Summer 2023 Recap

This 2023 summer camp season was another successful one at Kenesserie Camp. 431 unique campers attended camp for 464 camper weeks. Our full staff complement employed 32 local youth & young adults and 3 adults. We ran our traditional camp programs while introducing new activities including slingshots at our target range. One camper wrote a note to camp that said “This was my first year at Kenesserie Camp. I LOVED IT! My favourite part was everything, especially meeting new friends. I can’t wait to go back.” It is feedback like this that motivates us to do whatever is necessary to get kids to camp.

We overcame a significant and costly obstacle to run our 2023 summer camp programs.

The Unexpected Surprise
2023 was another unusual year for Kenesserie Camp. On June 15, 2023, merely two weeks before our 32-member staff team was to attend training in anticipation of the summer season, the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit informed us that we could not use any of our land or buildings within the 3:1 long-term stable slope line for shoreline erosion. The impact of this direction from the Health Unit meant that effective immediately Kenesserie had to cease use of Cabins 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, & 12, the Dining Hall & Kitchen, Staff Lounge, Vesper Point and Campfire.  This decision severely compromised Kenesserie’s planned summer camp season and with over 400 campers already registered, required an entire rethink of the summer program.
The  decision to direct Kenesserie to cease using land and buildings beyond the 3:1 long term stable slope line was made using the authority given to public health units by Ontario Regulation 503/17: Recreational Camps, and specifically concerned section 14 (c) which requires that camp operators “ensure that the camp is free from any condition that may endanger the health or safety of the campers or camp staff members of the camp.” The health unit’s opinion was that any use of this zone would endanger the health and safety of our camp community.
The timing of this left us with very little time to figure out a solution but as you know we still managed to have a fantastic camping season. Here’s how we did it:

  • Rented a commercial kitchen trailer
  • Purchased 2 wedding style 20’x40’ tents for dining
  • Purchased a 20 foot container and relocated our dishwasher into it
  • Completed most of the interior renovations of our Environmental Learning Centre and repurposed it to be a double cabin
  • Reduced our maximum camper capacity from 98 campers/session to 70 (10 cabins instead of 14)

We are still working through the process of understanding the final impact that these changes have had on our finances for 2023 but between direct expenses and reduced revenues we need to raise close to $75,000 to finish 2023 with a balanced budget.

Where we are today
The Kenesserie Camp Board is currently assessing options for continued summer camp operations in 2024 and considering all options to move forward. The way we operated this year for cooking and eating is not something we are willing to replicate for 2024, and that has opened up new infrastructure opportunities that will greatly enhance the camper experience. Our goal is to have a solution for summer 2024 finalised at our October Board of Directors meeting and communicate our future plans to all stakeholders in early November. 

What’s Next? Look for an announcement in the coming weeks about our fundraising drive to cover these expenses. If you would like to make a donation right now, you can do that here: DONATE NOW

Thank you
I want to thank you for your support of Kenesserie Camp. Your interest and support of our programs has been an important part of our success and it is very much appreciated. If you have any questions or would like to have a representative from Kenesserie Camp come and share more about camp with your congregation or group, please reach out to Dan Richards at or call 519.674.2497.

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