Jeanne and I have a long and happy history with Camp IAWAH (In All Ways Acknowledge Him) near Westport. About twenty or more years ago, they provided a Monday retreat for Jeanne and I. On their days off, many pastors would wind up getting away from the office and the phone by going to the local mall and sitting there watching shoppers. It was their idea of a break and place to “hide-out” so to speak.
In those days, our close friends Ken and Linda were pastoring in Kingston and Camp IAWAH fell “smack-dab” between us and them. For this reason we would sometimes meet and walk around the two-hundred acre campsite talking about our issues and praying through them. If I remember, IAWAH never charged us anything. This left us with fond memories of the place and great appreciation.
I was surprised then when Jeff, the Director got hold of me with an invitation to be their Family (Splash) Camp speaker. At first it all seemed to be a long shot because it was in Canada from July 27 to August 4 and I was on my way to Europe on August 12 so it all appeared to be rather logistically tight. As I played with the details we became more inclined toward saying, “Yes.”
We arrived from Ottawa on a hot (as it turned out every day was hot) Sunday afternoon and after meeting forty or more adult campers and their families we settled into a week of morning meetings. I appreciate how they do things at IAWAH. They don’t wear people out with meetings. I have been to “FAMILY” camps where he was a hard run to make it to all of the meetings. In many camps every day there are three meetings – mornings, afternoons and evenings. People have little “family” time and leave more exhausted than when they arrived. They have a great time for the kids provided by the many volunteer young people who work there in the summers. This takes a further load off of the parents so they can relax and enjoy themselves. Many of those who attend do so every year so strong relationships have been established.
It was fun to run into Tim P. who the last time I saw him was only sixteen. Now he is in his forties, a businessman and one of the camp directors. I am pretty certain that he is no kind of fisherman but he did tell me that he landed a nine foot sturgeon in the Frazer River. This is an enviable accomplishment even for people who know how to fish let alone those who know nothing of the sport. When I bragged to him about my comparatively “puny” conquests he decided to take me out to see what I could do. In forty minutes of water time I landed the largest sunfish, the largest Rock Bass and a rather impressive small mouth bass hooked at about thirty yards away and enough distance to see him break water three times. There’s nothing like a small mouth fight. Pound for pound they turn out to be one of the most formidable opponents of the fresh water category.