Happy New Year from CCI/Canada!

We’d just like to wish you all a Happy New Year! We hope your Christmases were all merry and bright and that you found the time this year to reflect upon Christ (the reason for the season).

Here’s a verse to think about as you make your plans and resolutions for 2012:

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

Take care, camp friends!

 

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Photos from CCI/Canada’s 2011 Executive Leadership Conference: Moving Forward!

It’s the third day of the Executive Leadership Institute in Muskoka, and everyone is having a really great time. CCI conferences are always a great time to network and share with others. Plus there’s a lot to learn on how to move forward with your ministry this year.

I’ll leave this quick post with a few photos of our participants.

 

Here’s a shot of some conference participants listening to Jim Cantelon, founder of VISIONLEDD and host of 100 Huntley Street. I’m sure they’re learning a lot!

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And here’s our keynote speaker, Ron den Otter speaking on Building Healthy Organizations.

Ron den  Otter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And lastly, I’ll leave you with a photo of our participants enjoying a great time of worship.

worship

Camp Chestermere asks for your prayer and support

Friends in camping ministry, I am grieved to report that Camp Chestermere and its staff and friends need your prayer and support. It is with sadness that I write to tell you that their Camp Director, Rob Pollett, passed away in his sleep the night of October 7th.

We wanted to inform you, so that you could join us in praying for and encouraging Rob’s family, as well as the staff at Camp Chestermere, as they go through this difficult time. Needless to say, Rob’s passing came as quite a shock to everyone. As a community, it is important that we surround them with God’s love and our support.

Please remember Rob’s loved ones and Camp Chestermere in your prayers.

Camp Peniel: CCI/Canada’s Monthly Video Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Camp Peniel for winning our second monthly video contest! We loved their video because it was fun, engaging, and well-coordinated with their choice of music. Moreover, it really showcased their ministry. We loved that they included their camp logo and website at the end of the video — this is a great marketing tool. (I would even recommend putting that info at the beginning of the video. That way, the viewer will still get your branding information even if they don’t watch the video all the way through.) This video also had a great length. It was long enough to really display what Camp Peniel is all about, but not so long that a viewer would lose interest.

So check out the winning video:

Thanks to all of our contest entrants. Your videos this month were all so great. Don’t forget to submit photos to enter in next month’s contest!

How to improve your camp leadership

What are you doing to be the best leader you can be?

Christian camps and conference centres may come in all different sizes, with different staff requirements and different budgets, but really, we all have the same goals. We’re here to reach out in ministry to kids and our communities through retreat- and camp-based programming.

Whether you run a summer-program-only camp, or are open year-round for conferences and rental groups, your leadership skill, vision, and organization is still paramount to your camp. I think one of the best ways to continually improve your leadership skills is by educating yourself. At camp, it’s easy to get bogged down in “how we do it.” Quite often, your camp’s method of operation remains the same for a generation’s time. This might be because you’ve found something that works for you, or because camps tend to be insular communities (a good and bad thing, depending on the situation). Sometimes it’s important to step outside of the same methods and learn something new. Just make sure the new skills you’re adding to your leadership repertoire fit with your organization’s strengths (in short — don’t force it).

So what can you do? You can join membership organizations to network with other camps (something you’ve likely already done with CCI/Canada, if you’re reading this blog!), read books, read blogs, go to conferences, attend webinars… the list goes on.

Here’s one conference I’d recommend to get you started with your leadership education process: the Executive Leadership Institute coming up November 21-23 in Muskoka Woods, Ontario. If you’re nearby, or can afford the travel, it is definitely worth going. Plus there are discounts for multiple registrants, and a discount for early registration (before September 30th — so you better move on it).

Here’s some more information:

When?
November 21-23, 2011

Where?
Muskoka Bible Centre, in Muskoka Woods, Ontario

What is ELI?
ELI (Executive Leadership Institute) is CCI/Canada’s premier leadership training event of 2011. Join us for a two-and-a-half day leadership experience, packed with teaching and insight for personal growth, team enhancement, leadership training and decision making. How do you, in 2011, move your camp forward? What are the obstacles to overcome? How do you make sure everyone is “on the same page”?

Moving Forward – Who is the Leader? 
On Monday night, we welcome Jim Cantelon to speak to us about who we are and what issues in our lives may stand in the way of our camp moving forward.

Moving Forward – What is your Camp Culture?
Tuesday and Wednesday we will work with Ron denOtter, co-author of Building Healthy Organizations. Ron will help us discover patterns of thinking that may prevent our camps from moving forward. Be prepared to challenge your perceptions (or misconceptions) and increase your capacity as a leader.

So how can you register?
We’ve put together an information package for you to read about the speakers, see a schedule, and — most importantly — fill out a registration form! Click here to view that package.

Once you’ve filled out your registration form, you can send it back to us by any of the following ways:
Fax: (780) 922-3944
Email: Sharon Fraess, director@cci-canada.ca
Mail: CCI/Canada, 51505 Range Road 215, Sherwood Park, AB, T8E 1H1

You can pay by cheque (through regular mail) or with a credit card (indicated on your registration form).

Remember that there are discounts for early registration and multiple attendees, so it’s worth it to register quickly!

We really want to see you grow. We want to partner with you to make sure your camp is successful, to the benefit of camping ministry as a whole! We love seeing how your camps change lives, and we want to help you do it.

End of the week camp resource round-up!

It’s the weekend! For some of you that means time off, but many of you are probably out serving rental groups at your camps. But before you head into next week, I thought I’d provide a few links you might find helpful. They deal with three very different topics, and at the very least, they’ll be something to think about!

Five Online Learning Resources to Help You Run a Better Business

I think the information in this article is useful for nonprofits and camps as well, depending on how far your particular camp takes its marketing, fund development, and public relations efforts. The resources suggested in the article can help you with things as complex as coding or simple as starting on Facebook. I think they’re worth taking a look at, if you want to try new things to grow your camp!

Team Building Activities, Initiative Games, and Problem Solving Exercises

This is a fun little list of engaging team-building games that you can use in a variety of settings. You might want to try some of them with your staff to break the ice, develop communication, and get them to interact with one another positively and purposefully. This would be especially helpful if you’ve hired some new staff at the beginning of this fall season.

You might also want to develop a program to offer team-building workshops to corporate or school groups. These types of services are sought-after, and might attract clients to consider a retreat at your camp.

Four Great Arena Games for Horseback Riding Programs

For those of you with horse programs, games on horseback can be a fun alternative to trail rides or regular lessons. Maybe some windy weather has rendered your trails impassable, or maybe the group just seems more suited to arena riding — either way, playing some games in the arena is a great idea. Without even realizing it, the riders will be developing skill at controlling their horse, and they will be more engaged with you, their horse, and the other participants. Having some solid arena game ideas can really add to your horse program!

Staying encouraged during a change of season

Summer is over, and as camps we’re moving into our group rental season. Many of you may still be a little weary from summer camp, and are trying to reorganize yourselves, your staff, and your camps to better serve the groups that will come out to use your facilities.

I wanted to remind you that you’ve done an excellent job this year. Quite often, the rewards of camp ministry are visible: you see staff leading kids to Christ, the kids are obviously having fun, and they don’t want to leave at the end of the week.

But sometimes in our effort to make our camp the best place on earth, we don’t notice that it already is. Camp changes lives, people. Kids don’t always come right up to you and tell you how positive their experience has been — in fact, many of them won’t even know until years later, when they look back on their time at camp.

Need some encouragement? Click on this link to see some testimonies from kids and their parents about their life-changing camp experienceshttp://www.ccamping.org/index.php?id=3

I hope that as you prepare to minister to the groups using your camp facilities, you can look back on the summer knowing that you did your best. And I’d also like to encourage you to continue doing your best through the fall and winter. In most cases, the opportunity to share God’s love is greatly diminished during rental group season: there is no obvious program, and for the most part, the clients are just coming out to use your camp’s activities and facilities, and that’s it. So you’ll have to show them God’s love through your actions.

The Bible says in Matthew 7:16-20 that people can recognize a tree by the fruit it bears. Let your fruit be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control (Galations 5:22-23).

And always remember John 13:35: “By this all men will know that you are disciples, if you love one another.”

I hope you’ve been blessed with great staff and wonderful weather this fall as you switch your operations from summer camp to other things. Know that you’re doing a good job for the kingdom — keep running the race!