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.
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!