Sustainability at the Centre

This summer, seven Summer Leaders joined the Naramata Staff team, bringing with them a host of new ideas for how the centre can improve and build upon our current sustainability practices. The brainstorms were electric, with fingers flying furiously over laptop keyboard keys (paperless, wahoo!) to get everything noted down before it slipped away. This month, those exciting new ideas have begun to take shape around the centre and impact our participants experiences here in very real ways. 

We started with waste management, could we recycle more, and send less stuff to the landfill? Could we send less stuff off-site entirely? Inspired by a similar project at Quest University Canada, summer leader Kailyn Pritchard identified a few key areas where Naramata Centre could improve its waste management practices. 

Kailyn Pritchard - Young Adult Summer Leader

Kailyn Pritchard - Young Adult Summer Leader

For years, participants have been asking if we have somewhere to dispose of compost on site. On week 4 of this summer, that changed! Kailyn, along with volunteers and summer leader team, built the first compost bins the centre has ever had. These bins will be carefully and thoughtfully managed in order to ensure that they break down our scraps as quickly and scent-lessly as possible. It’s such as exciting time of progress here at the Centre!

If you have any questions about the Summer Leaders’ sustainability projects, please feel free to email them at

Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry Clafoutis


If you are looking for a dessert that is super sweet, this is not it. But, if you are looking for something super easy to make in the middle of a busy summer full of visitors and beach time with an abundance of cherries, this is it.

What you need:

  • 9 - 10 inch shallow baking dish or pie plate

  • enough pitted cherries to cover the bottom of the dish (3-4 cups)

  • 3 eggs

  • 3/4 cups milk plus 1/2 cup whipping cream

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon amaretto, kirsch or vanilla extract

  • 2/3 cups flour (you can use almond flour to be gluten free)

  • whipped cream and icing sugar at serving time

What to do:

  1. Turn on oven set at 350 degrees

  2. Grease the baking dish

  3. Arrange cherries in the dish - (I like to turn them so you can't see the damage done by the pitter)

  4. Put milk and cream, eggs, flour, sugar and flavoring in the blender and process until mixed thoroughly.

  5. Pour over cherries.

  6. Bake 45-55 minutes or until light brown and puffy and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. The clafoutis will sink while it is cooling.

  7. Before serving, while clafoutis is still warmish, sprinkle with icing sugar and whip some cream. You can serve it warm or cold. 

Interesting note:

This dish is a traditional French recipe which is made with un-pitted cherries. The belief is that the pits impart a desirable addition to the flavor that is lost without them. That would make this even easier to make. I f you feel like challenging your guests, go ahead and leave the pits in. I can't comment on the benefit of the pits since I haven't yet tried to that way. Perhaps, someday I will.

Peggy Evans

Design Charrette


MODUS - a firm specializing in planning, urban design and engagement - led us through a process where they gathered ideas through discussions, community feedback and a site tour on Thursday. MODUS then created a bold new vision for the property that will be achieved through reducing our footprint, repurposing outdoor space and renovating our remaining buildings. Board members are pleased and energized by this new vision!

Over 80 people joined the discussion on Saturday morning to hear MODUS' suggestions and sketches showing what the site might look like with these changes. If you are coming to the Centre this summer, drop into Alberta Hall to see the sketches and hear about the possibilities!

Many ideas and possibilities were presented with ideas ranging from affordable housing, to co-housing to ecological sanitary water treatment facilities. Each idea generated enthusiastic discussions and provided the opportunity to push the boundaries of our creative thinking. That in itself is one of the many purposes of a Charrette - to create ideas that could lead to feasible solutions.
Click to read more about some of the ideas in the June Board Update.

Learning and Retreat at the Centre

We human beings especially need times to set down our busyness, to step back from the fullness of daily life and retreat to times of grounding, centering and remembering ourselves. This June, Lois Huey-Heck, with Natalie Maxson and Keri Wehlander, offers an invitation to come for this kind of restoration and inspiration via Nourishing Mind Body & Spirit: A Contemplative Retreat at Naramata Centre. 

Read More


(A Visual Documentary of A Baby Boomer’s Lament)

What happens when an artist needs a 40 foot wall to undertake a major project?  Well, Dennis Evans, a painter and potter living in Naramata, wondered just that.  After having an idea to create a mural with scenes capturing life changing events quintessential in shaping the 1960’s and beyond, Dennis needed a place to make several months of research become reality.  The only obstacle was that the work needed to be done on the biggest canvas he’d ever undertaken to paint. When finished, the mural would measure 40 feet long by five feet high.

Hearing about his dilemma, the Executive Director of the Naramata Centre offered a solution.  How about using the buffet room adjacent to the dining centre and kitchens? Details for occupying the space were negotiated, and work began in earnest on the first week of November 2018. Navigating the technical challenges with “DaVinci and Michelangelo-esk inventiveness”, the 40’ x 5’ canvas was erected on a temporary frame, and Dennis spent every day from November through early January painting his magnus opus.  

Many in the audience will recognize the iconic images of the decades and events that are represented in the piece, and Dennis hopes these images will trigger memories of your own.  The work is about the idealistic youth of the ‘60’s, their aspirations and hopes for the future and how these finished and unfinished revolutions have shaped our lives today and into the future.  Boomers turned thirty, got married, had kids, got a job, bought a house, filled it up with “stuff” (we started mass consumerism), went to war, were against war, polluted the world, are trying to clean up our mess, et cetera.  The painting, of course, has the artist’s own reflections and remembrances. Viewers will have others.

Framed by carefully executed architectural details which gradually deteriorate by the end of the piece, the columns are resurrected in the last panel with optimism and hope for the future.   Dennis challenges the viewer to think about the “revolution” that opened the ‘60’s and what Generation Z has inherited during the fifty years of the Boomer generation and the challenges they will face over their coming fifty years.

You can view a panoramic video of Dennis’s piece here.


Sacred Space Reflections

It was a cold, sunny Saturday in January when a few souls gathered in the chapel for a Sacred Space retreat day.  

The day began with contemplative worship to help ground ourselves and to begin to pause. Lois, Keri & Nan led us in song and story and explained how the day could be.  There was spaciousness in the day as we each had our own room so we could read and journal or rest if that was what we needed. Private Sessions could be booked for Holy Listening, Spiritual Direction and Healing Touch.  Allowing someone to be heard is a gift which I graciously received. As well, there was an art room set up for those who wanted that creative outlet. People could go at their leisure to eat a hearty soup lunch along with fruit, cheese and crackers.  

The afternoon found me walking the labyrinth and reading as the sun streamed in my room. The day closed back in the chapel as we gathered in the circle, reflected on the day and gave thanks for this gift of time of pause and reflection. – a retreatant

If you would like to attend a Sacred Space Day Retreat you can select your month and register here.


Now Hiring - Young Adult Summer Leaders

Want a chance to have fun while living and working in community?

Work in a collaborative, safe and inclusive environment on the shores of Lake Okanagan where we encourage you to be authentically yourself?

Hone your leadership skills and develop new ones?

If you are between the ages of 18 and 30, this could be the opportunity for you!

Youth and young adult leadership development is an integral part of Naramata Centre’s mission in action. Our Young Adult Summer Leadership Program provides opportunities for young adults aged 18-30 to learn and grow in a paid live-in work setting. Through direct training, mentorship, and supported opportunities to lead, Young Adult Summer Leaders will have a chance to experience a range of functions and aspects of life at the Centre, while learning more about their own leadership and gifts.

In addition to being supported by Centre management, Young Adult Summer Leaders will have access to spiritual, musical, youth development and community-building mentors throughout their time at the Centre.

Our Young Adult Summer Leaders will have the opportunity to rotate through all areas of Naramata Centre operations including programs, community life, office administration, grounds and maintenance, housekeeping and participant services.


Young Adult Summer Leaders will be compensated at a rate of $16/hour. In addition, you will be able to live in community in housing provided by the Centre.

There will be 6 - 8 NEW Young Adult Summer Leader positions available for 16 weeks from May through August 2019.


  • For a copy of the Young Adult Summer Leader Job Description, please email:

  • To apply please send your resume and cover letter indicating: any previous history you have with the Centre and your reason for seeking a Summer Leader position in 2019 to:

Applications close February 17, 2019


Reflections from a Campground Host

By Rob Hutchinson

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The best part is hearing people’s stories. Oh, there are many interesting moments in the week of a campground host, but the best is the openness of fellow campers, sharing their stories. 

This was our second year volunteering as hosts for my wife, Judy, and I: three weeks camping in Site 19, in the deep shade of the locust bean tree.  We have heard amazing stories from Fellow campers have told us amazing stories of babies born, epic journeys across our huge country, grief for those recently passed away, and those soon to leave us - all too soon.   We have enjoyed the spectator sport of watching trailers back into tiny, obstructed camping spaces, and marvelled at various types of camping units new, old, and lovingly renovated. 

We have been amazed at the fabulous meals that appear from campers’ imaginations and a few groceries, and we’ve shared our appreciation with fellow campers for keeping Creekside Commons so clean. 

Of course, there is the odd tense moment. Perhaps a misbehaving dog (or perhaps the owner), or a group who needed reminding that quiet time started some time ago, or a dispute over whose campsite is which, and where the boundaries might be.  But these moments are few and far between, and are greatly overshadowed by the warmth and friendliness of all our guests. 

Our hosting duties also left lots of time to take a morning program and/or to volunteer around the Centre, weeding and pruning.

We recommend the volunteer role of campground host to anyone who is friendly, outgoing, able to ensure that campers abide by the rules, and wants to support camping fun and community at Naramata Centre.

Our thanks to Centre staff Dennis Hixson, Tanya Eckenswiller, Charmaine Pearce, Mike McLary and the summer interns for their support and welcome to the Centre this summer.  We had a great time, and we hope to be back under the bean tree again next year! 

Naramata Centre's 70th Anniversary Celebration

Naramata Centres’ 70 year history was celebrated with much gratitude, Saturday, June 23rd. The day was replete with “Naramata magic” and activities designed to encourage reflection on the many ways the Centre has creatively nurtured us through the experience of community; deepening our faith and nudging us to make a difference in the world. We celebrated the journey we have travelled, and engaged in activities to optimistically focus our attention towards the future.

Since its official opening in November 1948, Naramata Centre has served people of all generations; those trusting, doubting, seeking and knowing. From its beginnings as a United Church Christian Leadership Centre for lay people, programming at the Centre has evolved to reflect the challenges of changing times. Naramata Centre continues to be an inclusive, safe, welcoming place to connect and deepen in mind, body and spirit, and this was evident throughout our day of celebration.

Linda Hatfield, Barb Hatfield, Jane Ritchie

The 70th Celebration: The 70th Anniversary Committee (Barb Hatfield, Linda Hatfield, Jane Ritchie and Jane Sanden) offered many activities to creatively engage us in reflecting on our past and focussing on the future. Typical of traditional Centre activities, we were provided lots of opportunities to visit with friends both old and new, and to sink into that warm feeling of community which is so much a part of the Naramata experience.

What year did you come to the Centre.JPG

Starting in the morning with a long line of participants stretching across Columbia lawn chronologically organized by the year they first came to Naramata Centre, we soon drew together into a large circle of community, seeking to learn more about each other’s experience at the Centre over the years.


Columbia Hall was the gathering place for many interactive activities, which included:

a walk through the decades - Doug, Jim.JPG
  • ·      A Drive through the Decades: There were seven tables (1950s to 2010’s) covered in memorabilia from each decade. People enjoyed sharing stories, adding their own memorabilia/artifacts and, marking significant events and the place on the “road map” where they joined the journey through the 70 years.·     
  • Rooted in the Past- Reaching for the Future: A large apple tree painted by Jane Ritchie came to life covered with paper apples on which participants wrote ways they had grown or the gifts/nourishment they had received from the Centre over the years.
apple tree memories of how the Centre nurtured us.JPG

Now Hiring Summer Student Interns

Want a chance to live and work in community? To further our mission of Inspiring individual and collective transformation in a safe, inclusive, sacred space? To hone your leadership skills and develop new ones?

Between the ages of 17 and 30? This could be the opportunity for you!

Youth and young adult Leadership development is an integral part of Naramata Centre's mission in action. Our internship program provides opportunities for people aged 17-30 to learn and grow in a paid work setting. Through direct training, mentorship, and supported opportunities to lead, interns will have a chance to experience a range of functions and get a glimpse into all many aspects of life at the Centre.

In addition to being supported by Centre management, interns will be paired with a mentor who will work with them throughout their time at the Centre.

Summary of Primary job functions:

Each intern will work with individual Centre managers for periods of time during their internship based on Centre needs and the interns personal learning goals.

Interns will support a variety of activities including but not limited to:

  • Assisting staff and volunteers to physically prepare the Centre for its busy summer season.

  • Providing assistance to the Program Manager in preparing for and supporting the delivery of paid programs with independent program leaders.

  • Assisting the Managing Director in developing and implementing marketing plans.

  • Providing assistance to the Site Operations Manager and Volunteer Host in keeping the land and buildings clean, safe and in good repair.

  • Providing assistance to the Office Administrator in managing the weekly welcome and registration of all participants.

  • Creating, in consultation with the Program Manager and participants, informal children and youth programs.

  • Helping the Program Manager organize local qualified youth to provide childcare services for individual children.

  • Actively working with staff and volunteers to build community at the Centre by participating and contributing to community life.

Ideal candidates will be:

  • Interested in learning about and supporting the variety of roles that encompass the overall management of a nonprofit retreat centre

  • Flexible and adaptable

  • Able to work independently

  • Willing to follow direction

  • Keen to work with volunteers

  • Able to maintain positive relationships with a variety of people including volunteers, Centre staff and the public

  • Able to demonstrate strong communication and interpersonal skills

  • Familiar with group dynamics and conflict resolution strategies

  • Express sound judgement and initiative

  • Willing and able to work long hours including evenings and weekends

  • Able to maintain confidentiality at all times

  • Able to complete work and respond to requests/queries in a timely manner

  • Willing to support other staff and contribute to a dynamic team

  • Able to use personal computer and phone for Centre related tasks

Skills or experience in some or all of the following areas would be an asset:

  • Building maintenance & repairs, and grounds keeping

  • Customer service or hospitality & housekeeping

  • Leading children or youth activities

  • Social media for marketing purposes

  • Demonstrated ability and experience in upholding Naramata Centre Society  values, which are: Collaboration, Diversity, Integrity, Resilience, Reverence

  • Knowledge of the Centre


Interns will be compensated at a rate of $16/hour. In addition, housing will be offered as a taxable benefit.

There 2 NEW Summer Student Internships available for an 8 week period starting June 25, 2018.


  • Please send your resume and cover letter to:

  • Indicate any previous history you have with the Centre and your reason for seeking an internship in 2018.

Deadline for Applications is May 23, 2018.

Summer 2018 - Programs for children and teens

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June 29-July 6:     Play      Ages 5-12

July 14-21 :             Play!    Ages 5-12
                                Knitting 101    Ages 8+

July 21-28:           Naramata Children’s Program   Ages 4-11

July 28-Aug 4:     Free the Artist in You    Ages 5 – 1
                              Be a Musical Star           Ages 6+

August 4-11:         Magic and Imagination  Ages 6-10

August 11-18:       Play!   Ages 5-12
                              Nature Bathing in Naramata            Ages 7-12

August 18-25:      Lift Every Voice, Children’s Choir    Grades 1-6

August 27-31       Kid Yoga   Ages 5-11


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July 14-21          Singing on Top of the World   Ages 11+ 
                           Monoprinting as a Spiritual Practice   Ages 12+
                           Knitting 101      Ages 8+

July  21-28        Solar Science and Robotics   Ages 12+

July 28-Aug 4  Be a Musical Star     Ages 6+
                           Play with Clay           Ages 11+
                           Nature Eco-Printing & Solar Dyes               Ages 12+
                           Planet Songs from the Heart of the World  Ages 16+

Aug 4-11           Qi Gong Tai Chi             Ages 12+
                          Learn to Play Ukelele   Ages 12+ 
                          Singing Song                Ages 14+

Aug 11-18          Beginning Watercolor   Ages 10+
                          Birds in the Morning, Bats in the Evening   Ages 10+
                          Recorder Revival - Learn the Recorder       Ages 12+

Aug 18-25        Inspired YogaFaith                     Ages 14+
                          Lift Every Voice! Youth Choir    Grades 7-12    


Jim and Jean at Naramata Centre, June 2017

Jim and Jean at Naramata Centre, June 2017

Jim and Jean Strathdee, long-time Naramata Centre music resource providers and program leaders, are touring Alberta and Saskatchewan this spring bring new songs and great old favorites. Join them and reminisce with songs familiar and well-loved, and learn their new music too. Check the list below and mark your calendars for when they are in your city or nearby venue. 

Come out and join Jim and Jean - you will be glad you did, whether you are hearing them for the first or thirty-first time! You can also pick up information about Naramata Centre 2018 Spring, Summer and Fall programs at their concerts.



Date:      April 7-8

Saturday, April 7 - Workshop - 1-4 p.m.

Sunday, April 8    - Worship 10:30 a.m. and Concert 7 p.m. 

Location: Northminster United Church, 3311 Centre Street North,  Calgary AB

Contact:  Nancy Nourse

Phone:   (403)277-0322


Date:       Tuesday, April 10

Concert: 7:00 p.m.  

Location:  McKillop United Church,  2329 15 Ave S, Lethbridge, AB 

Contact: Lois  Kathleen Punton

Phone:    (403) 381-6764



Date:       April 11 and 12

Wednesday:  Choir Workshop 7:30 p.m.

Thursday:       Concert   7:30 p.m.

Location: Swift Current First United Church,  223 3 Ave NE, Swift Current, SK

Contact:  James McLauchlan

Phone:    (306) 773-9353



Date:  Saturday, Apr. 14

Workshop:  3 - 5 p.m.

Concert:    7:00 p.m. 

Location:  St. Paul’s United Church,  504 Peters Ave, Oxbow, SK

Contact: Anita Warriner 

Phone:    (306) 483-8289


Date:       Sunday, April 15  -  Worship       

Location: Alameda United Church, 13 5th St, Alameda, SK

Contact: Anita Warriner 

Phone:     (306) 483-8289


Date:        Tuesday and-Wednesday, April 17-18       

Tuesday – Choir rehearsal – 7 p.m.

Wednesday – Concert – 7 p.m.

Location:   McClure United Church,  4025 Taylor St E, Saskatoon, SK

Phone:      (306) 373-1753



Date:  April 19-20

Thursday choir rehearsal

Friday Concert   7:30 p.m.

Location: Sherwood Park United Church,  20 Fir Street, Sherwood Park, AB

Contact: Heather Rodgers


Date: April 22

Worship: 10:30 a.m.

Concert:    7 p.m.

Location:   Stettler United Church,  4820 - 51 Street, Settler AB

Contact: Jan Richardson 

Phone: (403) 742-3387



Volunteer Hosts

Reporting to: Program Manager

Term: Minimum of 3 weeks; maximum of 6 weeks

Volunteer hosts at Naramata Centre support the ongoing operations of the Centre by assisting volunteers to contribute to the Centre through volunteer work.

Volunteer hosts work with staff and volunteers. Participants may be people who have attended the Centre for many years or there for the first time. All are welcomed as volunteers. Volunteer activities can be quite varied.

Host Duties:

  • Be available for volunteers a minimum of 24 hours per week.
  • Be on site in July and August from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm . and 4 pm - 6 pm on Saturdays when participants are being oriented to the site
  • In June working with the Site Operations, Program Manager and Office Manager and using the annual maintenance calendar identify potential volunteer activities for each week during the summer.
  • Attend and be introduced at the welcome session. Let people know the kinds of work available for that week and ask for volunteers to help
  • Respond to questions about the Centre and the village.
  • Actively recruit volunteers at the beginning of each summer week by being available as people check in

  • Offer a range of volunteer options which will appeal to the varying skills people bring. Examples may be office work, interior cleaning, beach clean up, gardening, simple repairs to buildings or building something the Centre needs.

  • Complete volunteer forms

  • Once volunteers come forward coordinate their activities so that they have the tools and guidance they require to complete the work. Be an ongoing resource to them as they volunteer.

  • Introduce volunteers to one another helping to build a sense of community and participation

  • Maintain record of tasks completed

  • Acknowledge and thank volunteers individually and at any community gatherings

  • Contact the Centre manager when there are serious concerns or issues regarding volunteer tasks.


Hosts receive a free campsite with 15 amp electricity and water or inside accommodation at reduced cost equivalent to a campsite. 

Personal Requirements:

  • An open, positive and welcoming personality
  • Outgoing and approachable
  • Proactive, with an ability to address problems with positive, win-win solutions
  • Experience as a volunteer
  • Personal knowledge of Naramata Centre
  • Willing to be host for a minimum of 3 weeks and a maximum of 6 weeks.


Please click here to complete our host application form.

Campground Host

Reporting to: Program Manager

Term: Minimum of 3 weeks; maximum of 6 weeks

Campground hosts at Naramata Centre support the ongoing operations of the Centre by assisting staff and volunteers to create a safe, welcoming environment for participants in the campground and at the Centre. Participants may have attended the Centre many times or are there for the first time. All are welcomed. Campground hosts support a sense of community within the campground, and provide information about the campground and facilities, the week's programs, and the Centre in general.

Host Duties:

  • Be available for campers a minimum of 24 hours per week.

  • In July and August: Be on site on Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. for campers’ check-out at week’s end, and be on site from 2 - 6 p.m. for campers’ check-in for upcoming week.

  • In May, June, September and October:  Be on site on days when campers are checking in and out.

  • Meet and greet campers, with the goal of having met all of them by end of day Sunday during the summer.

  • Orient campers re: fridges, kitchens, bathrooms and garbage.

  • Explain to campers the expectations for maintaining the cleanliness of the Creekside and Southside camp kitchens. Monitor and maintain the cleanliness of the kitchens.

  • Maintain a set of keys for fridges and freezer.

  • Attend and be introduced at the Sunday evening welcome session.

  • Help inform campers about events during the week.

  • Respond to questions about the Centre and the village.

  • Monitor the cleanliness of washrooms, replacing toilet paper and paper towels when needed. Contact housekeeping when washrooms are in need of cleaning outside of the regular cleaning times.

  • Remind campers that food items in fridges and freezer will be cleared out on Saturday morning, unless labelled otherwise (i.e. when campers are staying for more than one week).

  • Quiet time is 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Hosts ask participants to respect the rule and, if necessary, address noise issues.

  • Dogs are allowed in certain parts of the campground. Hosts remind campers of the rules associated with having a dog on their site.

  • Advise anyone entering the campground, who is not staying on site, that the Centre property is private and politely ask them to leave.

  • Contact the Centre manager when there are serious concerns or issues in the campground.

  • Rake and remove debris from sites after people checkout.


Hosts receive a free campsite with 15 amp electricity and water, during the duration of their term. The designated site is site 19 as it is central in the campground.

Personal Requirements:

  • An open, positive and welcoming personality
  • Outgoing and approachable

  • Proactive, with an ability to address problems with positive, win-win solutions

  • A recent criminal record check

  • Experience as a volunteer

  • Personal knowledge of Naramata Centre

  • Willing to be host for a minimum of 3 weeks and a maximum of 6 weeks.


Please click here to complete our host application form.

2018 Program Calendar now posted

January 23 - Click here to check out the 2018 Naramata Centre program list on our Program Overview page for all the options we are offering for children, youth, adults and elders this spring, summer and fall!

And, go to Programs and Retreats page on our website, or click below to see detailed descriptions of the weekly programs offered in each season:

Now hiring: Site Operations Manager, Office Administrator, Program Manager

The Site Operations Manager reports to the Managing Director and is responsible for the overall maintenance of Naramata Centre ensuring the safe and efficient operations of the site and buildings.  To read about this opportunity, check out the job listing and apply here.

The Program Manager is responsible for the development and approval of the annual program plan and budget in consultation with Program Development Committee, including development and administration of the program calendar and community life experiences. Read about this opportunity and apply here.

The Office Administrator is a key public relations position for Naramata Centre being the first person many people contact on arrival or when making inquiries via email or phone. Responsibilities include:  day-to-day administration of, including but not limited to: program and accommodation registration, email and phone communication with program leaders and participants, front desk reception and hospitality, website and Facebook support. Read about this position and apply here.

These positions are listed on, which offers hundreds of job, volunteer and event listings, all related to Canada's nonprofit sector.

Naramata Centre Society  Hearts and Hands Volunteer Service Week

Photo - Keri Wehlander

Photo - Keri Wehlander

October 14-21, 2017

It's time again to get our hands dirty and our hearts filled! Come join us as we gather in community and collectively care for the Centre. We will prepare the grounds for winter, complete some light building projects and build community as we eat, work and play together.

Arrive Friday, October 13 and take time to settle in. Please bring gear for garden work, building work and all types of weather. We will work together from Saturday, October 14 to Friday, October 20 - come for as little or as long as you can. Kick off the week with us at 9 a.m.Saturday morning for our community welcome circle.

Jenne Newman and her family, Chris Giffen and Clara Lindstrom, Jim and Donna Simpson, and Gwen Dell'Anno will share leadership throughout the week, and create opportunities to engage in community activities, music, conversation and contemplation.

Accommodation is available at no charge and we will share some potluck meals. As well, Columbia Hall is the setting for the highly popular local NaramataSlow Harvest Supper on Sunday, October 15th. This dinner features local meat, produce and wine. You may want to be a part of this fun event! More information about tickets can be found on their Eventbrite site.

Please call the Centre (250-496-5751 or 1-877-996-5751) or email: to book your accommodation and to register for Hearts and Hands. If you are local and not staying on site, please call or email to register for the event. 

We look forward to meeting and working with you! 

Questions and Answers

1. What duties are involved in the Volunteer Service Week? 
There will be a wide range of projects to work on during the week.  While the list isn't fully compiled, it includes:

  • Grounds - gardening, pruning, clearing out, raking leaves
  • Accommodations - cleaning, winterizing, painting
  • Small building projects to complete 

2. I can't participate in heavy lifting of strenuous activity. Will I still be of use?     
Absolutely. As you will see from the list, there is a range of activities to choose from based on your skills, interest and abilities.

3. Will there be breaks during the 5-6 hour work day?
Yes, we want you to work in healthy ways that work for you. Pace yourself and work to your potential.

4. Will there be other activities on site during this time?
Yes, we plan to offer spiritual nurture activities and more. Participants can join in these activities or volunteer to lead.   On Saturday, we will collectively plan activities for the week.

5. What should I bring with me? 
The Centre has most basic tools but if you have particular tools or equipment that you like to use when working, and if you can safely transport them, please bring them along. As well, please bring proper clothing and footwear in line with the activities you would like to do - indoors, outside, etc. Please check the weather before you come, and bring clothes that match the forecast! Evenings can be cool at this time of year.

6. Where will volunteers stay? 
Orchard Court, East Court and the campgrounds will be used first. If we get more people (a good problem we hope for), we will also have people stay in Cottage Court.

7. Can I camp while I am there? 
Yes, you can! October can still be a lovely time here in Naramata. Evenings/night-time will be cool, so warm clothes are in order.

8. Can I bring my children? Will there be child care? 
We welcome families but there is no organized childcare. You would need to be prepared to manage your own childcare needs.

 9. How will food be organized? 
Just like summer, there will be no food services provided on site, so people will need to be prepared to provide for themselves.  There can also be the opportunity for people to  prepare food together and eat together.

10. I am local, can I come for one day or intermittently through the week?
Absolutely, just register and let us know you are staying offsite.

11. Will Board members be present/ will there be opportunities to discuss the future of the Centre?
There will be board members at this event. Questions and feedback are welcome and will be passed on to the board at large.

1978-79 Winter Session Reunion, submitted by Linda Hatfield

It all started with a picture…then a Facebook post…and, as they say, the rest is history.  Thirty-nine years after living in community together, 26 of 32 participants and two of three leaders of Naramata’s Winter Session of 1978-1979 found each other again, with the help of social media, technological detective work, generous gifts of time and talent, and the compelling guidance of God’s still, small, voice.

Winter session gang - 1978-79

Winter session gang - 1978-79

Now in our 50s and 60s, we are part of a unique generation that straddles the years just before and just after the dawn of the Information Age.  Ironically, one of our 12 weeks of study during Winter Session that year was entitled “Future Lifestyles,” led by Basil McDermott, during which we imagined the impact of various technologies on our lives in the future, including the personal computer.  Little did we know that some of those very technologies would become the vehicles by which we would become reconnected. 

First, a few found each other on Facebook, and when the photo of our Winter Session group was shared, people began to muse about how great it would be to have a reunion.  Next, a private Facebook group was established and began to add members. Those members added others, and soon there were more than 20, all connected and making plans.  A small core group took on the role of organizing, and chose a weekend. One organizer generously offered her home in Kelowna for a Friday night “Meet and Greet” barbeque.  Another planned a picnic on the Naramata beach the following day. Another volunteer searched for the “lost sheep”, a task that proved challenging, but rewarding, as more and more participants were brought back into the fold.

An email distribution list was also created, as not everyone was on Facebook.  A questionnaire was sent out, inviting people to share their life stories, to help shrink the 39-year gap at the gatherings, and provide those unable to attend a means to get re-acquainted from afar. Responses were compiled and re-distributed. People found mementoes and photos to be digitized and assembled into a slide show set to music from the 1970s. A cassette tape of several participants playing songs they had written was also digitized and used in the slide show. The search for those lost continued right up until the last day, when it became clear that everyone who could be found was found. Others had passed away. We made luminaries to light at a closing ceremony and release on the lake in memory of those no longer present, but still cherished. Finally, everything was ready; all that remained was for the reunion to unfold.

And then it happened! At the “Meet and Greet” all the worry, nervousness and tension of 39 years apart melted away in gasps of delight and warm hugs. Tears and laughter mingled as people searched each other’s eyes and found old friends. Time rolled back as memories spilled out like treasure buried and unearthed.  People socialized over drinks and appetizers, looking at memorabilia, and delighting in getting reacquainted and meeting partners and children. They puzzled over the trivia questions, with some recalling events and facts that others could not.

Friday evening gathering in Kelowna

Friday evening gathering in Kelowna

The slide show brought more laughter and tears, as the images of our younger selves flashed on the screen and music of the era stirred nostalgic memories. Spontaneously, the group picked up the words of the final slide and chanted them to the familiar tune. 

The next day, the majority traveled down the lake and gathered anew on the Naramata beach, for a picnic lunch.  Barb Green, a member of the Board came to greet us, give us an update on the Centre and encourage us to re-establish our connection by joining the Society, bringing our children and grandchildren, or attending a program. Later, Jenne Newman, also a Board member, took us on a walking tour of the grounds, highlighting the new accommodation and some of the challenges the Centre faces in determining the future Centre footprint. 

releasing the luminaries into the lake

releasing the luminaries into the lake

We stopped to view a mural in one of the children’s program spaces in lower McLaren Hall, which several of our Winter Session’s participants had painted. Lastly, the group gathered up at the chapel for a closing, where we were invited to let go of old burdens and express gratitude on ribbons tied to a branch, and to receive gifts in the form of rocks gathered on site and brought from elsewhere. Interwoven into the ceremony were many of the chants we’d sung. Our time together concluded by taking the luminaries, and walking them down to the lake, where they were released in memory of all who were present, in person or in spirit.

After emotional goodbyes, folks headed back to their lives, but renewed friendships continue to flourish online and in person, testimony that the connections made through the intentional, communal educational experience that was Winter Session are strong enough and resilient enough to withstand the strains of time and distance.  And… God’s still, small voice can still be heard in the sacred space that is Naramata Centre.

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