Friday, 23 October 2015

Stories from Summer Camp 2015

Hello Hello!
I must first apologize for the tardiness of this post! I should have posted this end of season report sooner! Personally, adjusting to the new season has been busy and time consuming, preventing me from sitting down and writing. However, I still think it is not only important to write about summer, but also life-giving! And so, let’s reminisce about the previous season:
To put it simply, camp was awesome. And I mean that in the total sense of the word. I am still in awe with regard to how well camp ran, and how our staff worked, how each person loved each other and this place, and the goodness that God blessed us with. After giving my summer report to the board, they reminded me that there is truly something incredible about this statistic: no campers left camp early due to homesickness. It seems that I had forgotten why we don’t want kids to get homesick. It’s not because we don’t like dealing with homesickness, but rather because we (camp staff) want every camper to love Shekinah as much as we do. We want Shekinah to be a second home for campers the same way it is for us.

And so, our staff that worked towards this goal this year included 1 kitchen coordinator, 8 full time counsellors, 10 counsellors in training, and a great deal of support from volunteers. Allison Schmidt was our kitchen coordinator for the second year in a row, doing a tremendous job with the menu and kitchen organization. Our returning counselors were Meghan Wiens, Nora Pederson, Jenae Funk, and Matt Schellenberg. Or new counselors were Brita Pederson, Ryan Wiens, Dylan Longhurst, and Bandon Janzen. One interesting quirk about our counselors is their love for travel and service. 6 of our counselors have travelled to Guatemala either with Rosthern Junior College Alternative Learning Service Opportunity week or Canadian Mennonite University’s Outta Town program. Speaking of the Outta Town program, 2 of our male staff have been on the program previously, and the other 2 are now currently studying with the program. The 2 staff who did not spend time in Guatemala spent time learning and serving in Granada. The counselors used their experience with service to serve the campers, even sharing their stories during our Bible time. This summer’s curriculum was all about peace; peace with self, peace with others, world peace, and peace with creation. The counselors took on the responsibly of leading a full week of bible for our Sr. Teen camp. They used the curriculum as a basis, but relied on their personal experiences with peace. It was truly incredible to see the staff enjoy taking such a responsibly.
(Left to Right, Top Row: Dylan, Ryan, Matt, Brandon. Bottom Row: Nora, Brita, Meghan, Jenae)

We also had a superb group of 10 counsellors-in-training: Adelle Sawatzky, Dannica Funk, Hailey Funk, Jadyn Lennea, Kaitlin Kolbe, Jesse Neufeld, Zachary Stefanuik, Avery Leblanc, Marcus Kruger, and Conner Friesen. This group of high school students quickly bonded together and began to care for and encourage each other. The C.I.T’s loved spending their time at Shekinah, being a part of the family, and working with the campers. One great thing about our group of C.I.T’s this summer was that they all returned to be campers during our Sr. Teens week! Sr. Teen’s landed up being our fullest week this summer with 33 campers total. Our Jr. Teen’s weeks combined had 40 campers, and our Children’s weeks combined had 30 campers. Our total camper number ended up at 111, which is a little less than 2014. Of course, there is the long list of volunteers that made this summer possible, and better than ever. Volunteers can spend time with us, either in the kitchen, bible tent, or in spirit through our Camp Connections program. This program just finished it’s 2nd summer running, and has really begun to grow roots.

(Left to Right: Hailey, Adelle, Zachary, Marcus, Jesse, Avery, Connor, Jadyn, Kaitlin, Dannica)
Already, I’ve been talking with others and planning for Summer Camp 2016! I’m excited to begin putting these conversations into action, including searching for a new nature focused curriculum for our staff and campers. Yes, that does answer the age-old-question of whether I plan to return for summer 2016 J I’m very excited about continuing my leadership in the summer camp program. Since we’re still in the planning stages, unfortunately I can’t announce much else right now, but stay tuned in to our website, Facebook, and Instagram for updates throughout the year! Like always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding summer camp, feel free to contact me.
Take care for now,

Katie Wiebe
Summer Camp Program Director