Thursday, June 24, 2021

Year End Retreat and Graduation 👨‍🎓

Well well well, Here we are two months out of Kaleo. The students have moved back home, jumped into summer jobs, caught up with friends and family, and a good portion are involved with camp ministries. But, if you're wondering how we wrapped up the Kaleo program in its last two weeks... you've come to the right place.

Day 1 of the year end Retreat

Each year we do a unique year end retreat and keep it a surprise to the students. The first day of the retreat we traveled to Rath Trevor Beach in Parksville. This beach was MEGA big. We threw frisbees, played spike ball, and football in one area without even making it to the water's edge. It had a beautiful view of the mountains and was a perfect day. Everyone was stoked on the day and had a chance to let loose a little. After the beach, we arrived to a "Survivor themed" obstacle course back at camp set up by the staff while we were gone. Throughout the three days, we put on Survivor themed events that would eventually lead to a last round with one winner. 

at the end of the day (after an incredible meal), we all gathered together for a reflection of the year. Now, if you know anything about this past group, it is that when you get them going, they can share stories like no tomorrow. So many laugh's and even tears of laughter were shared along with heart felt memories of moments where God led. It wasn't uncommon to hear "oh yeah, I remember that!" make its way through our circle. After that, we had worship at the beach with a campfire to end off the night.

Day 2

The next day we took the students whale watching! We were able to see three grey whales that day which was pretty psychedelic. Two of the whales had flipped up their tales at us out of the water. One of the guides said that in her 5 years of working, she had never seen a grey whale do that.  We chilled on the boat for most of the day under the sun. When we came back to camp, we completed round two of Survivor which was a trivia round. Later, everyone gathered back into the fireside for a movie night! 

Day 3

The next morning, we finished our last Survivor challenge of determination and came out with one winner.... Ethan Holmes! Afterwards we hiked up Maple Mountain for our last chapel of the year. We all sat down and wrote a letter to ourselves reflecting on our lives from the past year and all that the Lord had done. The hope is that in a couple months from now, each person will receive their letter and be reminded of all the Lord had accomplished and started within them and let that be a reminder and an encouragement. 

To go along with this, Korey spoke from Joshua 4. To summarize, each tribe from Israel was to find one stone to make a memorial that would be a visual reminder of all the Lord had done for them. We did the same. We each picked a stone and as we placed it down, we declared what God had done in our lives that year. One by one, we heard the testimony of God's powerful hand in the lives of the students and leaders. Hopefully years from now we can still see those stones to serve as a reminder of the God we serve. 


A few days later we were able to baptize four of our students! This was such a beautiful moment; for many these weren't just classmates, they were family. We had seen their life transform and this baptism was such an honest reflection of their old life they had left behind and the new life they had chosen to live by following Jesus. Mega stoked is an understatement.

Then we had our graduation ceremony in Club Coco. This looked a little different than normal as friends and family watched from a zoom screen, but none the less, we were still able to all celebrate together! Our award winners were:

Adventure award: Dawson Enderwick

Ministry award: Isabella DeConti

Community award: Gabriella Gamba

Academics award: Eden Brown, Janae Deurksen, Ashten Miller, Kaylee Johnson

Leadership award: Luke Johnson

Valedictorian: Nolan Gartly

It's always hard to sum up a year in Kaleo. Talking to the students you may hear the same. Throughout the year, our theme was allegiance which can seem intimidating because allegiance calls for a life of surrender. This is our call as followers of Christ, and living this out can be beautiful yet challenging all at the same time. You'll have to see for yourselves, but if you get the chance to talk to the students after finishing this program, you can see that their lives further shifted towards allegiance to Jesus and we could not be more proud to witness this. All praise to God and the work he has done in this year and is continuing in their lives. 

Prayer Requests:

- The transition out of Kaleo into new community

- To continue in their allegiance to Christ

- For opportunities to share their journey with others

- New school and job opportunities

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