Roughly speaking, about 20 men participated in our annual pilgrimage to Camp Kintail this past weekend. Each spring, the Rugged Hands Men’s ministry heads off to the lake, to do its part to get the camp ready for a summer of growth and fun.

Camp Kintail is a Presbyterian camp focused on bringing the love and the joy of God to our children. Every summer, it offers outdoor education, spiritual awakening and growth to children and youth from throughout Southwestern Ontario.

A day at the beach

A Day at the Beach

It has become a rite of spring to build picnic tables. This year, our crew built 6. It is also a tradition to send Scott and Bruce into the bush, armed with chainsaws. They bring down any trees and limbs that look to be a risk and yes, they have a lot of fun doing it. It seems every year, the staff at the camp have a new task for us. This year, our job was to build 3 new bunk beds. We tore down an existing bunk bed, and used it as a template to piece together the new beds. It’s quite a feat of engineering to squeeze three bunks out of the limited supplies of lumber we’re provided. There is no room for error, but if you follow the pattern, it does somehow all come together.

Each year, we put out the deck on the beach. However, this year we ran into a snag. Ice, ice and more ice. Yes Lake Huron was still a massive sheet of ice. The huge slabs had bulldozed their way down the beach ripping up the shoreline, leaving a mess that was simply more than a few guys with shovels could handle. So that is a job that will simply have to wait for the ice to melt.


The crew hard at work

Work, work, work. One would think that it’s all we do. In truth, these weekends are about far more than that. Fellowship, friendship and worship remain the core purpose of these weekends. Friendships are born, renewed and strengthened. Faith, trust and hope built.

Evenings at camp are about sharing stories, both poignant and funny. They’re about card games and laughs. They’re about growing together in our faith.

Sunday morning we have our own church service. This year, Bruce Cornfield brought a modern perspective to the story of Joseph. We sang and we prayed. It was a very moving service. There’s something very special that comes with worshiping God amid the beauty and splendor of his creation.

Again this year, our work weekend coincided with the annual orientation weekend for the camp counselors. Learning the rituals and tasting the spirit that makes Camp Kintail such a special place is very uplifting.

And, oh yes, we celebrated Garry’s 60th birthday. Somehow we did manage to keep it a surprise. We also kept that celebration a little bit lower key than the birthday traditions at Kintail. By the way, Garry you’re welcome.

We will return in the fall to help close the camp and prepare it for winter. Mark it on your calendar.

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