Lake of the Trees Bible Camp has a pair of new directors.
Janette Blahut and her husband Mirko took over this year from their mentors Tom and Jody McIntosh, who have left after 21 years at the helm. The new directors are no strangers to the facility, with Blahut the program director for the past eight years while Mirko ran the camp’s facilities.
“We’re very excited. We love 100 Mile House so we’re very excited to be a part of this new adventure, so we’re looking forward to the summer,” said Blahut, who moved to the South Cariboo nine years ago. “There is, of course, new learning curves with being director but we’re more than excited and we have a great board behind us.”
Blahut said they had always hoped to get a role if there was a change in the directorship. They are now hitting the ground running to get the camp ready for the summer, she said. Their to-do list includes several updates to the facilities, planning the summer’s programming, building a volunteer team to run the camp and touring various churches over the next month to promote the camp’s return.
Despite the change in management, Blahut said it will be business as usual. They plan to return to good, old-fashioned summer camping this year without the spectre of COVID-19 hanging over their heads.
“The government said go for it with no restrictions. So we were like ‘uh-huh? Game,’” Blahut said. “Our main goal is to have kids go outside, play and be kids again. It’s been a hard two years so it’s nice to have them have a space to be kids and not worry about all that other stuff.”
The camp officially opens in June with school bookings for year-end field trips, before kicking off in July and August when they start welcoming campers for their regular Monday to Friday overnight camps. The camp has a capacity for 80 overnight guests, though that number can double during the daytime between counsellors, campers and volunteers.
Activities include kayaking, paddle boarding, climbing walls, archery, singing and group games. Blahut said peer-to-peer mentoring and the relationships that form at camp are what make it so special. As a bible camp, Blahut said, they’ll also be sharing their love of Jesus with the children.
Registration has already opened at lakeofthretrees.com and already some of their camps are more than half full, Blahut said. She is excited for what is shaping up to be a “big year” for the camp.
“It allows us to think bigger and pour more into the programs knowing that after COVID we’re able to run full speed ahead. The only thing we hope for is no wildfires because campfires are the biggest thing with camp.”
Camps cost $240 a week this year and include a T-shirt, meals and activities. For the less fortunate, Blahut said they have camperships available to ensure that every child has a chance to come to camp.