One of the things we say a lot around here is that we are a camp with purpose, and we mean it. Not only do we have a purpose with our summer programs, but we have a purpose for every activity we host, the buildings we put up and staff member we hire. Each of these things has a purpose because above everything else, Lake Ann strives to reach into the hearts of its campers and show them Christ’s love. There is a department of Lake Ann that may have a bigger purpose than you would think! The Red Canoe has a great purpose too!
The Bigger Purpose of the Red Canoe
The Red Canoe is the camp’s store. It’s always a hot spot during the summer for campers to go and get a coffee drink, a snack, a T-shirt, some sweatpants or a soda. A lot of campers will just go to the Red Canoe to sit in the lounge area and hang out with the new friends that they met at camp. It’s a fun place to be during their free time.
I was a camper at Lake Ann since I was in fourth grade, and there has always been a camp store for as long as I’ve been here. But I would have never thought that there was a bigger purpose behind the store. I probably just thought that it was a way for the camp to make some extra money off of the campers by providing them with souvenirs from their time spent at camp.
But that is definitely not the case
This week I was able to sit down with the Red Canoe’s manager, Margy Riley. In the last several years she has transformed the camp store and made it what it is today.
When I met with her, I really wanted to find out what purpose the Red Canoe had. I knew that if we truly wanted to be a camp with purpose then there would be a solid answer.
She started out by telling me that the profits brought in by purchases from the Red Canoe go right into the camper scholarship fund. Lake Ann has a scholarship fund that we build up throughout the year so that we can provide help in sending more campers to summer camp. Lake Ann has supplied scholarships for countless campers that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford to come to camp.
“It’s huge for a parent to get that little bit of extra help,” Margy said. “It can make such a difference!”
Margy also told me that the store serves as a place that makes the camper feel more comfortable.
“Our programs are pretty intense and the campers are always busy doing fun things,” she said. “The store reminds them that going to camp is like a vacation for them, and it serves as a normal piece of home. They love breaks in the day when they can come and get a treat.”
More than just Merchandise
Another important purpose of having a camp store is that its merchandise can serve as a reminder. Lake Ann cares deeply about inviting campers to make decisions for Christ, and we do everything we can to encourage them in their decisions. All of our counselors will write birthday cards to their campers encouraging them to keep pursuing Christ, at the end of each week the campers will write letters to themselves about the decisions and memories they made at camp and then Lake Ann will mail them those letters halfway through their school year as yet another reminder. When a camper buys a T-shirt or a sweatshirt that has the Lake Ann logo on it, we pray that it reminds them of their week at camp and encourages them to continue making life-changing decisions for Christ.
Christmas is fast approaching, and if you would like to give the gift of a fun summer memory by making a purchase from the Red Canoe you can order online at:
To learn more about Lake Ann Camp, please visit our website at www.lakeanncamp.com