For the first time ever, the Cadet International Camporee was cut short when flooding forced the evacuation of more than 1,300 boys and their leaders from their campsite.
Mike VanderMeer, president of the Cadet Corps, said the rain never let up. “We never had a break. They were sloshing in their tents, in water beds—literally!” he said.
On day four, the leaders, who included nine doctors, decided to close the camp. VanderMeer said problems such as food delivery and the inability to service the 61 portable toilets were a factor, as well as medical concerns.
“Some boys were getting sores on their feet. A couple had hypothermia,” he said. And the forecast was for more rain, with temperatures plunging to 9 degrees Celsius (48 F).
The cold, wet campers were transported to a nearby arena. Many who lived within driving distance were picked up early by their families. Others, awaiting flights home, stayed with Christian Reformed families and at a Christian school.
“The response of the people was overwhelming. The cadets spent time at Niagara Falls and were given complimentary passes for the Maid of the Mist and Journey Behind the Falls,” said Marlene Kramer from Ripon, California, whose son was one of the cadets.
“Other than the mud the whole experience was good. I’m still glad I went. I hope to go to the next one,” said Kevin Kramer, 11.
Calvinist Cadets, part of Dynamic Youth Ministries, is a club for boys ages 10-14 offered in most Christian Reformed churches. Every three years, the International Camporee is held, giving boys a wilderness experience where they build their own tents and take part in a variety of outdoor adventures.