High Prairie Wilderness Camp marked its first season with top marks and rave reviews.
“Wilderness camp was a complete success for its first year,” says camp director Aaron Harbidge, who initiated the Bible camp with a focus on horses, with his wife Stephanie.
“For a new camp to start, to get as many campers register, and to get as much support from parents and community, is exciting.”
Capacity was full with 16 campers ages 12-17 for each of the weeklong camps Aug. 1-7 and Aug. 8-14 at the site located on the Little Smoky River about 32 kilometres southwest of High Prairie. Youth came from the local area, Gift Lake, Peavine, Falher, Peace River, Grimshaw, and Grande Prairie, with many eager to return next year.
“I think this is an amazing camp to come out to and enjoy the outdoors,” says Tamara Clarkson of Salt Prairie.
“You get to know other people and I’m definitely coming back next year.”
Another girl has the same plans.
“This was a great camp for beginners and experienced riders,” says Emma Isert of Falher.
“There is a lot of activities and chapel was always fun.
“I had a really good time, made a lot of new friends and I definitely want to come back next year.”
Expansion to offer more is already on the horizon.
“We are definitely planning a 10-day camp, as well as the seven-day camps,” says Harbidge, who has been involved with wilderness camps since 2003 in various leadership roles.
“I also heard quite a few comments from parents and guardians interested if we were to run an adult camp on a long weekend.”
A full day of activities kept the youth and leaders busy.
“For me the whole camp was a highlight, as it has been a dream that has been years in the making and it was very exciting to see it finally happen,” Harbidge says.
“It brought youth together and gave them an unforgettable outdoor experience in a safe environment, getting them away from their social media devices and providing a way for them to make new friends through trailriding, games, and living in tipi groups,” Harbidge says.
Youth were also eager to do daily chores like wash dishes, haul firewood, and clean the outhouses, and joined in various games and activities to build friendships and teamwork.
Establishing the camp created a new family of ministry, as many people and partners rallied behind the camp.
“I also see that many of the staff have grown in their own lives in areas such as leadership skills and confidence,” Harbidge says.
Camp leaders gratefully appreciate community support.
“It was so encouraging to see the incredible outpouring of support from the community and we look forward to continuing to work with all the amazing people who helped bring the camp to life,” Harbidge says.
“Words have a hard time expressing how grateful we are to all individuals, businesses, and groups who helped to make this camp possible.”
High Prairie Wilderness Camp is owned and operated by non-profit society Sagitawa Christian Camp Society based in Moberly Lake, British Columbia affiliated with B.C. Camping Association and the Christian Camp and Conference Association.
Updates on High Prairie Wilderness Camp are posted on the camp’s facebook page.
For more information on the camp, visit the online site at sagitawa.bc.ca.