Each Monday evening Community Hosts facilitate a planning session with Centre guests to schedule the week's activities. See below for this week's calendar of events and join in!
Read about what is happening at Naramata Centre
We use our blog to share important information about the Centre - actions, society information, updates, and more. It's a good page to bookmark, and come back to frequently to see what's new. Please visit our Facebook page too - where you, the board, and our extended communities make connections and generate energy - at least, until the next time we gather in person.
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/
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.
● 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.
Hosts receive a free campsite with 15 amp electricity and water. The designated site is site 19 as it is central in the campground.
● 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
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,
(With thanks to Keri Wehlander for the photographs)
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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:
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.
Buildings and Maintenance
The Buildings and Maintenance Committee is responsible for ensuring that regular maintenance and upgrades are planned and completed.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Jim/Donna email@example.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!
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.
Naramata Centre Spring Work Week and Fall Work Weekend
Naramata Centre will be hosting a work week from May 23 to 27 to get the Centre ready for the recently announced summer season which starts May 28 and ends October 15, 2016. We welcome all who are willing to come and work at the Centre during these 5 days. If you are unable to attend but would like to help the Centre please donate towards the costs of materials and equipment for this week on our website at http://www.naramatacentresociety.org/invest/
Some examples of the work are:
- Exterior maintenance for Chalmers Chapel including scraping and staining the wood
- Site cleanup - raking, pruning, weeding, mulching etc.
- Cleaning out the green house, shops and fenced yard
- Setting up the south side camp kitchen, Creekside commons, distributing picnic tables and raking camp spots
- Inspecting and ensuring children’s play spaces are safe
- Ensuring electrical to campsites is all operational, fixing signage throughout the campgrounds and site
- Cleaning the camp washrooms - fresh coat of paint on floors and walls if necessary
- Getting the accommodation rooms ready - includes cleaning, furniture and housewares placement
- Weeding and raking the beach
Accommodation in the Campground, East Court, Orchard Court or Cottage Court is free in return for your labour. Expect a 9-4 work day as there is much to be done. Most of the accommodation is in reasonable shape but you will need to clean your space when you move in and when you leave. Clean bedding and towels will be supplied. You will be responsible for your own meals. Potluck meals are a definite possibility!
Given the nature of the week and the type of work we have planned we recommend that if families are considering coming to the work week that only people under 18 who are capable of working independently attend with their parents or guardians. We will be opening registration for the work week in March.
We are holding a similar work weekend opportunity October 21-24. Please save this date. We will provide more details later this spring.
Summer 2016 at the Centre
Many have suggested that if Naramata Centre is to succeed in any plan to re-open that providing access to the Centre in the summer of 2016 is very important. In our mid-January board update, we reported that as we consider a future for Naramata Centre, we have decided to invite back past participants and new folks to the Centre from 28 May - 15 October, 2016. There will be opportunities to book self-catered rental accommodations and self-catered space in the campground, and we are excited to test people’s appetite for program experiences at the Centre.
You Are Invited: A Call For Program Proposals!
Do you have a workshop that’s just waiting to be offered? Are you looking for an inspiring location to lead a program? Have you been yearning to be at Naramata Centre in a leadership capacity?
The Naramata Centre Society board is looking for contracted program leaders to facilitate dynamic experiences for people of all ages and stages at the Centre, for our upcoming May 28 to October 15, 2016 summer season. Summer 2016 will feature collaborative approaches to programming at the Centre, emphasizing multi-generational and diverse community experiences that relate to spiritual nurture, earth justice, health and well-being, the arts or leadership. Join us as we test new ground and grow roots for a sustainable future model.
We have extended our deadline and are accepting program proposals for review by the Naramata Centre Board Program Task Group, until March 11, 2016.
For program leadership information packages email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
More about the 'Why' for Summer 2016
We have three outcomes we are seeking for this coming summer. First, we have not yet made the decision to re-open and want to test the interest and support for doing so by inviting people to come back. Second, we want to generate revenue to cover the costs of maintaining the Centre throughout the year. Third, we want to make space for people to be able to experience spiritual growth and community once again at Naramata. Part of what we all received from Naramata was the opportunity to explore and grow our spiritual connection, which in the past was generated by programs and a strong sense of a safe, caring community.
We are excited as you consider ways that you can join us this summer season, collaboratively creating opportunities that inspire transformation and encourage spiritual nurture at Naramata Centre!
Naramata Centre Board Program Task Group
Naramata Centre Society has changed the date for our Annual General Meeting, to be held in Naramata BC, to June 25, 2016 in response to a request from BC Conference of the United Church. There was a conflict with our original AGM date due to a meeting BC Conference executive had scheduled, which meant Conference representatives would not be able to be present at our AGM. We believe it is very important that representatives of BC Conference attend our AGM so have changed the date. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused for those of you who have already made travel plans to attend the original date.
We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year break, enjoying family and friends and the spirit of the season.
There was a great deal of interest in the Centre’s offer to provide short-term accommodation for up to four Syrian refugee families in partnership with volunteers in Naramata Village and the South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services Society. We are still waiting to hear from the Federal government whether refugees will be coming to Naramata. We will let you know as soon as we have any news.
Looking to the future
After taking time to celebrate Christmas, the board is hard at work developing an operating plan to be reviewed by both BC Conference and our membership in the spring.
While we have not yet made the decision to re-open, it has been suggested by many that if Naramata Centre is to succeed in any plan to re-open that providing access to the Centre in the summer of 2016 is very important. As our Board considers a future for Naramata Centre, we have decided to invite back past participants and new folks to the Centre this summer from May 28 to October 15. The invitation will include opportunities to rent accommodations or space in the camp ground for a week at a time. We won’t be providing food services.
We also want the people who return to the Centre this summer to be able to experience spiritual growth and community once again at Naramata. Part of what we all received from the Centre was the opportunity to explore and grow spiritually, which in the past was generated by learning experiences and a strong sense of a safe, caring community. We are currently exploring options for providing access to programs to achieve this goal.
We have a Board meeting at the end of January where will be finalizing plans for 2016. In February we will provide more information about both our short and long term plans - please stay tuned! If you aren't already subscribed to our email newsletter, please click: SIGN UP HERE to ensure you receive our updates as soon as they are available.
Here is a list of the Local Engagement Sessions which occurred across BC and Alberta and beyond in October and November.
Board members, work weekend volunteers, members and Naramata Centre supporters participated in the local engagement sessions. Thanks to all for being present to the discussion and part of the work, helping to discern the future of the Naramata Centre site and Society. Over 270 people participated in these sessions or by sending us individual or small group submissions
- Salmon Arm, BC: October 18
- Bowen Island, BC: October 28
- St. Albert, AB: November 1
- Toronto, ON: November 1
- Vancouver, BC: November 1
- Calgary, AB: November 2
- Naramata Centre, BC: October 1, 3, 10 & 17
- Kelowna, BC: November 6
- Abbotsford, BC: November 8
- Calgary, BC: November 8
- Delta, BC: November 8
- Grand Prairie, AB: November 8
- Nanaimo, BC: November 8
- Red Deer, AB: November 8
- Victoria, BC: November 8
- Edmonton, AB: November 11
- Surrey, BC: November 11
You can also read this post at this link: Naramata Centre E-News
It was a lovely fall weekend in Naramata when your Board gathered, Nov 20-22, to explore possibilities for the future. Please read on for information and updates about Engagement Session Results, Short and Long Term Approaches, Refugee Response, and 2016 AGM Dates.
ENGAGEMENT SESSION RESULTS
Over 270 people in 20 local engagement sessions told us what they thought. And we used this information to guide our thinking and planning for the future.
Given the enthusiastic response we received from you, the Board is keen to move forward towards re-opening the Centre, if a sustainable financial model can be found to do so . The next step is developing a financially viable operating plan that ensures meaningful activities and experiences for people who attend the Centre.
We spent time at this meeting focussing on the core purpose of the Centre using the feedback you provided in the engagement sessions. Please see the summary of these results posted on the Board’s blog November 25th: http://www.naramatacentresociety.org/blog/2015/11/25/results-from-the-engagement-sessions
SHORT AND LONG TERM APPROACHES
As a managing board with no employees our work is always a combination of taking care of day to day tasks to ensure the ongoing well being of the Centre as well as long term planning for the future.
We have been working to reduce costs at the Centre. The expenses and revenues are much less than they were when the Centre was operating and we have reduced our costs to match our much reduced revenues. For 2016 we have a ways to go in having revenues match expenditures and will be working on options for generating revenue while we develop an operating plan for consideration by BC Conference and our members.
As suggested by many of you in the engagement sessions we have been looking at what we can learn from other retreat centres in various countries in addition to Canada. Our thanks to Dr. Janet Groen of the University of Calgary for her help with this work. Each of the retreat Centres have a unique history and quite different operating models. As we move through development of an operating plan we will be drawing on the information from these other centres to help guide us.
We spent time understanding in depth our buildings and land, including our sewage system, examining the strengths and weaknesses of each building. Our thanks to Craig Burns and Robin Robertson for sharing their expertise with us. As a number of you said it is important for the board to identify which buildings are central to our ongoing purpose as well as identifying which land or buildings may be surplus and can be used to generate revenue by being leased or sold.
We spent time understanding a variety of tools which could possibly assist us in developing an operating model such as cooperatives, Community Contribution companies, social enterprise, partnerships with businesses, fractional ownership and fund raising.
Our goal in creating an operating plan for review by BC Conference and our membership is to describe what we want the Centre to be providing in 5 years and how we will be providing that with milestones to be achieved for each year of that 5 year plan. If we are able to re-open we know we have to start small and revenues must match expenditures in each year of operation within the 5 year plan. We are excited about the possibilities. Between now and our January meeting we will be doing in depth research on the available tools and developing two options for an operating plan for the future. At our January meeting we will finalize the draft operating plan for initial review by BC Conference in February.
Many of our society members, Centre supporters, local residents and other neighbours near and far have wondered about using Naramata Centre as a place for housing. Please read our blog post of Nov 24, sharing our decision to support help for Syrian refugees: http://www.naramatacentresociety.org/blog/2015/11/24/naramata-centre-society-responds-to-help-syrian-refugees
28 MAY 2016 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
We have set Saturday May 28 as the date for our Annual General meeting. Thank you to all of you who have joined as members of the society. If you want to be able to participate in the AGM as a voting member and have not already joined, please do so by the end February to meet the requirement of having been a member for three months prior to the AGM. Join the Society at this link: http://www.naramatacentresociety.org/membership/
We look forward to sharing our progress with you in the coming months.
The Board team
Doug Woollard, Kathy Hamilton, Sarah Vollett, Dhane Merriman, Tressa Brotsky, Jeremy Church, Pam Rinehart, Norma Fraser, Jenne Newman, Barb Hatfield, Mandy Roberston, Gordon How (BC Conference Rep)