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You could say Emma Burke is invested in Camp Medley. This summer, her second as assistant director, is her fourth at the diocesan summer camp on the lower Wolastoq / St. John River. She began in 2019 as a counsellor.

Now, even after launching a career as a high school math and science teacher a year ago, she’s just spent her first commitment-free summer working at Camp Medley.

“I’ve still got student loans,” she said, but acknowledged it’s about more than money.

“You have to be here for the long haul if you want to see systemic change,” she said. “I want our staff to grow as Christians. If I want to see that, I need to grow with them. 

“Consistency is important. They’re stepping up. We’re getting that consistency we wanted to see. For them to know I’m staying helps.”

She speaks of the camp staff, numbering around 20, as something akin to family, and with most having spent the past three summers together, they’ve become close. 

“Camp can run basically by itself,” she said. “I’m just here to solve problems.”

She also wants younger staff members to see that they can graduate high school, go to university, and still return to work at the camp during summer breaks, thereby adding to the consistency she’s after.

This summer has been busy but without any major problems. Each week has seen about 70 or 80 campers. 
Their newest camp, Fall Sports Intensive, attracted only four campers, but that was expected. It’s designed to physically prepare teenagers for school sports they normally participate in. 

“We’ll do it again next year,” said Emma. “We have Medley Makers for artistic campers, adventure camp for activities like canoeing, tenting and wilderness, where they fish and cook their own food on a fire.

“So it’s a nice addition to the specialty camps we have and the perfect time for it.”

This year, despite the wet weather, they did not experience even one full day of rain. That’s a blessing for an enterprise that leans heavily on outdoor pursuits.

This summer, adventure camp had a new agenda. Instead of being dropped off on an island to fish, cook food, tent and come back the next day, campers and counsellors were dropped off upriver near the Burton Bridge.

From there, they canoed down to Casey’s Campground in Sheffield, where they fished, cooked their food and camped for the night before heading back.

“It was more of a travel camp, and it worked out really well,” she said. “Canoeing is much nicer. You’re not seeing the same thing, and you’re with the current the whole time.”

On the day the NB Anglican visited, Raegan Evans-Hoyt was in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on a lunch of caesar salad and chicken quesadillas. This was Raegan’s seventh as Camp Medley’s cook, this summer assisted by Abby Murphy.

Besides their weekly chaplains, the camp brought in a few new mentors this summer. The Rev. Andrew Horne, who serves in the Parish of Gagetown where the camp is located, offered his expertise and love of nature, while Brennan Caines, who serves in the military, taught map skills.

Also new this summer:  some kayaks and canoes, a golf cart for getting around the acreage (and helping those with mobility issues get around) and a giant umbrella to provide shade on the deck outside the dining hall. The large inflatable water toys are still relatively new and getting lots of attention. 

The Rev. Chris McMullen spent his 24th year at Camp Medley as its chaplain in early August. 

“I missed one summer while I was on sabbatical in Scotland, and during COVID, of course,” said Chris.

Chris has been involved in Christian camping all across Canada, and there’s a reason for that.

“I came to the Lord in 1971 at a Christian camp. I was going into Grade 12. During my university years I volunteered at camps. 

“It’s my way of remembering and thanking the Lord.”

Now that he’s semi-retired, he is more free to come for a specific camp — the second teen week.

“It’s a chance to connect with them,” he said. “I enjoy it. The kids have me as chaplain each year and they remember me. 

“They’re at that age where they really think about the Lord, what they want to do, how the universe operates and how they fit into it. I love to see the maturing of the counsellors and I love the atmosphere here.”

That’s the sort of consistency Emma was talking about. And like Chris, she plans to return next summer to do it all again. 

“Counting the rentals, we had a lot of people through the camp this summer,” said director John Galbraith. 

Camp Medley was the June field trip destination for hundreds of school students this year, and in early August, the camp hosted a waterski camp, which went well.

On the schedule this fall are four weddings, a rental retreat, and the second annual seniors’ retreat, with the possibility of another rental in the works. And on Dec. 16, they will host a huge turkey dinner for international students in Fredericton.

The highlight for John this summer was the staff, he said.

“I’m very pleased with the staff,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of growth. That’s what makes the experience special for campers.”

He’s hoping to see many of them back for the 2024 season, thereby adding to the consistency they are aiming for.

Classic camps – 272
Welcome to Camp – 23
Specialty Camp -71
Total - 366

Family Camp - 48 people
Family Day Destination - 18 people
St. Micheal’s Youth Conference - 9 campers plus staff
School Groups - 640 students at day camp 
School Group (two-night stay over) - 30 students
Water Ski Camp (rental) - 90 (50 campers, 40 volunteers)


  1. The 2023 Camp Medley staff, with Emma Burke at the back.
  2. The ambiance in the chapel has been enhanced by the new lighting.
  3. Hanging out, making friends during downtime is a great passive bonding exercise.
  4. The Wolastoq / St. John River provides a place for the inflatable water toys, for kayaking and canoeing, and for swimming.

Emma Burke photos

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