If you live in Southeast Manitoba, there’s a good chance you, or someone you know, has been impacted by Red Rock Bible Camp. From the picturesque location in Whiteshell Provincial Park to exciting activities on and around the lake and friendships forged among Pre-Cambrian red granite, the camp has touched countless lives in this region, throughout Manitoba, and in Northwest Ontario.
There are as many stories as there have been campers. And on Tuesday, November 1, at Emmanuel Evangelical Free Church in Steinbach, some of them, as well as former volunteers and staff members, will share their memories of Red Rock as part of the camp’s 75th anniversary celebration.
“Doors will open around 6:30, and then we’ll start the program in the sanctuary at 7,” says Evelina Kehler, Red Rock’s office manager. “We’ll also have a time of coffee and desert and fellowship, and people can just hang out and share stories. There will be a slideshow in the background as well as a booth with some merchandise for sale.”
The program, itself, will feature testimonials of campers and staff from down the years, but the event’s purpose is really to bring people together in support of the camp.
“There have been a lot of changes over the years,” says Kehler, emphasizing the disruptions caused by the pandemic. “But we’ve had a huge support group behind us that helped us keep going.”
Kehler also points out that she, like other staff members and more recent campers, might not have a full picture of the history of Red Rock. For her part, she arrived in Canada from Germany in 2001 and began her involvement with the camp as head cook. She was office manager from 2008 to 2012, and then in 2019 returned to the position.
“I’m excited to see people from different eras coming together,” she says. “It’s good to connect with people who know a bit more of the history, to talk with them and get a feel of the passion and vision they had, and to share how Red Rock has impacted people’s lives.”
Founded in 1947, Red Rock Bible Camp is still going strong, with eight weeks of summer camp, outdoor education for school groups, rentals for families and church groups, family camps, and Counsellor in Training programs. It’s very much a year-round operation, as the stories shared on November 1 will reflect.
The celebration event will also include a time of remembrance to honour the life and legacy of Kim Coursey.
“Kim had been with Red Rock for almost 40 years – more than half the time the camp has existed,” explains Kehler. “He passed away last year, and we’d like to spend a little bit of time honouring his memory and sharing some of his story, how he impacted Red Rock and everything he did for the camp over the years. I know he impacted many, many lives.”
Coursey’s legacy, like that of the camp itself, is one of encouraging personal, relational, and spiritual formation. In celebration, and in anticipation of another 75 years of history, faithfulness, and fun, the public is invited to the November 1 event at EEFC, 360 McKenzie Avenue in Steinbach. Registration is not required.
“God has carried us through 75 years,” says Kehler. “We’re very excited to celebrate.”