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.

Compensation

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.

Application

  • Please send your resume to: apply@naramatacentresociety.org

  • Please send a cover letter that also includes your preferred weeks to serve as a Volunteer Host.

  • Indicate any previous history you have with the Centre.

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 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.

Compensation

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.

Application:

  • Please send your resume to: apply@naramatacentresociety.org

  • Please send a cover letter that also includes your preferred weeks to serve as a Campground Host.

  • Indicate any previous history you have with the Centre.

Now Hiring Summer 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 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 internship program provides opportunities for people aged 18-30 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

  • 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

Remuneration

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

2 internships are available for 2018. Possibility of more positions if funding allows.

Application

  • Please send your resume to: apply@naramatacentresociety.org.

  • Please include a cover letter stating your preferred start date - May 1 or June 30

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

Deadline for Applications is February 28, 2018.

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 CharityVillage.com, 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: info@naramatacentresociety.org 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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Activities August 15-18

Another busy week of activities at Naramata Centre, planned by this week's participants. Community Hosts facilitate the planning session on Monday evenings. 

Tuesday 9:00 am Volunteer for Guerilla Weeding Meet in McLaren
Tuesday 2:00 pm Help with Columbia Hall Cleanup Columbia Hall
Tuesday 3:30 pm Orchard Tour Carpool Meet in McLaren
Tuesday 7:00 pm Roleplaying Circle Game (“Mafia” Game led by youth for all ages) Columbia Hall Lawn
Tues. Wed. Thurs. 8:30 pm Youth Time! North Wing - McLaren
Wednesday at 8:00 am Yoga with Roswitha Beach
Wednesday 1:30 pm Water Slide (bring own juice) Columbia Hall Lawn
Wednesday 3:00 – 6:00 pm Farmers’ Market Wharf Park
Wednesday 7:30 pm Sacred Pause for All Ages, then Lighted Labyrinth Walk (8:30 ish) Chapel/Labyrinth
Thursday 1-2 pm; 2-3 pm Card Making Columbia Hall (sign up - McLaren
Thursday 3:00 pm Life-sized Clue Game - All Ages Downstairs McLaren
Thursday 7:00 pm Music Jam – Singing, Guitars & Ukuleles Columbia Hall Dining Room
Friday 8:30 am Morning Meditation Chapel
Friday 1:00 – 2:00 pm Card Making Columbia Hall (sign up - McLaren
Friday 6:00 pm Potluck Creekside Commons
Friday 7:30 pm Dance for All Ages Creekside Commons

Become a 2017 member - sign up to win!

The NCS Society membership term is for one-year, expiring annually after the AGM. A membership is individual, not family or couple-based. Membership is important because it:

·      Allows you to vote at the AGM.

·      Ensures you stay informed about important news, such as our updated business plan.

·      Demonstrates your support for Naramata Centre and the work of the board.

Enter the draw! This year everyone who purchases or renews their membership between May 6 and August 27 will automatically be entered in a draw for a fabulous gift! At the August 26-28 Board meeting, a name will be drawn with that person awarded a three-night stay for two at Naramata Centre, lunch at Legends Distilling, a behind-the-scenes tour of Elephant Island Orchard Wines and an opportunity to participate in the harvest, if the timing is right.

Buy or renew your membership today! https://www.naramatacentresociety.org/membership/

Seeking Campground Hosts

Campground Host Job Description

Campground hosts at Naramata Centre support the ongoing operations of the Centre by assisting staff and volunteers to create a safe, welcoming environment in the campground and at the Centre. 

Campground hosts work with staff and volunteers to welcome participants who are staying in the campground. They greet campers, providing information about the week's programs as well as information about the campground itself. Participants may be people who have attended the Centre for many years or there for the first time. All are welcomed.

Host Duties:

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

●      Be on site in July and August from 10 a.m. -12 p.m. and 2 - 6 p.m. on Saturdays when participants are checking in and out.

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

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

●      Introduce campers to one another.

●      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.

●      Explain to campers the expectations for maintaining the cleanliness of the camp kitchens. 

●      Monitor and maintain the cleanliness of the Creekside and Southside camp kitchens.

●      Empty the camp kitchen fridges of any leftover items on a regular basis.

●      Quiet time is 11 p.m. to 7a.m.  Hosts address noise issues with participants and ask them to respect the rule.

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

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

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

●      Rake and remove debris from sites after people checkout.

Compensation

Hosts receive a free campsite with 15 amp electricity and water. The designated site is site 19 as it is central in the campground.

Requirements:

●      An open and welcoming approach

●      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.

If you are interested in applying for this position, please email naramatacentresociety@gmail.com outlining how you qualify for this position, including your experience with Naramata Centre,  your volunteer experience, the length of time and when you would be available (e.g., first three weeks in June).

UPDATE - the first 3 weeks in July and in August are now filled.

Science, Religion and an Evolving Faith - September 5-9, 2016

Insightful presentations and engaging discussions yielded personal and spiritual growth for all participants in the Naramata Centre program, ʺScience, Religion and an Evolving Faithʺ held September 5-9, 2016. Facilitated by Robert McDonald, who has a diverse background in the topic, together we explored evolutionary Christian spirituality within the context of scientific discovery and our changing world.

We challenged long held dogmas, learned from respected leaders on the topic, discussed implications of new scientific discoveries, and reflected upon our personal beliefs while respecting the past, each other, and our future as a faith community. We all grew as individuals not destroying our beliefs, but instead questioning them and emerging even stronger at the end of the week through the process. 

Our fundamental basic values are important, solid and timeless, but should and must not be static. Humanity evolves over time with experience and new knowledge. We started by examining the “big history” of the science and religion stories, comparing spirituality and religion, and the demographics of how our society participates. We also discussed why we should not “fear” continuously questioning and modifying our beliefs and practices.

We continued by examining the concept of process theology, which affirms the reality of human freedom and creativity and spiritual experience. By mid-week, we were well prepared to discuss “The Genesis Stories” and to examine our roles as humans having dominion, or stewardship, or responsibility, over the rest of creation. We then discussed James Fowler’s stages of faith that many people go through as their faith matures. During the Friday concluding session we learned from the video presentations of “Interfaith Explorers” – visionaries who are imaging the future of belief systems and the church. 

This course was definitely seen by all as a meaningful week of personal and spiritual growth.

 

By Terrance Malkinson

A Place for Change

When I received word of Naramata Centre closing a year-and-a-half ago, I was stunned.

Full stop. Stunned.

It was hard to accept that a place that had been such a part of who I was, who I am, and who I hope to be, could close. If it failed, could I? If this place, this holy ground that was so integral in my own unfolding, and to which I attribute so much of how I operate in this world - professionally, personally, and spiritually - could appear to no longer be viable, what then of me?

It was a tough pill to swallow, and I guess, to be honest, I went into my own deluded sense of denial, and refused to swallow it. When I joined the Naramata Centre Society board last year, it was from a place of stubborn, self-driven ego and desperation, thinking that perhaps I could make a difference, that I could help Naramata Centre find its place again in a world so seemingly desperate for the very things it has always offered.

This past year, I have learned an incredible amount about Naramata Centre, far beyond what I knew of it before. I have learned that what I have gained from the Centre is only a miniscule portion of what the collective "we" have gained from it during its almost 70 years of operation. I have learned that my sadness and loss, when hearing of its closing, was shared with hundreds and thousands of others, who experienced their own versions of loss. I have learned that it is not just me who wants a Naramata Centre for the world, but many.

But I have also learned how complicated that desire is. I have learned the impact of aging infrastructure and septic systems. I have learned the reality of maintaining 22 acres of land. I have learned the distance between what you want, and what you are able to attain, can sometimes be completely frustrating to navigate. I have learned that there is no shortage of ideas out there for what the Centre could be, each one exciting and overwhelming at the same time, with complicated implications for the whole. I have learned that the time it takes to mull, and research, and decide, is time that comes at the expense of family, friends, work and self.

I have also learned that despite all of this, there are an incredible number of people who are prepared to try. People yearning to help. Excited to engage. Willing to step up and step in. Hopeful that their Naramata Centre may find its place in this world again. 

This Summer - a sense of newness

My week at Naramata this summer was so important for me. It was to be a litmus test of a year's worth of hard work by the board. It was to be an experiment, and I was going to watch it first hand, recognizing that it was going to be a different experience for all those who came to participate in it. 

And what I saw made me so happy! Our week at the Centre was full of what I have always loved about my experiences there, yet immersed in a sense of newness. It was a simple week, with two programs being offered, and around 60 people staying on site. There was a sense of ease about the week, with all folks - new and old - sharing in a collective sense of care for both the place and each other.

The usual events (waterslides, campfire, a few dance parties, potlucks) occurred, but they were driven by participants, and not provided by anyone other than ourselves. If these events didn't happen, it was as though they weren't meant to be, and that was okay. And the new folks, those who braved coming to a new place they had never been to, had such a fresh and open perspective.  I can't emphasize enough how their eyes helped me to see what an amazing place Naramata Centre is. 

It also dawned on me this year, that my oldest daughter is the same age I was when I came to Naramata Centre for the first time. I was struck by how fortunate I have been for the gifts, talents, skills and experiences this place shared with me, and how truly hopeful I am that she and her sisters will be blessed with their own experiences of this place during their lifetimes, as well. 

Heading into the fall, there is an incredible amount of work to be done to make this hope viable. There will be many tough decisions and conversations to have, not only as a board, but as a broad collective of souls who care so deeply for the Centre. Conversations about buildings, land, septic systems and finances. But with what I witnessed this summer, and heard in so many conversations, I am filled with a renewed sense of determination to see the work through, and allow this place, and the people it impacts, to experience and practice the change we all wish to see in the world. 

With gratitude and hope, 

Jeremy Church 

(With thanks to Keri Wehlander for the photographs)

The Home of My Heart

Just over a year ago I received a touching letter in the mail from an old friend. I opened the letter to find kind words, thoughtful hopes and seeds. Seeds of all sorts from the grounds at Naramata Centre. Seeds gathered in a time of closure, a time of conflict, a time of anticipating change. The seeds stared up at me, holding all that could be in their tiny being. Patiently waiting a time to explode back to life and grow something new.

This summer I saw the seeds again. And this time they had sprouted. The quiet, abundant earth has been holding this space. The trees, the sand, the seeds, the clay hills, the birds, the bear, the spiders and a handful of faithful souls have all been holding this place. A place for all to gather, to play, to rest, to seek the Sacred.

This summer I witnessed the seeds sprouting. In smiles, in tears, in loud beach splashes and quiet sacred pauses, I could feel the sprouts reaching toward the sun and rain. There is still so much to be determined, discerned, developed, but the seeds have cracked opened and begun to grow.

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This summer I saw Naramata Centre through the eyes of others. Wise elders, old friends, children, newcomers, board members, volunteers, residents, villagers, visitors, program leaders sharing so many stories, so many experiences. I heard joy, excitement, hope, caution, fear, anger, sadness, concern and mostly, gratitude. Deep gratitude. Gratitude for a chance to come and connect to this place, this space, this experience of being held in a community.

Each story touched my heart, and when I look back at my very full and engaged time on site this summer, two moments in particular stand out. First the back story: this summer my friends gave me the best birthday gift ever. They showed up! Four families, all new to the Centre, all excited about finding a favorite new camping spot. Each shared their own perspective; each connected to the Sacred in different ways.

One friend arrived and beamed as she stated, “I drove the eight hours from Calgary passing beautiful mountains and lakes, thinking to myself, why not stop here, and here or here? I kept driving wondering what I would find. And now, I’m here and I want to live here!”

My friend spent the week at the beach, in the trees, in the village connecting in circles of new community. At the end-of-the-week campfire, with tears in her eyes, she shared her story of her Naramata week . Her story of finding a new place to be, authentically herself, welcomed into community.  My week was full of profound sacred moments.  My favorite one was sitting in that campfire circle hearing the hearts of our elders, our children, our teens, our newcomers and our old friends, all being present to each other and the Creator, under the trees that lean in to listen.

-Jenne Newman, Naramata Centre Board

A peach and a Naramata week

Windows open to air out the house, desk covered in papers, I push them aside to savor a peach. A peach, one of many, I brought back from the Okanagan en route home from my summer week this July. I remember the experience and give thanks for the opportunity that I had to join in Qi Gong, dig my toes into the sand, and sit on the edge watching children run, peacocks jump, and seniors gather together.

For me, it was a week to engage in all-ages community. It was a week of work. It was a week of new connections. It was a week of spiritual nurture and renewal. Somehow, these seemingly disparate states managed to come together in this place and allowed me the opportunity to not only accomplish concrete tasks, but also to reflect upon the past and imagine the future. Exploring sacred space, walking the labyrinth, raking leaves, swimming across the expanse that is Lake Okanagan, and biking down the Kettle Valley Railway filled my days and left many memories which I brought home with me and which also call me back.

It was a regular summer week at Naramata Centre; people from across western Canada and beyond came from Saturday to Saturday to stay at the Centre. Many gathered together with locals and other Centre residents in program time: soul collage, rock painting, yoga, Qi gong, sacred pause, music and conversation.

There were no programs that required registration offered this week, rather anyone interested came together and brought forward program pieces and shared their gifts where they felt called to do so. Each day brought a new activity and a new way to connect with the group. Twenty, thirty, forty people gathered to imagine, sing with rEvolve, and share in a week-end potluck and closing celebration in the form of an open mic and evening of Mexican train and boccie. Weeding was a thread throughout the week as the path to the chapel was brought forth, dandelions were pulled from the labyrinth and unsolicited green growing things were picked out of the Sacred Garden. In addition, the roses were revived and the rocks were revealed. Old friends were made new and strangers found common connection. 

It truly was a community week. A Naramata week. As I finish off this peach and move back to the papers on my desk, I continue to carry the flavors along with me. Both literally and figuratively. I am rejuvenated and refreshed; I am thankful for the community and opportunity to be.

Sarah Thomas
Board Member