Summer 2021 was one like no other. Each of our ministries had to adjust and pivot our approach to programming to stay as safe as possible. Executive Director, Dave Cairns shares some reflections on the summer as we look to fall ministry at CPM.
Grateful! As I reflect on the past summer of ministry, the word Grateful has been on the lips of many full-time staff members. We entered June with a sense of anticipation that was unique to any previous summer. It is typical that I experience the “first day of school” stomach flutters as the summer staff arrive. What was different this year was that there were fewer staff and they were younger than normal. Similar to the news reports on employee shortages, we also felt the crunch. Natalie Swanson, CPBC Program Director and Matt White, AC Camp Director did a phenomenal job of recruiting high school and college students to serve this summer. They were creative in structuring staffing configurations to ensure we would serve well and provide a God honoring experience. And the staff were excellent! They came together as ministry teams to love campers, support each other and be used by God. I am grateful for our 2021 summer staff.
Last winter, while we were still in the midst of uncertainty regarding summer of 2021, staff and board members worked to project what our summer attendance would be. In a normal year, our CPBC camp session attendance ranges from 150 to 200. With the information available at the time and with the knowledge that 2020 was zero attendance, we conservatively set out goals (and a budget) to serve 100 campers per week. We continued to revise this number and increased to 150 campers as the summer approached. In the end, we exceeded the initial number of campers projected with over 1100 youth campers at CPBC. It was also obvious that families and youth groups were looking for opportunities to explore the Boundary Waters. Adventurous Christians served a full summer of paddle groups composed of youth groups and families as well as neighborhood friends and adult groups. Campers arrived via cars, bus and van from Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan. I am grateful for the parents who entrusted their campers into our care for a week.
The only ministry center in 2020 that remained full was Silver Beach Family Camp. The summer of 2021 was no different with nearly every week and every cabin being utilized. What joy it was to have two, three and four generations of families gather at Silver Beach. Memories were made while tie-dying shirts, fishing with grandpas, swimming with cousins (and new friends), as well as conversations about God around the campfire. I am grateful for the legacy of God’s faithfulness expressed through families.
As I reflect on all that was the summer of 2021, I am grateful that God was present and campers took a Next Step in Christian Faith. As one camper shared, “I’m the best of who God made me when I’m at camp.” Even as we transition into our Fall ministry season, we look forward in anticipation of what God will do next Summer. We hope to see you at camp in 2022!