Family Fun Spotlight
It seems like every day, we read a new headline that shows how broken our world is. Many in the younger generation are struggling like never before. Christian camps such as Camp Qwanoes on Vancouver Island offer kids a chance to escape from the everyday and the perfect setting to discover life like no other in Christ.
If you are looking for a way to impact the lives of kids this summer, you need to hear about what God is doing at camp.
Here are a couple of stories from Qwanoes that show what happens when kids come to a place where they encounter the reality of God’s love:
A girl at a Jr. High camp said that her only relatives are her dad and a grandma. Her dad has told her that he doesn’t want her to be part of his new family’s life, so she is with her grandma and her grandma’s partner. After listening to the camp speaker, she said, “Now I understand why my family is the way it is… If my family wanted me, I wouldn’t need God.”
“Amy came to camp with an abundance of anger. She had attempted suicide quite a few times and was bitter at everything and everyone. After realizing Qwanoes was a safe place, she spent an hour crying and sharing about her pain. She wanted to get rid of the hurt and start living for God. She began closing doors to her past and forgiving people. She let God forgive her and the weight lifted from her and she left camp leaving all of her baggage behind. The harshness about her was gone, and her true spirit of gentleness and joy was shining through!”
At camp, kids discover hope. Many life-changing decisions, including thousands of decisions to follow Christ, have been made in recent years. While campers meet new friends and try exciting activities like zipping over the ocean or bouncing on a water trampoline or playing laser tag in the forest, they encounter the truth that they matter and are loved unconditionally.
It takes a very large team of people to make camp happen. The potential is amazing. This summer, you are invited to be part of loving kids to life.
~ Written by Julie Bayley, Qwanoes’ Associate Program Director
Family. You can’t get away from them – though you may wish to. Everyone has parents, though they may not be together or present. Everyone has grandparents. Most of us have siblings and aunts and uncles and cousins and, if you’re my age, nephews, nieces, sons, daughters … the list goes on. The relationships that make up the oldest relational structure are family. Some of us are adopted. Some are divorced, remarried, or remarried again. Some have half-siblings or step-siblings, in-laws or outlaws. And some of us even treat people who are not blood relatives as though they are!
Family matters because it is the foundational relational structure upon which communities/villages of people exist. It is the communal arrangement for the growth of human population. It is the social organization which allows for (or is meant to be) the safest and most intimate, caring environment for maturation and personal growth in every way. It is the cocoon for the development of the human soul from womb to (young) adulthood.
Family matters because it is the basic relationship unit in which we learn how to love, how to give, how to live with one another. It is God’s first institution and sacrament given to his creation made in his image! If WE are made in God’s image, isn’t it conceivable that family itself is a reflection of who God is and what He’s like?
Children and Youth are our most precious resource. At Shining Stars Camp Can-Do we treasure, prepare, mentor and create a dynamic learning environment for staff and campers. They work together to enhance their physical, emotional and spiritual welfare. This allows them to strive, thrive and use their potential and gifts to enrich our communities.
Nicky 12 and Michael 14 shared that their favorite memories of camp were independent cooking, building and designing simple toys into complex structures. Michael further added that the “teachings about God shaped him and fellow campers into a better person and the Bible holds many phrases of wisdom.” Many campers challenge themselves in hiking Mount Frosty Trail at Manning Park and biking long distances through rough terrain as well as in and outside the city. They rave about their sense of risk and accomplishments. They also engage intellectually attempting their best in Math, Science and English projects. The holistic nature of our camp emphasizes Jesus’ mandate to nurture and empower children and youth to unleash their hidden gifts and character.
The theme for this summer is Shine Your Light. Excitement builds as they explore the science of light, shine their light with those in need in the community, canoe lakes, triathalon, creating a community garden, learning about other cultures by experiencing ethnic foods, language and making meaningful connections. There is still the sense of awe when a camper or group of campers realize that their capabilities have risen beyond their previously perceived abilities.
After all, we are Camp Can-Do and we believe your kids are Can Doers. We look forward to meeting them.
I Can’t Wait To Get Back to The Firs!
The young girl, probably about 10 years old, pulling a rolling suitcase and clutching a bag, walked down the sidewalk from the parking lot towards her cabin at The Firs Retreat Center. Just up ahead kids from her church had already gathered on the sports court and were shooting hoops, riding Razor scooters, and throwing frisbees. “Oh, I’ve missed this place!” she said softly to herself as she passed near me, but loud enough for me to hear. She headed directly to the sports court, passing the cabin her family was busily transferring belongings into. Since her church visits our grounds yearly, her comments were likely based on the memory of previous visits playing games, riding tubes and paddle-boating at the waterfront, s’mores around the campfire, and participating in age-graded Bible studies and crafts during the adult programs.
I hear this sort of thing regularly. Earlier in the day, a young adult leader from a youth group that was just loading up the buses after a five-day retreat, grabbed me to tell what a great time he had at The Firs and that he would be returning in a week with another group from the same church. “I can’t wait to get back to The Firs,” he said. The best comment I heard was from a retreat leader who shared that one of the members of their group, a relatively new attendee of their church, had made a decision to become a follower of Jesus the previous night.
Our goal at The Firs is to provide a great environment, comfortable accommodations, wonderful food, and attentive service, so that the adult, family and youth retreat leaders who bring their groups to The Firs, can concentrate on ministry. Our payoff is in hearing about the way God has moved in the lives of those who attend as a result of just a few days, in some cases, of concentrated ministry and relationship building.
Come join us! The Firs would love to host your retreat! We would be happy to send you a planning packet to assist in designing a retreat that will not only be a highlight of your church’s year, but reap eternal rewards for God’s kingdom.
Kirk Potter is the Retreat Center Director at The Firs in Bellingham, Washington.
At Kilby Historic Site you will be pleasantly surprised with the preservation of the only remaining buildings of a once-thriving mill town from the turn of the last century. Costumed interpreters encourage you to step back in time as you relive history during your visit. Whether you are visiting the shopkeeper in the general store,or having a conversation with the farmhand, you will experience first-hand just how life was in the 1920s in rural British Columbia.
Reflect back on a time you lived through, reminiscing of days gone by; learn of a lifestyle that is hard to comprehend in today’s fast-paced age of technology and computers. The past comes alive in the common household objects we now call artifacts. Entering the General Store or petting our many farm animals will connect you to the past and let you embrace the pioneering spirit we strive to convey.
Kilby Historic Site & Campground located in Harrison Mills, just 90 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Greater Vancouver.
Open 11 am to 4 pm March 31 – May 13 Sat/Sun; May 17 – June 25 Thurs to Mon; June 28 – Sept 3 Open Daily Sept 8 – Oct 28 Sat/Sun
Time for family fun! Sky Zone is a trampoline park, conveniently located by the Patullo Bridge and Scott Rd Station. It offers a variety of of safe, amazing attractions. Apart from bouncing on trampolines, you can play 3D Dodgeball, try to dunk a basketball, launch yourself into the foam pit, participate in a simulated battle game Sky Wars or book your child’s birthday party!
All that in a friendly, safe and clean environment with well-trained staff to make your visit unforgettable! Pricing is very affordable; you can choose the option of a one-hour jump for just $14 or jump all day for $22. Just grab your friends, grab the kids and come for some fun, healthy exercise.