Tag Archives: camp

Camp

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This past weekend about thirty of us from The Dale went up to Camp Koinonia. It was an adventure, from start to finish!

This year we had a number of strong personalities on the trip, and a couple of folks with significant mental health struggles. The combination of these factors led to some tension on the bus ride up, a few spectacular blow-ups during the weekend, and more tension on the bus ride back (which also involved getting a flat tire on Highway 400). Good times.

That being said, all of these tense situations were handled in the moment, everyone stayed safe, and the difficult moments were far outnumbered by the beautiful ones.

One of my favourite parts of the weekend happened on the Saturday afternoon. As I wrote in my last blog, I had promised a friend (Kim) that I would paddle across the lake while she swam. In the end, another friend, Tim, did the paddling, and Erinn and I joined Kim in the water! It was chilly, refreshing and wonderful. A large-ish group of folks cheered us on from the shore as we swam from the camp beach to a rocky point partway across the lake and back again. Meagan and her fiance Ian paddled out to heckle us, and Cate (Erinn’s daughter) made her way out on a paddle board to accompany us on the way back. It was great.

Another beautiful period of time was during a hike into the forest behind the camp. We enjoyed some amazing scenery, breathed lots of fresh air, got a tiny bit lost, and found our way back to the trail. After returning from the hike, a community member who had never been up to camp with us before said that it felt like a whole other world, being out in the woods like that. Her face was glowing with joy and hard-earned perspiration.

At the end of the weekend a number of people said they’d like to stay up north forever 🙂 Despite the difficult moments, we were reminded again how important it is to take some time out of the city, as a community. Looking at the stars, singing campfire songs, working on puzzles, being outside almost all day… These are good, good things, for which we are collectively grateful.

Returning from the big swim!

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Back in the saddle

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Happy autumn! I/we are back in the swing of things at The Dale, after a very full summer and then some time away.

Thanks to the generosity of a dear friend, she and I were able to spend the last couple of weeks away from our regular lives, doing some traveling: exploring, reading, hiking, thinking, swimming, praying, eating and resting. This time away was a gift in so many ways, and I’ve come back feeling grateful and refreshed. I am also grateful for Meagan, whose presence at the Dale made it possible for me and Erinn to have overlapping holidays for the first time ever (without The Dale being closed the whole time)!

I spent some time reflecting on the first thirty years of my life while I was away, and marveling at the fact that I get to do what I love for my job…and that I’ve been doing this work at the Dale for five years now! Half a decade of life in community: learning from each other and from God (often through each other), laughing even in the midst of hard things, getting frustrated with each other and seeking to work through it, grieving with and for each other, seeing changes in one another. What a ride it has been, and will continue to be!

This weekend we’re heading up to Camp Koinonia in Parry Sound for our annual fall retreat. About thirty of us will pile into a school bus with all of our stuff, and spend a few days up north. This is some of our folks’ only chance to be out of the city all year, so it’s a pretty special time. We’ll go for hikes, go paddling, and have camp fires. Some of us will go fishing, and some others will go swimming. I’ve already promised to paddle alongside a friend who would like to swim across the lake! If you think of us, please pray/send good thoughts for safety and harmony.

After the retreat is over, the next big Dale event will be the Ride for Refuge on September 30th! This bike ride/walk has become our annual fundraiser for our general budget (which comes entirely from donations). If you would like to join us on the 30th, we would love to bike or walk with you!! You can register at:

https://rideforrefuge.org/register

If you’re not able to join us but can donate, you can do that here:

https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/TeamFundraisingPage.aspx?teamID=768324&langPref=en-CA

Again, happy autumn everyone. May this season be full of apple cider, cozy sweaters, and fresh perspectives.

We’re back!

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We’re back from camp! Thanks so much to everyone who donated, prayed, and came along for the trip!

The three nights and four days that we spent up at Camp Koinonia were doused with blessing. We were also doused with rain for most of Tuesday and part of Wednesday, but people didn’t let that stop them from enjoying their time out of the city. When it wasn’t raining there were early morning “Polar bear” dips, strolls around the property, fishing off the dock, canoeing around the lake, jumping on the trampoline, throwing of frisbees and footballs, soccer games, archery lessons, and trips to the tuck shop. When it was raining there were many games of ping pong and Pictionary, lots of reading and card playing, art and puzzle making.

Our group was larger than either of the last two trips up to camp- close to 40! And we were diverse, in terms of age and life circumstance. Our youngest was two and a half, and our oldest was into his seventies.

Here are a few verbal snapshots of our time together:

– On the way north, an artistic community member marveling at the beauty of the rock cuts along Highway 400

– A tough-looking, couch-surfing member tossing footballs, blowing bubbles and playing ping pong with the kids in the group, and being blown away when told by the littlest one that he is loved

– a dear member setting aside dinner for another one who slept through meal time (he could have gotten it from the kitchen, but she kept some aside specifically for him)

– many of the teenaged camp staff members sitting and jamming with two of our musicians

– a game of charades with an unlikely combination of folks

– a community volunteer who works very hard during our meal drop-in (ie. I’ve never seen him sit for longer than 30 seconds at a time), falling asleep while reading a book in the camp lodge, surrounded by other folks laughing, chatting and playing ping pong

– sitting around the campfire, eating s’mores, and spotting fireflies and constellations

– a community member cooking a traditional Guyanese stew for everyone to enjoy as an evening snack

– sharing times of prayer each morning and evening, and bearing witness to faith-filled prayers from a member experiencing deep and fresh grief

– On the way south, a relatively new community member saying that the trip was a good chance to “clean out my head, you know what I mean?”

I do know what she means! Thank you again for helping to make this trip such a blessing to so many of us.

 

Camp Koinonia 2014