News Local

Harvest for Kids nears

Greg Vandermeulen

Left, 2018 Record Harvest Coordinator George Klassen and Dave Thiessen of Children’s Camps International are gearing up for the Aug. 4 Guinness World Record Harvest for Kids, that will see 300 combines take to a field south of Winkler to harvest winter wheat.

Left, 2018 Record Harvest Coordinator George Klassen and Dave Thiessen of Children’s Camps International are gearing up for the Aug. 4 Guinness World Record Harvest for Kids, that will see 300 combines take to a field south of Winkler to harvest winter wheat.

WINKLER - 

A Guinness World Record could be set south of Winkler less than a month from now as the 2018 Record Harvest for Kids takes place Aug. 4.
Organizers hope to see 300 combines harvest winter wheat, beating the previous record of 244, set in Saskatchewan in 2012.
In fact Harvest for Kids and Children’s Camps International have set world records several times, in 2006, 2010, and 2012 so far.
2018 Record Harvest Coordinator George Klassen said they’re asking for farmers to commit as soon as possible. “We need to plan the swaths for the combines,” he said.
Organizers have made plans that will allow farmers to leave the site almost immediately after the record is set. “We want to assure the farmers that if they want to get out of here quick, they can do that,” he said.
The harvest will be broadcast live via social media, and Klassen said people from across the world will be able to watch, and donate. ($5 sends one child to camp.) Organizers will use drones to help accomplish that and they have a message for people attending the event.
“We are begging people not to have personal drones there,” Klassen said. “We need the airspace.”
Combine operators can sign up by calling 204-325-3255. For more information or to volunteer call 204-331-4003 or go to harvestforkids.com.
While this is the highest profile harvest event this year, it’s not the only one.
Dave Thiessen of Children’s Camps International said there are 10 harvests taking place in western Canada, including their very first one in Alberta.
And they have made a difference. To date, more than 1.8 million kids have been sent to camps.
An evangelical, non-denominational organization promoting children’s camping ministry, Children’s Camps International got its start in 2003.
Their first harvest took place a few years later. “It started in 2006 when they had the first harvest here just south of Winkler,” Thiessen said.
CCI’s programs focus on transformation through intentional evangelism, discipleship and leadership training programs. The foundation of their effort began in southern India where in the first year about 500 kids went to camp.
The organization has seen tremendous growth with camps in India, Kenya, Cambodia, Brazil, Fiji, and Mexico.
“Right now we’re partnering with 2,500 churches,” Thiessen said. “When we started off it was five.”
Their first year saw 500 kids benefit, and their best year to date saw that number rise to 225,000.
And Thiessen said they’re confident they can partner with more churches and help many more kids.
“There are 15,000 churches waiting to get involved,” he said. “We just don’t have the funds. That’s 1.5 million kids (that could benefit) if we could find $5 per child.”
Thiessen said it’s great to see others get involved and for farmers to see how they can make a real difference. Those who come out for the record harvest will have a real impact.
In fact, Thiessen said they calculated that one farmer driving a combine down a single swath will make a difference in the lives of 3,333 kids. (The entire world record attempt is estimated to help 1 million children.)
And while the world record draws the publicity and the funds, it’s not the most exciting part for Thiessen.
“What excites me more is when you see people who understand the gifts they’ve been given, get excited,” he said. “That for me is pretty special.”