We have been busy at camp doing a variety of projects covering all facets of Mulhurst Camp. From property to technical updates.
January was busy applying for grants through Canada Summer Jobs and Civil Society. We were able to secure 9 summer staff positions covered by Canada Summer job grants. In the Civil Society 2020 application out of hundreds who applied they chose just over 21 successful applicants. We were not one of them. However when speaking to one of the administrators they were very intrigued by our project application and encouraged us to look into the next stage which would be released at the end of 2021. In February with the spearheading of Anne Servold, our communication lead, and guidance from the admin team we were able to launch our new Website, which gives us a bit more flexibility on template and updated user apps that we can apply within the website. Mid February also led us into the beginning of implementation of campbrain. Which is an online registration, hiring portal and data support system. Where we moved camp registration and implemented the opportunity to book the campground online with an integrated payment process.
In March we began hiring summer staff. We added an assistant admin position, filling that with Victoria Blair for the summer. Summer Program Lead was filled by Nick Raaflaub who took on the role for the second year. The two mentioned above started at the beginning of May. Remainder of Summer staff began last week in June. Still at the beginning of June we were uncertain if the government was going to allow camps to operate at all. Mid June they announced that both overnight and day camps were able to operate. Many camps had already made the decision not to open. However, we had hired five summer staff in the early spring in the hopes we could at least run day camps. Our staff consisted of head cook-Nathan Pennie, First Aid provider- Aaron Pennie, And counsellors-Nick Pelletier, Lidia Schowalter, and Courtney Aasmen. We ended up running 2 weeks of day camps, one here at Mulhurst and the other hosted at St. Paul’s Ellerslie and an overnight camp for the older youth that took place at the end of August. We unfortunately cut the week short because of provincial COVID regulations but what ended up only being a cold. When the staff weren’t planning, prepping for programming they were helping out around the property. It will most likely be mentioned in the property report but if you happened to look around as you drove up you noticed some nice changes. Some that the summer staff gave a hand in helping with.
Our short term campground and the seasonals were busy throughout the camping season. Starting in May all the way through to the end of September. The campground and seasonals are what have kept our camp able to stay afloat.
As for facility rentals they have been lacking for over 20 months. Indoor gatherings were limited; our first major rental was in September. After the government implemented the REP (Restrictions Exemption Program) the camp decided to operate as such. With that implemented we have had three quilting groups rent the lodge. The Christmas season will see a couple families that have agreed to follow the REP program, our hopes are that in the new year our calendar remains booked as it is right now. And larger gatherings will be possible.
The summer did end on a great note by celebrating the camp and it’s 75 years. We had over 150 attendees throughout the weekend. People came for the day and others stayed for the weekend utilizing all of our lodging facilities, the campground, cabins, and Eden lodge. The weather was beautiful, and the company was even more beautiful. Families enjoyed slip n slide and field games, bible study and campfire, meals and beverages. It was a blessed weekend. The summer staff and some dedicated volunteers pulled out all stops to make it memorable.
Fall brought us some gracious funds to help with continuing the lodge expansion, the main focus being heat on the crawl space. With that we began with the exterior walls plumbing and electrical which has been completed, and insulation. We now have temporary heat which was our goal. Next up is looking at funds to complete the interior.
What I see for the 2022 is a strong focus on finishing our lodge and growing our programming. I see our main mission for Mulhurst Camp as a place to gather. With the lodge finished we can extend our invitation to others to come and enjoy what we have to offer, a place of peace, solitude and connection to nature.
Building a strong program will require a group of dedicated individuals with a desire to put Mulhurst Camp on the map for families, children and youth to come and experience what Mulhurst is, and draw people in. Because everyone has been in uncertain camp times for two summers now, I hope we can cultivate some certainty that Mulhurst is where they want to be.
75th Celebration campfire