23-25 February 2024
$250 Including all accommodation, travel support as needed, all meals and snacks, and program offerings
For Children 8 - 12 Years Old
Offered by First Third Ministry staff & volunteers of Pacific Mountain Regional Council and Community of Faiths
Crescent Beach, Surrey BC
We are gathering at Camp Alex, located on Semiahma (Semiahmoo), q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie), qʼʷa:n̓ƛʼən̓ (Kwantlen) territory.
Imagine Children's Retreat Vision
First Third Ministry’s Imagine Children’s Retreats are for Children who are 8 - 12 years old and those who lead them. A United Church of Canada event, all people of diverse faith expressions, gender identities, and ways of being family are warmly welcome! Together, we become a multi-age and inter-cultural community sharing playfulness, meals, and connection with one another in a safe and welcoming setting. Come wonder about and explore faith through stories, worship, music, drama, and more, and deepen your relationship with God.
Imagine Children's Retreat is a sleep over camp that begins around 4pm on Friday, and comes to a close around 11am on Sunday. Here's how our retreat schedule usually flows:
FRIDAY... Children will meet at their scheduled chartered bus stop (as selected when registering) or be driven by their Parent/ Guardian to our retreat. Whether by chartered bus or personal vehicle, all will arrive to Camp Alex around 4:00pm! Children will greet their small group leaders, get settled into their cabins, and have dinner together. After our meal, we gather as a whole group to sing, play games, hear about the retreat theme and weekend schedule, share in evening worship, and enjoy a snack before heading to bed!
SATURDAY... We will have times of worship, singing, storytelling as a whole group, and small group times of workshops (like games and craft activities) and chill out. Our whole group evening campfire is a well-loved Imagine Children’s Retreat experience! Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are served throughout the day, with time for chatting over meals.
SUNDAY... After breakfast, we sing and worship together, and say farewell to each other and the amazing community we created together! Children will receive a morning snack before being picked up around 11am at Camp Alex by their Parent/Guardian or at their scheduled charted bus stop, if registered as travelling by chartered bus.
Children may travel to Imagine Children's Retreat as a passenger our chartered bus, driven by a professional driver, or have transportation provided by their Parent/ Guardian. Leader accompaniment for those traveling via BC Ferries from Vancouver Island is available.
Request both a chartered bus seat and ferry accompaniment in the online registration form (opening soon!)
Chartered Bus Stops 2024 (subject to change)
A. Eagle Ridge United Church (2813 Glen Drive, Coquitlam)
B. Pacific Central Railway Station (1150 Station Street, Vancouver)
C. Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal (1 Ferry Causeway, Delta BC)
Pick Up & Drop Off Times 2024 (to be confirmed)
Journeys From Vancouver Island
Note: Meet up, pick up, and drop off times will be confirmed in early February with those who elected for chartered bus transportation and/ or BC Ferries accompaniment.
What Do I Need To Bring?
Your amazing wonderful self, sleeping bag, pillow, two full changes of warm clothes, waterproof coat, waterproof boots,, toiletries, face cloth, shower towel, indoor shoes or slippers. Note: We will send any additional items in the Imagine Children's Retreat Packing List around two weeks before the retreat.
First Third Ministry staff place our campers into well-considered cabin or dormitory groups where every camper has their own bed, and with three cabin leaders for each cabin.
Our cabin leaders help create an positive, caring bedtime experience and healthy sleep environment.
To ensure comfort and privacy, campers will dress in private stalls in the washroom facilities.
Inspired All-Gender Accommodation
To create a supportive and inclusive setting, we organize our retreat accommodations based on sibling, extended family and friendship connections, and camper's age rather than focusing on like-genders.
All-Gender Accommodation means your camper can expect to share sleeping space with other campers whose gender identity or expression may and may not be the same as theirs. All-Gender Accommodation empowers friends and siblings of different genders to room together.
All-Gender Accommodation is an expression of First Third Ministry's commitment, as an integral part of the Pacific Mountain Regional Council, to create safer spaces for 2SLGBTQAiP+ belonging, as outlined in PMRC's Affirming Ministry Statement.
Belonging, For All
If you need support in understanding our commitment to All-Gender Accommodation, please contact First Third Ministry Team Lead, Pamela Evans for conversation and information.
"We found that by all-gendering our accommodations last summer, the greatest positive impact was that children and youth were able to make more connections and build friendships with people that had similar interests to themselves. Masculinity and femininity fall on a spectrum, and we had girls that were excited to engage in activities that boys in their cabin groups were interested in, and boys that were excited to engage in activities that more of the girls were interested in.
We also noticed that there was less bullying behaviours amongst the boys and less 'mean girl' behaviour amongst the girls than we typically deal with during a week at camp. During Camp Cha7elkwnech, our one week where we did have gendered cabin groups, there was a spike in both behaviours and obvious incidents where a few boys didn't relate to or connect with their male peers, and a few girls didn't relate to or connect with their female peers."
— Terra McKenzie, Executive Director, Camp Fircom
Retreat leadership is with Regional First Third Ministry staff members, Community of Faith’s adult volunteers, and older Youth!
YOUTH LEADERS: Join an AMAZING group of youth who support this ministry with children! If you are 15 to 17 years old, love to work with children, and are comfortable leading and supporting children in meaningful ways, this is the place for you! Please email FirstThirdMinistry@united-church with your interest!
ADULT LEADERS: Do you love to work with children and are comfortable sharing your faith in meaningful ways then this is the place for you! People who are 19 years or over are also invited to share to us your interest in working with this wonderful children’s ministry!
AS AN ADULT VOLUNTEER, WE EXPECT YOUR COMMITMENT TO:
Your in-person presence for the entire retreat weekend: February 23-25, 2024; Attend, in-person or online, the Imagine Children's Retreat All Leaders Meeting; Providing faith filled, supportive, respectful leadership during the retreat; Completing the leadership contract; Fulfilling the leadership contract expectations, including a police information check for those 19 years and over. Please email FirstThirdMinistry@united-church with your interest!
ALL VOLUNTEERS: You’ll receive transportation to the retreat location, have all your meals and accommodation provided during the retreat, and support, care and love for you and your gifts of leadership! Please email FirstThirdMinistry@united-church with your interest!
Click HERE for more information about leadership opportunities.