The essence of faith is to be alive. We as followers understand that to be alive is to be renewed each day, to experience life in the light of a joy that surpasses all understanding, and live in and share the love of a Savior. At Camp Van-Es kids come to experience just that.
It is so fitting that this year’s theme at Van-Es is “Come Alive.” Kids are brought into a caring community from all walks of life where they experience first hand what it is to be alive. They feel loved, get to laugh and play, sing songs, and be silly as all kids should while learning about Jesus and the love He has for them. It is as they come alive that we see Christ work in their lives and they can come to understand the joy and grace we have been so wonderfully given.
Once again we will be seeing kids from grade 1 all the way to grade 12 filter through the camp gate. Some will enter with smiles and laughter and others with fear and apprehension of the new experience to come. But what we know for sure is that they all leave with hugs, tears of longing for newfound friends and a sense that they are unconditionally loved.
In the last few years it has be great to watch as kids that have come through the camp move on to become staff and are able to embody the spirit of Christ that they experienced as campers. They look to provide an experience as special as theirs was and still is to them, to help them come to know this Redeemer that claimed them as His own.
Some campers explain camp as being different — different in the sense that “they can come and be their real selves, they don’t have to pretend or be someone they think people want them to be,” but be true to who Christ made them.
The best part of camp is that there is something for everyone to do. Should you fancy swimming, you can take a dip in the pool. Love sports? You can run around in our rainbow field. You can also be artsy creating a craft or friendship bracelet, or challenge your friend at archery, which is new as of last summer.
We are once again blessed by the directors and staff that volunteer their time to make camp the blessing it is. We are equally blessed to be receiving an Antioch student to be aiding in our ministry. The love and dedication that the staff of Camp Van-Es show is second to none and the camp is truly thankful for them.
Behind the scenes we also have to thank the Camp Van-Es board for their passion for kids and the impact camp can have in the faith walk of those that come. The camp board has been busy furthering the ministry of Camp Van-Es by moving forward with the addition of a New Lodge facility on property that was approved by the 2012 Canadian District Synod. This addition will expand the ability of the camp to make a difference in the communities around camp and their ministry as it opens up ministry opportunities during the non-summer months for more comfortable lodging. If you would like more information on the lodge please see our website at www.vanescamp.com.
It is with great joy, excitement and expectation that we welcome the 2013 summer season. Christ is alive and well at Camp Van-Es. God has provided and we shall answer His call. Please pray for us as we continue to welcome and watch kids “Come Alive with Christ.”
Brandon Salyzyn is a member of the Canadian District Executive Board and Camp Van-Es board. Photos by Brandon.