It’s Getting Busy out at Camp!

The sun is out and even though clouds cover the sky, I can stand in front of Olson Lodge and feel the warmth of the sun’s rays. I know, I know, tomorrow is supposed to be winter-like again, but today, today, I can enjoy the warmth that the hidden sun provides.

It’s March and as midwesterners, we understand the craziness of the weather during this time. It kind of reminds me of work here at camp; some days are calm as we get ready for the summer and then there are those crazy days when we are answering the phone, greeting guests, attending meetings and training and working to reach those deadlines. Today is a day to catch up on sharing important information with you. You will find flyers that we hope you will share with your church and your community. There are numerous opportunities to spend time at camp, both as a volunteer, as well as a camper. 

It starts on April 15th when volunteers will gather to start dusting off the winter blues at camp. There will be sweeping and dusting, scraping paint, minor repairs of buildings, weeding, mulching, even picking up sticks. We are lucky enough to have a group of young men and women who are coming out at the end of March and will start doing some of those things. But, just like at your home, or your work, it seems the tasks are never done. As always, show up at Riverview Lodge at 9:00 (or after) and find a job that you can do with a group or by yourself. Work until lunch time and then gather with all of the volunteers for lunch. After a meal and a time for fellowship, either continue working or head home with a great big THANK YOU! 

The April 15th work day will be more focused on getting ready for our Open House, to be held on Sunday, April 30th from 2-4 pm. At the Open House, guests can get a tour of Olson Lodge, a general camp tour, play some games and guests can even participate in a Scavenger Hunt! The Barrel Train will be running and there will be light snacks and refreshments. There will also be the opportunity to register for summer camp. You may have noticed that there is not a flyer for Easter Family Fun Day. It was decided that this focused Open House would be a better event that specifically focuses on Camp Fontanelle. We have loved providing Easter Egg hunts over the years. Having an Open House actually frees up the staff to talk to our guests about the ministry at Camp Fontanelle and to encourage coming back for summer camp. We hope you will come out to this event that is geared toward guests of all ages.

If you would like to help with this event, please contact me! There is a need for volunteers to help make our guests feel welcome.

The next opportunity to come out to camp is our second work day on Saturday, May 6th. This day will be more focused on getting ready for summer camp. Trails will need to be groomed, the Camping Caves will need to be cleaned and areas around the Jumping Pillows, zipline and 7:24 Shelter will need to be cleaned/cleared. There will be work around Fort Jones and finishing touches at Riverview and Olson Lodges. The day will begin just like the day in April. Find your project, work for a few hours and then take a break with lunch and fellowship. After lunch you can continue working to finish your project, or you may head on your merry way.

Are you not able to come out on April 15th or May 6th? What about coming out sometime during the week? There is always something to do and if you can be given a task and be independent in your work, coming out during the week is great! 

For our work days, or if you want to come out during the week, bring a group with you. Many hands make light work and it is so much more fun to work together to get something done. We are looking for volunteers to come out regularly to clean and tidy bathrooms, or clean the larger building spaces. If you would like to give a few hours (or more) every month, we would love to use your time and talents  throughout the year (even during the summer).

Another set of flyers is for our summer camp. All year, we are thinking about summer camp. How do we make camp more inspirational? How do we reach more people to share our ministry? How do we tell people about an experience that is more about feeling God’s Presence in your life, it is like the experience that John Wesley had in Aldersgate, when he said, ‘I felt my heart strangely warmed.’ We really are trying to figure out how to put into words, how to reach others about, the little miracles that happen throughout the summer with our campers. Please take the time to look at the flyers and share them with families for whom you think camp could be impactful.

Do you have a talent that you can share with our campers? Are you a crafty person and would like to share that talent with our campers by leading crafts? Would you like to share your musical talent at camp? Are you a real outdoorsy person and want to lead hikes, or teach nature things to our campers? Are you an animal person and would like to help care for the summer animals that are brought to camp? If you have a talent to share, we would love to hear how it can fit into our ministry.

And as always, Camp Fontanelle cannot survive without those who are able to make a financial gift to the camp. We treasure these people who are able to share the treasures that they earn here on earth. There are many projects in progress, as well as a project wish list that is just sitting on the back burners until funding comes available. There is a flyer of our summer wish list and here is a link to purchase items for the camp through Amazon.  A dream project is bringing the Fontanelle Town Hall Building to camp property. I have been working on funding this project. The goal is to get it to camp and make use of this building, which has historical significance but has been sitting empty for over 60 years. It will become our summer camp store and in the fall it will be the entrance to the corn maze. Throughout the year, it will be a place where history buffs and kids, can learn about the history of the Fontanelle area. If you would like to make a donation to this project, to the operating budget, or to the capital campaign for Olson Lodge, use this link to make that donation. Please indicate how you would like your gift used.

I am so grateful that you took the time to read about what is happening at Camp Fontanelle. I encourage you to share this with family and friends, your church and your community. We appreciate your prayers that God will be at camp this summer and that hearts will be opened to hear God’s Word and listen to the Love and Encouragement that is offered. Blessings to you and yours. And please reach out if you have any questions.

Here is the link for the flyers to download, share and/or print.

Jane Van Horn – Assistant Director (focus on hospitality)

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