As the leaves begin to change I am amazed that another summer has come and gone. Just over a month ago we were up at Camp Norland, surrounded by a team of 25 youth and young adults, who spent the summer in community, going after Jesus, serving and leading. Now they are back home, in Alberta, Ontario, South Carolina, Missouri and Romania, and again they are serving and leading - the exact place they should be. You see, while the summer months are amazing, Coldwater is crazy passionate about seeing young leaders rooted in Jesus, making disciples, and impacting their communities - back home. There is only one type of impact these leaders can have, and it is one that builds God’s Kingdom and points to Jesus. To have this vision accomplished, we need to raise up leaders and send them out. So we are praying for our 2018 Summer Team, that they are living as salt and light, leading wherever they are.
Summer 2018 was a successful summer. Yes, we had encouraging student numbers, saw growth in summer team numbers, got a new two-month program off the ground (THARSÉŌ), trained six new wilderness instructors in our four-month Wilderness Leader Internship, and we completed eight different service projects in the rural area around camp. While these are all good things, we really count it a success because we saw lives impacted. We sent out ten different wilderness trips, with many participants returning home with a new appreciation for silence, new/renewed faith, and a belief that they can do way more than they thought they could. We had many BEDROCK students coming from hard backgrounds hear the Good News of Jesus and experience caring relationships with our staff. Each participant we worked with is another life impacted and sent home with the hope they will impact others for Jesus.
The summer also came with challenges. We will always look back on this summer as the summer of fires. For over a month, between July and August, a majority of the wilderness area we use in Temagami and French River was off limits because of forest fires. There were many days when we awoke to smoke in camp, thick as fog. Thankfully, we didn’t have to cancel any trips because of the fires, we just had to adapt by changing our wilderness course areas.
There were many people involved in making the summer what it was. As I mentioned above, we had 25 team members decide to spend their summer with Coldwater and be a part of a committed community. We had over 25 volunteers, some who came from Southern Ontario, others from around Camp Norland, and some even all the way from Madison, SD. These volunteers helped with work projects, did many dishes, prepared meals, transported participants, served as a nurse, helped with child care, and were encouragements to our summer staff. Others prayed for us, and many people financially supported us. Coldwater is a donor-funded ministry, and we rely on people’s generosity throughout the year. This summer people gave to support our summer team, provide us with building materials, cover flights for our Romanian team members, and to sponsor students - allowing them to participate in Coldwater programs. To all of you, Thank You!
I hope you enjoy this blog post. It will look back on the summer, share some stories, and celebrate Summer 2018. Enjoy!
Director, Coldwater Canada
Snapshots from our Programs
Wilderness Leader Internship
WLI is an intensive four month experience that blends a long wilderness trip and three + weeks of training, with two months of leading programs, both at camp and in the wilderness. With WLI we get to invest in mature leaders, and equip and empower them to instruct in the wilderness and to promote growth in young people. This year, we had six leaders become Wilderness Instructors through WLI. These leaders were an integral part of our Summer Team. They mentored younger staff and spent weeks pouring themselves into our participants. Here are some words from one of our leader's experience:
"A huge highlight of my experience was the opportunity to develop intentional relationships with different people. In the wilderness, there are less distractions, and it gives you an excellent opportunity to share stories and have intentional conversations. God really reminded me this summer of His goodness. He revealed to me the purpose there is in the small everyday things." - Jules (Age 24, London ON)
THARSÉŌ was a new program we launched this past summer. THARSÉŌ was focused on empowerment, and each of our seven participants were given a significant responsibility over an area of camp or with programs. Our hope was that THARSÉŌ gave them the opportunity to develop their leadership and to understand the type of leader they have been created to be.
"One of the major lessons God had in store for me this summer was the concept of giving myself grace when I'm not enough. He taught me that my weaknesses and failures aren't something to beat myself up about, but rather, are a way that I can see His power at work in my life." - Emma (Age 18, Cambridge ON)
Our Service Team was eight members strong this year, with five from Ontario and three who traveled all the way to us from Lupeni, Romania. Service Team began with a week-long wilderness experience followed by two months of service projects, property maintenance, training sessions, mentoring and leadership development. Service Team also served in a variety of program roles including cabin leading during BEDROCK, welcoming volunteers and participants to camp, and championing work projects. This was a hands on discipleship experience for high schoolers.
"One thing that God taught me this summer is that He has a plan for me and He isn't necessarily going to tell me what that plan is when I want Him to. He might give me small details but I have to trust Him to guide me where He wants me. So many things have changed for me since the summer. My routines with God are way better than they ever were, and I am relying on Him for guidance. I appreciate people for who they are." - Lucas (Age 16, St. George ON)
CAIRN, GRIDIRON, COMPASS
Our CAIRN, GRIDIRON and COMPASS wilderness experiences are geared toward junior high and high school students. They are designed to introduce participants to the wilderness, give them opportunities to lead their peers, and foster a deeper relationship with Christ. Participants got to learn new skills, explore pristine wilderness, challenge themselves, forge new connections and friendships, and discover who God has created them to be.
"Some things that will change in my life is that I will probably be more open to trying new things. I did not think I would have much fun here, but now I'm upset that I need to leave. I will always see myself as a part of Coldwater Canada and Coldwater Canada will always be a part of me." - Logan (GRIDIRON - Age 14, West Nipissing)
"I've become closer to God through learning about Him." - Curtis (GRIDIRON - Age 13, Tillsonburg ON)
“Solitude is something that is super important, and it is something that brings me closer to God. I’m going to spend more time with God because throughout this trip I’ve gotten more of a desire to have a deeper relationship with Him, and I want to continue that.” - Melena (COMPASS - Age 16, Kitchener ON)
"I've changed the way that I view God's Word, and I've discovered new ways to explore it." - Skye (COMPASS - Age 17, Paris ON)
"Once you get past the mental barrier that you can't go anymore, you can do a lot more than you thought you could." - Ethan (COMPASS - Age 17, Toronto ON)
Again this summer, we ran two weeks of BEDROCK Adventure Camp hosted at Camp Norland; BEDROCK I for ages 8-10 and BEDROCK II for ages 11-13. Both weeks were full of fun, exploration and learning. Participants were encouraged to develop new friendships, learn new skills and explore God’s love for them. Activities included swimming, group games, camp store, baking, crafts and canoeing. All participants were also given the chance to spend a night out under the stars at a nearby lake. Both weeks were extremely successful in introducing students to God’s story and to empower them to take initiative in their lives.
During BEDROCK I we were blessed to have a team of volunteers from Cedar Creek Community Church who helped make the week a success. This team helped run activities, provided first-aid, prepared meals, cleaned and maintained the property, and served on a variety of work projects including pizza oven reconstruction, canoe racks and trip gear lockers.
Camp Norland board members worked hard to raise scholarship funds to give local kids the opportunity to experience a week of BEDROCK camp. Thank you for working so hard to make this possible!
"I want to pursue deeper connections with my family and friends." - Carter
"I've learned how to make friends faster and be more confident in myself." - Rachel
"My favourite part of the week was spending time with my cabin." - Ryland
"My favourite activity was canoeing." - Austin
"I want to connect with God more." - Emma
This September, a group of six ladies spent four days in the beautiful Algonquin Provincial Park. A trip focused on spiritual growth and community, this group journeyed together through some beautiful terrain and faced some unique challenges, like extremely high winds. Our hope was that these women returned home feeling refreshed, renewed and empowered as women of God!
This summer we ran two trips in partnership with Forest Cliff Camp’s LiTE program. This was our second summer in partnership with Forest Cliff, and we were blessed to be able to lead their LiTE program participants. Each group was sent out on a seven-day wilderness experience, and both trips came back with student stories of new ways to view themselves as leaders. Students went home with a deeper understanding of themselves, a greater motivation to be a positive influence, and better equipped for future leadership roles.
"I really felt like God was with us the whole time because every time we were stuck in a tricky situation, we'd always find somewhere to camp, and we'd always have food and water at the end of the day." - Rieker
"I've learned how to be a better leader and how to lead a group of people. I learned that you have to be rooted in Christ in order to teach other people about Christ." - Zach
"I've learned how to rely on God more and more and how to rely on him more fully and with everything." - Lydia
Other Partner Programs
In addition to working with Forest Cliff Camp, we enjoyed the opportunity to facilitate a day of team development for the Sudbury Manitoulin Alzheimer Society in June. In early July, our Service Team worked with Kipling Baptist Church's annual VBS for a week. Kipling's VBS is always a highlight for us! We love the opportunity to serve and see impact in many local kids and youth, and it is great leadership experience for Service Team.
Coldwater Canada is a ministry that relies heavily on the support of generous people to run the programs that we do. Any support offered, from prayer to financial contributions to volunteering plays a huge part in helping us equip and empower young people to love, serve and lead. We are celebrating Summer 2018 today. So thank you!