I can truly tell you that the Ignite partnerships are Not My Vision! I could not have imagined what one week with 30 campers 10 years ago could become. Back in 2008 I was just looking to fill a few more beds at camp when Bob Johnston, from SU Sportz, put Mark Gray (Toronto Police, 42 Division) and myself together to talk about an overnight camp experience for the youth Mark was working with in the Malvern neighbourhood. And get more campers we did. And more ministry and life change and reaching into neighbourhoods that needed the love of Jesus.
Mark and I now laugh abut the fact that we really had no idea what we were doing or getting ourselves into that first and maybe the second summer. God has done so much to bless us in this ministry.
Upward Sports founder & president Caz McCaslin explains that the vision for Upward sports wasn’t about him either. There are two parts; part 1 and part 2. You should watch both because they are powerful to see.
Over half our summer is given over to our Ignite Partnership Camps. Working with kids and youth from at risk and marginalized communities. They’re a different camper than our open enrollment weeks. They use words we don’t used to hear at camp. And yet, we learned that kids and youth from at risk and marginalized communities are still kids and youth that need our love and attention and Jesus.
Our Ignite camps started in 2009 as a way to get more campers. A that time I had no idea what God was about to do. He took two guys from different worlds and 30 campers from the Malvern neighbourhood to camp. And that week got big so we reached out to a church in Hamilton, then Guelph, then Etobicoke, then North York. Who knows where God will lead us next. (Brampton may be calling…)
These weren’t my ideas. Turns out, it wasn’t my vision. It still isn’t. It’s God’s vision. I am a steward of this ministry and He allows me to take part in it. It all belongs to God.
It has changed camp. It has changed my heart for kids and youth from hard places. It has changed the kind of staff we need. It has changed what we do. But not at the core. We will always focus on the Bible as our guide, for cabin devos and opening our day in prayer and God’s word. We’re know for morning money’s and words of wisdom. We’re known for all camp games, for cheering for everything, for lots of other traditions. We went from annual donations of about $5,000 to over $200,000 this summer.
We were created to do good works. Ephesians 2:10 – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.