The mission of Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp and Retreat Centre is to provide a welcoming, peaceful gathering place where diverse groups of people experience life-giving connections with God, one another, and nature.
From its beginnings as a farm property, Hidden Acres has been planting seeds of faith and hope in the lives of people of all ages, seeking to honour the Lord Jesus Christ through programs and facilities that promote our core values:
- Worship and reflection
- Recreation and fun
- Rest and renewal
- Personal growth and discipleship
- Leadership development
- Appreciation and care for the natural environment
Single Mom’s Camp
What comes across when you first meet Corrie-ann is her warm, engaging personality, a quiet confidence and the ability to make the other person feel heard and valued. With her children, Corrie came to Single Moms Camp for the first time in 2004, returning for the next five years. Two of her children who have since served on our summer staff team have further extended the family’s connection with Hidden Acres.
Corrie recalls that her week at camp felt like an oasis—a protective “cloak” from the pressures and issues of daily life—managing her household, paying the bills, raising three growing kids all on her own and planning for the future. In the camp community Corrie found healing, a place to ask questions, and the chance to learn and grow.
Gratefulness for her positive experience at Single Moms Camp led Corrie to want to give back to the program. This pas summer she willingly agreed to be a resource person for a week, where she shared with the other women how the challenges of helplessness and hopelessness in her life were turned into opportunities to learn forgiveness, compassion and empathy, allowing her to grow into the person God intended her to be.
This year’s program theme was “Ripples,” using the visual of a pebble tossed into the water. The resulting ripples radiate out into an expanding circle to affect everything in their path. Corrie built on this concept as she told her story of having absent parents, spending years trying to fit into various foster homes, experiencing the breakdown of a group home placement, and finally being dropped off at a shelter to fend her herself. The trauma, abuse, and system failure in her life experience left her facing motherhood as a teenager, but out of this crisis she was determined to choose a different path for herself and her child. Today, Corrie would say that all of it laid the groundwork for the person she has become and her tole as a family support worker, a vocation she is passionate about.
After telling her own story to the women, Corrie invited everyone around the circle to take a stone, drop it into a pool of water, and share part of their own experience. As the session began to draw to a lose, one normally very quite participant hesitantly came forward and dropped her stone into the water. She shared that in school she had always felt very alone—an outsider who was frequently teased and bullied. However, in Grade 4 there was a red-haired girl who, for some reason, stood up for her against the others. In Joanne’s mind it was the first time anyone had provided a measure of protection for her. It was a kindness she would never forget.
What she shared next was equally unforgettable. Today, she said, she felt grateful to finally be able to thank that person. The red-haired girl was, in fact, Corrie. The connection between Joanne’s childhood memory and this camp visitor had dawned on her when she heard someone say Corrie’s full name: Corrie-ann Snow.
Up until that moment, Corrie, along with the other women, felt drawn into Joanne’s story—but she had no idea the storyteller was speaking about her! Her response, when Joanne looked her way and revealed her remarkable discovery, was one of utter surprise and amazement. Of course, the whole exchange paved the way not only for deeper and livelier discussion among the women, but a renewed connection for the two it most affected.
That’s part of what we’re all about. Hidden Acres is indeed a place where connections are made, relationships are fostered, and amazing moments like this can happen.
A donation of $750 will send a single family (a single mom and two children) to camp for a week.
The Single Mom’s Camp is 90% subsidized. The family pays $25 per person and the balance is provided. The cost to provide this experience is approximately $750 per family. Financial support for this program is truly appreciated.