2023 Cadet International Camporee Review

The goal of the Calvinist Cadet Corps is to help boys grow more Christlike in all areas of life, and the Cadet International Camporee is one of the many ways that we strive to fulfill this goal.

The 2023 Cadet International Camporee, Camp Hickory, took place July 19-16, in Dunnville, Ontario. It brought over 500 cadets (and over 100 counselors) together from all over North America for something much more than just a camping trip.

Camp Hickory challenged and encouraged campers in their social, mental, physical, and spiritual lives. Cadres are (purposefully) made up of boys from different geographical areas and Cadet clubs. Camporee brings these boys together, and they must work through their fears and challenges together. Overcoming adversity and cooperating helps the boys grow socially, and the many small- and large-group gatherings encourage the start and growth of relationships.

Camp Hickory helped cadets grow mentally, as well. Boys at Camp Hickory quickly realized that the skills they learned to become Camporee Certified would be tested daily. The necessities of camp life (building a shelter, making a fire, cooking, etc.) spurred boys to recall their training and hone their skills.

While Camp Hickory certainly engaged boys and men socially and mentally, it was a place of nearly non-stop physical activity. Hiking, canoeing, swimming, a service project, target sports, a souvenir project, and a trip to the (relatively) nearby Niagara Falls were just some of the ways the boys were engaged in physical activity.

Above all, the Cadet International Camporee is a spiritual event. Cadets and counselors take part in Bible study and worship several times a day. Delving into God’s Word in cadres, worshipping in mass assemblies, and spending time in prayer – while being in God’s beautiful creation – helps campers grow spiritually and stay “rooted and grounded.”

Of course, an event of this magnitude doesn’t just happen. Many hours of planning, preparation, and prayer went into making Camp Hickory a success. Hundreds of people worked very hard to make camp run as smoothly as possible, and we are extremely thankful for all of them. Special thanks to Niagara Council for hosting, and to the many staff people who volunteered their time and efforts to helping the boys have a great camp.

And, of course, we know that it’s not just people that make a great event like Camp Hickory happen. God’s presence was felt throughout the Camp Hickory experience. His power and protection were evident during the week. The medical staff were actually a little bored due to the lack of injuries – which is surprising given the context. Feel free to look back at the weather reports and radar images from the week of camp – by the grace of God, Camp Hickory was spared from the surrounding severe weather multiple times. These are just a few examples of how God blessed the 2023 Cadet International Camporee.

Camp Hickory was a fantastic time of boys and men living for Jesus, and we pray that going forward the cadets and counselors who attended will remain “rooted and grounded” in their Christian faith.

(We’ll see you at the next Cadet International Camporee in 2026 in Alberta, Canada!)

Would you like to see more photos of Camp Hickory?

You can also help support the Cadet International Camporee financially by giving to the Cornel Rylaarsdam Memorial Fund, which assists boys with the expenses of attending an International Camporee.

If you have any questions or comments, please send them to info@calvinistcadets.org.