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

A week at Naramata Centre June 28 - July 2

Naramata Centre is up and running this summer and participants this week are very happy that this is so! Someone remarked,  "It's so good to be back here." Another replied, "I'm thankful there is a here to come back to!"

Participants this week were immersed in the familiar spirit of Naramata Centre through community building, spiritual nurture, singing together and meaningful conversations! 

Two well-subscribed programs were offered:

  • Somatic Awakening (Feldenkrais) facilitated by Rob Black, with assistance from Brent Kisilevich.
  • Singing for Life with Jean and Jim Strathdee leading the singing and Donna and Tim Scorer facilitating.

I attended the singing program and can attest to the joy expressed by many at simply being at the Centre: immersed in community, singing Naramata favorites, being in a program together, forming new friendships. There was quiet emotion at being back in that circle. These folks love the Centre and were fully engaged, and committed to spreading the word back home in their churches and communities. 

As Community Spirit Facilitators this week, the Scorers helped the group plan a wide range of activities. They also led Sacred Pause, which book-ended the days, with mornings at the beach and evenings in the chapel. The Strathdees performed in the chapel Wednesday evening, with both Centre guests and local Naramata residents attending. 

Centre participants determined the social agenda for the week: a wine-tasting tour, Feldenkrais demonstration and booked sessions, Healing Pathway complementary and booked sessions, a drumming circle, enthusiastic volunteer activities on the grounds and in the buildings, and a wrap-up potluck dinner and concert Friday evening. Life was busy here! 

People were filled up and left optimistic about the future. And, it renewed the sense of hope that we can thrive once again with a new format, volunteer-supported spiritual Centre led by a committed group of amazing individuals!

I hope that you, too, will have time at the Centre this summer to engage with others, and with the spirit of this place.

Submitted by a board member

****************************************************

Come back to the Centre this summer! There is still time to register for programs and accommodation. Check out naramatacentresociety.org/programs and look under Programs

Highlights from our annual general meeting!

The Naramata Centre Society welcomed 64 members and 25 non-member guests to its annual general meeting (AGM), on June 25 at the Centre.

Discussion of Draft Business Plan

Prior to the official meeting, participants were invited to provide feedback and comments on the Naramata Centre Society Draft Business Plan 2016-2020, which had been previously circulated to members. Board member Pam Rinehart used an open space process, inviting individuals to bring forward various topics related to the business plan for discussion. Lively discussion ensued, with participants joining groups to express their views on topics of interest.

Some themes from the discussion were re-affirmations:

  • Naramata Centre is a beloved place of spiritual nurture, a spiritual home for many.
  • The Centre is safe place for all ages; it is inclusive of all. Everyone is made welcome here.
  • The Centre creates community and people come committed to being in community.

Varying opinions emerged in discussion of the following topics:

  • What is the appropriate footprint for the Centre in the future?
  • What is important in working with possible future partners?
  • Spirituality, Christian roots, emerging progressive, holistic Christianity: what is the path to our identity?
  • Marketing and communications, how do we reach young adults and other audiences?
  • What should programming look like going forward?
  • Community, intentional community
  • Financial matters

The Board of Directors appreciates the feedback received through the discussion and will consider it as we move forward this year.

AGM

Board Chair Doug Woollard welcomed everyone to the meeting and provided his report on the work of the board over the past year. He pointed out various aspects of the draft business plan including issues that will need decisions going forward, such as the physical footprint of the Centre, the sewage system, and others. The full report is available here.

Treasurer Kathy Hamilton reported that Naramata Centre incurred a loss for the year ending December 31, 2015 due to Centre closing costs (including severance) earlier that year. Subsequent to that time, the Centre operated with a balanced budget, ending the year with money in the bank. Labor costs are low,  thanks to our dedicated volunteers. Once again this year, the Centre received a grant from BC Conference. We are grateful for this support, as well as the support of our monthly and periodic donors, as we work to discern the Centre's future. 

Bylaws were discussed and revised as needed to comply with current standards and how the Centre is operating. One new addition to the bylaws is the introduction of proxy voting, which allows a voting member to appoint a proxy holder, who must have been a member for at least three months and must be 16 years of age or older.  The proxy holder may exercise only one proxy vote. (A full description of the bylaw changes is available in the draft minutes posted here.)

Five new board members were acclaimed. They are: Terry Brunner, Naramata; Barb Green, Edmonton; Terrance Malkinson, Calgary; Darren Rettie, Naramata; Sarah Thomas, Port Alberni. Biographies for these new board members are available on the website.

Chair Doug Woollard expressed a sincere thank you for the efforts and support provided by retiring board members Tressa Brotsky, Norma Fraser, Dhane Merriman and Kathy Hamilton. Thanks were also given for the efforts of numerous volunteers over the past year. 

Click here to read the AGM minutes

2016/17 Memberships

Memberships with the Naramata Centre Society expired June 25 after the AGM, so please renew today. Your membership demonstrates your support, allows us to keep you informed of Centre and board activities, and gives you the opportunity to vote at the AGM. Membership fees are $20.

Thank You Work Week Volunteers!

In the last week of May, the Centre was transformed by a group of work week volunteers.

This intrepid group of 25 people worked long days to get accommodations, campgrounds and the grounds ready.

Undaunted by sore muscles, aged equipment and two years of growth they worked and worked and worked contributing over 1,000 hours of labour to Naramata Centre.

A huge shout out to these volunteers, who came from across BC and Alberta and even as far away as Saskatoon to help out at the Centre!

Board Membership Update

It is with much regret that we announce Tressa Brotsky’s resignation from the Board of Naramata Centre Society. Tressa has been a board member since June 2015 and has served expertly as our Communications Lead, helping to ensure transparent and timely communication to our membership and developing our new website. She has also shared her passion for ongoing programming at the Centre with our Program Task Group.

Tressa has taken a step back from the Board for personal reasons, but is continuing to be active in her support of Naramata Centre and the Board of Directors. Please join us in thanking Tressa for her service.

The Board recognizes the continuing importance of communications with the public and our membership as we go forward. Our Chair (Doug Woollard) and Secretary (Sarah Vollett) are working with the Board and a number of volunteers to ensure that our communications continue to be frequent and informative.

Seeking Board and Committee Members

The Naramata Centre Society is seeking candidates to serve on the Centre’s Board of Directors and on our committees, which will support the work of the Centre. 

Board Recruitment

Candidates for the Board will be presented by the nomination committee for election by the society membership at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on June 25.  Candidates are encouraged to attend the AGM.

For the Board of Directors we are seeking people with the following areas of expertise:

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Communications
  • Business
  • Fund Development
  • Volunteer Coordination

Given the important relationship Naramata Centre has with the community of Naramata we are seeking people who live in Naramata with skills in the areas listed above. 

We are also seeking at least one member under 30 years of age.

We are operating as a management board with limited staff, and a large number of volunteers.  The time commitment for a board member is significant. We are seeking people who are able to give approximately four to five hours a week to Board work.

Much of the work can be completed electronically using e-mail and conference calls. The Board meets in person four times a year on weekends, usually at the Centre.

Committee Recruitment

This fall we are establishing a number of Board-led committees to support the work of the Centre, and we are seeking people to serve on the following committee areas:

  1. Program
    The Program Committee develops plans for programs that are approved on an annual basis by the Board. A key function of the committee is to engage with potential participants through market research (primarily surveys) to determine the desired programming. Representatives on the committee will be chosen based on their connection to their community and United Church congregations.

  2. Buildings and Maintenance
    The Buildings and Maintenance Committee is responsible for ensuring that regular maintenance and upgrades are planned and completed.

  3. Finance and Audit
    The Finance and Audit Committee has overall responsibility for ensuring that a balanced budget with sufficient revenues to cover operating costs, maintenance, replacement reserve and contingency is developed annually and approved by the board.

  4. Fund Development
    The Fund Development Committee is focused on raising capital for new buildings or other major capital expenditures.

Committee members meet approximately four times a year with two meetings in person and others via conference call.  Committee members can also expect to do some work between meetings.

If you are interested in the opportunity of being on the board or on a committee, please e mail naramatacentresociety@gmail.com and a member of the nominating committee will contact you. If you know someone who you think would be an asset to the Centre, please encourage them to apply.

We are pleased to accept expressions of interested in being on the Board until May 13, 2016.

Opportunities to Volunteer at the Centre

Spring has begun in Naramata and the land at the Centre needs some loving care. Jim and Donna Simpson, and Diane Ransom have offered to coordinate two opportunities for people to lend a hand to help get the Centre grounds ready for spring and summer:

Easter Weekend, Sat March 26 & Sun March 27

Come join us at the Centre on Easter Weekend. We’re looking forward to getting a good start on spring cleanup of the gardens and grounds throughout the Centre. Because the Centre’s buildings have been closed and winterized, accommodation at the Centre will not be available. You will be responsible for your own food and snacks. Please contact Diane treearts@shaw.ca or Jim/Donna simpsondonnajim@gmail.com with any questions you may have or to let us know if you’d like to join us for either or both days. Many hands make light work!

Weekly Volunteer Work Party - Thursday Mornings

If you live nearby, please consider coming out for our NEW weekly garden and grounds work parties. We’re planning to meet every Thursday morning from 9 till 12 (weather permitting). Come to the Sacred Garden, just west of the chapel. One of us will be there each Thursday at 9 with a list of chores to choose from for the day. No need to phone ahead or confirm. Just come when you can, bring a pair of gloves, your favourite gardening tools, a snack and drink. We’re planning to start on March 10 and run for a couple of weeks and see how things go. We’d very much appreciate your help!

Thanks for your support for Naramata Centre!

Board Membership Update

It is with much regret that we announce Dhane Merriman’s resignation from the Board of Naramata Centre Society. Dhane has been a board member since the spring of 2014 and vice-chair since June 2015. He has helped the board navigate through some difficult and challenging times. 
 
As a board managing without staff all of us have made significant time commitments to the Centre. Working with others on the board Dhane focussed on the site and building maintenance as well as working on our future operating plan.
 
Since joining the Board, Dhane’s business life has continued to evolve and with new opportunities emerging he finds it necessary to re-focus his attention in that direction.
 
Please join us in thanking Dhane for his service. We wish him well in his ongoing endeavours.