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Southern Alberta overnight summer camps in need of staff as summer preparations get underway

Reference: CTV News

LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. - With summer just days away, overnight summer camps in southern Alberta are finishing up final preparations for the return of kids.
“We haven't had kids here for two summers, so it's been three years since we've done a full regular summer camp,” said Tonia Martens, program manager at the Southern Alberta Bible Camp (SABC).

SABC offers multiple camps including week long camps for kids in kindergarten to grade 12. The first camp this season is set to start on July 3, however Martens says registration is down from pre-pandemic levels.

“We can have up to 2,000 kids here in the summer and we are at about 1,200. So, we would love for kids to come and experience the fun and adventure of being outside, doing things maybe they've never done before,” Martens said.

With summer camps being closed throughout the pandemic, SABC has had a bit of a challenge hiring staff before campers arrive.

"We hire more than 200 staff members," said Martens. “We are probably around 160 to 180 so those areas of lifeguards, cabin leaders and other roles.”

With summer camps put on hold for two years, William Luchka, the volunteer relations coordinator with Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp said that’s left a gap to fill for hiring camp leaders.

“We usually see a progression, so a lot of our staff come as campers and then they transition to our staff and leadership, discipleship training programs and then they'll come back and cabin lead for a summer and then the next summer they'll maybe come back and be a program director,” Luchka said. “So, when you take two years and sort of interrupt that flow, you see a lot of gaps and we’re seeing the result of that.”

Luchka said the camp has been faced with challenges leading up to the summer months, resulting in smaller programming being sidelined until next year.

“Things are looking okay, there's some holes earlier in the summer that we're still looking to fill but I would say overall things are looking pretty good,” he said.

Unlike SABC, Luchka said registration has been popular at the Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp with many on a wait list.

“Everything that we run is free, so don’t charge campers, we don’t charge our staff for any training programs. Registration is not really a problem, we’ve got a long waiting list, pretty much the same as we’ve always had in past years,” Luchka said. “I think there's definitely an excitement for people to go back to places that they haven't been in a few years.”... Read More