AGM fun!

Our first annual general meeting was a success! Here's a post from me, spring staffer Sarah, about how things went down:

It’s a warm, sunny morning in May at Camp Evergreen in Bergen, Alberta; one of the first beautiful days we’ve had this year. Leaves are silently unfurling, horses munch new grass, and the waters of Fallen Timber Creek bubble gaily between its banks. Suddenly the peace is broken by a child’s terrified-but-excited shriek and the whirring of trolley wheels against a steel cable. With this, the morning’s first zipline ride, Camp Evergreen Mennonite Brethren Ministries’ first annual general meeting has begun!

Like us, you’ve probably been to other annual general meetings (known affectionately as AGM’s by Evergreen staff, who use abbreviations constantly). Sitting uncomfortably, we try to sift through the piles of information presented to us. We drink way too much coffee, doze off once or twice, and sleepily raise our hands when it comes time to vote. Hours later, we emerge exhausted, and pile into stuffy cars for the long drive home.

As a newly independent not-for-profit society, we at Camp Evergreen wanted our first AGM to be different. We asked ourselves: How can we present information about Camp Evergreen in a way that shows our members exactly who we are? We decided that the best way to do this would be to allow our members to experience camp in the same way that our more than 2200 yearly guests do. 

That’s why our members spent this sunny morning flinging themselves down our zipline, holding the reins on one of our trail horses, paddling a canoe through our pond, and contorting their bodies on our climbing wall. Three churches and fifty-six individual members were represented, showing their support of Camp Evergreen’s continuing ministry. By opening our activities for the morning, we hoped to show our new members that camp’s ministry is active, not sedentary, and never boring. 

Following a delicious lunch (the food at Camp Evergreen is the stuff of legends), the meeting got underway in the Activity Centre. Andrew Baerg, interim Executive Director, began with a summary of camp’s history, vision, and mission statement: to see lives transformed through the power of Jesus Christ. He related his own experience as a staff member at Camp Evergreen, calling it a turning point in his life. 

He stressed the importance of our local partnerships with individuals and churches; that’s where membership comes in. By partnering with us, our members help us to fulfill our mission, and they carry it far beyond the cabins, lodge, and activity sites of Camp Evergreen. 

Courtney Armstrong, our Program Director since 2005, chose to bring in another part of the Camp Evergreen experience to keep things moving: Warm-Ups, exercises that open each chapel session during our summer camps. After a Soccer Head, a Venus Flytrap, a Bump on a Log, and the classic Star Jump, she described the many programs hosted by Camp Evergreen, from grade six outdoor education groups, to winter youth retreats, to the seven weeks of summer camps on- and off-site. 

Richard Baerg spoke briefly about the relaunch of our Cabin Fever! project. Two of the twelve cabins have been completed to date, with fundraising in progress for the others. The cabins will be named after our supporting churches, so that each of these will have a lasting legacy at Camp Evergreen. 

Following treasurer Kevin Thiessen’s report on Camp Evergreen’s current financial situation, the members recognized the contributions of three individuals to Camp Evergreen: Kerry Precht (Executive Director), Dave Reimer (Site Manager), and Vic Penner (Board Vice-Chair). We wish them well as they move on with God’s plan for their lives, and we celebrate the things they’ve achieved in their years here.

With the departure of Vic Penner, a vacancy was created on the Board of Directors. Occasional staff member Cody Hoffman was nominated and unanimously elected to the sixth spot on the Board, serving alongside Andrew Baerg, Kevin Thiessen, Keith Thiessen, Bob Thiessen, and Barry Langendoen. We are blessed to have a Board made up of people who have had such extensive involvement with Camp Evergreen!

After all of the information had been presented, votes counted, and questions answered, Camp Evergreen’s famous cinnamon buns lured everyone back to the Dining Hall for coffee and fellowship before heading home. Our first AGM was declared a success! We are happy to be following God’s direction as an independent society, and we are really thankful to have the support of so many fantastic members as we continue in the pursuit of our mission.

Program Director Courtney Armstrong tells our members about camp's many programs

 “...we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.”
Psalm 78:4


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