This Month’s Wednesday Words (sorry, one day late!) comes from an experienced Day Camp Coordinator, Nancy Craig of St. Paul’s Edmonton.
      The local Church/Community Coordinator is a vital component of the Day Camp Ministry. He or she acts as a liaison between the Community and Crosstalk Ministries, recruits local helpers, is on hand before, during and after the Day Camp and does all sorts of behind the scenes work to make Day Camps an amazing week for everyone.
    Nancy Craig is one of our favourite Coordinators who has been an invaluable link for much of the Ministry we have exercised in Alberta over the past number of years. so with no further ado I will let her tell her story….

Day Camps Anonymous

My name is Nancy Craig and I
am a Crosstalk Day Camp coordinator – sounds a bit like an addictions anonymous
meeting, doesn’t it? Well, it can be addictive… I have been parish coordinator
at St. Paul’s in Edmonton for the last 7 summers.

I heard friends talk about
Crosstalk Day Camps when I was a student in Montreal in the 1980’s; years later
my two older children attended a modified Cross Talk Day Camp when we drove
from Winnipeg to Montreal for Essentials ’94; and a couple of years after that,
Jeannette Deyelle coordinated Crosstalk Day Camps at St. Aidan’s in Winnipeg,
and my three older children attended, and I helped with Scramblers or as Camp
medic.

Our next move brought us to
Edmonton, and eventually we settled at St. Paul’s. My older 3 were teens by
then, but I got involved in Children’s Ministry at the church because my
youngest was about 9. Our church Children’s Ministry team was looking for some
kind of VBS or day camp to offer for our own children and as a neighbourhood
outreach, so I suggested Cross Talk. By chance (Ha! As God would have it, more
like), Brett Cane happened to be passing through Edmonton on other business
that May, and made time to meet with me and a couple of others, with a view to
perhaps having a Day Camp in a year’s time. But again, as God would have it,
there happened to be a slot open for a western team for week one of Day Camp
that very year -suddenly I was parish coordinator and in full tilt getting
ready!

I am very blessed indeed to
be part of a church that has vision for children’s ministry, youth ministry,
and neighbourhood outreach, so I was well supported in getting things ready in
short order. Our youth pastor, Amy Croy, was instrumental in getting some youth
enthused about being on the parish team (and I did conscript my own three
teens, who were reasonably willing, I think, because of their own memories of
the program as campers in Winnipeg).

 The youth have been great,
but all ages have provided support by billeting, being snack helpers, helping
gather supplies, and praying for everything to do with the camp. It truly does
become a whole parish event. I wouldn’t say that coordinating doesn’t have some
demanding aspects, but I will say I have felt the full support of my church
family, and of Valerie at mission control in Montreal!

Our camps over the last seven
years have ranged in size from about 20 to 50. In any given year, 25% to 50% of
the campers are not from our church, which is wonderful. Some of these kids do
make Jesus their special friend – and sometimes, despite follow up efforts, we
never find out what happens after.

In my other life (or one of
my other lives?), I work at an inner city medical clinic. A couple of years ago,
I was explaining to a patient that I wouldn’t be in the next week because I was
helping with a day camp at my church, and she told me her story. She grew up in
another city. Her parents split when she was 12, and she started living on the
streets when she was 14. She had quite the history: drugs, alcohol, prostitution,
jail time, children apprehended. When she decided to clean up about 8 years
ago, it was because she remembered attending a neighbourhood church day camp
when she was under 12, and how that church had welcomed her, accepted her, and
taught her about Jesus and his love for her. That was what she wanted to come
back to, 30 years later, and she did. She even has her kids back now. It wasn’t
a Cross Talk day camp, but something similar. Her story encouraged me more than
I can say. You just never know where a day camp will lead!

Is Day Camp worth it? Indeed
yes! Thanks be to God.