I am writing this letter after reading the article describing the situation that is now facing Camp Artaban - my most favourite place on Planet Earth.

Craft time at Camp Artaban on Gambier Island - making candles

I was a little girl of 10 the first time I was a camper, when my mother said she was sending me to camp, I collapsed in a heap of tears. I did not see this as a "fun" thing, rather I thought it was a major rejection on the part of my mother who truly just wanted to "get rid of me" - of that I was quite sure.

The morning I was to go to Camp Artaban I woke up with a horrible sickly feeling in my stomach - I memorized every thing in my bedroom with the firm conviction I would probably never see them again! My mother packed me and my little suitcase in the family car and off we went. I could barely kiss my mother goodbye my heart was breaking so badly.

Slowly I walked down the ramp onto the boat that was going to take us to camp - a tragic figure indeed until I looked up and - I knew girls on that boat! In a matter of seconds I barely remembered to feel sorry for myself as I flew from one friendly face to another, chirping away in excitement that we were all off to the same place. I was so delighted at the adventure of going somewhere with my friends I almost forgot to wave goodbye to my mother!

This was the beginning of my long and loving relationship with Camp Artaban - a place where I regularly re-laid my heart from the time I was 10 until I was in my early twenties. I went from camper, to hut leader to being on the staff. The people I met there had a huge impact on my life, more then I could ever say.

How tragic that such a marvellous educational, spiritual and fellowship-making place as Camp Artaban should be under threat. What is wrong with us that we could ever consider anything negative happening to that magical place? Whilst I know I am not the brightest crayon in the box, I would like to give some suggestions - mainly that I hope others will put their thinking caps on as well to ensure that thousands of future children will have the same magical, golden times I had at Camp Artaban.

Here goes:

  • Every single church in B.C. should be required to sponsor at least one child to attend Camp Artaban over the summer. If churches can sponsor immigrant families to come to Canada, surely they can sponsor children going to Camp.
  • Have a day/weekend where the Native community is invited to join others in a "healing" ceremony at the camp.
  • Have "Camp Artaban Ambassadors" include film, speeches and photos to make demonstrations to all of the different churches out there.
  • Make greater effort to find former campers and create a very strong organization with these people (I have never been contacted) - there must be thousands of individuals who have attended Artaban - some would have children and grandchildren. This could be a huge pool to draw from.

As a member of the Anglican Church, I appeal to all of you please help keep the spirit and existence of Camp Artaban strong for many, many years to come.