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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?"

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Last evening, the camping commission of Canada East Mission of Community of Christ met again via teleconference to work on plans for the up-coming Director’s Retreat. As I listened to their thorough and careful planning, I couldn’t help but think of how far we have come. It represents something of a quantum leap from where we were just two short years ago.

Until 2011, CEM sponsored the fall Director’s Retreat and Camp Staff Training day in the spring. Several people who had been involved in both told me Director’s Retreat was very helpful, but the spring gathering was not as strong. That observation was reflected in the attendance. It became clear that we needed a team of people with skills and experience to take over the leadership and direction of our camping ministries. From this realization our camping commission was born.

In the spring of 2011, the weaker Camp Staff Training Day was replaced with Skills and Leadership weekend. For the first time at this event, several key instructors were available to teach camp staff important skills. For example, a professional trainer was provided to help us in the area of conflict resolution and to lead our conversation on the risks as well as the opportunities of using social media. Apostle Susan Skoor offered classes in pastoral ministry. Mike Hewitt instructed Directors and Business Managers about planning, budgeting, and reporting. Other skills were also imparted. It was an excellent start; a strong leap forward.

In the meantime, the camping commission began to turn their attention to some important questions around emergency preparedness. How ready are we at our camps for an emergency? For example, exactly what steps would we need to take to protect our campers in the event of a tornado? What about a fire? Are the directors and staff aware of these steps? Too often, the answer is no, and clearly we need to change that.

If an unknown and potentially hostile intruder were to appear on the grounds, what do we do to protect the children? What exactly will we do in the event of a water emergency? Do we know how to direct emergency personnel (fire, police, ambulance) to the correct area on the campgrounds? Who is responsible to make that call? Who will go to the road to guide emergency personnel when they arrive? In some cases, our campground boards have clearly been working on these areas, but are the camp directors aware of this preparation and how to take advantage of it?

At this year’s Directors Retreat we will begin working together to become better prepared. Campground board executives will be invited to share with directors the plans and preparations they have made. An expert in emergency preparedness is being invited to come and provide appropriate instruction. All this will lay the groundwork for a major emphasis and training at the spring 2012 Skills and Leadership Weekend. An effective coordinated plan is beginning to emerge. It is an amazing leap in the right direction, and our campers will be safer as a result.

Posted by Carman

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