26 Canadian Mennonite March 2, 2009
Photo CouRtesy oF CaMP valaqua
Focus on Camps and Summer Christian Education
Want to be a superhero?
By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld
WateR valley, alta.
t’s hard to get a picture of a superhero, the high incidence of divorce and an in-
but I got one at summer camp! Staff creasingly litigious society all have visible
at Camp Valaqua certainly fit the bill. effects on a counsellor’s work.
On the surface, the job of a counsel- Hot dogs and swims in a river. Pine
lor appears idyllic. Much of the work is trees and wood smoke. Children laugh-
outdoors in a gorgeous natural setting. It ing and running. Camp songs and Bible
involves play and creativity, and meals stories around a crackling fire. These
are all provided. Camp staff live and work typical snapshots may be worth a
with their peers, doing a meaningful job thousand words, but they do not tell the
that is clearly valued by the church. The truly important stories of summer camp.
baptismal testimonies of many young There are no pictures of a counsellor lis-
people make reference to camp experi- tening to a camper’s grief about a family
ences as fundamental in their decision to break-up. A picture cannot capture how Camp Valaqua added a new event to its
follow Christ. each summer the young counsellors give programming last year with the intro-
Beneath the surface, though, the job is up other higher-paying summer jobs for duction of the sky swing, a 10-metre-tall