Camp Whitney is recovering from challenges

4 Wing band Leader WO Jeremy Duggleby conducting a set in the outdoor chapel at Camp Whitney on June 8. 

For close to seventy years, United Church Camp Whitney has invited kids to enjoy summer on the west shore of Whitney Lake. Right now, its gates have opened for the 2019 season as the camp recovers from numerous challenges.

In June, the camp is rented to local schools’ phys ed programs. For Elk Point Elementary kids, the tradition of attending camp in grades 5 and 6 extends back for generations.

In July, week long camps are run for children ages 6-15. If there is enough interest, a family camp can also be run.

Camp Whitney is emerging from a few years of struggles. In 2017, due to staffing difficulties the camp had no children’s program, and was used only by occasional renters. In 2018, summer camps ran for five weeks, but the number of campers each week was small.

Two break-ins in 2018 left damaged door handles and broken windows. Two older chalets had water seepage which led to electrical problems, then mold. The chalets have been closed down.

Bunkhouses built in 2015 had inadequate ventilation which also led to mold. A boundary dispute led to relocation of the road into camp and construction of a fence. Most of the difficulties have been addressed.

Students from the outreach school in Elk Point spent a day helping to clean and move items at the camp.

A restoration services company treated and removed the mold from the bunkhouses this spring. A very enthusiastic staff has been hired and is preparing to welcome children starting July 1. Four foreign student volunteers connected with the AIESEC program will bring their skills and talents.

On June 8, a barbeque and a concert by 4 Wing Cold Lake’s military band opened the camp to the public. The event raised nearly $4000.

Board president, Jim Belliveau, was buoyed by the success.

“Wonderful people wonderful food and music and lots of generosity made the event most special. Getting that many people to come out to such an event and to focus on our camp was a big bonus,” said Belliveau.

At all Cornerstone Co-op locations on June 4, customers were asked if they’d like to donate towards Camp Whitney.

Their contributions were put towards the camp’s account for groceries. Cash donations from community service and church groups, hardworking board members and volunteers, enthusiastic new leaders, and international summer staff have the camp ready to run.

There are still openings for children who want to register, or volunteers who would like to help.

More information can be found at www.camp-whitney.ca.