Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Arrival at Kaleo and Mount Albert Edwards (Week 1 & 2)

Imagine, it's September 2021,  18 months since the start of COVID, and we are kicking off another year of the Kaleo Program in person! God is seriously looking out for this program. As of right now the students are in their first class, but so much has happened already. Let's take a look back at the first two weeks:

Welcome and Orientation (Week 1)

We welcomed 30 new students on the 15th and it was super exciting to see all the new faces and feel the excitement for the year to come. Students settled into their rooms, met their roommates and had a tour of their new home for the next 8 months. We also had a parent/student dinner on the first day. 

The next three days were spent full of orientations, welcomes, new faces and a beach party! The students were given the whole rundown of how Qwanoes runs, the vision of Qwanoes, and they were able to meet the year-round staff members. During the orientations they were also introduced to their Qords (year round staff members who are simply there as a friend for the students to love and support them throughout the year) and their church pastors (the students were divided into church groups and will be attending and serving at certain churches in the surrounding area throughout the year). 

On Friday and Saturday the students also had their challenge course workshop where they were taught how to run the challenge course here at camp and had the opportunity to do the activities in the challenge course as well. 

On Sunday the students attended their respective churches in the morning and had a packing party for the hiking trip in the afternoon. The excitement was definitely building as we were anticipating and getting ready for a fun trip starting the following morning. Unfortunately one of our students, with doctor recommendation, wasn't able to attend our hiking trip.

Mount Albert Edwards

Monday (Day 1)

The trip started off early Monday morning with breakfast served at camp at 6:30am. After breakfast we quickly gathered together as a class, prayed for the trip, and headed off towards Strathcona Park. After three hours of Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigos, Tims coffee, and countless pee breaks we arrived at the base of our hike. For this trip the group was split up into four hiking groups. Two of these groups would hike to Kwai lake and stay the night while the remaining two groups would tack on an extra hour and half and stay at Circlet Lake. While hiking all four groups were able to share our testimonies within our hiking groups and pray for each other. We also had the great privilege of sharing the trails with plenty of Whiskey Jacks (birds). Let's just say not all of the trail mix was eaten by the students. Once we arrived at our respective lakes we set up camp and chowed down on KD and hot dogs! Also, it wouldn't be camping if there wasn't hot chocolate before bed, right? and then it was off to bed. Day 1: Absolute success.

Tuesday (Day 2)

If you thought we started early on Monday, you were wrong. Kwai lake was up and at 'em at 5:30 am in order to eat breakfast, pack up camp, and make the hike to circlet where the other group was waiting. The nice thing about being up that early is you get to see the sunrise, and it was BEAUTIFUL! Once both groups were together at Circlet Lake, the leaders had a meeting. Given the fact that it was crazy foggy and one of the students was experiencing allergies, the decision was made that instead of summiting we would do a day trip to Moat Lake instead! So we packed up our day packs, brought lunch, our snack bags and our good attitudes and headed to Moat Lake. Upon arrival we had time to hangout, eat lunch, enjoy the beautiful scenery and reveal the theme of the year! Korey led chapel, explaining what the year was going to look like and explaining the purpose of the theme and then revealed it to the students. *Drum roll please* .... "The Kingdom Life"! And the verse of the year is Matthew 13:44!

This year we will dive into what the Kingdom of God actually is and how we can participate in and be citizens of this Kingdom! Once chapel was over we headed back to Circlet Lake. Unfortunately, while we were hiking one of the students injured her ankle quite badly. She was unable to put pressure on it and was in quite a bit of pain. The rest of the students kept hiking while the leaders and a few students stayed back to figure out the next course of action. Once back at Circlet, the students gathered together and prayed that God would be working in this situation. Unfortunately, during this whole situation the condition of the student who was experiencing allergies deteriorated further requiring her to receive immediate help. Cue God showing up in massive ways. He lifted the fog almost immediately after the students prayed about it, he brought a helicopter an hour earlier than expected, he gave the leaders wisdom throughout the whole situation, and he bonded the group of students through it all. That evening those two students were taken to the hospital while the rest of us switched campsites, had supper, some students even went for a swim, drank Hot Chocolate, chatted, and shared joyfully with one another after a very long day.

 Day 2: Crazy, but God was evidently at work through it all.

Wednesday (Day 3)

Wednesday morning consisted of packing up camp, eating breakfast, having a devotional/reflection time, and then hiking down. Both groups ended up stopping briefly at Helen Mackenzie Lake on the way down and looking around you could see just how much the students have already bonded. At the end of the hike both groups met up in the parking lot, had bagels for lunch, and headed back to camp after a long trip.  The students and leaders alike were all exhausted from a crazy trip and everyone slept well that night. Day 3: Pretty smooth but a few more shenanigans to top off the trip, but overall you could call it a  success.

Post Trip

Since being back the students have been hard at work on homework for the class they are in right now. They have been growing together as a community and are very pumped for class this week! (Introduction to Spiritual Theology with Dr. Cal MacFarlane). 

Prayer Request:

  • Continued healing for the students who were airlifted and for the student who missed the trip

  • That God would be speaking to the students through the class this week

  • Continued bonding and growing together as a community

  • Prayer for any remaining nerves about the program as a whole

Thanks for reading! Catch you later for the next Kaleo Adventure. 

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