Looking back over the summer, I stand in awe of how our Lord’s goodness was evident every day. We were reminded of his goodness when we studied his Word in chapel. We could praise Him for who He is and for His mighty works of salvation. “There is no God like Jehovah!” The Lord also showed his goodness to us through the people that came. We had the privilege of meeting over 400 campers, many of them for the first time. We had many, many volunteers help out, each being there exactly as needed: when we had campers with exceptionalities, in that same week, the Lord would bring us volunteers who had experience or training in that area. How providential!
In addition to seeing God’s goodness in His Word and through people, we could also see it in how He gave us what we needed physically. He protected us from serious physical injury. We were blessed with warm days, in which we could enjoy the beautiful creation and the refreshing pool and splash pad. There are so many other ways in which we could see the Lord’s goodness this past summer. All of it cause us to exclaim, “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 106:1)
The annual Spring Banquet was held on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at Winona Vine Estates in Grimsby. Two hundred and fifty camp supporters gathered together to welcome the staff for the 2016 Summer Bible Camp and offer prayer and praise to God in recognition of his ongoing blessing on the Campfire! program.
Former camp staffer, Zonq! (Peter Vlaar) hosted the ceremonies with his engaging dry wit, enhanced with dashes of camp flavouring throughout. New Board chair, Jerry Vink, articulated the wonder of the amount of ‘breath’ that goes into the Campfire! program, both in the planning and the actual Summer Camp events. He acknowledged the “Breath” of God that is needed to sanctify it all.
Denise Ludwig, Summer Camp Committee Chair, lovingly welcomed the staff to their new roles and prayed that they would have the strength and wisdom for their work and the ongoing support of the board, committees and camp supporters.
One of the highlights of the evening was the Every Breath praise band reunion as they entertained with classic hymns, as well as some contemporary favourites. The evening ended in a communal a cappella rendering of Amazing Grace in honour of our God. The banquet serves as one of Campfire’s fundraisers and we can report that approximately $17,000 was raised towards Camp’s 2016 budget. A special thank you goes out to Cynthia Hordyk, for taking the lead in organizing the banquet, and to all those who supported her in this.
Dear Parent. I have been to camp. I have been to teen week. I know that Capture The Princess is one of the most highly requested games. I know due to the progressive nature of the red team there was a revolution during Teen Week 2 so they played Capture The PRINCE instead. I know that the teens get forced to eat spaghetti with ladels and whisks and turkey basters and I know they just hate it 😉 Poor things.
I even know where the staff hides their candy.
I know you are all so shocked but I am not REALLY a spy. I AM a parent of boys and that is pretty much the same thing, no? I am here to tell you there is no place like Campfire Bible Camp. The whole place warms my heart for so many reasons. Of the most practical, my heart swoons with joy when I see counselors making sure the kids put on their third coat of sunscreen. My heart fills with happiness when I see that the cooks SNEAK beans and peas and carrots into meals and the kids don’t even notice. THEY DON’T EVEN NOTICE. I melt with warm fuzzies when I see counselors and staff encouraging a culture of gratitude and service, and ensuring they clean up after themselves at mealtime. ARE YOU HEARING ME? THE KIDS EVEN SCRAPE THEIR PLATES OFF and there are times when I just want to pay off the staff’s student loans because thank goodness for young adults sporting skinny pants and slouchy hats telling our kids to tidy up. Can I get a Quiet clap for summer camp? CAN I?
Chaplains work to prepare devotionals that are engaging to the teens. There were times during the presentations of these devotionals when I could hear a PIN DROP. I sat at the fire and listened to strong messages about making RIGHT CHOICES even when it’s hard, about staying on the RIGHT PATH even when it would be easier to follow what your friends are doing, even when everyone is doing something different. I heard messages about Job and Jesus, messages directed to teens about life and joy and suffering and how it all is part and parcel of the narrow path. I heard dramatic fireside devos warning teens from quenching the Holy Spirit, not letting their fire for the Lord go out, as water was dramatically thrown at the campfire for added effect and everyone’s eyes went really wide for a second. I saw teens sing and dance with tambourines above their heads swaying with the words from My Servant King and City Harmonic’s Manifesto while they close their eyes and fall in love with worshipping all over again. Or for the first time in their young lives.
I have laid eyes on teens growing in the Lord and I have laid eyes on them growing in prayer.
As a parent of a camper you can feel comfortable about their vegetable intake, along with the physical safety of your child, let me tell you, they are on it! You will feel nothing but JOY when your teens slump into the back of your car exhausted from too much fun, humming WE WILL DANCE ON THE STREETS THAT ARE GOLDEN the whole way home.
by Sabrina Jaspers
Sabrina blogs regularly at Three Princes
“Swimming, swimming, in my swimming pool,
When days are hot when days are cool
In my swimming pool!
Front stroke, side stroke, fancy diving too!
Oh don’t you wish you never had anything else to do?”
The Campfire! Board and Summer Camp Committee are giddy with excitement over sharing the news that the dream for an onsite swimming pool at Campfire! is coming true. As a result of generous visionary contributions, this dream will come to reality D.V. by Summer Camp 2015!
When the camp was conceived on the current Grey County property, a designation for an onsite swimming pool was in the plan. It was always part of the vision to include an aquatic element to the summer camp experience. To date, the Saugueen River has provided the water source to camp via our two ponds. Regular camp goers would admit that these water treasures are best used for studies of God’s creation through critter catch and release and canoe activity and only provide a place for a quick dunk to cool off. Most of the real camp swim experience has been relegated to trips to a local pool or the weekly pilgrimage to Wasaga Beach. The addition of a pool to camp will allow the daily program to revolve around a variety of water games, sports, and swimming skills. Needless to say, during a hot summer, it will also bring great relief for campers, staff, and volunteers.
The Board is pleased to say that this project came to them at the initiative of generous supporters and was met with great interest by the Board of Anchor Association. Anchor has been running its own two week summer camp on the property for the past few years and have enjoyed many of the accessible amenities already in place. One thing that was dearly missing was an accessible swimming pool. This pool will have a “beachfront” access allowing for wading in and will be paired with splash pad accessories. The water temperature will be regulated in order to allow the longest swimming season possible for the campers. The pool location will be alongside the existing accessible washroom, shower and changing facility. This pool will be a great blessing to the Anchor camp as well as to the Summer Bible Camp.
The Board is thankful for the contributions to make this possible and will be seeking volunteer labour where they can to ensure that the donated funds are used as carefully as possible. They remain committed to not finance capital projects by taking on debt, but to raise the funds required before any new project starts.
Ultimately, we are all thankful to our Father in heaven who has made this possible, and we look forward to praising Him daily at camp, especially while we swim!
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