Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Orientation and Mt. Albert Edward: Week 1 & 2

A New Beginning

Well, here we are in the middle of a pandemic kicking off the Kaleo 2020/2021 year. Who knew we'd be here? We are so thankful that were are still able to run our program in the midst of a trying time. As of today, we have just finished our two-week COVID 19 protocol, and can officially start function as a learning pod. The students are VERY excited to not be wearing a mask all the time.

Students from provinces all across Canada arrived at Camp Qwanoes on September 16th to start off their school year and we are so incredibly excited to do life with them this year. After all the students got settled into their new home and finished registration, we began orientation week.

Kicking off with Some Fun

Students got to shake off some of their first-day jitters with some mini-games the first night. After a few panicked name guesses, some awkward Mad Cow positions, and a massive game of Mafia, we got to see a little bit more of the personalities that we'll be spending the rest of year with. 

The next day we competed in some All-Star games, thankfully many of the students knew Disney Trivia. We later had a beach party with some tubing, wakeskating, the Jetstream, and fun on the Aqua Park. 

Introduction to Church Groups and Staff

The next day, students also got to know the staff during the first week. We all introduced ourselves to each other and each student was assigned a "Qord". A Qord is a Qwanoes based mentor/spiritual friend that students will get to know and hang out with throughout the year.

Students were later introduced to their churches that they will be partnered with for the year. Pastors from each church got to spend time getting to know the students, finding out about their passions, and explaining what their church is all about. We're partnered with 5 different churches including New Life Community Church, Duncan Pentecostal Church, Departure Bay Church, The Meeting Place, and Oceanview Community Church.

Time to Get Trained

Soon, the students jumped into the challenge course workshop. Our challenge course consists of zip lines, swings, rock climbing walls, and high ropes courses. Students were also trained in safety and leadership workshops. Throughout the year they will have opportunities to run the challenge course alongside the staff here.

Finally, we ended off the week with a really nice steak dinner with all the staff, students, and family members as a send-off. The staff gathered around at the end and we all prayed together as a community for this upcoming year.

Switching Over to the First Out Trip

For the second week, we embarked on our first out-trip together: backpacking Mount Albert Edwards. This was very exciting for everybody, leaders and students alike, as the first out-trip is an awesome chance to bond through shared experience, adversity, and overall a really fun camping trip. For many students, it would be their first time summiting a mountain like this. We knew that the weather was looking rainy and somewhat gloomy, but off we went.

Day One

    On the first day, we got an early start with a 6:30 breakfast at camp, then we quickly packed up the vans and the bus and headed to Strathcona Park. Once we arrived, we split into our hiking groups and set off on the trail. During that first day's hike everyone got a chance to share their testimony. We split into two separate groups for camping that night. One group headed to Circlet Lake and the other to Kwai lake. 

That first night a search and rescue crew member came to Circlet and told us not to attempt to summit the next day due to a big rain and wind system that would be coming through. The weather was already foggy enough that we could not even see across the lake, so we knew a summit hike would be difficult to navigate. That night it rained lightly and, for the most part, we all slept soundly.

Day Two/Three

    The next morning, we had to wait for the Kwai group to reach us so we could break the news to them that we would not be summiting. As an alternative to summiting, we took a loop trail to Moat Lake for the day. We revealed our theme for this year: Allegiance. Korey, our program leader spoke about this at the lake. It was a nice little lake and gave us lots of time to hang out, eat some lunch, and just spend time together. It was a much more relaxed day than a summit day usually would be. It was a very on and off foggy kind of day, definitely was wise to not attempt the summit.

    That night we switched campsites. The rain system came in at around 8 pm. And did it ever pour. It was a very rainy and windy night, if anyone didn't set up their tent and rainfly correctly, they definitely knew.  Even if people did set their tents up right, most of them got wet to a certain extent. As a result, many people didn't get as much sleep as they would have liked, however, in the morning the morale was very high. Everyone had a good attitude and helped each other with preparing breakfast, taking down tents and tarps, and distributing gear in backpacks. Everyone had fun and rolled with it, which made for an awesome last day as we hiked back to the vehicles and headed back to camp.

If you want to check out more about the Kaleo program, you can follow us on Instagram @kaleoprogram for more updates. We'll be posting more blogs updating our experiences, so give us a follow if you would like to stay in the loop.

Things to be praying for our Kaleo program:
- Transition for students into a new environment and new people
- Vulnerability and growth within the students and leaders together as a community
- good weather for our upcoming kayaking trip
- Good time management for classes