Celebrating 50 years of God’s Ministry at Camp Shalom: 1969-2019!
This May 2019, we will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of “Camp Shalom” now the summer ministry of Countryside Camp and Conference Centre. So, what do you remember about 1969? For some of you, 1969 was long before you were even born, and for others you may have been the boots on the ground walking the property with the youth executive praying over the decision to purchase these beautiful 135 acres from Mr. Simmons.
It has been a real blessing to see the photos that Roland van Oostveen and others have posted to our Alumni Facebook Group showing what “Camp Shalom” looked like in those early years. The flame that God ordained in the hearts of those early Christian Camp Ministry pioneers is still a blaze in the next generation of Christian Camp Professionals. With our total dependency on God’s faithful provision, wisdom, discernment and guidance we look to now a third generation of Servant Leaders being nurtured and trained to serve today at “Camp Shalom” in 2019.
Having served here now 20 years as the Managing Director of Countryside Camp and Conference Centre, I cherished the privilege I had walking these grounds with Reverend John Drost and Reverend Siebrand Wilts and listening to these foundational leaders share their heart and vision for “Camp Shalom”. I appreciate reading the minutes of the board meetings and recorded words of those early members of the camp board that laid the ground work for expansion, Hans de Waard, John Van Hoeve and Bill Lensink, just to name a few. And I love annually having the opportunity to sit a chat with Dorothy Hempstra at the Fun Fair about the early years of camp.
More importantly I appreciate the men and women that have served as Program Director of “Camp Shalom”; Reverend Calvin Vermulm, Marijke Strong, Chris Godwaldt, and Adrian Stelpstra have long left their imprint on next generation Servant Leaders that will fill our future ranks in God’s service at “Camp Shalom.”I would be amiss if I failed to mention the praise that is due to those in the trenches that have served and are serving on Maintenance and Food Service for God’s glory here at “Camp Shalom”; John and Anja Pluim, Bill and Dorothy Bonvanie, Larry and Betty Harris, and Dan and Jody Godwaldt. Each of these men and women have made a huge impact on thousands of campers and guests, staff and my family members. Cindy Bloemert’s energy, followed by Heidi Mooy’s servant heart ran the office in my first two seasons here. For nearly 19 years, Kim Higgins has taken the office operations to a new level, developing systems for rental ministry, summer camp registration and donor management. Kim is my right hand and coordinates much of the rental ministry here throughout the year as well as working with summer camp guests and campers providing the much needed behind the scenes support for the “Camp Shalom” program each year.
Twenty of fifty years brings a lot to remember and unfortunately the memories of those that have gone on to glory still seem fresh; Hank and Jane Hoogkamp, Henk Bleijerveld, John Keunen, Jim Curry, Diny Poot, Dick and Elizabeth Van Leeuwen, the other Dick Van Leeuwen, John Logtenberg, Bill Snoei and Len De Jonge, and Lena Buitendyke.
I am sure I have missed someone and I know you will tell me who because we are family.
Who do you remember as one who has impacted your life, while you served or attended “Camp Shalom”?
If you want to re-live the stories, the fun songs, the Kangaroo Courts, and the testimonies then you will want to mark your calendar for May 25th, 2019; when the Board of Directors of CCCCA will be hosting a 50th Anniversary Celebration Dinner for “Camp Shalom” at First Reformed Church in St. Catharines with our very special guests Reverend Calvin and Jane Vermulm.
When: Saturday May 25th 6-9pm
Where: First Reformed Church at 1136 Vansickle Rd N, St. Catharines (map)
Cost: $50 per ticket