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

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. 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.

Neil and Sharon Steward have served with InterVarsity at Pioneer Camp Manitoba since March of 2012. Their boys Nikolai (12), Zachary (9), and Samuel (6) love being camp kids and working alongside their parents. In the off-season, they live on an acreage near Winnipeg.


Email Neil: [email protected]

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