Sudden changes to the provincial Green Team Funding program caught many organizations off guard earlier this month. For years, the funding has been available for summer camps, fishing outposts, and golf courses to tap into to help cover wages for camp staff positions.

However, this year, many camps that typically receive provincial funding were denied without explanation, and grants to successful candidates were slashed considerably.
Dale Wiebe is the executive director of the Winkler Bible Camp. This year was the first time Winkler Bible Camp applied for money through the Green Team Fund. The camp was also denied.

"We've always tried very hard to live within our means and if we don't need extra funding, we'll try not to get it. I mean, that's just our deal," said Wiebe. "We are a larger camp and our location is nice for different opportunities, and to make things happen that many other camps can't do."

Wiebe said Winkler Bible Camp's Christmas drive-thru and dinner theatres are examples of events they can do to produce extra revenue.

For camps to find out so close to the beginning of their camping season their applications were denied, with no explanation, will leave a lot of the smaller camps scrambling, said Wiebe. 

"This is the first year we applied, but I know many other camps will get funding, enough to hire four or five staff over the summer, for four months."

The Winkler Bible Camp applied for a grant this year, hoping to get enough funding to hire at least three to four people.

"Winkler Bible Camp is a unique facility in that we have many other options, and we've created many options, and so it's been good how things have worked out."

Wiebe said many of the smaller that may have one full-time director and a part-time person, they're dependent on this summer grant program. "It's something that they count on, and they need college-age people," noted Wiebe. "It becomes a very tough deal when they don't have those people around." 

The Winkler Bible Camp will need to hire a total of around 120 people for the summer. Currently, they have around 90 filled.