Friday, April 29, 2016

Farewell From Camp Qwanoes

Hello Again!  

As the season changes and Camp Qwanoes starts to gear up for summer, we can’t help but feel a certain emptiness with the departing of our Students.  After a fantastic year of learning and adventure, we were sad, yet excited for our students as they left camp to explore their own adventures and seasons of life!

We Celebrated Graduation!

Graduation weekend is an exciting time for us as we celebrate our students and the ways in which they have grown throughout the program.  We were blessed to have many of the students’ families, friends and churches at graduation to celebrate with us too!

Friday night of graduation weekend started with dinner, followed by a reception in which we could mingle and meet the friends and families of our students, see pictures from the year, and present gifts to our students on behalf of the leadership team.  It was great to share stories, and reflect on some of the events and adventures of these past eight months!

Graduation Day on Saturday was full of events.  In the morning and early afternoon, challenge course activities were briefly opened up for parents and students to enjoy, and kick off the day!  Following this, the graduation ceremony started later in the afternoon.  This was a great time to celebrate our students’ journey as we enjoyed pictures, speeches, awards presentations, certificate presentations, and a video of the year produced by Dale Thielmann (video link at bottom of page).  After the ceremony, we took pictures in the field, followed by a reception dinner, where we enjoyed a nice meal, shared stories, and began our goodbyes.

We Said Goodbye to Our Students

The Sunday of graduation was a rather sad day for the Kaléo Program.  As we said goodbye to each other one by one, we prayed and encouraged one another throughout the morning.  However, this is also a very happy moment for the Kaléo Program.  A chance for students to look behind them to see what God has done in their lives, and a chance to look ahead at the journey that He has planned for their future!

Thanks From the Leadership Team! 

On behalf of the Kaléo Program leadership team, I would like to say thank you to all of the families, friends, and churches that have been such a great support to our students these past eight months.  May God bless all of you, and may God also bless our students as they go to love and serve the Lord in the next seasons of their lives!

Sincerely in Him,

Dustin Smith 
Kaléo Program Intern, Camp Qwanoes

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Greetings one last time, from Camp Qwanoes!

To much sadness, the Kaléo Program turns its final corner this next week towards graduation.  Exactly one week from today, our students will be walking the stage to celebrate all that God has done in their lives this past eight months!  While students are sad to leave their newfound home at Qwanoes, this is also an exciting time in their lives as they venture on towards the next season of life that God has planned for them.  Although this year is coming to a close, we still have a few events left in the Kaléo Program.

This Week We Went Rock Climbing!

Rock climbing in the Kaléo Program is a two day event.  On tuesday, we packed up and drove to The Boulders climbing gym in Victoria.  This was a chance for our students to learn and experience the basics of rock climbing before heading out to do the real thing.  We had a blast learning about the different styles of climbing and enjoyed the challenge of pushing ourselves to become better rock climbers! 

With record breaking weather on the West coast of British Columbia, we feel more than blessed to have had lots of sun to enjoy the great outdoors in the past two weeks.  Rock climbing this week was no different.  On thursday morning we gathered our gear and headed out to Sunnyside Crags, a local outdoor rock climbing area about a half hour north of Qwanoes.  There we met two guides from Island Alpine Guides who spent the day teaching us how to climb outdoors and rappel.  Students had a blast learning to climb and for many this was one of their favourite days this year!

Retreat Season Has Started!

As we get closer to summertime, Qwanoes has just begun retreat season again.  This weekend, we kicked it off with Juniors retreat.  This is a weekend in which campers can come and experience camp for a weekend as a small taste of what’s to come in the summer.  As the students have spend the year growing in leadership skills, many of them have been placed in roles that allow them to practice what they have learned throughout the year.  We are proud to see our students excelling in their ministry here at Camp Qwanoes!

Please Be In Prayer

As we begin our decent towards graduation day, please be in prayer for our students that they continue to grow and learn in what God wants to teach them here at camp.  We believe that there is still more that God has to show them and that they will continue to see his work, even in the last few days of our program.  Please also be in prayer for them as they depart from camp on their individual journeys and that they will never cease to love and serve the Lord.  Thank you so much for thinking and praying for them.  Your prayers were evident in their lives.  

Farewell From Me!

Personally, I would like to thank you all for letting me be the voice of our program and reading my posts.  I have enjoyed being able to share what our students are doing, and I am very sad to see them go in a week.  May God bless you, and I look forward to celebrating with some of you at graduation!

In Him,

Dustin Smith
Kaléo Program Intern, Camp Qwanoes

Friday, April 1, 2016

Happy Spring From Camp Qwanoes!

As we enter into spring at Camp Qwanoes the sights, sounds and smells of this beautiful season are among us.  With several sunny days this past week, students have had a great opportunity to get out of their rooms and into the fresh air!  As we start to round the last corner of the Kaléo Program, there are still many things left to experience.

Community Life

Though there are many scheduled and organized events during the Kaléo Program, sometimes students take it upon themselves to plan events like games, Nerf wars, fires on the beach, and even fancy dinners!  Last Saturday, students and leaders dressed up for a fancy dinner at McDonalds as a fun way to celebrate Abigayle Lundbohm’s birthday!  This was a great experience and a fun way to get out of camp for the evening.  Big thanks to Anna Stark for organizing this event for Abigayle!

Last Class of the Year!

Today the Kaléo Program finished its last class of the year with Sid Koop!  Camp and Youth Ministry is a class that students take throughout the year.  Back in October, students took the first half of the class, then finished it off this week.  With only a couple assignments left for them to complete, students are excited to be finished with their classes and move on towards graduation.

We Went Kayaking! 

This week we loaded up the vans and headed to Nanaimo to go kayaking around Newcastle Island.  Though most of spring on the West coast is full of rainy days, we were blessed with a beautifully sunny day for this adventure!  When we arrived, students and leaders paired up and set out in tandem kayaks to enjoy the beautiful waters of downtown Nanaimo.  Midway through our excursion we shared in a time of learning and prayer led by our program leader Andrew, who gave us words of encouragement as we looked towards the finish line of our time together in the Kaléo Program.

Please Be In Prayer

As we begin to wrap up, please pray for focus amongst our students as they complete their last assignments.  Please also be praying that God will not only prepare their hearts for what is to come after the program, but also that they continue to grow and learn in their last two weeks at Qwanoes.  Thanks again for your prayers and support, and we look forward to seeing some of you at graduation!

In Him,

Dustin Smith
Kaléo Program Intern, Camp Qwanoes

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Happy Easter From Camp Qwanoes!

Back to Class!

With class back in session it’s exciting to see our students back to the books and learning more about the faith that they possess.  As their class on Introduction to Theology was naturally more of a theological approach, last weeks class took a philosophical approach instead.  While this class proves to be one of the more difficult ones that they take, we were excited to see them learning from a different perspective!  

Throughout last weeks class on Modernity and Post-Modernity, students were tasked with a group project.  Each group was assigned different books and topics to present to the class as a way of taking on the role of teaching their topic, while getting a more in-depth approach to learning.  We were proud to see students and their groups work together to learn and teach their fellow class mates!

We Celebrated Easter!

This last weekend, many of our students had the chance to attend and be involved with easter services in their churches.  For some, Good Friday was a regular youth night while others attended easter services.  We were happy to see many students invited into homes to enjoy meals and celebrate the death and resurrection of our saviour this weekend.

Please Be In Prayer

This week, as our students enter into their last class of the program, please be in pray that God will continue to give them focus and excitement about what they will be learning.  As well, please be in prayer that as we enter into the last couple weeks of our time together here at Qwanoes, that God will continue to form strong relationships and spiritual growth amongst our students.  Again, thank you so much for your prayers and support throughout this year, and we look forward to having you celebrate with us at graduation!

In Him,

Dustin Smith
Kaléo Program Intern, Camp Qwanoes

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spring Is Almost Here!

With Spring just around the corner, we are now just over a month from the end of the Kaléo Program this year!  While this subject is rather touchy with our students and a little sad, it is fun to start looking back on our year and what God has done in these past few months.  With spring around the corner and the weather starting to get sunny (at least for now) it is becoming a beautiful end to our time together here at Qwanoes.

It's Crabbing Season!

After students finished their class Introduction to Theology, the next week was quite low key.  While students took most of their free time to study and prepare for their next class, we organized a couple small events for them.  As a tradition this time of year in the Kaléo Program, we broke out the crab traps, and took the time to catch crabs off the end of the dock here at Camp Qwanoes.  After a few day of trapping, we saved everything that we caught and had a crab eating party the following saturday!

We Went to the Pool

To help fill in the time during crabbing week, we decided to load up the vans one evening and head to the local wave pool.  While this is considered to be one of our minor out trips, we still had a blast playing games in the pool and slides, as well as taking the time to relax in the hot tub!

Our Camping Adventure

This last week, we ventured on to one of our last out trips.  French Beach is a beautiful Provincial Park on the south-west side of Vancouver Island and is a great spot for large camping groups.  We were excited to take some time away from Qwanoes and enjoy the great outdoors of our beautiful province.  

While we camped, we organized several activities for our students to enjoy.  Twice throughout the trip, we took the time to participate in several leadership games, and even built structures on the beach!  We also went on a couple different hiking trips and explored the beach of the west coast.

Overall this was a great trip for our students and it kicked off the last month of our time together.  Amidst all of the business of this season, it was great to slow down and enjoy some time together and relax.  We were sad to leave our campsite, but excited to launch into the final stretch of the Kaléo Program.

Please Be In Prayer

As our students are preparing for their final class of the program, please be in prayer for them as they study, as well as prayer for their focus.  Camp Qwanoes and the Kaléo Program would like to thank everyone for all of the prayers and support towards our students this year and we know it has meant a lot to our students!

In Him,

Dustin Smith
Kaléo Program Intern, Camp Qwanoes

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Happy March!

As we’ve entered into the month of march, it seems that the Kaléo Program has entered into a new season of its own.  As missions month has come to a close, things have started to slow down into their normal pace.  With only a month and a half left in the program, the once far away end, seems much too close.

Back to Class for Our Students

This past week, students were back to the desks for their class Introduction to Theology, with professor Merrill Dyck.  Merrill is a part time staff member at Briercrest and enjoys making the trip out to Qwanoes a couple times during the Kaléo Program, so we were happy to see him again this year!  

While the students took in many good teachings on theology, they were also tasked with a theological debate to end their last class.  The group was divided into four teams, two tasked with one topic and two with another topic.  Teams were then assigned with prepping and preparing their theological standpoint to present in a formal debate at the end of the week against the other team.  While the students were being marked on their efforts in research, we also had a judging panel consisting of Kaléo Program leaders Andrew, Lyann, Melanie and I to determine the winners of the debate, just for fun.  We all had a great time listening to the debate and we were proud to see what our students had learned through this experience!

Qwanoes Hosted a Youth Worship Conference

Every year, Camp Qwanoes hosts an event in which youth from Vancouver Island and the mainland can come to experience and learn about deeper worship is.  This event hosts sessions and seminars on worship led by experienced leaders from the local area, including Qwanoes’ very own Russ Smith.  While this wasn't a required event for students, we were happy to see many of them participating in the worship conference and taking advantage of the great speakers that we had come out.  It was also warming to see our students taking the opportunity to share their own experience and knowledge with local youth.

Please be in Prayer

As the students enter into the last few weeks of the program, it is sad to think that many of them will be leaving camp.  However, some have already made the decision to stay for the summer to serve at Camp Qwanoes!  Please be in prayer for those who have chosen to serve, as well as those who are still deciding what to do after the Kaléo Program.  We are also preparing for our camping trip to French Beach next week!  Please be in prayer for preparations and safety on our trip.

In Him,

Dustin Smith
Kaléo Program Intern, Camp Qwanoes 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Greetings From Camp Qwanoes!

Here at Qwanoes we have finished a rather busy season of life with our students.  For the past few weeks we had entered Missions Month, filled with classes, conventions and seminars about missions, all topped off with missions trips to both inner city Vancouver and Mexico. 

We Attended Missions Fest
Earlier this month, we made a trip to downtown Vancouver to attend an event called Missions Fest.  This is an annual event that takes place in the Vancouver Conventions Centre which hosts a variety of exhibits, seminars and rallies to promote and bring awareness to various missions and ministries around the world. Our students had a great time browsing exhibits and attending seminars, and it was a great way to kick off their month of missions!

Also during our trip, we took the time to tour other parts of Vancouver such as Stanley park (where we had a sand castle building contest) and Granville Island.  Additionally, we served at Mountainview church on sunday, running Sunday school and worship!

Students Took a Class on Missions
The following week after missions fest, students begun their class on Perspectives in Mission with Tim Stabel.  While it was a full class with still much work to prepare for their missions trips, students benefited with preparing their minds and hearts for missions through studying with Tim about this subject.

We Ventured Out Into the Mission Field
As many of you know, students and leaders were split into two teams.  One team was headed to serve in the inner city of downtown Vancouver and the other to serve in El Papalote, Mexico.  While both teams faced quite different dynamics within their respective trips, the purpose was the same: bringing Jesus to people through acts of service and relationships.  

Mexico Team
For myself, serving on the Mexico missions team is where God had called me.  While in Mexico we were tasked with several events for local churches in the area of El Papalote.  This included children's and youth events, School feedings, volunteering at a day care centre, feeding people at the dump and beach BBQ’s.  During most of these events students had the opportunity to perform dramas, lead worship and share testimonies of how God has worked in their lives.  We also spent time beginning a construction project for a local church, preparing and laying a foundation for a new building.  We were delighted to see such hard work from our students and the amazing relationships that they made during the two weeks in Mexico!

Vancouver Team
While I was on missions in Mexico my co-intern, Melanie Ventura, was leading our missions team in downtown Vancouver.  So I have asked her to share about their experience…

“On our Vancouver Missions Trip we served half and half at New Beginnings Church and Potters Place Mission. A majority of what we spent our time doing is coming alongside the areas where they already do their ministry and helping them out as best as we could. At New Beginnings, we had the opportunity to learn about aboriginal culture. We helped run different after school programs at the church as well as evening events too. We also got to serve them by helping with construction and cleaning around the church. At Potter’s we learned about life on the Eastside and Spiritual warfare. We helped run daily services and had opportunities to lead a half hour time of worship, share our stories and share gospel messages. As well, we also had the chance to go out onto the streets of Vancouver and pray for people.”

Student Experience
We were so happy to hear the countless stories of how God worked in the lives of people in Vancouver and Mexico, as well as the lives of the students themselves.  While we can't fit in all of their stories, here are a few notable experiences…

“God taught me a lot about prayer while I was on the Vancouver mission trip. We were surrounded by brokenness; broken people, broken families, broken situations. Yet in the midst of addiction and devastation God was showing me that He is still sovereign. I learnt that we need to pray, constantly lifting up every situation and person to God, believing that He can and will act for His glory.”
          -Alex MacKay (Vancouver team)

"One of the ways that God worked during our trip was within the fellowship between us and the Mexican people.  Despite our language barrier, we were able to share Christly love and worship together because the Holy Spirit unites us as the body of Christ.  In times of joy hardships, and praise, we were able to relate to one another even with our broken english and spanish.  We miss the people in El Papalote because the relationships that were created were special, and only possible through the Holy Spirit and Christ's love."
          -Shin Yoon (Mexico Team)

"Reaching out to the people was very impactful.  It showed the immense importance of a constant prayer life.  Through this, we as a team, could see the Holy Spirit do great things in our lives and the lives of those around us."
          -Tyler Knight (Vancouver Team)

"Going to Mexico was an incredible experience. One thing that stands out is the unity in Christ that was so prevalent. I saw it in the way that Christians from different churches invested in each other through time, encouragement, service and giving of possessions. I experienced it in the worship services. Many of their songs have the same tune as ours but have Spanish words instead. Often I could hear the Canadians singing in English and the Mexicans singing in Spanish. It was a very humbling moment as God made it real to me that his church is bigger than just Canada. "
          -Sabrina Thiessen (Mexico Team)

"Overall, the Vancouver missions trip was tiring and challenging but good nonetheless.  We saw God working in both the people we ministered to and our team itself.  Despite the brokenness of the inner-city, God displayed his love and hope, and we were blessed to be a part of it."
          -Rebekah Sheppard (Vancouver Team)

"Going away from my missions trip in Mexico, I have gained a desire to lead short-term missions, as God has placed this desire on my heart.  I have also gained a much greater capacity and strength to not worry about anything.  We had a lot of set-backs during the trip that the devil was using to try and prevent God's work and disable us.  But God carried us through.  Right from the start this gave me a great opportunity and blessing to trust God amidst these trials!"
          -Wesley Brown (Mexico Team)

Thanks and Prayers
Students of the Kaléo Program, as well as Camp Qwanoes, would like to thank everyone for their support and prayers throughout these trips.  It was truly evident that God was at work these past two weeks, and will no doubt continue to work in the lives of people reached, as well as our students.  We would ask that you would be in prayer for those who have heard and come to know God, and that His work would continue to ripple throughout these missions fields.

In Him,

Dustin Smith
Kaléo Program Intern, Camp Qwanoes