Vol 4 No. 25 Camping Committee

Any time we talk about camping I am reconnected with a very important aspect of my own life and the life of the denomination. Some of you are tired of hearing how I came to faith at Gull Lake Camp in 1964. I am not tired of telling it. I am not tired of telling how my wife Kerry came to faith at Pioneer, nor how our children Jessica and Andrew and our son-in-law Dave have all been profoundly affected by camping. Our camps at the present face some very grave challenges and dangers; safety, spiraling costs, a strained pool of counselors in overheated labour markets and infrastructure repair that cannot be maintained at current financial levels. Amidst all these challenges, God is present and active. I am excited both about this summer and what God will continue to do in the years ahead. I’d like to thank Darrin Hotte for his contribution to this newsletter.

Grace and Peace to us all in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jeremy Bell


Camping Q&A with Darrin Hotte

Who are you?

Child of God, husband, father, Sr. pastor of Royal Oak Community Church, drummer for 49 North and aging athlete.  In that order.

Oh yes, I Chair the CBWC Camping Committee.  I’ll let you guess where it fits in that list!


What is the camping committee?

In 2003 the CBWC (the denomination formerly known as BUWC) decided to give greater emphasis to its camping ministries.  Our denominational camps have always been very important, but there was a growing awareness that they were even more crucial to the health of the CBWC than they had been in years past.  (Without BLTS and Ascent, our camps became our main leadership greenhouses.)  With the sale of Trinity Lodge, they established a greater ability to help financially.  Along with those funds, they gathered together a team of people to help support and encourage our camp ministries.  The goal was to see all of our camps attain a higher level of excellence and sustainability.


Who is part of it?

We are made up of people all across the West.  We have one camp representative from each area, one other representative from each area, a denominational representative, our Urban Camping Coordinator and myself as chair.  These people are: Mike Oshiro, Henry Dethmers, Jeff Dyer, Jeff George, Leanne Randall, Ryan Sato, Rod Olson and myself.  (For those of you scoring at home, we are one person shy of a full team.)


What do you do?

The Camping Committee provides vision, funds, advice and links to various resources.  We are advocates for our 8 camps and serve as an accountability structure between the camps and the denomination.

We meet twice a year at our various camps, and we have several conference calls per year.  Because being connected to camp staff and boards is so crucial to what we do, we also organize periodic gatherings of camp people.

We also find ourselves dealing with bigger issues that affect the whole denomination. Our camp ministries continue to be some of the most important tools of evangelism and leadership development.  For this reason, our committee grapples with issues such as curriculum development, Urban Camping initiatives, Young Adult discipleship and outreach efforts.


What is the current state of our camps?

There is a lot to celebrate!  God has been good to us through our camping ministries for nearly a century.  Every summer thousands of young people either give their hearts to Jesus or grow closer to him.  As well, hundreds learn more about their spiritual gifts, leadership potential and place in God’s kingdom plan.

However, camps struggle to make ends meet financially, maintain long-term leadership and connect with their constituent churches.

Also, our culture is changing dramatically.  Just like our churches and other ministries, our camps are trying to sort out what it means to fulfill God’s calling in this new world.

There is also a major need for most of our camps to renovate/update or replace many of their buildings, vehicles and program equipment.  Places such as Keats and Gull Lake have recently poured millions of dollars into updating and expansion.  Others need and want to do the same.


How has camping changed in the last 20 years?

Excellent question!  There are all kinds of ways that camp has changed.  Some of those include: a higher concern for mercy and justice, greater consciousness of the environment, a renewed emphasis on discipleship within community, an increased awareness of the full range of spiritual giftedness not just cabin leadership, higher standards for safety and more liability issues.  The average camper has changed as well.  They are used to a much higher standard of entertainment, and the camping experience is probably more foreign to them.  Relationships continue to be very important.


What is the future of camping in the CBWC?

Our camps will continue to be on the leading edge of much of what God is doing among us because our young people are well situated to understand the culture and respond to the Spirit’s leading.  I am thankful that our denomination continues to pay close attention to them.