Wilderness camp celebrates record year

The High Prairie Wilderness Camp attracted a record 71 campers age 12-17 years in its fourth season of camps. Above is a group photo of one of the camps, which also includes leaders and staff.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

High Prairie Wilderness continues to grow in support in its fourth year of ministry to youth.

The summer camp for ages 12-17 years had its biggest year to date, says Aaron Harbidge, who launched the camp in 2016 under Sagitawa Christian Camping Society.

“We had a record 71 campers,” Harbidge says.

“Our camps were full and it was a good year to think about our future and consider possibilities.”

Campers came from communities of Falher, High Prairie, Slave Lake, McLennan, Valleyview, Grande Prairie, Hinton, and Edmonton.

A growing number of youth and families are being drawn to the camp that features horse trail rides and other activities.

“We are the only camp in the area that offers our type of program in such an all-inclusive way available for youth,” Harbidge says.

“You simply can’t find a program like this in most places.

“As we have seen from year to year, the youth absolutely love their time at camp.”

Wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits at the camp.

“Despite it being our rainiest camp season to date, we had a fantastic year,” Harbidge says.

Horses and the trail rides continue to be a big attraction for campers, and a annual highlight for lots of the youth, he says.

“A number of the youth stated that one of their favourite times of camp was in the evening when staff share their personal stories about their life and how God has directed and cared for them personally,” Harbidge says.

“Some campers mention that they would like to stay at camp.

“Parents have stated that they appreciate the lifestyle that we draw the youth into, and many of them talk about wanting to come back ‘next summer’ or for more camps in a row.”

Plans are already underway for next year.

“At this point, we are planning to stay with our three camps,” Harbidge says.

“We are not sure yet if we will offer only one seven-day camp and two 10-day camps or stay with our current program of two seven-day camps and one 10-day camp.”

The 10-day camp is most popular.

Harbidge is grateful for the growing support for the camp.

“Our community sees the value in what we offer through the camp program, the young people love it, and we love having them all there,” Harbidge says.

“We are so thankful for everyone in the community who has helped us in so many ways.

That includes a challenge as the camp packed up in September.

“When some of our equipment was stolen, the outpouring of support was amazing and heartfelt,” Harbidge says.

For more information on the camp, visit the camp website at hpwildernesscamp.ca.

Updates are also posted on the camp’s Facebook page.

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