Annual General Report
Annual General Report 2020
Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp
Association is an autonomous,
evangelical, faith ministry dedicated
to bringing glory to God by
responding to the needs of the
whole person according to the
Biblical principles of evangelism
and discipleship through offering
programs in a camp setting.
Crowsnest Lake
Bible Camp’s
Mission &
We believe the Biblical scriptures to be
verbally inspired in the original manuscripts,
without error, the complete revelation of
God and of His will for the salvation of man,
and the divine and final authority for all
Christian faith, doctrine and life.
This belief presupposes that there is indeed
one eternal God who inspired the Scriptures
to reveal His existence, character, actions,
and purpose.
We believe that God sent His Son, Jesus, to
die for our sins and that He was buried and
was raised to life on the third day. All those
who believe in Him receive forgiveness and
eternal life.
We believe that all should accept, strongly
hold, and practice everything taught in
the Bible, but do not insist that all respond
uniformly to any specific teaching; believing
that to so insist is at best redundant and has
strong potential to be divisive.
Annual General Report 2020
Hindsight on 2020
The Graham Family visited Riding Mountain
National Park in the summer of 1986. I was 7, and
my little brother Andrew was 5. We had fun, I’m
sure, but I don’t remember the fun.
What I remember - the only thing I remember -
was The Family Bike Ride. Dad led the way, and I
followed athletically behind. My younger brother
Andrew came next, but at the bottom of a steep
slope, he got a little bogged down in the mud,
and fell off his bike. An unremarkable crash... but
then Mom couldn’t stop.
Or, at least, she didn’t stop.
She rode right over Andrew’s belly, both tires.
I was impressed: despite the impediment, she
didn’t fall off her bike.
Andrew wasn’t hurt (some combination of
providence, along with soft ground and that
famous Graham core-strength), but when he
stood up, there were two perfectly preserved
muddy tire tracks right across his stomach. We all
laughed, though not right away.
We’ve talked about that trip many times over
the years. All of the details have faded except for
one: The Family Bike Ride where Mom rode over
Other camp summers are going to blur, and
mix together - “Was that one the summer of ‘17?
Or ‘18?“ But the summer of 2020 is singular: the
summer of Covid. “Corvid 20,” we called it. In 50
years, we’ll remember this one.
In this report, you’ll see a graph that shows the
drop-off in camper attendance from last year to
this year. For as long as we present that chart,
nobody is going to struggle to remember what
happened. No one is ever going to try to explain
the change without referencing Covid… “Yeah, we
must really have struggled to recruit cabin leaders
that summer?” or “Interest must have been really
low that year. Not a lot of demand for s’mores and
wide games and sleeping out under the stars, I
guess?” Nah. Fifty years from now, they’ll look at
that graph and immediately know - 2020 was the
summer of Covid.
What I am hoping you will see from this report
is that 2020 wasn’t just the summer of Covid. So
much happened, so much that was memorable,
instructive, fun. worthy, true, beautiful… you know,
camp-type stuff... In spite of everything, Camp
Happened at Crow in the summer of 2020, as it
has happened in every other summer for the past
60+ years.
You already know that there was a powerful
disruption at work in the world in 2020; this is not
a report of disruption, disorder, disease. This is a
report about what happened in spite of all of that.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness
has not overcome it.” John 1:5
We still don’t know what the summer of 2021 will
be like. We’ve got some hopes, and even some
early plans - the kind of plans that precede a
first draft (a zero-th draft?) - but we don’t know
precisely what form camp is going to take in 2021.
Planning around Covid is a little like planning
around a live dragon, and as JRR Tolkien sagely
said, “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of
your calculations.”
But we do know this: Camp Happened in 2020.
And I am confident, despite everything, that
camp will happen again in 2021. And you can be a
part of it.
I hope you will.
David Graham,
Director of Camping
Message from the Director
Annual General Report 2020
“I saw God show people that he is
real and faithful. I saw him change
people so that they will never be
the same again. I saw him take
the tiny little bit that we offered
him, and break it into bits, and
hand it back to us to give out to
others, and bring joy and life and
encouragement and hope to the people we were
trying to serve, and still have really good leftovers
for us after. I saw him lead and heal and guide and
protect and strengthen and comfort and sustain
and create.“
- Yin Liu (COLTS Co-Leader)
“The summer of 2020 was unlike
anything I have experienced before.
For better or for worse, camp is
a place where traditions thrive
and CLBC is no exception to that.
But many things were different
this past summer. Instead of the
natural divide of campers and staff,
we had 3(-ish) cohorts; the COLTs, the PITs, and the
Support cohorts. There were areas of camp that
I couldn’t enter, I had to use certain doors, and a
mask was always on my person. I learned to work
with some of my closest friends from 6 ft apart. And
yet, in the most important ways, it felt the same as
all my previous summers at Crow. How? Because
God was there- and working- and creating a
community of believers that support and encourage
one another as they serve. This summer I was taught
how important a community of believers is, for me
personally and in the lives of others- but especially
to our youth. I had the privilege of co-leading the
PIT crew and had a front-row seat as over the course
of 5 weeks He grew 12 kids into young leaders,
excited to share His love with others as they seek
to know Him better. This summer was strange,
unexpected, but as I spent each day in awe of how
beautiful His work is, how in the midst of the world
going crazy, He showed up at our little camp in the
biggest ways and in the smallest details, it became
clear that this summer was, in so many ways,
- Skye Sperling (PIT Co-Leader)
“The pandemic presented us with
a unique set of challenges and
created some exciting new
opportunities. There was a huge
need that ministry through
outdoor programs reached out
to for youth and families this year
specifically. We went for quality over
quantity and it was so effective – the impact was
deep and meaningful – and all sustained by God’s
grace. Ministry definitely happened – it was honestly
shocking how effective it was this year – small was
actually much more effective than we anticipated
and it was amazing to be a part of! The COLTS this
year were amazing, with a strong spiritual focus
and intentionality in how they allowed God to work
through them in their programming; it was truly an
honor to lead and work beside each one of them.
But the great work didn’t stop there; to top it all off,
we had a fantastic PIT crew and leaders who ran a
rock solid program, and then an absolutely stellar
kitchen and support staff team who spearheaded
some major improvements and were instrumental
in this summer’s success. Though this year was an
unmatched challenge and we needed to constantly
adapt and give our plans over to God, this summer
will probably go down as my favorite summer and I
wouldn’t change it for anything.”
- Stephanie Goodbrand (Brouwer)
(COLTS Co-Leader)
“He provided no less for our needs
(and wants) than every other
year, it just looked a bit different
than usual. Having a more restful
style summer allowed for a large
backlog of things to finally be
addressed, and for the focus to
shift more to the care of what we’ve
been given vs. constant outreach. It seemed like
something we had needed for a long time, that was
no longer made optional. We were given teams that
we’re amazing, people to run programming for and
everything we needed to do so. Praise the LORD
that we were still able to do work in His service,
even in a year where so many things were brought
to a halt.”
- Ashleigh Szarka-Rempel
(Support Staff Leader)
Overview of the summer
Annual General Report 2020
Crowsnest Outdoor Leadership
Training School is an accelerated
leadership development program
that aims to create Christ-centred
leaders in the outdoor industry. This
is accomplished through purposed
instruction and in-depth training,
then culminating with 2 months
of experiential practicums leading
outtrips during our summer camps.
This summer, God taught me to trust Him
more completely and to turn to Him in
prayer more consistently. When outtrips
started for the summer, very quickly on
I realized that I did not have enough in
myself to have a meaningful impact on
the camper’s lives. I (usually) had enough
to lead a group of kids from one place to
another safely but, in order to have the
impact that would last more than the
length of the outtrip, I knew that I needed
more than myself and my own strength. I
began to consistently turn to God in prayer
for wisdom, strength, enthusiasm, joy, and
peace and then trusting that He would
provide everything that was needed. And
he so faithfully and consistently did!
- Noah Tainsh
Flapjack Recipe!!
6.5 cups Brown Sugar
6.5 cups Margarine
24 cups Rolled Oats
2 cups Raisins or Choc. chips
1 Tbsp. Salt
Cream the brown sugar and
margarine together, then mix in
the remaining ingredients.
Press into a 18x24 inch pan, then
bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
One serving is 3 by 4 inches.
Annual General Report 2020
For me, this summer was an absolutely
amazing experience. It was strange
and incredibly different, but it was still
amazing. Since we were practically
isolated to our cohorts, us PITs got really
close in the five weeks we were there.
I really saw God through my fellow
PITs because, despite our tendency for
distraction, we had good conversation and
connections, and really worked to build
each other up and to help each other
further our faith. I saw him through the
other staff at camp, in their dedication and
love for him and the examples they set
because of that, as well as through their
hard work and cheerful spirits. I saw God
through the people who drove all the way
to camp and followed protocols to lead
our sessions, in their selfless attitude and
in what they taught us. I saw God through
my PIT leaders, Eric and Skye, who put up
with our crazy shenanigans and worked
hard to help us grow in, learn about, and
connect with God despite the restrictions
we faced. And honestly, just being at camp
feels like a special place where you can
put aside all the distractions of life and
just be in his beautiful creation, and feel
his presence all around you. It’s incredible.
So yeah, it’s really hard to sum up the
summer, but I would say that’s my best
shot. It’s been amazing to see God at work
through the people around me, even with
an eerily empty camp that had no camps.
Despite everything that was and is so
different, God is still the same.
- Raquel Adrian
The PIT Crew program is unique
to Crow, but is similar in emphasis
to other camps’ teen training
programs. It emphasizes and
exposes all aspects of camp
ministry as being of equal
importance, giving training for and
experience in all areas of camp.
Annual General Report 2020
I have spent several full summers at camp
– including for COLTS in 2019 – and this
was the first time I have done one role
and worked with one team for the whole
summer! It was a unique opportunity to
go deeper than usual in our roles and
community. For me, this meant two
months of running the dish pit, doing a lot
of COVID-inspired cleaning and sanitizing,
preparing disinfectant spray bottles for
everyone, and working alongside and
supporting the cooks. It was a huge
blessing to be in my role long enough to
learn it, master it and learn about myself
in it – and God really gave me a lot to learn
through this cleaning and support role
this summer. In many ways, the slower
pace and longer time in one position gave
each of us a chance to learn and prepare
more deeply for the ministry opportunities
in every corner of camp. I am so thankful
God provided the opportunity for me to
be at camp and in the Support Cohort,
where I learned so much from working
alongside and serving the COLTS, PIT and
Maintenance groups. I have learned about
myself and the interests God has given me,
I have grown in my faith and relationship
with Him, and I have strengthened and
gained several great friendships.
- Danica Jensen
This summer a crucial role was
filled by our support staff, which
consisted of three different
teams. We had an incredible
team cleaning and in the kitchen
feeding everyone, a two person
team dedicated to the Office and
supporting the COLTS, as well as
the maintenance team and without
them things would fall apart both
literally and figuratively.
A three strand cord is
not easily broken
Ecclesiastes 4:12 b
Annual General Report 2020
2020 Registration Report & Stats
* Pre-COVID numbers are the numbers of campers who signed
up before camps were cancelled April 23, 2020.
Annual General Report 2020
Due to COVID-19, all 21 of our regular summer
camps were cancelled. By the time camps
were cancelled on April 23, 2020, we had over
900 campers apply for a camp, with 844 of
those applications for our youth camps.
Despite having to cancel all regular summer
camps due to COVID. We are thankful for the
opportunity we had to run modified summer
programs for youth and families this year.
We ran 17 different outtrips for youth, families,
couples, and for the PIT Program. This year was
the first time we ran outtrips for families and
couples which were both huge successes and
something we would consider doing again in
the future.
Another new thing we were able to do this
summer was run 4 Family Day Programs
days, were we did Archery, Canoeing, and Day
Hikes for families. 12 families attend our day
programs, with 11 more families on the waitlist.
We were also able to run 8 Youth Nights for
local youth throughout the summer, with an
average of 20 youth attending each night. The
COLTS would lead the youth in different camp
activities like canoeing, archery, or wide games,
with a campfire time afterwards.
The PITs did a Youth Day Camp for local youth,
were 15 youth attended. They lead the youth in
COVID-safe day at camp that included outdoor
games, activities, food, chapel, campfire time,
and so much more.
Although this year looked a lot different here at
camp, we were still able to run our COLTS and
PIT programs. 13 people applied for COLTS this
year and we were able to accept 5 of them. For
the PIT program we had 24 youth apply and we
accepted 12 of them.
We hosted 5 Back Country Clean-up events
this summer, cleaning up approximately 3000
pounds of garbage out of the back country.
Family & Youth Outtrips
Youth Outtrip #1 (July 10-13)
Family Outtrip #1 (July 11-12)
Youth Outtrip #2 (July 16-20)
Family Outtrip #2 (July 17-19)
All Boys Outtrip (July 24 - August 1)
Family Outtrip #3 (July 25-26)
Youth Outtrip #4 (August 6-10)
Family (Couples) Outtrip #4 (August 7-9)
Youth Outtrip #4 (August 14-17)
Family Outtrip #5 (August 15-16)
Family Day Programs
Archery & Canoeing (July 28)
Archery, Canoeing & Day Hikes (August 2)
Day Hikes (August 21)
Archery & Canoeing (August 22)
Local Youth Ministry
Youth Day Camp (PIT Camp) (August 5)
Local Youth Nights (July 8, July 15, July 22,
July 29, August 5, August 12, August 19,
and August 26)
Training Programs & Events
C.O.L.T.S. (April 27 - August 30)
P.I.T. (July 5 - August 9)
Skills Week (June 16 - 20)
Back Country Clean-up #1 (July 8)
Back Country Clean-up #2 (July 22)
Back Country Clean-up #3 (August 3)
Back Country Clean-up #4 (August 12)
Back Country Clean-up #5 (August 19)
Modified Summer Programs
“Camp will share dates for 2021 Camp
sessions - just as soon as we have them!”
Annual General Report 2020
With a year filled with twists and turns and the
thought of getting a lot done in and on the
buildings at Camp this past year it turned out to
be a bit of a surprise to have to totally focus on
exterior projects.
We got a lot done. Seeding, watering and
cutting of the new playing field after the fence
was put up in frozen ground; the Mega clean-
up of the back parking lot; the demolition of
the old playground; the staining of the Lodge,
and the Sonnenberg Trailer; bridge repairs at
Mountain site; boat house repairs, with the
addition of a lean-to; brush and tree cutting
almost everywhere on both sites; a renovation
of the archery range shelter; the relocation of
the fire pit; major clean and organization in
the kitchen; clearing more space in the shop
for extra water tanks; updating and servicing of
our boilers, air exchangers, and hot water tanks;
lights, plugs, and switches replaced; girl’s cabins
repainted, thoroughly cleaned and decluttered;
vehicle repairs as required - some disposed of
and others acquired - as well as a plan to service
and repair a few more before spring. The sauna
was gutted in preparation for a renovation with a
new stove, chimney and interior walls.
And this isn’t even an exhaustive list! In the
process of working through this list, there were
always adjustments and repairs to do along the
There are a few projects that remain on the Big
To Do list as winter sets in. The big items on that
list are: moving and re-siding Crow Manor; sound
dampening in the dining hall; new doors for the
new spaces in the boy’s cabins (and possibly
finishing of the bathrooms in those cabins as
well, if funds and manpower are available). We
plan to move ahead with a new Director’s Cabin
at Mountain Site, as well as patching up the
damage from
the vandalism we
were the victims
of this fall. And
there will also
be some more
bridge repairs.
We’re hoping to
complete the
installation of
new donated
as well as the
relocation, of the
fire circle before summer. It’s a lot, but we’ve got
a plan.
As I look back on the year, with one leg still
recovering after surgery, and not quite up to par
yet, I am amazed and blessed at the number
of things that were achieved. I am especially
thankful for the help of those who took the time
to come to Crow and bless us with their labour,
and moral support. As the old adage goes, you
are only as good as the folks you have around
you, and I had an armful of help that made it
doable to accomplish so much this summer:
Jonathan C, Nate, Pete, Mike, Nathan, Rea,
Jeremy, Zach, Josh, Don, Eric, Andrew B,Charles,
John, Lois, David, Nathan, Nigel, Noah, Jason,
Andrew L, not to mention the Colts and the PIT
crew... Without your effort, I’m not sure where
we’d be.
I am thankful to have been a part of the process,
and I trust that strength and stamina will come
my way once again as we look ahead to next
year and all the projects that are before us. We’re
trusting that God will supply the resources as we
“ask seek and knock” for his favor.
Randy Demman
(Facilities Manager)
Annual General Report 2020
Even more so than most years, 2020 has been
a Dickensian year around the Bible Camp: “It
was the best of times, it was the worst of times,”
Dickens wrote, referring, if I am not mistaken,
to the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year at Crow. Dickens
had unusual foresight, because the months of
October 2019 to February 2020 were terrific,
really, the best of times - financially speaking.
Thereafter came the worst of times.
Camp’s finances have always reminded me of
Tiny Tim from Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Like
Tiny Tim, Crow’s finances are… not robust; perhaps
even fragile. Like Tiny Tim, Crow’s finances limp
gamely on, with a cherubic smile, even in difficult
circumstances. Like Tiny Tim, Crow’s finances
are a symbol and witness to the importance of
choices, and how those choices really do matter.
Like Tiny Tim, Crow’s finances are known for the
signature catch-phrase: “God bless us, every one!”
The Best of Times: we could not have chosen
a better summer for a massive disruption.
Daniel was off on a planned sabbatical. Vitae
Environmental Construction installed a new
playing field, which would have surely been
endangered by hundreds of eager feet in a
standard camp season. Randy had a knee
replacement in September. Due to a government
regulatory decision, Crow has been without
a source of drinking water since October
2019, which was difficult even with a reduced
occupancy, but would have been very, very
disruptive otherwise. These small stories felt
providential to us, in the midst of a summer that
was painful for so many, and for so many reasons.
The Worst of Times: Since March, compared
with 2019, monthly revenue has been markedly,
even dramatically, lower. (You can see the Draft
Finance Statement at
or email if you’d like a
more detailed look at the numbers) We’re
seeing a decline of more than 60% year-over-
year, including the substantial contraction of our
rental business, compounded by a reduction in
charitable giving. It may be that some folks do
not have it to give this year. And, of course, fewer
donations is precisely what you would expect,
after a camp season where we saw so many
fewer children: many parents give us a cheque
when they drop their kids off, and this year, there
were simply not as many drop-offs. We also didn’t
sell nearly as many camp mugs, or hoodies, or
t-shirts, and this is a place where every dollar
counts. Like Tiny Tim and the rest of the Cratchits,
we do not have much set aside to help us
weather a lean season (though we always have a
bite of beef on hand, even in the darkest days).
Even in this decline, we see God’s provision.
Thus far, we’ve been buoyed up by the Federal
Government’s Canadian Emergency Wage
Subsidy (CEWS) program. A large portion of
Crow’s salary costs (up to 75%) are covered for
businesses that can demonstrate a reduction in
revenue - and boy howdy, if a revenue reduction
is what you’re after, you’ve come to the right
place! CEWS payments are scheduled to taper
off over the coming months; for now, we are still
stoutly crutching along, a determined Tiny Tim.
Crow is used to this kind of pressure; we’re used
to being ‘up against it‘ from time to time. I’ve
even heard it said - by a Chartered Professional
Accountant, no less - that perhaps Crowsnest
Lake Bible Camp will always face a shortfall,
regardless of how much revenue we generate,
and regardless of how carefully we set the
budget. It seems irresponsible, but perhaps there
is something to it: after all, you are called - as I am
- to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do
not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs
This is Crow’s occupation, too. And as we trust,
we do see God’s continuing provision, even in this
distressing and difficult time.
David Graham, on behalf of the Finance
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.
~ Jeremiah 17:5-8
Finance Committee Report 2020
Director of Camping:
David Graham -
General Contact:
Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp
Box 250
Coleman, AB
T0K 0M0
Mailing address:
Located in the Rocky Mountains, Crowsnest Lake
Bible camp is ideally situated to host your rental
group. We have the capacity to host your church’s
leadership retreat, a ladies weekend, and so much
more! From day programs to recurring events,
Crow has a lot to offer! If your school is looking
for a site to run Outdoor Education Classes; if
your business needs a great place to host a team
building retreat; if you are looking for a mountain
getaway for your wedding – look no further! Email
our Rental Coordinator at,
or check out our website (
rental) for more information.
Cover Photo Credit:
Sentinel Photography:
Rental Information
for 2021