In celebration of its 85th anniversary, Mesachie Lake’s Camp Imadene is inviting the whole community out for a fun-filled day outdoors.
“We do want to recognize that we’ve been in this ministry for 85 years,” camp administrator Vicki Podetz said, of the bible camp. “What we do is unique.
Admission to the event will be by donation, and will include a day’s worth of activities, Saturday, June 25, beginning with a cake cutting at 11:30 a.m.
Wagon rides, games for kids, ski boats, kayaks, volleyball, iced cream, candy floss, lunch and dinner; these things and more will be available for those dropping by to wish the camp a happy anniversary.
“It’s a nice day for families to come out,” Podetz said.
With 600 people showing up for the camp’s 80th anniversary, the camp is prepared for about 500 people to stop by for this year’s open house event.
The underlying celebration is about Camp Imadene; a camp that has a long history throughout the Cowichan Lake area.
In 1926, the camp was located at Marble Bay, where Lenore Rice began taking Sunday School classes to her father’s boathouse.
“It eventually got used more and more, then they developed the property,” Podetz said, of the nine acre site.
Over the years, the Marble Bay area became more and more developed, with nearby property owners unintentionally encroaching on the campers’ sense of isolation.
By the 1991/1992 season, the camp started operating at their new, more secluded, location at Mesachie Lake.
“We offer a very safe environment to enjoy the outdoors, and in that time we hope to share the gospel,” Podetz said.
With limited boat access to Mesachie Lake, a more remote feeling came with the new site’s 55 acre property.
The recent purchase of the 160 acre Mesachie Mountain across the lake has even further helped this cause.
“When we say it’s a safe environment, we want to stay true to that,” Podetz said.
One particularly unique thing to Camp Imadene is that it’s largely volunteer-run. During the summer months, the camp will see around 600 volunteers at the camp.
This will be a special anniversary celebration for Podetz herself, as she’ll be retiring in September after having worked at the camp for the past 11 years. She was attracted to the job through her childhood camp experiences.
“When I was in high school, I went to camp and became a Christian,” she said.
It was the positive group of like-minded individuals she met at camp that encouraged her to continue along that path. She keeps in touch with some camp friends to this day.