Travel into the heart of Muskoka, near Huntsville, and you’ll find Muskoka Bible Center on the shores of Mary Lake. If you’ve been to MBC before, you’ve likely heard of Camp Widjiitiwin. It’s just a short drive down the road past Founders’ Hall, and it’s one of those places that you won’t soon forget.
Camp Widjiitiwin is a typical overnight summer camp for kids … with a difference.
It exists to share Christ with children and youth “ … through compelling camp community experiences …”, and does so with hundreds of campers each year.*
But Camp Widjitiwin also has another focus, one that involves reaching kids with a camp experience that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
The Ministry Partnership Program is all about making a difference in the lives of at-risk kids. It’s purpose is to work with “… churches and agencies to engage at-risk youth in a manner that leads to a transformational faith development consistent with the Truth of God’s Word.”*
Here’s how it works:
-Churches agree to support a number of campers in their camp experience. They provide funding, volunteers, and a year-round connection to the campers they’ve sent to Widjiitiwin.
-Campers are referred by the churches themselves, social services, or police services.
-Campers enjoy a week of field games, sports, fishing, skills, hiking, orienteering, crafts, campfires, swimming and more, all while building lasting relationships with one another and with counselors and leaders. They experience in a real and meaningful way what a difference the love of God makes.
One camper said:
“This year I went to camp with the officers from 42 Division. I really liked the water skiing. I had never been water skiing before.”*
Another camper, Kayla, said:
“This was my first year. It was really fun. I made lots of new friends and got to try things I have never done before. The food was AMAZING! The games were really fun. I liked fruit social and sock wrestling.”*
So not only does Widjitiiwin provide an awesome summer experience for kids all over Southern Ontario, they are also focused on bringing that same experience to kids that live in situations of poverty or deal with other life challenges that put the typical summer camp experience out of their reach.
Listen to this description of a speech given by a 22 year old university graduate who visited Widjiitiwin years earlier:
“He talked about how he witnessed love and respect amongst our staff towards everyone for maybe the first time in his real life. He talked about his cabin leaders … and how they leveled with him and created a relationship with him … (and he talked about) how he wanted to better himself and become a better person.” [You can read the rest of this story here]
I would encourage you to get involved in sponsoring an at-risk child either on your own, or with your church or other organization!
*from Ministry Partnership Program, Camp Widjiitiwin, Muskoka Bible Center
*I received compensation for this post, but as always, my opinions are totally my own!*