The sun sets over Moonlight Bay. Taro Hashimoto
Volunteers working hard at the McCauley Clean-Up on June 15. Paula E. Kirman
We are out at Moonlight Bay Camp this week (July 8-11). It’s a terrific four days and three nights taking in the fresh air, doing fun activities and using the wonderful facilities with our community members, staff, and tenants of some of e4c’s mental health/housing programs.
We have had all the beds in the awesome two room four bed sleeper cabins (built by NAIT construction trades students) at capacity. There is home style food prepared by fun loving staff, coffee (which a couple of times has been brewed close to perfect), and activities happening both freely and as scheduled. Wellness activities, walks, boating, games of croquet, and casual soccer ball kicks have been featured, all while pelicans, ducks, rabbits, squirrels, and the odd eagle have passed through the sight lines of cheerful campers. Gazing into roasting logs on the fire is accompanied by some easy-going conversations and a few jokes and guffaws. This year’s new activity, “the talent show,” added to the joyous hilarity and artistic sharing through comedy, music, collaborative performances, and artistic display. It’s truly a wonderful time.
It all sets the stage for some life-shifting moments and revelations. People care and want to support others. It’s intentional and ingrained in all activities and interactions. With so many heavy circumstances and realities in their lives, it’s time for some peaceful reflection, as well as the exploration of new relationships and discovering of greater understanding. Realigning the chaos within and outside of one’s being is like the annual clean-up – for the soul.
It is made possible, somehow, despite the humble budgets of the residents and the housing, mental health, and social support programs of e4c. The staff and field managers are immersed in the tough day-to-day realities of mental health, addictions, disabilities, and the destabilizing nature of combining these with subsidized inner city living. It is a passionate plea and heartfelt intent to have the McCauley Clean-Up (which happened on June 15) and the e4c Moonlight Bay Camp Retreat happen each year, because it’s what our folks and our staff need to have a sense of renewal and hope – that our friends and members won’t have an endless cycle of the same issues, hang-ups, walls, and ceilings, and that they don’t spiral hopelessly downwards. Instead, that they can see and be part of the unity which makes up our movement of courage, compassion, connection, and commitment. Faces and voices of gratitude, friendship, happiness, community growth, and well-being are some of the reflections of these practices. We hope to carry it all into the rest of the year, and look forward to the unfolding year’s good old times.
Taro is the e4c Community Development Officer.