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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, November 22, 2010


This past weekend, 34 people met together at Scarboro Missions for the 2010 Directors Retreat. This is an annual meeting of our camp, reunion and retreat directors, some of their key staff, plus people who are being mentored as directors of the future. It is always a weekend well spent.

For me, this year was especially rewarding because it was the first time this event was led by our new CEM Camping Commission. Despite having worked very hard to be ready, this four person team was understandably nervous. They needn’t have been; they did a great job, and they were embraced by the wonderfully supportive members of our wonderful camping community. Our camps will grow stronger because of their efforts.

Generally the meeting begins with a review of the season just past. Here we share our successes and celebrate victories. This year we were especially thrilled to hear stories of young lives changed and transformed as a result of the loving and accepting community found at camp. Just one story of a life changed in this way makes all the planning, all the phone calls searching for competent staff, and all the work of preparation worthwhile. Tears of joy were shed, for these are lives saved and transformed. We thank God.

Soon the group turns its attention to learning from each other. We listen to those who have achieved great success in their particular area. This year, we celebrated excellence in children’s programming at Erie Beach reunion, and exceptional team building in the leadership of Senior High camp. In this section of the weekend, techniques are shared and ideas explored as we seek to learn from each other’s success.

As the comfort level in the group grows, problems are also revealed, explored and wrestled with. Questions are raised about ways to handle difficulties already experienced, or anticipated in the future. As always, I am impressed with the serious level of intensity directors and staff brings to this effort. Discussion and debate ensue. Sometimes solutions are found, and sometimes we decide we need to keep struggling for an answer. At least one persistent problem comes up every year, and every technique we can think of has been tried. It is a small problem really, but a nagging one. Once again, possible solutions are suggested, and we will try again.

Finally, our attention turns to new ideas, and there are some good ones. For example, what if we chose one reunion and focused on helping parents understand the various stages of child development? What if we had marriage counselors on staff, and instructors who could give parents solid, proven ideas about how to deal with difficult situations? What if we also offered the Good Sense course right at the reunion? Should we do this at an existing reunion or should it be a new camp? Who would staff such an effort? Who would lead it? Where and when would we hold it? This is just one of several new ideas explored.

For all those who look forward to the six reunions, four youth camps, and numerous retreats that happen every year, you may be interested to know that the work of thinking about and planning for next year’s camping season has already begun. There is much to do, but many hands make light work. Perhaps you might like to help. If so, why not give the director of your camp or reunion a call to offer your services? They will be delighted to take your call.

Posted by Carman

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