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.
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 as well as a message of growing in faith from one of our summer staff. In a year unlike any of our 80 years of camp ministry, the shores of MacKinnon Island this season were again quieter than usual. We are so thankful for the programs that ran despite the challenges, and our seasonal team did an amazing job being creative and making it an amazing summer for over 120 campers.
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 experienced the transformation of lives despite a pandemic.
The life-changing work of camp ministry
From the Director’s table: by Neil Steward
What a great year it has been to serve the Lord. While it has looked very different from previous years it is exciting to see that by focusing on the things camp does best, we have continued to see campers’ lives changed and staff grow in their relationship with Christ
Praise God that young people could experience something that felt normal and uncomplicated by current events, and that provided friendship and nurtured their faith. Our own children participated in several of our activities and still talk about the fun and friends they made as if it was just last week.
Our goal last summer was to connect meaningfully with campers, staff, alumni, and our community while keeping the site in shape for a fuller program next year. With the help of alumni, volunteers and many ministry partners, we accomplished all these goals and more.
When we were able to be on site, we were encouraged to look out on the front bay and hear friends call out greetings as they paddled around Shoal Lake. We were also able to spend time with our First Nations neighbours. On three afternoons, we all got together to play baseball — a time of laughter, comradery and sharing of gifts (snacks mainly!). In September, students from our local campus groups came to camp to experience community and help us close up for the season.
We hope you will enjoy hearing more about this season from the stories our team shares throughout this year’s online publication of our Pioneer Press.
Over the past two challenging years, we were able to continue our mission through your help. You prayed, supported online events, sent kids to our summer programs, and gave financial gifts and time. We are so thankful for the community around us.
Could we humbly ask you to consider making a year-end donation to help us as we prepare for Summer 2022? We hope to offer a full complement of summer camp programs and need your help as we recruit staff, plan sessions and advertise camp to more families. Through your partnership, we are confident that we will be more than ready for the life-changing work of God that awaits us.
Praises for our Seasonal Staff!
By Spencer Kushir, Staff Registrar & Programming
The summer of 2021 is one that handed us many challenges and gave us many opportunities to turn to God and give praise. We praise Him for all the amazing work that we have been able to do and for providing a team that was passionate to put it into action.
Of Waiting and Remembering in Anticipation
By Sharon Steward, Chef & Special Projects
In yet another season like no other, this time of constant revision and reimagining is worth remembering. At the very least it is worth reflecting on all the new things we attempted and learned along the way while growing together as a team and ultimately in our relationship with the Lord.
A Faithful God
By Nate Rempel, Program Director
We entered this past camp season as if shooting at a target which lay, unseeable, just over the crest of a hill: still with a sense of what direction to aim, of how much strength to pull back our bow string, of how the wind might affect our arrow on the other side of the hill, but without knowing for sure. With a lack of certainty about what kinds of constraints and roadblocks we would face due to the Covid-19 pandemic once July arrived, we planned–we aimed toward an unclear target–expectant that God would provide the right space and time to safely welcome kids back to camp.
Generation to Generation Site Renewal
By Pete Dearborn, Project Director
Covid has definitely impacted our Generation to Generation Site Renewal efforts. Our camp season began with no access to the site until mid-May, and then health protocols limited when volunteers and workers could arrive. However, we still moved our new building forward significantly, especially in the late summer and well into the fall.
The Essential Program
By Jana Neufeld, Administration & Programs
Last winter, as we prepared for the summer of 2021, we had a whole filing cabinet worth of tentative summer ideas for various scenarios of restrictions, from big camps to small camps, city day camps and day canoe excursions, camper lake trips and family groups. We held all these ideas in an open hand, hoping that come July it would be safe to realize at least a couple of them.
By Grace Harding, MPC seasonal staff
This year marks my eighth year at Manitoba Pioneer Camp and my fourth year as staff. The island has always been a place where I have thrived. Each year that I have spent at camp has helped me develop new skills, learn new things about myself, and develop my Faith. Camp offers me the opportunity to set aside time to work on my relationship with God, which is something I look forward to each time I come back. Throughout the school year, it is easy to get caught up in the stress and responsibilities that come along with everyday life. This summer especially, camp helped me to slow down and work on growing my faith.
We moved out of our downtown office in 2020 and continue to work from home during the months we are not at camp. Please note our mailing address below. We thank you for your continued support of camp ministry.
Donations can also be written by cheque and mailed to us at:
InterVarsity Pioneer Camp Manitoba
PMB#321, 360 Main St, Unit 13 B
Winnipeg, MB R3G 3Z8