Welcome to the final blog post of the year! We have had so much happen in the last month. Lets take a look at all that happened:
The week after our French Beach trip the students were back in class with Brian Westnedge. They were learning all about Paul, his letters, the context of who he was writing to, and how it applies to us today. Brian challenged lots of the students with his teaching and there was a lot of growth throughout the week. We also had three student birthdays during the week, so to celebrate, we all went to WhiteSpot for supper. It was so fun and a great community event. On Thursday evening, Brian also took some students out for a seafood dinner in Maple Bay. It was a unique opportunity to get to know him on a personal level. That night there were also small groups. The girls went and did a hike to Stoney Hill and got gelato while the guys stayed back at camp. The final exam for the class was Friday afternoon.
After the class week was over, there was a retreat for youth groups from all over Vancouver Island here at camp. The students got to serve together counselling, doing dishes, activity support, and working in the kitchen. They did a great job!
Hammock Sleepover and Juniors Retreat
The following week the students had time to do homework. They worked on papers for Brian's class and prepared for their next class with Sid Koop.
On Tuesday we had our hammock sleepover. We set up our camp spot on the edge of camp property in the afternoon. Then after supper we went on a short hike to "The Point"- a cool lookout down the coast from camp. While we were there we saw a pod of orcas breaching just out from where we were standing! It was so cool. After returning from the hike we had a beach fire with s'mores and then called it a night. It was a really fun evening hanging out as a class.
On Thursday we had our final small groups of the year! The guys washed each others feet and shared communion. The girls made each other bracelets and prayed for each other. It was a bittersweet end to times we had been sharing together all year.
Friday evening the Juniors Retreat started. The students were helping out with this retreat as well. They counselled, worked in the kitchen and on dish, and helped run activities. They did a great job again this weekend too!
Camp and Youth Ministry
Following the Juniors Retreat the students had the second half of their class with Sid. He was here on Monday and Tuesday to wrap up their year-long course. They learned, presented group projects they had been working on, and had their final exam. This was the students' last class of the year, so after its end, there was definitely a sense of joy among the students. They had come so far and learned so much just in the academics alone!
The next two days were used to finish up the last of the homework they had from Sid and Brian and prepare for the upcoming kayak trip. Thursday we trained all of the students in kayaking safety and had a big packing party to get all of the group equipment and food ready!
Kayaking (and Boating) Trip
Early Friday morning we started our trip. We loaded up the kayaks and began our trip to Wallace Island where we would be camping. We reached our first crossing and regrouped to begin paddling toward Salt Spring Island. We began to paddle across toward Salt Spring. After 20 minutes of tough paddling with crazy wind we decided to turn around and head back to camp. It would have been too hard to make the whole trip to Wallace Island in those conditions. On our way back one of our kayaks flipped over. However, immediately a man with his boat showed up and rescued the two students. He took them straight back to camp so they could warm up and get dry. He was a gift from God and was proof God was with us and being faithful to us. The rest of our group got back to camp shortly afterwards.
After regrouping and coming up with a new plan, we decided to ferry over to Wallace Island by speedboat. So in the afternoon we got boated over to Wallace Island. We set up camp and had pizza for dinner that night! In the evenings while we were camping we had a group sharing/reflection time looking back at all that had happened during the year and all God had done. We went to bed that night exhausted after a crazy day.
Saturday was a day of relaxing, playing games, and spending time with each other at our campsite. People played spike ball, card games, board games, and we had a group game of manhunt (glorified hide and seek) in the afternoon. It was a ton of fun and a good day spent enjoying God's creation. In the evening we had dessert and more group sharing.
On Sunday we went for a hike to Chivers Point, the north end of Wallace Island. It is a nice walk with a beautiful view and it was great time spent with the community. We had a chapel at Panther Cove and the students got to write themselves letters for the end of the summer to remind them of all God has done in their lives and to encourage them to keep serving Him. Afterwards we made a monument to signify how God has grown each of us this year. We played more spike ball and had more sharing this evening as well.
Monday, the plan was to ferry back in the morning but it was really windy again so we only had one group go back in the morning. The rest of us stayed on the island until the evening when the wind calmed down. We spent the day hanging out in the sun, playing more games, and relaxing. It was a really nice way to end the trip.
The first grad festivity was a staff and student dinner on Tuesday night. It was one final celebration before all of the parents would show up the next day. That night the students also had the final dance of the year. It was a great time to hangout as a community and enjoy being together.
The next day parents showed up in the afternoon. They moved into the Pacific Woods Lodge and the Guest House at camp for the two nights of being here. That evening we had a dinner with all of the parents and students and then a parent/student/staff reception following dinner. It was a really fun night of meeting people and eating really good food.
Thursday was the big day for grad. In the morning students and parents got to go on the SkyScraper together, which is a really big swing here at camp. In the afternoon we had our grad ceremony. Staff, parents and students gathered to celebrate all God has done this year. It was a beautiful ceremony. Following the ceremony there was time to take pictures as a group and with parents. Then we had our banquet. The banquet was awesome! The kitchen went all out with options of steak, ribs, lobster, salmon, and amazing dessert! It was an absolute feast. During the banquet there was opportunity for staff, parents and students to share about the year and how God had moved. That night there was a grad party for the Kaleo leaders and students. It was time spent hanging out, playing games and being together one last time before everyone left.
The next morning was very sad. Everyone was gathered in the lobby saying their goodbye's. There was a lot of tears, a lot of laughter, and a general sense of mourning that the year was over.
Now that the year is over we would love it if you would pray for our students transitioning out of Kaleo. Thank God for all He did this year, for how He protected us, was faithful through hard times, and how He grew the students so much. Pray that the students can process everything that happened this year well and that they can have closure about Kaleo ending.
Thanks for reading this blog post!
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