“Camp is better than Disneyland!” One girl’s assessment of her week is not an uncommon sentiment for Camp Evergreen staff to hear. Each week of summer camp is full of crazy wide games, ziplines, horseback riding and more wide games. Include the most amazing food (apart from Mom’s cooking) and unforgettable staff members, and summer camp ranks as, in the words of a camp, “The best week of my life.”
Each summer, staff at Alberta’s only MB camp have the opportunity to build relationships with more than 800 children and youth, sharing the gospel with each and every one of them. This summer, 267 Evergreen campers made life-transforming decisions.
One of those campers is Sarah. Why has she come back for a third year? “The games, the food and how friendly everyone is,” she says. “Camp is a safe place too. I’m not stressed here.” Camp is like an escape from a home where she feels the weight of the world on her shoulders. This year, Sarah realized someone could take that burden. “I need help. That’s why I have decided to become a Christian.”
The Sundre, Alta., camp is entering its 53rd year of ministry. Summer camps are filled to capacity (813 in 2015!) and guest group have booked the camp through fall to spring. Not surprisingly, Evergreen is facing critical facility challenges due to an outdated lodge and lack of indoor activity space. Without significant capital improvements, Camp Evergreen risks losing its current momentum and will be unable to sustain its current growth.
Launched at the June 2015 annual general meeting, the Reaching Higher Campaign aims to break ground for a new lodge in 2016. This new building is not only critical to sustainability, but will allow Evergreen’s vision and mission to grow with new programming and new ministry opportunities.
Ken Dyck, former pastor, church planter, Saskatchewan moderator and a successful businessman, provides leadership to the project, both in the area of fundraising and as building committee chairman.
Camp Evergreen invites prayerful consideration of your support for spreading the good news of Jesus. Details on the Reaching Higher project and how to donate can be found online at reachinghigher.ca. Through this initiative, you can to help Camp Evergreen build a future for campers like Sarah and leave a legacy for the next 50 years.
—Courtney Armstrong is director of partnership and development at Camp Evergreen, a year-round Christian camp near Sundre, Alta., started by the Mennonite Brethren in 1963.