Les & Val Klassen, Directors of Campfire Ministries & Camp Bob
Les & Val began their position as Executive Directors in September 2009. 2017 will mark their 8th summer as Directors at Camp Bob.
Previously, they spent 4 years in missionary service in Mexico as part of International Discipleship Training (IDT) in Vicente Guerrero, Baja Mexico. During their time there, they directed the house building program that provided housing for impoverished indigenous Mexican people. They coordinated the many groups of adults and youth that would come from Canada and the USA to spend a week at a time investing in these life changing building projects.
Prior to going to Mexico, Les was employed as a professional driver, and Val worked as an Administrative Assistant with the School District in the Comox Valley.
Both Les and Val volunteered in youth ministry much of their married life, and their passion for camp ministry began early on.
In 1976, Les was one of the first, along with several of his peers, to pioneer a “Day Camp” program which began out of the Black Creek Community Church. Day trips and Out-tripping became a way through which kids could experience a low-cost Camp program and have fun while getting to know who God is and how much He loves them. This program lasted for several years.
In 1995, Barry & Sandy Falk, Pastors of the Black Creek Community Church, began a similar Day Camp program called Campfire Ministries. Les & Val assisted them for several summers as once again, out-tripping became the way to experience God in nature. By 2001, Campfire Ministries had grown to the point where it became necessary to look for a base site for the expanding summer program. Les helped form the first Board of Directors, and together Campfire Ministries established Camp Bob on Roberts Lake. Les remained involved with camp until the Fall of 2005 when he and Val felt called to Mexico.
Together Les & Val pioneered the first adult Outbound programs in 2004 & 2005; back country adventures that took adults on 5-day canoe & back-packing trips to different locations on the North Island.
Since their return in 2009, Les & Val have been instrumental in bringing about several changes to the Camp Bob landscape. New infrastructure has been added to accommodate the greater demand on Summer programs, and they have worked with the Provincial government to secure a long term NRT Licence of Occupation for the Camp Bob site which will pave the way for future long term growth and development of Campfire Ministries & Camp Bob.
Les & Val have a passion to see this ministry grow, offering more children and youth a wilderness-style Camp experience, as well as equipping more leaders for positive impact and social and spiritual change within a culture that cries out for hope. The North Island is a mission field … and with Camp Bob already being established on Roberts Lake, it will become the springboard that takes this ministry into exciting new frontiers.
Benj & Lindsay Klassen, Program Directors for Camp Bob
Benj & Lindsay joined the Campfire Ministries team as volunteers beginning November 2010 and have worked closely with Les & Val since that time in continuing to develop exciting adventure programs at Camp Bob.
Their history with Camp Bob goes back many years, as they have come up through the ranks of camper, Junior Leader, Counsellor and Program Directors.
Each summer since 2011, they have served in a full-time paid position as Program Directors at Camp Bob for the Summer months of June, July & August. Beginning May 2016, their position with Campfire Ministries increased to a year-round full-time position.
Benj & Lindsay share more than a last name with Les & Val (the two are not related), they share a passion to see young people impacted for God to become world changers in a culture that cries out for honesty, truth and integrity. As part-time Youth Pastors with the Black Creek Community Church, they have been able to maintain a connection with many campers and student-leaders attending their youth functions. This has given them the opportunity to continue to speak into young people’s lives during the ‘in-between’ camp seasons, as they mentor and raise up student-leaders who will make a difference within the cultures they live in.
Both have a history of Managers and Supervisors in the service industry, but gave up their careers to be able to focus on camp ministry and youth pastoral work.
A young couple sold out to God, Benj & Lindsay are passionate about camp, campers and youth. They are passionate about each other, their marriage and their three boys, Taelen, Maverick & Desmond. They bring an enthusiasm and excitement to camp that is contagious, providing the life-line of adrenaline that every camp thrives on. They bring new meaning to “Living the Adventure”.
Benj’s passion for the outdoors has been a catalyst to see the Adventure Challenge program, originally designed as a back-country wilderness program for older teens and adults, re-introduced as the new ‘Outbound’ program. ‘Outbound’ will offer teenage campers back country adventures with off-site excursions up to 5 days in length.