Welcome back to the blog! Yes, it's only been one week since the last blog, but what a week it has been! Let's take a look back at all the adventures that went down in the last eight days:
On Monday evening the staff and students gathered in the dining hall and enjoyed a banquet together. We shared things we were thankful for, lots of laughter and great food. It was a great way to connect as a camp community and thank God for all he has given us and done for us.
Note: This year due to COVID-19 and our large class size we had to split the class in half for the sailing trip, so SALTS 1 was from Tuesday until Friday and SALTS 2 was from Friday until Monday.
On Tuesday morning, half of the class started their sailing trip. We met the crew in Victoria, got rapid tested for COVID, and departed on the boat. Almost immediately after leaving Victoria we were experiencing what we had been looking forward to for weeks now: the wind in our faces, raising sails as a team, being propelled through the ocean without an engine, enjoying a pod of porpoises that were breaching beside the boat, and some of us throwing up lunch because of a lack of open ocean experience! It was a crazy first few hours and we were all very tired by the day's end. Before we officially called it a night, we gathered as a group for songs, worship, chai tea lattes and testimonies. It was a really great bonding experience hearing the students open up about their lives, sharing how God has worked, different struggles and trials they have faced, and how they ended up here at Kaleo. Day 1, although not quite over, was a big success.
The thing about living on a boat is that it can never go unattended. So throughout the whole trip there are always people on watch. This means that throughout the night there are two people who get up and watch the boat for an hour before switching with the next group. Although it was always a struggle to drag yourself out of bed, this time led to great conversations and more individual bonding within the group.
Wednesday was a great day. It was filled with beautiful weather, man over board drills, climbing the masts of the boat, knot tying, following and watching a pod of humpback whales, and going on a day hike. The students had a great time launching and rowing dories (small boats) to get to the beach because the feeling that you were going to flip is pretty constant even though it is basically impossible. That evening was again filled with songs, worship, an off-brand version of charades, hot chocolate, cookies and more testimonies. Day 2, awesome experience.
Thursday was a little bit of a cooler day but because it was pretty windy in the morning we were able to sail immediately after lifting the anchor. We raised all of the sails and tacked into the wind and out of the bay that we had anchored in and we sailed north through the gulf islands. This was definitely a more chilled out day spent sailing all afternoon, hanging out, doing more climbing and simply enjoying the experience. We anchored beside Galliano Island before supper as we prepared for our last night on board. Again this evening was spent in worship, playing a modified hide and seek game, London fogs, caramel popcorn, and finished sharing testimonies. It was an awesome last night. Day 3, chill vibes.
Finally on Friday we lifted our anchor and headed back to camp where we would end our portion of the trip. While we were en route the crew split us into teams and we cleaned the boat, packed up our stuff and got ready to dock at camp. It was a bittersweet trek as we were ending our time on board the Pacific Grace but we were definitely excited to shower, put on fresh clothes, and catch up on sleep! By the end of the trip it was extremely obvious how the group had grown together, been stretched out of their comfort zone, and had a ton of fun. Overall the trip went really well.
(Not) SALTS 2
The original plan was to have the second group switch with the first group at the Qwanoes dock. Like the first group, they had to get rapid tested and test negative for COVID before getting on the boat. Unfortunately, one of the students tested positive and due to various circumstances and policies we were unable to proceed with the second sailing. So instead of spending three days on a boat we came up with a new plan in order to connect and grow together as a group, experience new things together, and have fun together.
Our first planned event happened on Saturday. We headed up to the Nanaimo pool and spent two hours swimming, sliding, diving, flipping, and relaxing together. As soon as we were done swimming we drove back to Duncan where a reservation at Boston Pizza was waiting for us. We ate together, chatted and began to share testimonies when supper was finished. And then we were off to our next event which was bowling! There were some intense rivalries, competition, and talent(?) that was on display at the bowling alley. Some of us are definitely more gifted at this activity than others but we definitely all had a good time. To finish the night we grabbed hot chocolate from Tim Hortons and shared more testimonies back at camp. It was definitely a long, exhausting day but it was still a lot of fun!
Sunday was spent going to church, hanging out at camp and in the evening we had a games night with both SALTS groups. This was a great connection point for all students and it was fun to see certain peoples' competitive sides come out over games like Clue, Monopoly, Secret Hitler, and Dutch Blitz. We enjoyed more hot chocolate and great company. It was a very relaxing day and a nice time to hangout as a group.
The last day of our "trip" was Monday. In trying to do something similar to SALTS we decided to take the group whale watching in Victoria. So we boarded the boat in the Victoria harbour and took off into the open ocean in hopes of seeing some marine wildlife. It was a perfect day for whale watching; it was sunny, relatively warm, and not too windy. About half an hour into the trip we saw our first whale. It was only a brief couple seconds but we think it was a humpback. Although we didn't get a great look at it the anticipation was building as we wondered what we would see next. It only took a few more minutes before we crossed paths with a pod of orcas! For the next hour we followed them, watching them breach and blow and getting to enjoy how beautiful these mammals really are. For lots of our students this was the first time they had ever seen killer whales in person. It was definitely the highlight of the mini trip. After whale watching we headed over to Dallas Rd. beach where we played spike ball, football, had time hangout, enjoy the view and ate KFC for supper! To finish off our time together apart from the first group we headed back to camp and finished sharing testimonies. During these times we got to hear about each others lives and pray for each other as well.
Looking back on the week it is obvious how God drew our students close together through the fun times and the hard times. He was working through testimonies, his creation, stretching students comfort zones, and even through the disappointment of not being able to go on the second sailing. We know that God has a plan for us and that his will is higher than our own even when we can't see it.
Currently the students are in their leadership and prayer week where they are learning all about hearing from God, the importance of spending time with Him and in His word, and obviously Christ-like leadership. Next week we will be embarking on a trip to Tofino where we will be surfing for a few days.
- For the student who is in isolation with COVID. Thankfully she is physically feeling great, but pray that she wouldn't grow lonely and that she will use this time to grow closer to God.
- For the students that didn't get to go on SALTS, that this wouldn't be something that divides our community but instead that they can learn to be content in all circumstances.
- That God would be speaking to the students this week as they are diving into prayer and hearing from Him.
- Continued wisdom and guidance for the leaders as we prepare for the upcoming trip, for safety and that God's will would be done.
Thanks for reading this weeks update! Check in again soon to stay updated on all of the Kaleo adventures!
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