, and it was good. For certain, we had days in which great longings were felt, mostly for the water and adventures in the woods.

 
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Continuing our Singular Focus

 

By Nathan Rempel, Program Director

 

Joining the Pioneer Camp Manitoba team in January, I was ready to learn and develop and grow our program at camp to be the best it could be. In addition to learning hundreds of names and of course, camp terminology, all of that quickly was put into new context.

 
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Generation to Generation Site Renewal

 

By Pete Dearborn, Project Director

 

I am very pleased to give you an update on our Generation to Generation site renewal. Despite so many challenges this year, Generation to Generation had a remarkably successful summer, including meeting our funding goals for our Phase 1 project, praise God!

 
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Welcome to the Team

 

By Jana Neufeld, Assistant Director of Programming

 

My journey with Manitoba Pioneer Camp began in 2018, when I found myself there for my first summer season; I heard about famous canoeist Bill Mason for the first time and led a two-week canoe trip. I loved it and came back for the 2019 summer season, when I lead the leadership training program.

 
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Summer Report from LIT 2020 Member

 

By Nicola Pensato, Girls Leaders in Training Camper 2020

 

Camp is a place where young people grow and learn and are shaped into the leaders of their worlds, and this year was no exception to that work even though the methods had to be different than usual. Going into a cancelled summer season, the year-round team at Pioneer Camp Manitoba found ways that a Leader In Training program for us 10 young ladies who had been already signed up, could be safely provided.

 
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Being on Staff for the Summer of 2020

 

By Anna Skinner, Summer Staff

 

Life at camp during COVID-19 has been different and adventurous. From an excess in repair jobs in preparation for next year, to daily fluctuating numbers for kitchen staff, to the much needed general maintenance of the island, there has been no shortage of work to be done out here on Mackinnon Island. The number of tasks for small groups of people is never-ending. However, thanks to the fact we were on an island, we were fortunate enough to not have to constantly worry about infection.

 
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