In the summer of 1926, sixteen young girls sat on a makeshift porch of an old boat-house, looking out over the waters of Maple Bay glistening in the summer sun, listening to a Bible story.
Miss Lenore Rice, a visionary with a heart to see young people grow in their Christian faith, saw the opportunity to hold a camp at her families boathouse. This very quickly developed into an annual activity with campers sleeping in the woodshed, the garage, on the veranda, or in tents on the small property. Dishes were washed in a galvanized washtub, and the cooking was limited to the ingredients available.
In 1934 Lenore invited Huron and Ida Sheppard to help her with the winter clubs and activities with the children on the island. In 1936 she left the summer camping ministry in their capable hands while she returned to make her home in England.
As Camp Imadene became more popular with the children on Vancouver Island, additional property was purchased, eventually reaching a grand total of 5 acres! A chapel was built and new cabins constructed, as well as additions to the old boathouse, were made to provide a new kitchen and various other luxuries like water and electricity.
Huron was very good at relating to children and was a gifted story-teller. Many children learned about the love of God through his Bible stories - many lives were changed dramatically.
Storms in the winters of 1965/66 and 1967/68 caused enough damage to the boathouse that the decision was reached in 1968 to replace the building. The last camp in the old boathouse was held in 1969.
When camps began in 1970, the new building was complete with a new kitchen and dining room on the main floor overlooking the water, a recreation room on the lower level, and staff accommodation and bathroom facilities on the upper level. It was a huge improvement over the previous facilities.
By this time nine, week-long camps were held each summer, with a capacity of 120 campers a week.
As the '70s progressed, the limited size of the property and increasing congestion on the waterfront began to force the leadership at Camp Imadene to consider relocation. In 1981 a suitable site was located in the Cowichan Valley, a 55-acre site beside beautiful Mesachie Lake. In 1982 an offer was made and accepted to purchase this property.
Plans were then made to begin the development of the new site and seek a buyer for the Maple Bay site. The sale of Maple Bay was finalized in late 1991 and on July 15, 1992 camp began at the new site with 120 campers. Because of God's faithfulness and provision, the camping season was not lost in the move to Mesachie Lake.
The winter of 1991/92 was very busy as the camp was moved to Mesachie Lake. The ten cabins from Maple Bay were moved to the new site, as well as the 'hospital'.
In the years that have followed the move, much work has been done at the 'new' Camp Imadene. Numerous improvements have been made on the grounds and additional property surrounding the lake has been purchased. Today Camp Imadene is a modern, spacious facility surrounding a pristine lake, where children, teens, and adults can be introduced to the love of Jesus Christ.
God has truly been faithful!