Want to be a superhero? by ProQuest


All good things must come to an end. Volunteers from Mennonite Church Alberta congregations gathered at Camp Valaqua last fall to get the camp ready for the winter season. Jobs included pulling the swimming dock out of the Little Red Deer River (pictured), chopping wood, sweeping roofs, cleaning gutters and general cleaning.Camp Valaqua added a new event to its programming last year with the introduction of the sly swing a 10-metre-tall harnessed swing ride. The sky swing allows riders to choose the level of daring they feel comfortable with. The maximum ride is breathtaking, leaving the sound of wind whistling in campers' ears and the feeling of falling on both ends of the ride.[DONITA WIEBE-NEUFELD] volunteered as a chaplain at Mennonite Church Alberta's Camp Valaqua last summer.

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									26   Canadian Mennonite March 2, 2009

                                                                                                        Photo CouRtesy oF CaMP valaqua
                        Focus on Camps and Summer Christian Education
                                Personal Reflection

Want to be a superhero?
                           By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld
                                   alberta Correspondent
                                   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
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