Building Family Togetherness at the West Canada Regional Campout

CANADA—Fifty-one Philadelphia Church of God brethren from five congregations and three provinces gathered at a small community hall near Cremona, Alberta, Canada, on August 31–September 3 for the fourth annual West Canada Regional campout over the September long weekend.

The forecast that weekend was for cold temperatures and rain. But due to the prayers of the brethren, God miraculously intervened. Temperatures were comfortable during the day, and it didn’t rain during outdoor activities. Previous years had seen below-freezing temperatures and heavy rain. “This year, God really blessed the weather,” said Tabitha Friesen of the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, congregation.

The weekend was organized by Mr. and Mrs. Mark Schlote. Campers arrived on Friday afternoon. They set up tents and trailers, then gathered in small groups around the campfire. That evening, Winston Schlote gave a youth Bible study on the subject of happiness.

Sabbath morning saw the arrival of more brethren from the surrounding area. A rousing hymn sing preceded services. Calgary, Alberta, member Steve Whitely gave a sermonette titled “Build Royal God Family Ties.” The sermon was a recording of Preaching Elder Gareth Fraser’s message on “Prophecy in Child Rearing.” Healthy and delicious snacks were served, supplementing the fellowship. Elesia Weppler of the Edmonton, Alberta, congregation commented on the togetherness of the brethren, stating that “you have family all around you.” After the break, Preaching Elder Mr. Oostendarp gave a Bible Study titled “Aim Your Willpower.”

On Sunday morning, Winston Schlote led the children through a pirate-themed activity. It focused on building teamwork to complete various challenges. The children were rewarded with sweet treats for their efforts. After lunch, brethren participated in a softball tournament. Three teams went head to head, with Mr. Oostendarp’s team claiming victory 18-3 in the final.

Tired and sweaty campers then piled into the hall to enjoy a corn roast. A formal dance class taught by Mr. and Mrs. Mark Schlote followed. They taught the basics of waltz and foxtrot. After the lesson, everyone practiced their new skills at the dance. The lessons helped prepare the brethren for the upcoming formal dance at the Feast in Invermere, British Columbia.

As Monday morning dawned, campers began dismantling their tents and packing them away. Many volunteered to clean up the kitchen and hall before finally heading home.

Mr. Niels Pedersen, a deacon from the Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, congregation said his favorite part of the campout was the togetherness. Adding that, “if you make the effort to come, you will be very thankful you did.”