Camp Shagabec turns 70 this summer camping season

Staff ~ The Southwest Booster
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The year was 1938 when the young people of Southern Saskatchewan first headed out to the Cypress Hills to combine a camping adventure with youth fellowship. Today, 70 years later, Camp Shagabec is nostalgically looking back at its history, and looking ahead to an exciting future.

The camp's history is quite interesting, as it was established just prior to the outbreak of World War II. After only two years, the camp was nearly shut down, as the youth were increasingly needed to help out in various ways with the war effort. Luckily, a group of young theologians recognized that, even during times of war, kids need a place to explore, play, and to still "be kids".

The year was 1938 when the young people of Southern Saskatchewan first headed out to the Cypress Hills to combine a camping adventure with youth fellowship. Today, 70 years later, Camp Shagabec is nostalgically looking back at its history, and looking ahead to an exciting future.

The camp's history is quite interesting, as it was established just prior to the outbreak of World War II. After only two years, the camp was nearly shut down, as the youth were increasingly needed to help out in various ways with the war effort. Luckily, a group of young theologians recognized that, even during times of war, kids need a place to explore, play, and to still "be kids".

This group of theologians took on the tasks of organizing the camps during and beyond the war years, and it was during these years that it was decided that a name for the camp was necessary. They chose to create a word out of the town names that the theologians were based out of; Swift Current, Hazenmore, Aneriod, Govenlock, Admiral, Bracken, Eastend, and Consul and Climax.

As the years past, the camp location was moved (from a collection of tents at the north end of Loch Leven) to its current site. Buildings began to be constructed, and eventually campers moved from sleeping under the stars, to sleeping in a giant rec-hall, to sleeping in their own cabins. Campers went from cooking all their own food, to having two full-time cooks on-site, and a washhouse with flush toilets replaced the rustic old latrines.

As the decades rolled along, one thing remained the same around camp, and that is the joy that is produced at this camp. Camp Shagabec is entombed with the smiles and laughter of over 20,000 campers who have passes through its doors. Whether they are fleeing the constant pressures of a wartime nation, the solitude of farm life, or the speed of a city, summer camp offers our youth a much needed retreat to connect with nature, spirituality, and new community of peers.

Camp Shagabec will be celebrating its 70th Birthday Party at the camp on July 19. The celebration will run from 1 p.m. to midnight, and you welcome to attend any or all of the festivities: 1 p.m. - tea/social; 2:30 p.m. - program and cake; 5:30 p.m. - weiner roast/ smores; 7 p.m. - Vespers service; 8 p.m. - campfire.

To find out more about Camp Shagabec or to contribute to their legacy fund, go to www.shagabec.com.

Organizations: Birthday Party

Geographic location: Southern Saskatchewan, Swift Current, Loch Leven

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