Stories From Our City | Jane & Finch Community

Transformation Blossoms at Seeds of Hope Camp

Story shared by Betty Bailey, Jane & Finch Seeds of Hope Coordinator

Two Seeds of Hope youth smiling side by side

As summer approaches, here is Betty's reflection of last summer's Seeds of Hope Camp!

"One of the ways in which the pandemic affected the young lives in the Jane-Finch neighbourhood, was the inability to physically connect with their peers and loved ones outside of their household. Many kids were sick of being stuck at home, on their devices, every day, all day! For most campers coming to camp was like a breath of fresh air as much of our activities were outdoors. As camp staff, we were very conscious that not only were we strategically located in the heart of a troubled community, but many of the children were coming from struggling single parent homes. This led us each day to pray over the plans for the day and the children as they came.

Our theme was “Riding the Storm.” Relatable Bible characters and stories of more contemporary heroes of the faith were used to convey the message that we can trust God completely with our lives, even when we face trials and hardships. Our daily small group sessions were special times to go deeper with the kids. It was just as important to hear from the campers their thoughts, how they were feeling and provide an opportunity to discuss any questions that were lingering.

The best was yet to come! The 39 campers and leaders traveled north to the serene and beautiful Camp Koinonia for 5 idyllic days. For many campers, though this was their first time going overnight camping, they quickly adapted. We could not help but notice and celebrate the transformation in the kids. There were those who began to socialize right away, and a few who were very introverted and afraid to let anyone in. Over the course of the summer however, we saw many of these campers become more confident and discovered new talents and abilities as they competed in the cabin and talent competitions! Campers were encouraged as they participated in cabin devotions and the daily Challenge and bible study sessions which pointed them to Christ’s love. The result was that nearly all made first time commitments or recommitments to follow Christ and we even witnessed one camper being baptized.

By the end of camp, they were comfortable expressing themselves, taking leadership responsibility and were no longer afraid to show their personalities and use their real voice. Many formed meaningful relationships and bonded with each other making new friends. The counsellors also experienced transformation as they created a beautiful bond among themselves reflecting the body of Christ. All campers, counsellors, volunteers, and even the Koinonia camp staff that hosted us, were impacted in a positive way. It was a memorable, moving, and transformative summer!

We are immensely grateful to all who contributed to making summer 2021 the best camp experience for many! Thank you for your continued prayers and support of Seeds of Hope Camp! Because of you hope has been restored and many young lives and families transformed by the love of God demonstrated through you!"

Click here to see YU's Seeds of Hope 2021 summer camp video!