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Today Session Four families picked up their campers and thus mark the end of our 2017 traditional residential camp season (Family Camp still ahead Aug. 24-27!).  It has been a spectacular summer of fun and faith in God’s great outdoors. We recognize there are many choices for youth these days – academic camps, sports camps, day camps, swim team, family vacations, visits to grandparents and more. Among all these choices, the fact that our families choose to send their children to us for one or two weeks speaks volumes.  Thank you.

Our summer camp could not run without the enormous hard work, care, love and effort that our summer camp and full-time staff give each and every day.  This summer boasts special success with our American Camping Association (ACA) accreditation this year.  For the first time ever, Chanco did not miss a single standard in our ACA accreditation and achieved a perfect score. This represents significant time, energy, and organization on the part of our leadership team and we are very proud of our summer camp and our staff for this fantastic achievement. A special thank you to our Camp Director Nathan Hoyt for his efforts not only in this accreditation but all summer long.

Thank you, dedicated 2017 camp staff, for giving up higher paying jobs, vacations, and air conditioning to be at Chanco for the summer.  Summer after summer Chanco boasts the best camp counseling staff who take loving care of our campers all summer long.  This is likely best described in our 2016 camp survey in which 100% of our respondents indicated that the staff were “positive, trustworthy role models who took good care of my child during his session.” Whether it was a ropes course instructor encouraging an anxious camper to complete a high element or cheering a camper who made a bulls-eye for the first time in archery, God was there.   Whether it was seeing the campsite counselors expertly guiding their campers through each activity all day long and not ending their job until after chalet meetings and lights out, God was there. Whether it was a band-aid on a boo-boo or a talk to help a camper deal with friend issues or homesickness, God was there.  Whether it was seeing tears at drop off or tears at pick up, God was there. Whether it was our chaplain Youth Missioner Ashley Scruggs serving both the campers and camp staff with God’s grace on a daily basis, or Eucharist on the bluff officiated by a visiting priest, or a million and one other instances of compassion, love, and care – God was there.  Thank you for being vessels of God’s work, giving our campers your full selves and allowing God to work through you to create what many call the “magic” of Chanco.

Perhaps one of our camper parents, Rob Wyman, sums it up best with, “The only thing better than dropping the kids off at Chanco on the James Camp and Conference Center, is picking them up and hearing about the awesome time they had. Thanks again for everything you do, and for giving these two guys of ours a lifetime of wonderful memories!” Thank you campers, camp families and staff for making 2017 one of our best camp seasons yet.  As the old adage goes, “Without you, Chanco would just be a bunch of sticks.”

We can’t wait to see you back next year in Chanco’s magical forests.  In the meantime, have a stellar school year ahead and may your warm summer memories and all you learned at Chanco about yourself and God remain with you in your activities, academics, sports, and friendships throughout the coming year.  WE are Chanco!