NORQUAY - In 2019, Pastor Arden Gustafson of the Norquay Covenant Church came up with the idea to build a small fleet of box cars to be enjoyed by local children during the church’s summer day camp program. With help from a great team of volunteers, a hand-crafted starting ramp and six brightly painted wooden cars were soon constructed, and the first box car derby was launched that same year. Local businesses and individuals were invited to sponsor the event – each earning a place for their name to be displayed on the back of one of the six cars.
"Norquay Covenant Church Day Camp has always been about loving the kids of our community by making this a fun week with unique experiences. We want them to know about the love of Jesus. I’m always looking for fun things to do that can make these kids want to come back year after year.”
With 2021 seeing a return of the event, an impressive number of families showed up – despite the dark and looming weather that presented on Tuesday, August 24. Braving the afternoon precipitation in helmets and rain slickers, children cheerfully lined up in pairs for their turn to launch off the starting ramp and roll down the hill to finish-line victory.
On a closed-off stretch of steep road just south of the church, the event featured Pastor Gustafson offering charged-up, live action commentary and jokes via a microphone and speaker. The names of each pair of racers were announced as they climbed into the cars. Once ready, the eager drivers gave the thumbs up signal and a short countdown concluded with volunteers on each side of the ramp releasing the holding board so the two loaded cars could embark in a downward dive to collect some exciting momentum.
Once racers crossed the finish line, a nimble group of volunteers collected each pair of box cars and trucked them back up to the ramp in golf carts and ATVs. The streamlined organization resulted in non-stop action as each new set of racers climbed into the starting position rotation in just a matter of minutes.
“Our goal in offering this camp is to teach children about Jesus and His love for them,” shared event volunteer, Candice Salisbury. “Also, we want the campers to have a really great time. This year we had 90 children registered. In addition to box car racing, the campers were also able to partake in bouncy castles, a nature walk with a hot dog lunch, and a paint class offered by Kamsack artist, Dustin Wilson.
“We would like to sincerely thank our 2021 sponsors which included: AGT Nutrition/Owen Family, Onyx & Darcilyn Johnson, RMT, Norquay Kin Club, Norquay Agencies, Doug & Candice Nelson, Dirk and Maria VanAs,” added Salisbury.
The Norquay Covenant Church would also like to acknowledge Norquay Co-op, Robinson's Family Foods, and Norquay Corner Gas, and Norquay School for their generous donations.
The following day featured a local charitable fundraising initiative called "Norquay Helping Hands.” Local children were challenged to collect non-perishable food items to support local families in need. For every box of non-perishables they collected, they earned the opportunity to throw five pies. Unfortunately for Pastor Gustafson, the children stepped up to the challenge with flying colours, and he ended up taking a whopping 48 pies to the face.