We are very happy to be able to provide you with an update from director, Cody Wilson. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact us.
As we head into summer 2018 I hope that you are all as excited as I am to see another summer of ministry start up at Blue Bronna Wilderness Camp. Presently we are working hard to recruit and hire our staff team for the summer, the board just met together at Willow Creek to work on the long range plan for the camp growth and development, and a group of volunteers has been working at Willow Creek a number of times throughout the winter to get the new Family cabin completed and ready for summer.
I wanted to extend a special thanks to Verne Bjornsen who has taken on leadership of this project since we started it last summer. Verne has been working hard coordinating all of the construction details and volunteer crews and has invested many hours into the success of this project! Also a big thanks to all of the other volunteers who have been involved and businesses who have donated materials and labor. Presently the exterior is mostly complete and we are ready to move our attention to the interior. Some outstanding needs for this project, are someone who can provide HVAC expertise to help us run the heating ducts, a plumber who can help run the water lines, and finally, we need some resources or ideas on how to supply a kitchen either donated new or used but in good shape.
This cabin is going to be a great addition to the facility and will provide much needed staff housing space.
Construction of this cabin gets us started on the road to the new large dining hall development that we are all eagerly anticipating. We need to detach our staff housing from the ranger station house, so that we can begin moving all of the site services which are presently centralized in the house, to a separate services shed. When funding and approvals are finally in place for the new dining hall building, the house will be retired to make way for the new development.
With the family cabin well under way, we are taking the first step to prepare for the new dining hall to be built.
The next step is to detach the services from the house by constructing a services shed to the west of the present location of the house, half way to the cabins. This shed will supply, power, gas and water to the entire site from a central location. Once this is complete, the ranger station house can be retired without affecting the site operation. We are working on designing the services shed this summer as well as moving to construct a temporary addition to the existing dining hall that will enlarge the present eating space and kitchen until the new larger dining hall is built.
If you have any construction, site planning, site services, grant writing or engineering expertise you would like to contribute to these projects, please get in touch with us as there is lots of fun and engaging work to be done. We would love to have you join into our team of volunteers who are passionate about ticking off our development goals at Willow Creek.
Over the past few years it has become clear that without Willow Creek it would be much more difficult to provide for a quality wilderness site at Coat Creek. The two sites are very different and a large part of the purpose of Willow Creek is to provide a staging ground for BBWC’s wilderness activities. These activities take us out way beyond the borders of our lease at Willow which is a place to go out from and an place to return to. The last 11 years at Willow Creek have proved how much value it brings to BBWC in supporting the Wilderness site at Coat Creek, as well as our pack trip program and other out trips. It’s hard to believe that we used to operate camp without this incredible resource to support all of our wilderness programs by providing us with a stable, year round, staging ground.
Not be left out, we are pushing the Coat Creek site into even more of a Wilderness feel. With Willow Creek so close by, we have been able to strip away everything but the necessities at Coat Creek which gives it even more of a rustic, wilderness feel that is close to creation. One can spend a week at Coat Creek with comforts such as running water and hot food, while basking in the simple wilderness life. This is a foundational part of BBWC and needs to become part of everything we do: Bible, Wilderness, Adventure.
2018 is bringing some changes for the Wilsons. As many of you already know, we have reached the 7th year of ministry in our role as Executive Director of BBWC. BBWC has a policy of sabbatical, that requires staff to take at least 6 months of time away from ministry duties every 7 years. As a result we will not be at camp this summer and instead will be focusing on building into our family rhythms and doing normal things with our summer like going on family vacations and relaxing together in the wilderness with no agenda or campers nearby! I will be heading out to a Church leaders conference in June at Connexus Church in Ontario and am excited about this opportunity to spend some time learning from other Christian ministry leaders. My goal is to undertake some professional development and spiritual retreat as part of this time of sabbatical. In addition, this summer we will be moving our family from the Cochrane area down to Turner Valley. A time of Sabbatical from camp will give us the space needed to make this transition.
Our time away will begin as a sabbatical from our current role, but will end in a role change for us with BBWC. The board and I have been working together for a number of months now to look towards the future staff structure that will be required to lead BBWC effectively in its next season of growth. Together we have recognized that the role I have held has grown beyond what one person can effectively carry. To this end we have decided that I will be giving up the role of ED and we are going to enter into a process of seeking two people to fill the role that I have been carrying. In the coming months the board will be sharing more, but in short we will be hiring for two new leadership positions to fill my shoes. One of these roles will focus on managing the operational aspects of camp, the other role will focus on the visionary, fundraising and promotional aspect of camp. These details are currently still being worked out but together, the board and I feel God’s leading in this process of change. The ministry has experienced a lot of growth over the last few years and we all feel a need to respond to this growth by re-structuring the leadership roles that will guide the camp forward in the coming years. I would encourage all of you to think of who you might know who would be a good fit for one of these roles, and to encourage them to make contact with the board to find out more details.
So what does that mean for the Wilsons? Well although we need a break, our passion for this wilderness ministry has not faded. We continue to be inspired with the mission and vision that God has built into BBWC and are looking forward to finding out where God will lead us next in support of His mission. At the present time however we do recognize in ourselves and in our family, a need for a break from the role we have carried. We need some space to make a transition away from Cochrane to our new home.
The mission of BBWC is too important however to leave BBWC in leadership limbo while we attend to family priorities and changes in our life. We can’t imagine leaving BBWC without strong leadership and it’s to this end that we have been prayerfully working with the board to put a plan in place to transition our leadership responsibilities to others as the next steps in BBWC’s journey.
In the short term, while we are away this summer, Chantelle Carlson will be stepping into my shoes to give executive leadership at camp in my absence. Chantelle is one of our board members and she will be the interim Executive Director for this summer while the board works to fill the two new roles (operational and executive) with long term people. Additionally, Byron Lengsfeld will be giving daily leadership to the summer staff team this summer as he has in years past at Coat creek.
So with these plans in place, Sarah and I are glad to step away into a season of sabbatical from ministry, we are looking forward to a fun summer of adventures with just us and our kids. As we have prayed about this next step, God has made it clear to us that our journey with BBWC is not over and that we will continue to support the camp in the future in different ways. He has also made it clear though that we do need to step away for now to take a break from this role and to make way for others to carry the torch. We look forward to re-engaging once this time of rest is over and will be glad to help fulfill the mission of BBWC in whatever way God makes clear at that time.
As to this summer, it is so important for BBWC to continue developing a strong community of volunteers who desire to reach others with the good news of redemption in Christ. The world and its people are still just as broken as ever and a place like BBWC is like finding rest by a cool stream for a weary soul. All of you should make time this summer to volunteer and help enable the incredible ministry and life change that happens at Blue Bronna. If you are anything like me you will find yourself being blessed in return in surprising ways, that keep you coming back for more.
Cody Sarah, Jesse, Evan, Daniel and Hannah Wilson