46 thoughts on “Ex Kanakuk Kamp Assistant Director Faces 5 to 171 Years

  • March 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm
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    Well, this is about punishment. (Sorry to all of my Kanakuk loving peers. I was a Kanakuk parent, the one who reported Newman to the kamp BTW…to no avail years ago.) Anywho, yes, we should forgive him. So, please, let’s keep this focused on PUNISHMENT, not how wonderful we all feel Kanakuk is (I certainly don’t share that impression), or how “bad” we feel about his wife. Where was she while he was RUINING the lives of children?

    And, yes, I was questioned by the authorities. There are victims in Dallas. He’s also been charged in Colorado. He like to go hot tubbing with his victims out of state, too. Pete Newman is the dictionary definition of serial pedophile.

    Then, we can put him in a tiny cell, and throw away the key. For at least 100 years. Yep, I’m good with that.

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  • March 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm
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    Absolutely – we need to send a message to all the sick perverts out there.

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  • March 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm
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    Given the way this man lured both his victims and their families into faith-based “friendships” and abused his trusted status among the campers/staff at Kanakuk, I truly believe he should spend the rest of his life in prison. I feel terribly sorry for his wife and child, but Pete Newman appears, by his own admission of guilt, to be a repeat offender who should not be allowed back into society. I’m sure a man as educated as he is can accomplish many worthwhile projects within the prison system that will benefit his fellow inmates. It may not be the life he intended for himself, but it’s better than nothing.

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  • March 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm
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    And here we go again. Double yawn.

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  • March 2, 2010 at 2:27 pm
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    I hope he gets the maximum sentence. He is a sick, lying POS and I hope he burns in hades. And yes, all of you Kristians who don’t think it’s right for me to wish someone burns in hades, I said it. I mean it.

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  • March 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm
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    As a former camper (i refuse to use “the everything starts with k! awesome!” bit) I agree with mk’s assessment. The acts themselves, while inexcusable, are not as bad as the guise under which they took place. While it is far scarier to think of men in white vans (with curtains, if they have any sense of style) grabbing babies off the street, it is far sadder in instances like this where trust is betrayed. When you’re at camp, any camp, you think the counselors are possibly the coolest people who have ever lived. Maybe you grow up and realize they were actually huge dorks (very likely), but at the time they are everything you hope to be as a teenager/college student etc. To have that impression preyed upon is terribly sad. To have it preyed upon under the veil of Christianity is disgusting.

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  • March 2, 2010 at 2:48 pm
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    @Maggie finds a serial pedophile posing as a minister and a camp counselor worthy of a yawn? WOW. Self absorbed much? I never sent a kid to Kanakuk, my kids are too old for camp now, but realize it is quite relevant here on this blog, and of great importance as well. My first thought is for the kids and their parents that were victims of this man. I’m so very sorry for you all, for all parents whose children were at this camp during this man’s term there. This definitely goes into the “worst parental fears” column.

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  • March 2, 2010 at 3:35 pm
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    @kmom – didn’t mean it that way. We just beat this story to death last year. Glad he’s going to prison. Didn’t mean to offend.

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  • March 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm
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    Pleading guilty is very newsworthy. Thank you PCP for reporting this.

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  • March 2, 2010 at 5:27 pm
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    @matt – So let me get this straight: the fact that this puts a black mark against Christianity is WORSE than what he did?

    I think I understand what you were meaning to say. Hopefully.

    But I really don’t think ANYTHING is worse than the actions he took. Whether he did them at a “Christian” camp, a Wiccan-weekend-getaway, or in the back of that damn white van that apparently spends 24 hours a day cruising the HP, NOTHING is worse than what he did.

    I think we have all learned that just because someone is sitting on the front row at church on Sunday doesn’t mean they are one bit better than anyone else, or less capable of committing some pretty horrendous actions.

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  • March 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm
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    Pedophiles cannot be rehabilitated. This was not an accident that he ended up on the staff of a children’s camp. He knowingly placed himself in the situation that allowed him to conveniently prey upon his victims. So if we are lenient upon him because he has a wife and child, we are allowing that misplaced sense of decency to result in the exposure of all other children he would come into contact with upon his release. He should be given the maximum sentence. He stole those kids’ innocence.

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  • March 2, 2010 at 5:41 pm
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    I’m curious to see how this plays out. Him pleading guilty certainly saves time and money, but most of all it saves the victims and their families from having to endure a lengthy trial process. That said, he likely didn’t do it out of the kindness of his heart, but was hoping that this guilty plea would garner him some sliver of leniency.

    I’d hope he serves well over that 5 year minimum prior to any type of parole, and if he gets the 100+ year range, I’d not be surprised.

    I think there will always be a doubt in my mind as to whether an individual like this could be rehabilitated (25 years? 30 years?).

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  • March 2, 2010 at 6:03 pm
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    Give him the max prison time, but put him in general population. Even criminals have a code when it comes to pedophiles. He’ll get his.

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  • March 2, 2010 at 9:40 pm
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    Ah, Samuel, I knew someone would take that church bait. Did you come from Frontburner? “Let me get this straight” clearly should have been a question. I did not write, imply, or infer that it puts a black mark on Christianity. The critical reader would have understood the relationship between the vile acts and the culture of trust such a (religious) camp conveys. I’m not sure that the broad application you employ is quite the same (NAMBLA?)

    Actually, a lot of things are worse. Murder is definitely in my top 5. Also anything with very young children, I would say is worse.

    I also still find it strange that 13,14 year old boys were involved in this. When I was that age I’m pretty sure I had enough high school harry/bobby badass aggression that I would have removed little Pete Newman from Big Pete Newman had such an act been asked of me.

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  • March 3, 2010 at 7:47 am
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    @matt- 13/14 year old boys, while not as physically defenseless as young children, can nonetheless be psychologically defenseless. Pedophiles go for the easiest targets, which usually means their victims lack social support, or they are in a home environment where they feel they cannot confide in their parents. Also, pedophiles engage in what is known as ‘grooming’- gradually gaining the child’s trust, and increasing the severity of offenses as time goes on. So it may start with a conversation of a slightly suggestive nature, but it will gradually progress to much worse offenses. In this instance, the predator was a religious authority figure, and some children are brought up to never question a religious authority. Not saying this is the case here, but these are all factors that could make an older child more vulnerable to such a predator. (I speak from personal experience here).

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  • March 3, 2010 at 8:29 am
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    @Disgusted…….you should try readying Psalm 55.

    Sorry for his wife and child. Looks like his own child will be spared the agony of being raised under this “man”s care. I think we can all praise the Lord for that!

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  • March 3, 2010 at 9:08 am
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    Totally agree with “S”…the whole religious authority figure angle is why the Catholic priest pedophile situation became so prevalant in the past few decades. Pete Newman’s crimes provided an opportunity for me to remind my child that even religious authorities are not above illegal/inappropriate behavior with children. When I was growing up in the 60’s here in Dallas, we used to have our church minister over for dinner at least once a month. He was as trusted as an aunt or uncle and I would have been very reluctant/intimidated to speak out against him if he had done anything improper to me (which he did not). I’m not bashing religion here at all…just saying that it can be a successful conduit for pedophiles to groom their victims with less risk of getting caught, due to the trusting nature of Christian fellowship.

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  • March 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm
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    @ matt – Apparently I misread what you wrote.

    Is there some other way to interpret:

    “The acts themselves, while inexcusable, are not as bad as the guise under which they took place.”

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  • March 3, 2010 at 1:40 pm
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    Penny, pedophiles CAN be rehabilitated–it’s called castration (either chemically or physically). I think modern society opts for the former but I’d be an advocate of the latter just to make sure it takes.

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  • March 4, 2010 at 2:35 am
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    @matt- So you would have, as you say, “removed little Pete Newman from Big Pete Newman had such an act been asked of me”? I guess those 13 and 14 year old boys were just a bunch of wimps then? Or they invited the abuse? I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume you didn’t mean it that way and have no real understanding of the subject.

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  • March 4, 2010 at 8:44 am
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    @Lisa — You should try “readying” something besides the bible sometime… Dumbass.

    @amanda — I cannot believe you reported him and the camp ignored your plea. You should sue Kanakakuk…. Not kidding. The entire organization is terribly, terribly corrupt. Sure, Pete Newman took advantage of the situation, but honestly, Kanakuk was the type of place that was set up for something like that to happen.

    And to the rest: I went to Kanakuk for seven years. I was converted to Christianity there. I am now a devout atheist and that fact has nothing to do with Pete Newman but everything to do with Kanakuk in general. It is a horrific place that preys on the immaturity and ignorance of children to benefit their “evangelical” money-making scheme, and while Pete Newman is a very extreme example of that, he is not at all the only involved with the camp who deserves criticism.

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  • March 4, 2010 at 8:47 am
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    not the only one** involved

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  • March 4, 2010 at 12:13 pm
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    Gee…excamper…what would I “sue” for? What exactly did the “do” to me?

    No thanks…I’ll let God sort it out. I feel they were either blind or really, really stupid, and Newman was sick and evil.

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy kamp. I don’t know what else to say.

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  • March 8, 2010 at 5:59 pm
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    Amanda, WHEN did you report Newman to the camp’s officials, and how…by letter, phone call, email? This is extremely important information for me to have. I’m about to send my Grandsons there for their 4th year.

    All of you have given me further information to educate my Grands against pedophiles, ie what “grooming” looks like, and to have a healthy disrespect for authority figures, esp. “religious” figures, and to feel free to expose such people. Thanks.

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  • March 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm
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    I did it via a phone call, and received a call back the next day. In hindsight, I wished I had pushed the matter and DEMANDED to speak with Joe White, or ANYONE in charge.

    I didn’t push it, and I feel that I was wrong. I’ve even struggled with the thought that my not pursuing my concerns may have led to other boys being harmed.

    I made the report a few days after my daughter returned from the first term in summer 2006. I called the camp again last September, too. They aren’t being very open or honest about events, and that’s a shame.

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  • March 27, 2010 at 5:15 pm
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    This is just crushing. He was my favorite counselor at camp when I was a kid. This ruins so many of my favorite memories from camp.

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  • April 3, 2010 at 4:18 pm
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    Pete stayed in our home a number of times. Over many years. There were a few odd things… I didn’t recognize them as RED flags. Now I know better. I do not hold Joe White responsible for Pete’s actions… no one would wish this on a boy or his family… And Pete was/is evil personified. This behavior is SO taboo that people just haven’t talked about it… Most parents fear the stranger danger and don’t know enough to be wary of the coach, club leader, counselor or teacher.
    All organizations, churches, camps, schools, clubs and even families need to be aware of a report published by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children… Kenneth Lanning compiled what he learned after a career of tracking and pursuing sex offenders. (search Lanning sex offender profile National Center for Missing and exploited children)

    Its long… wade through it. About half way through you will find a detailed description of characteristics of sex offenders that groom their victims…
    C H I L L I N G- you will find yourself reading a total description of Pete.

    I believe Katie was a pawn. A victim. Part of his charade. None of us knows what she did or didn’t know or do… She was trapped in his scheme and probably somewhat brainwashed… Raking her over the coals now is meaningless and cruel.

    Time to move forward-

    You must educate yourself. You can’t jump to conclusions about people, but-
    be smart. Know what to look for. Teach your kids. Nat’l Center for Missing and Exploited children has lots of great resources.

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  • May 13, 2010 at 4:24 pm
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    This story brings out a lot of emotions. Anger. Sadness. Betrayal. Justice.

    It is hard to know what to say, or how to respond to this. Terribly sad for the victims and for his wife and family and friends. Tragic for people to have yet another horrific example of a person who was given a spiritual trust. Sad for Pete as well, as it is doubtful that he got into youth ministry for this, planning to be a sexual offender. Obviously, something went terrible wrong along the way.

    Personally, as a Christ follower- I know that “a man reaps what he sows,” and although I think all of us should forgive (as hard as that may be) — Pete has seriously broken trust and a lot of laws and has to face up to that. This is a tough story… and I would hate to be on that jury.

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  • May 25, 2010 at 3:21 pm
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    My child was a victim. God has used this for his good (even though the enemy meant it for evil) – my child will not become a victim again. You can talk to your kid all you want, they will not KNOW how to respond inside the actual scenario. They won’t know they are in a scenario people! The whole purpose and plan of the devil is to plot and “roam” seeking whom he may devour. He does not walk up to your kid and say, “Hi, I’m Pete, want to play naked truth or dare?” The devil is the father of lies, and our children were deceived. Building their trust is the first order of business and Kanakuk unwittingly facilitated that process with all the “man” events and encouragement to “man up” to various challenges. When Pete “challenged” them to converse or act inappropriately, they simply “manned up” according to his encouragement. HE is the deceiver here, he took advantage of Kanakuk and our children’s trust and our trust, grooming each and every one deceptively and purposefully until they were suddenly “guilty” victims with him, too ashamed to tell anyone. Buys age 10 14, all included. That is why this is the perfect crime. Only this better than a dead victim, is an ashamed victim.
    My only question is for anyone who says they contacted Kanakuk prior to this story breaking out. Why does not one of these people have and proof? Not one letter, not one email.
    Perhaps, if it is true, Joe is like our kids – too close to the situation to believe it. I myself would have had difficulty, my son would have been unable to believe it – that is the point of the deceptions. May Joe, may no child in this case ever be fooled again.

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  • June 4, 2010 at 2:19 am
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    Excamper…..Your attitude represents a very cynical/evil spirit. You seem to put your decision for Christ in the hands of Humans & their misdeeds. We will FAIL you nearly everytime.

    Christ will never fail you. Your life is just a blip on a radar screen. Depend & trust Christ….not others.

    Your heart is hardened. Don’t give up on Christ. He has never left you.

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  • June 5, 2010 at 1:06 am
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    To all the people out there reading this DO NOT judge kanakuk simply from this one horrible man. I am an 8 year camper in counting and Pete was my mentor for 5 of those years. A good percent Of my town goes to kanakuk and he would come and share Christ and kanakuk. He was a great guy when you met him. When i heard this News i was in such a state of shock i couldnt process it. Kanakuk is a glimse of heaven on Earth and you should not have to think twice about sending Your kid there. It truely changed my lífe for the better.

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  • June 9, 2010 at 2:36 pm
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    @graceful…I don’t know what kind of “proof” you need. I have my cell phone records showing calls to and from the Kanakuk after my daughter came home that year. I know what I reported and how it was handled. Don’t point fingers at me (and the others) who tried to warn Kanakuk. This is Newman’s responsibility, and Kanakuk’s after they knew of his behavior going back to 1999.

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  • June 11, 2010 at 9:24 am
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    How many of you parents live in the area where Kanakuk is located. Do you know the reputation this camp has in the community? I do, I live there, for over 30 years.
    Do you know of Sheller Wood? Shelter Wood is part of Kanakuk for juvenile delinquents. While it may have some benefit, it is a lot of problem. There is too little oversight in Shelter Wood which is connected to Kanakuk. And these delinquents mix freely with the other campers.
    When campers form Kanakuk come to town we know them as young” heathens”. Yes they are just kids being kids and the problem is with those in charge of the camp. But when you give kids that much freedom you have problems, and we have problems from this place.
    As I parent, after living in this community, I would not send my kids there. Sad to say this event was inevitable given the poor management of this institution. IMO.

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  • July 16, 2010 at 10:20 pm
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    pete newman was an amazing man that obviously all of you did not know. i was a camper there for 6 years and i loved every minute of it. every single person has sinned and all sin is equal, maybe not in your eyes but in gods we are all his children. and really? some of you say he should go to hell? even with his sin he is still 10 times the person any of you will be. he has a special place in gods heart, always. he might have done this but what have you done? i love pete newman. and kanakuk is the best thing that ever happened to me and everyone should want their child to go, one mans choice should not change that.

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  • July 16, 2010 at 10:24 pm
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    examper.. you need to chill. dont call someone a dumbass for reading the bible? really? i think you need to read it more.

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  • July 16, 2010 at 10:28 pm
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    examper. listen. i dont know why you think kanakuk was such a horrible place. i have been there for 10 years now and it has changed my life for the good. you might believe in your sick satinist crap but dont put your hate on others. see? this is why most people hate atheists. because you are hateful people that obviously dont understand anything about what god has to offer for you and what all he has done.

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  • July 20, 2010 at 12:49 pm
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    Aubrey,

    How pathetic it is for you to come on here and attack people, parents of CHILDREN for Gods sake, who have had their lives changed FOREVER by this “amazing” man. God help you and any children you may have some day if you have no ability to see a sick twisted opportunistic pedophile for what he really is, even after he has been exposed. It is people like you that choose to keep the blinders firmly in place that allow things like this to continue. Yea, surely Pete has a “special” place in Gods heart and these kids and families who he used and abused are just irrelavent right? You are truly sad, and I hope you are seriously praying for discernment in all this. Maybe you are just to young and immature to realized what has really happened here, and i pray you never have to learn the damage this does to a child or family first hand. You may have been there for 10 years and had a great experience, lots of kids did, mine included, until they fell prey to pete and Kanakuks inability or unwillingness to enfore their own policies. There but for the Grace of God go you miss aubrey. And as far as none of us actually knowing Pete. Again you are SADLY wrong. We had a close personal relationship with Pete and thought he was the best thing to happen to our son, until we came to know the truth. Unfortunately we came to know the REAL pete that you are incapable of seeing. And, please for the sake of all Christians, stop speaking on our behalf!

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  • July 27, 2010 at 10:00 pm
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    so in his apology he says that ever since he was 12….would love to know what happened that changed him that way….that would really help me in raising my own boys….????? does anyone know….

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  • August 2, 2010 at 10:00 pm
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    midwestdad: I’ve been part of the kanakuk family for MANY years. I have NEVER heard of sheller wood or shelter wood. I would love to know how you know kanakuk is part of that organization? Please don’t interpret this as hostile. I am simply questioning. I also know their mission is to help children, so it wouldn’t surprise me. Unfortunately, we can’t reach them or help them all. Maybe in your eyes, Kanakuk doesn’t do a very good job, I can only say it has saved MY children.

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  • August 2, 2010 at 10:01 pm
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    oh.. one more thing, are you saying the juveniles go into the kamp grounds DURING kamp terms when kampers are there, that are not part of that kamp or term? Thank so much!

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  • August 3, 2010 at 8:41 am
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    @amanda: not sure why kanakuk was not a good experience for you/your kids. If it’s related to this… I get it. I’m having difficulties myself. I understand the hindsight too. I would’ve written and insisted on talking to Joe directly, but again.. hindsight. We’ve all been there! I’d really like to know how your daughter knew something. I understood this to not have affected kampers during kamp terms or on kamp grounds. I believe I am going to write Joe. Kanakuk really hasn’t “spoken out” about all this, and I’m afraid it is being interpreted that they have something to hide. I’ve given them the benefit of the doubt until I had facts. The media isn’t the best source, but kamp families tend to have first hand knowledge. (sorry about the “k’s”… habit.. 🙂

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  • September 4, 2010 at 2:33 am
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    There’s not much “Christian” about Kanakuk. Right Wing? Yes. Christian? No. — Kamper for 7 years (K4(country), K3(west), K2)

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  • January 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm
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    I had two friends that went to Kanakuk. One went many times, for the 28 day trip. He is now homosexual. I find that amusing. I also believe that his parents wanted to get rid of him for as much of the summer as possible, which makes me sad.

    The other friend went for a few weeks, got so sick that he lost 28 pounds. Apparently it is Kamp(f) policy to not permit Kamp(f)ers to contact their parents during their stay. When my friend’s parents arrived to find their youngest son so ill that he lost weight, and not to be informed of his illness, I am sure they were less than pleased.

    Doesn’t it strike you all a bit odd/scary that camp is spelled “Kamp” and that “KanaKuK” has three K’s in the name? KKK… Kamp also looks a lot like Kampf, as in Mein Kampf.

    Honestly I am not surprised by this news of molestation admissions. You are sending children to a secluded Kamp(f), run by adults, whom you have no contact with before the experience; yet you expect nothing of the sort to happen? Have you never heard of the Catholic church?

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  • June 26, 2011 at 10:22 pm
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    @ Midwestdad: I am not sure what “delinquents” you are speaking of…I am a former camp counselor and part of the discipleship program at Doulos that was responsible for staffing and running Shelterwood. These “delinquents” that you mentioned did not attend Kanakuk or associate with the campers. Shelterwood was a self-contained campus and the “delinquents” did not leave the campus without an adult. And as for campers at Kanakuk, they are in the camp until the day they leave…these heathens don’t run all over Branson…not quite sure where you are getting your information from seeing as you have lived in Branson for so long…

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  • June 26, 2011 at 10:26 pm
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    @ Melinda: The reason why you have never heard of Shelterwood is because it is not connected with Kanakuk. Initially it was, but has not been for over 15+ years and is not located in Branson any longer…;)

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  • April 14, 2014 at 6:28 pm
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    @not telling you!
    1) your friend going to Kanakuk for 28 days yearly and coming out being homosexual has absolutely NOTHING to do with Kanakuk and their wonderful ways.
    2) your other friend who went there for a couple of weeks and come back after loosing 28 pounds is beyon RIDICULOUS. My sibling was at Kamp the other year and she had nausea (side note: had nothing to do with Kamp or anything, it happens frequently) and she went to the nurses and THEY CALLED MY PARENT. My sibling was not allowed to talk to my parent but they did call my parent to let them know she was sick and was going to stay in the office for the night (no, nothing happened, they were making sure she was ok). No, she was not allowed to talk to my mom because that’s what Kanakuk does! Regardless of what you think, not being able to contact anyone outside of kamp is a good thing. That’s the fabulous thing about Kanakuk. They aren’t isolating us for any reason other than, they’re giving us a week, two weeks, or a month to be away from the problems on the world and to be in the presence and love of Jesus. There is no way you could loose that much weight at kamp and the nurses not call a parent if they called a parents when my sibling had nausea.
    3) KanaKuK? Really? You clearly haven’t been to Kanakuk before because Kanakuk is the happiest, most loving place I have ever been. It’s like Heaven on earth to me and I would trade a summer there for anything. So keep you rude comments about it to yourself. Joe white is the most inspirational people I’ve ever known and this is not something he would allow or permit. Every year, we have a 30 minute video about safety with counselors so they do what they can to prevent things like this BUT THEY CANT CONTROL WHAT A STAFF MEMBER DOES.

    So, thank you, very much for you long comment but this isn’t something that Joe White can prevent from happening and it’s not something that should ruin the image of a kamp as wonderful as Kanakuk. Kanakuk has changed my life, to say the least, and I’ve met the best friends and role models I’ve ever had there on Kanakuk hill.

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