One Thousand Hours

 

One Thousand Hours

I must start with a caveat about the following article. The ideas I am sharing are simply thoughts to be pondered and reflected upon and not a commentary on any specific group or individual. 

I was listening to several podcasts this week while painting some walls in my home office. A few of which mentioned the recruitment of youth and young adults into extremist or terrorist cells, specifically Isis. The ideas and tactics they were sharing were hardly different than that of national gang recruitment. 

A study “Tackling terrorists’ recruitment of youth” by Jessica Trisko Darden delves into and communicates the recruitment systems used by extremist groups.


 The author speaks to the vulnerability that is taken advantage of when recruiting young individuals. These youth have several things in common; Vulnerability, loneliness, and marginalization from their immediate community.  These youth seek connection, community, and above most else, belonging, which they receive through connecting with these terrorist groups. 

The recruiters will often use several people to recruit one young person, which is never communicated and misrepresents that the youth is always connecting with the same person. Often over thousands of hours through chat rooms, calls, and emails. Trust and belonging are built over this time. Slowly and methodically. 

Without going too much further into the specifics of the scenario, I will say this. I have some experience working with youth who were gang involved. These individuals never saw it as a flawed system, not once. They felt more protected, cared for, and connected there than they ever had at home or in the community, which does not say much for their home life or experience within the community. They understood the surface dangers of it; they knew there were risks involved, but what “family” doesn’t have some give and take?

These are all human needs, all things God created us to need! We will all search for these life essentials until we find them.

The introspection came quickly after listening and digging into this idea. I am profoundly challenged by the thought of one thousand hours. This idea, one thousand hours, at its simplest, is the idea that 1000 hours will be spent with any given child or youth to ensure they feel safe, cared for, and protected. This type of intimate time spent then creates an indebted relationship that can quickly be taken advantage of. When was the last time I, or ministries, spent this kind of time connecting with an individual? 

Do we offer these individuals the same things? Do we offer the youth, community, protection, belonging, and judgment-free relationship in a Christ-centered and healthy environment? 

Many of these are rhetorical questions. I genuinely don’t have the answers to them. I know that evaluating how we share God’s love is crucial to reaching people. Understanding what they seek and the places it is found allows us, as Christians, to understand some of what they are going through. 

As we approach each other, understanding our humanity and collective brokenness allows us to connect, listen, and share life without the implications or expectations perpetuated by unhealthy or self-involved relationships—a challenge for all of us, only attainable through a vibrant and earnest relationship with God.

Just A Little Off The Top

“Just A Little Off The Top”

Thanksgiving is often the time of year when I take stock of the events of the past months. October is often the beginning of the next summer season. Dreams and schemes are being planted and diligently cared for to slowly propagate what will eventually be next year’s summer camp!

October is also when I, the Program Director, look over the events of the summer past. The highs and the lows, or “Poops and Puddings,” as I have aptly titled them.

The list of pros and cons, wins and losses, often seems to grow with the more thought I put into it.

The trouble is, I am attempting to measure the immeasurable. Don’t misunderstand; I love a useful metric or perfectly presented statistic, but so often does this do some injustice when I think about the summer as a whole. The staff, children, and families we come across each year need to be more than statistics.

After a few months of critical analysis, I remind myself to take a little off the top, skim the surface, remove the foam, cut loose the split ends. In statistics, these “top” numbers are called outliers. They are the numbers that do not show the accurate measure of your research. Every single study has outliers, anomalies, and inconsistencies. These are often the discouraging moments, fights, or failures that could distort the picture of an otherwise glorious summer.

God grants us grace continuously and without interest or expected return. He prompts us to strive not for worldly success but life in His abundance. As followers of Christ, we get to live under this grace and enjoy the calm it brings.

Every year, around this season, I am reminded that God’s metric is different and far more complex than the metric of worldly success or progress. Self- Reflection, growth, and improvement are all attributes that I consider honorable.

Success does not mean perfection or without fault; only Jesus can be that. Perhaps it is okay to skim a little off the top and rest in His immeasurable grace.

How Are You?

 

How Are You?

Not Such an Obvious Question

September is known as National Suicide Awareness month. As I continue to navigate the very abnormal day-to-day we are currently experiencing, I often wonder how the individuals around me are doing. 

We ask, “How are you?” in any given situation without much emphasis or conviction. The idea that a “good” or “fine” will suffice as a quick answer. 

Amid our current scenario, I have noticed the honesty and vulnerability that are newly attached to such a simple question. People seem to be seeking an outlet, a conversation, a connection with one another. 

The idea of mental health and well-being is not new to many of us. We see comments, articles, and entertainment all geared towards the awareness of this idea. Something I believe is pertinent to our society. 

With this said, I am emplored to be honest about the worrying state I have found myself in. As COVID – 19 became daily news, I immediately began to see and consider its repercussions on the families and children in our community. The impact due to the inability to fully grasp what they are living through. 

I have always desired to care for others; this motivated me. Passionately we (the Covenant Bay Bible Camp Leadership) began to brainstorm how to reach and serve this community. 

I must clarify that I, In no way consider this current pandemic or scenario, impending doom for the children of this generation—actually, quite the opposite. We have a remarkable and unique opportunity to converse with each other about our health on a day to day basis. COVID – 19, has perpetuated this already inherent human need. 

As the school year drew near, we felt, as a camp, we needed to support our campers, staff, and communities in a new, COVID friendly way. This led to the idea of In-School Programming— born out of the heart to serve our community. 

Our in-school programming is a mental health initiative. Recognizing the importance of an individual’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being is a year-round endeavor. Suicide awareness month helps us continually prioritize and recognize the need for physical, emotional, and mental support. 

Children are strong, resilient, smart, and courageous. Our initiative aims to share these strengths with them to teach them it is okay not to be okay, and that they have the ability and support system to navigate any time of strife or uncertainty.  

Our mission at Covenant Bay Bible Camp is to encourage a growing relationship with Jesus Christ; we believe that our mental and emotional well-being is a part of this relationship. Our care and hope for the campers, families, and alumni of CBBC are to be a part of the broader community and body of Christ, in which we care for and encourage one another. 

Registration and Refund Policy June 16th, 2020

Registration for our July Camps will be opening soon! 

Registration will be per-day, meaning you could register your child days that would be most convenient for your family and travel abilities. Some creative solutions would be to share the driving responsibilities with members of your family or extended cohort or to book a camping spot in and around pigeon lake that would allow for a shorter commute! 

Our Refund Policy states that all deposits are non-refundable; however, given the nature of our circumstance, we believe the best practice is to offer refunds to those who desire that option. In order to prepare we do ask that all requests or inquiries be made 7-days prior to the original camp start date. 

Other options include applying the amount of the deposit to registering for our current programs. Each year summer programs are subsidized through fundraising. We believe we are still able to offer high-quality programming to children and families through this time. We continue to see value in the relationships formed with God and each other in a summer camp setting. As we continue to seek God and partner with him in his ministry, we understand that there are costs to running this type of programming. We also understand that many individuals from our community have been impacted financially in this season. That said, if you are in a financial situation that would allow your deposit to be applied to our summer programming as a donation, that is an option to consider. 

Inquiries and requests can be sent to registration@covenantbay.ca and will be processed in a timely manner. 

Covenant Bay Bible Camp has always been a place for us to grow in a relationship with God that has happened and will continue to happen, even if things look a little different! 

We are very excited to get summer 2020 underway! We believe there is an opportunity in the difference we see around us!

What is up with Summer Camp!!??, June 15th 2020

Dear families, campers and camp champs,

I have been waiting to write this for the past three months. Anxiously anticipated changes every day, minute by minute, that impact our ability to run summer camps. 

I have thought about the safety and well being of every camper, staff, and family. As a team, we have weighed the options and pros and cons to one hundred different scenarios. 

We will never intentionally put the health and safety of our community at risk. Hence the continual wait to assess and reassess our circumstance each day. 

I am so excited to announce that we WILL have summer camp this year, on-site and in-person. For the month of JULY, it will be Day Camps. There will be four different sessions/age groups! Each lasting five days. Our original Day-Camp program (Ages 4 -10) will continue to run, weekdays, from June 29th – August 28th.  

We will also be restructuring Family Camp into Community Camp Days, July 4th & 18th!! Community Camp days will include programmed activities, chapel services, outdoor recreation, and family bonding time! 

We encourage you to Register with other families from your extended cohort to share the driving responsibilities. 

More information will be posted online and uploaded as the week goes on and as the decision settles. We will be opening registration ASAP, so keep an eye out for any further announcements! 

We believe this summer will continue to encourage our campers to meet Jesus and grow in a relationship with Him, all while respecting social guidelines and health concerns. 

The safety of you and your children has always been a foundational element to summer camp and will continue to be through this season. 

We appreciate the support and patience you have shown through this time and continue to be grateful and humbled by the blessings God gives us each day. 

If there are any specific questions and concerns, please contact our Program Director for more details. 

bradon@covenantbay.ca

The Universal Nature of God

An Open Letter: The Block

Change is a word I have not long been a fan of. However, I have started to recognize the power in which this word holds. For much, or perhaps most of my life I have cringed at the word and the subsequent thoughts that came shortly after.

Change, for me, was often a lose-lose scenario, riddled with unwanted compromise and strife.

So, one can imagine the whirlwind of thoughts that have come and gone as quickly as the stock of toilet paper at your local supermarket. As the days have passed and the comfortability of the scenario has slowly grown, I have found myself considering a rather bold question. This question has seemingly made itself at home in my head, which to be honest, may bring some welcome company in this isolated time.

The question in all its varieties boils down to something along the lines of this:

“Is there a way that all of this change can be good?”

Viewing change as temporary, although comforting, somehow doesn’t seem like an entirely true statement. This question has, of course, led me down many rabbit trails of thought. These trails seem to diverge on a commonality; The innovation of ministry. In other words, can we approach ministry through a different perspective or lens to continue to fulfill our local and global mission?

I respectfully do not have the answer to this question. I do, however, have the curiosity to allow this thought to keep me awake and pondering as the isolated nights drift by. I continue to be intrigued by the opportunity and dare I say, change that could come about once the dust settles.

Thus, my final thought and my initial response. I continue to be interested in the way the children and families are coping with this scenario. As humans, resiliency has a huge impact on the way we respond to any sort of uncertainty.

Being the Program Director at Covenant Bay  Bible Camp allows me to work beyond my single vision and consider and discern for more than just myself. I miss the connection and community that Summer Camp allows for thousands if not millions of children and youth each summer.

The Block is an initiative that I believe in. The heart behind the idea is that we can connect, serve, and build a foundation of a community if we can consider this an opportunity for us. The Block is an online resource that allows the impact of camp to be experienced from wherever you may be.

The Block is inspired by the idea of a friend around the corner, assembly of a foundation, the strength of a pillar, and the connectedness in which we thrive.

The Block is empty without the people that make it vibrant!

Visit our Website to learn more or discover our current resources! Located under online resources, titled The Block.