Welcome to Kinasao
I’ve mentioned this word before in other posts. Some camp that means a lot to me and starts with the letter ‘K’ but you’re not entirely sure how to pronounce it. Well now that I am officially employed by the place, I figured it was time I told you more.
Kinasao (kin-ah-say-oh) is a Cree word meaning fish. Camp Kinasao is a Lutheran Bible Camp located 180 km north of Saskatoon, SK in a transition area between boreal forest and prairie. It sits on Christopher Lake and is surrounded by trees about 15km away from Prince Albert National Park. It is 75 years old and it is my home.
I first visited Kinasao in 2003. My older sister had attended summer camp there the year before and after her raving reviews I had to give it a try. Boy am I glad I did.
There are 3 other summer camps on Christopher Lake, and many others in the area. A lot of them have more toys and attractions than Kinasao, but there was something special about this camp that made it feel like home right from the beginning.
The people there were unlike any group of strangers I had ever encountered. They cared. About everyone. They wanted nothing more than for me and all of my fellow campers to feel loved. They put in endless hours of hard work to make our week at camp the best of our year. And they succeed. Time and time again.
I came back to Kinasao as a camper every year until I was 17. The staff poured so much into me during that time, teaching me what it means to love others and be a servant leader. They lead by example, using Christ as their own example. I was deeply impacted as we would study the bible and find ways to apply what we read to our daily lives. And I was ecstatic when I was given the opportunity to be a summer staff member myself.
I learned even more than I thought possible my four summers on staff. Each year our team would become a family as we encouraged, taught, learned from, shared with, and relied on one another. We worked together for the common goal of loving our campers and giving them the best week of their year. And in turn received the best summers of our lives.
Over the next 16 months I will be taking on the role as Program Intern at Kinasao. During the summer this means a lot of planning and programming, making sure everything is organized and running smoothly.
The next 4 months will include a lot of mistakes, little sleep, a very steep learning curve, and surely a few tears. But also the best co-workers I could ask for to encourage me along the way. I get to spend my summer in the place I love and grow even more into the leader God is shaping me to be. I am anxious, but I also know that this is where I am called to be. If God created me for this, He’s not going to leave me on my own. It’s through Him that I will succeed.
Next month, on June 6th, I have the opportunity to participate in Tour-de-Kinasao, our annual Bike-Run-Walk-a-Thon to raise money for our summer operating costs. Those of you who know me well know that I am no avid biker and passionately dislike running. But I’m told only those over 60 are allowed to walk (not an actual rule) so I’ll be lacing up my running shoes (if I can find a pair) and jogging my first ever 5K! I know that’s not a lot for anyone who even casually jogs, but that person is not me. This a big deal. Be happy for me. Encourage me. Help me not cry when I think about this.
This is the part of the post where I ask you for money. If you feel at all encouraged by what Kinasao is doing, please consider supporting us here. Even if it’s only a small amount, every little bit helps give kids in all sorts of situations a memorable week at camp. And you never know where that could take them. 12 years ago it changed my life forever.