After last month’s forest fire in Waterton National Park, the United Church of Canada’s Canyon Church Camp sustained significant damage. Camp Board Member Christina Whittmire reports on the latest news on the camp, the Board’s plans for the future and some hopes for your involvement.
We have not been allowed into camp yet because Park Officials say conditions are hazardous with many trees leaning precariously. Our insurance adjuster will come to camp with us when we are allowed in. Our claim has been started, so once the adjuster sees the camp we will find out how much money we will have to redevelop. We were unable to finish closing camp before the fire (we were actually in the midst of closing when we were evacuated), so with the recent snowfall we fear the pipes in the lodge and the remaining bathroom may have burst as well. The water is turned off, but we may have to replumb in the spring. We are told insurance will not cover that.
What we know for sure is that we will need to rebuild 4 camper cabins, the girls washroom, the craft shack, medic’s cabin, cook’s cabin, assistant cook’s cabin, and the director’s cabin. We will also need to rebuild the vespers area. The family that donated the last benches for us (the West family) have offered to assist us.
We are hoping to go ahead and have camp next summer if we are able, although we may need to have smaller camps.
Fundraising efforts towards rebuilding are beginning. A Lethbridge band called Dory and the Weathermen has offered to host a benefit concert at Southminster United Church on Friday, November 24. Southminster has donated the space. We are planning to run a silent auction with the musical event. Our fundraising committee is setting up several ways for people to donate, including through Paypal on our website, through “Go Fund Me”, and by mailing directly to Canyon Church Camp
We have been overwhelmed by the support that we have received from our church and camp families. When we are able to get into camp and start working it sounds like we will have many hands to help us. The hardest part is the waiting to get into camp and see for ourselves the damage. In order to rebuild we will need the approval of Parks Canada every step of the way. From past experience we know that this will require a lot of patience.
Christina is Vice-Chair of the Canyon Church Camp Board as well as its Promotions and Fundraising Chair.