Recently someone asked me what the biggest highlight of summer 2018 was. My answer was: the change that took place in our local leaders.
Each week in summer we have 12 to 15 campers come to our island camp. We have three or four cabin groups, with about four campers per cabin. Each cabin has a leader who is a relatively mature Christian along with a junior leader who is often a bit younger and likely not quite as far along on their faith journey. For these junior leader positions we give priority to youth from our community who have made a commitment to Christ and are showing leadership potential. Over the years we have had a number of local leaders return for multiple summers. They have grown in their faith and confidence and some have become solid senior leaders. This leadership model has proven to work well and has allowed our local leaders to both lead and be mentored at the same time.
More than half of our staff team were local leaders from our North End community. A number of them were facing huge challenges, ranging from seriously difficult family situations, to drug and alcohol addictions, to wading through the court system, to figuring out how to work toward a grade 12 diploma after dropping out, to dealing with the pain of suicide in friends and family and struggling how to help friends back in the city who were spiraling out of control. Despite the struggles that these leaders faced, they worked hard to make sure the campers had a great time, knew that they were loved, and that the message of Christ was shared with them. Our summer staff team grew very close. We carried each other’s burdens and prayed for each other often.
At the end of summer it was also encouraging to hear their sincere desire not to repeat past failures. It was good to talk and pray with them as they worked on forming realistic plans of how to accomplish their goals.
I see a number of our local summer staff when they come into our Drop-in center and meet with ICYA staff members. It is great to see the mentoring continue. There are still struggles, but there are also many successes and it is good to hear their resolve to press on. I look forward to working with many of them again next summer. Please continue to pray for them as they do life without the support of their camp family on a daily basis.
Praise and Prayer:
- Praise God for the growth that took place in our local leaders this summer.
- Pray that our local leaders will continue to grow and remain faithful despite the daily challenges they face.
- Pray that God will lead ICYA to a new maintenance person soon and that I will be able to fit in all the extra tasks that I am left with until then.
- Pray that we have a good freeze up and safe ice conditions as we travel to and from our island camp this winter.
- Pray that the hearts of our campers will be soft as they hear God’s message for them.
- Pray for wisdom for Matt and myself as we prepare and run the winter camp program.
Gord and Beckie Klassen
Director, Gem Lake Wilderness Camp
Inner City Youth Alive
Home church: Nassau Street Church, Winnipeg, Man.