Muddy mayhem a family celebration at Charis Camp

Chilliwack-area camp throws open doors on Easter weekend for 3 km obstacle course designed for families

Carmen Sigurdson and Graeson Lounsbury tackle one of the obstacles at the Charis Camp in East Chilliwack that will be set up for a family-friendly mud obstacle course on Easter weekend.

Carmen Sigurdson and Graeson Lounsbury tackle one of the obstacles at the Charis Camp in East Chilliwack that will be set up for a family-friendly mud obstacle course on Easter weekend.

Easter weekend is about to get a whole lot messier.

Families are being invited to take part in a brand-new, 3 km obstacle course at Charis Camp in East Chilliwack. They’ll be challenged to climb, jump, plunge and fly through 20 different obstacles set up at the rolling hillside site.

While mud runs are often designed for the 19 and older crowd, the staff at Charis Camp wanted to let families in on a bit of the fun.

“We wanted to make this really family friendly, where people can come and enjoy the event together,” says Krista Bennett, Director of Advancement for Charis Camp & Conference Centre.

“With Easter being a time that families are gathering, and normally having their Easter dinners, we thought our Saturday could do that.”

They also have the perfect setting at their site on Hack Brown Road, complete with a pool, a large hill, ropes courses and more.

“I’m looking at a picture of it on a white board,” Bennett says from her office, and there is still some work to be done. “But we have a low ropes course, and swimming pool, and some of the obstacles will need to be built.”

The course will be suitable to anyone over the age of six, with mud pits to trudge through, coloured water to plunged into, a slip and slide to fly down, trees to bushwhack through, and plenty of space to run, walk or crawl. And for those aged six and under, a separate Muddy Buddy course will be set up for hours of safer entertainment.

And of course, there will be an Easter egg hunt, a bbq, coffee bar and face painting on site.

They’re calling it the Camp Champ Challenge, and they’re hoping to make it an annual event. Registration is open now, but families or even individuals can also register that morning. All the money they raise will go toward another new development at the camp — honorariums for their summer camp volunteers. Each summer, about 40 youth take on the role of camp counsellor. And they do it for no pay.

Charis Camp has always aimed to keep costs low for their summer campers, and with an eager roster of volunteers they’ve been able to do so.

“This is our first year we actually started tackling that desire to pay them,” Bennett says. “We wanted to come up with some type of honorarium. It’s an incredible leadership development program, but it doesn’t solve the issue that they may need to pay for school or buy a car.”

They couldn’t think of a more exciting, and more fitting, way to fundraise than to put the grounds to good use while bringing families closer together.

“This year marks 70 years for us and it’s amazing how many people don’t even know that we’re here,” she says. “This will be good exposure for our camp and letting people know what we offer.”

Those who do know about Charis Camp, are fond of it.

There are former campers who come back to be camp leaders, and families who have been taking part in camps for years. They have a wait list every year and are hoping to eliminate some of that waiting by enticing more camp leaders. Some volunteer for a week, others for the whole seven weeks of summer.

“They recognize the difference the camp has made in their lives,” Bennett says.

The Camp Champ Challenge opens at 9 a.m. with the first heat at 10 a.m. The event ends at 4 p.m. Bennett says those wishing to purchase barbecue items should bring cash.

The full 3km challenge is for ages 16 and up. The Junior Champ Challenge is also 3 km, but involves challenges suitable for ages 12 to 16. There is also a 7-11 Champ Challenge, and all challenges focus on teamwork. The registration cost is $35, while the Muddy Buddy course is $10 a participant (parent supervision required).

There is also a Family Champ Challenge, where ‘champs’ under six are $10 and those over six are $35.

Anyone up to age 11 who is registered for the challenges can also take part in the Easter egg hunt. For those just taking part in the egg hunt, donations will be accepted.

The event is running rain or shine, and participants are encouraged to bring a change of clothes. They are also looking for a small army of volunteers to help out with the event.

To register for the Camp Champ Challenge, visit the camp online at www.chariscamp.com.

To volunteer, email marty@chariscamp.com.