Camp Retreat

A couple weekends ago we took a group of community members to Camp Koinonia near Parry Sound for our annual Fall retreat. This is the third year I have gone on retreat with our community, and each year has provided me different experiences, opportunities to connect with people, and memories. We like this retreat time as it provides all of us refuge from the city which can be loud, stressful, and hectic. It gives us a glimpse into the beauty of nature, opportunity to eat three meals a day together, and time to sit in front of a fire.

Each year has shown me again that community life comes with it’s own ups and downs. Just because we all take a bus out of the city together, doesn’t mean that everything is hunky-dory. We still have to learn to be together and live with the challenges we carry whether we are in the city or not.

I’ll admit, there were some hard things about this year at camp. Those things deserve to be acknowledged because they are part of the experience. People can have a hard time leaving the city no matter how much they want to go, and that built up anger can get taken out on us in different ways. This is hard sometimes. But as I try to always remember and write about here, things can be hard and good at the same time. And camp this year was good. We got the sense that overall, our folks left feeling refreshed, happy, grateful, and renewed. People took pictures, went out on the water, swam, collected stories, and talked about all those stories for days after we returned.

There are lots of memories that I will cherish this year from camp. From Ian needing to be pulled to shore after trying a faulty water toy, to working on a puzzle with different groups of people over the weekend. From sitting around the fire talking about enneagrams, to Jo’s friend Sarah visiting with her kids which has become a yearly tradition. From bonding with my community, to stepping in front of arguments. These moments are all valid in their own way, and I would not trade the experience. I am grateful for this annual retreat away and hope we can continue to make it as accessible and fun as possible each year.

View of the lake at camp


Did you know I fundraise money to be paid for working at The Dale?? If you would like to walk this journey with me and support my ministry financially please get in touch. This can be done by monthly or one time donations!

Riding (Waddling, Rolling, Strolling) for Refuge

If you’ve been following my journey at The Dale for a while, you may know that each year we participate in the Ride for Refuge in order to raise money for our general fund. The Ride for Refuge provides a platform that The Dale and many other organizations use to help raise money for their specific needs. Without the Ride, The Dale would have little capacity to do a fundraiser this large, as it takes a lot of work, planning, and money to be able to organize an event like this. This is why we partner with the Ride for Refuge.

All of the money that The Dale has in its general fund is a direct result of fundraising efforts. Erinn does a large amount of speaking, networking, grant writing, and fundraising to support our organization. As a team, we help her by participating in and creating events that raise money (such as our annual online auction and this ride) for our general fund. On top of that, we all as a staff team must fundraise through our own networks to raise the money for our salaries. The Dale is not supported through any government funding. It all comes from generous people such as yourselves who sustain us financially, as well as in prayer and friendship.

The money that we raise that goes towards our general fund helps support our programming in many ways. As many of you would know, The Dale does not own a building space. We partner with many community locations to hold our programs and meal drop-ins. This means that we aren’t spending large chunks of money maintaining a building space because we don’t have one! The money that we raise goes towards buying some food for our meal programs (we do need to purchase some food other than what we are donated from Second Harvest each week). It also goes towards purchasing supplies such as water and socks for our outreach walks that we go on weekly or bi-weekly, especially in the winter and middle of summer. Another thing this money is used for is our community retreat that we go on each Fall – we take a group of community members to a camp for a weekend as an escape from the city into the calm of nature. This requires a bus and a cost to the camp. We also use the money to help with individual support such as buying emergency grocery cards for community, cleaning supplies if we are supporting someone clean their home, or linens for people just moving into a new place. Those are just a few of our weekly/monthly/yearly expenses.

The Ride for Refuge isn’t just another event to me where I show up, walk, and go home. I know that the money that we raise is actually going somewhere important. It’s going towards providing wholesome food to my friends who may have otherwise not had breakfast on a Thursday morning. It’s going towards making someone’s place just that much cleaner and more habitable. It’s going towards experiences of joy and retreat at camp each year. It’s going towards meeting people where they are at on the street, and offering a water bottle as a way to start a bigger conversation. These are all things that I have a hand in as a community worker at The Dale. So please know that when I push these events on social media and email you reminding you about the Ride, I’m doing so because this event is an annual event that make such a large difference to us as a community. The more money we raise, the more opportunity we have to walk alongside people in support each week, to show people that they are valued and cared for by providing a meal where we can all sit at the same table and eat together, to show up for people in order to show them that they too can show up in the best way that they know how.

I am asking you to please support us this year as we try to raise money for our organization through the Ride for Refuge. You are so welcome to come and ride/walk with us on October 5th. All it takes is signing up and raising some money for us through your own networks. If that is not possible for you, I would ask you to donate towards my participation in this event by following the link below or sending a cheque. I will be walking (more like waddling at 8 months pregnant!) 5km this year. You can always reach out to me for more information. I hope this post helped answer any questions you may have had regarding the Ride or where your money is going. Please know that any support you offer us, financially or otherwise, is always held so close to our hearts and deeply appreciated. You really are making a difference in someone’s life.

You can donate at this link:

Thank you!

A group photo from this year’s annual retreat.
Ian and I about to bike 25km at last year’s Ride for Refuge!
A photo from an Open Stage last year, one gathering where community can show off their talents!