In recent years, the Saskatoon ALSO group has begun spending time even closer to home with organizations that run on volunteers – camps. This year, four of our five days have been spent at camp.
In our time at the Youth Farm Bible Camp and Shekinah Retreat Centre we have built gates and creek crossings, painted fences and bunk beds, raked gravel, set up a tent, and cleaned out and stained a three-season cabin that will be used for the first time this summer. We’ve gotten somewhat sunburned (some more than others [Laird]) and tired ourselves out, but one thing is abundantly clear – there’s lots of work to do close to home.
To be clear, our day in Saskatoon was valuable and excellent. We started at MCC, with a morning workshop on stereotypes and identifying situations where we make judgments without all the information – with only a “single story”. We explored 20th Street and discussed the causes and side effects of the gentrification of the area. We visited Global Gathering Place downtown and heard about the incredible range of services they offer to newcomers to Canada. A presentation from Hope Restored Canada taught us about the reality of human trafficking in Canada and Saskatchewan’s staggering representation within that system, as well as the ways that Hope Restored is helping.
To call us the “Saskatoon” ALSO group, however, doesn’t seem quite accurate. While we spent a great day of learning in Saskatoon, our service has been to the Youth Farm and Shekinah, and that’s good. Both camps provide an important ministry to the local area. Whether it’s lending us a van or letting us stay a night, both camps are friends and partners with RJC. Most importantly, both camps have lots of work that needs doing, and we have hands that can work, as “unskilled” as our labour might be. It’s been a good week.