By Barb Green
Summer in Naramata began with a great deal of rain, stormy weather, and swollen creeks due to a large snow pack melting in the mountains. As a result, like many properties on Lake Okanagan, the Centre lost its dock in a storm. There was a great deal of debris and pieces of the dock washed ashore with high water over the beach and onto the lawn. With the help of many dedicated volunteers, the beach and lawns were cleaned up, and debris was hauled away. The silver lining is that the beach is now wider and sandier than before!
Over the summer and fall, the Centre offered 26 programs in: spiritual nurture, the arts, music, and health and wellness. Over 350 people participated in programs. We also had more people on site in 2017 than last year, with campsites and accommodations full over the busiest weeks.
Our summer staff consisted of: Summer Manager, Assistant Manager, Registrar/Administrative Coordinator, and two students. Volunteer Campground Hosts filled a new role this summer – welcoming campers each week, providing security, creating community in Creekside Commons camp kitchen, and generally hosting campers. It was a great addition and this role will continue.
As in 2016, Community Hosts guided spiritual life at the Centre each week and facilitated the planning of activities with weekly participants each Monday evening. Sacred Pause was held in the Chapel each Wednesday evening and other events unfolded as planned. A volunteer who lives in Naramata provided complimentary yoga each Wednesday morning on the beach lawn.
This fall the Board of Directors is already busy planning for next summer, with a refreshed look at programming and the structure of staffing and volunteers on site. The Fall Hearts and Hands volunteer work week has just concluded and we thank all the volunteers who came to help ready the site for winter. Our next Hearts and Hands event will be held in Spring 2018.
As announced in the October Board Update, the Board is actively pursuing a plan to sell part of the Centre land to decrease the size of the footprint, and to create a sustainable financial future for the Centre.
The Naramata Centre Board is very grateful to Presbytery representatives for keeping your constituents informed about the Centre. Please continue to encourage your congregants to come to Naramata Centre: a welcoming community that invites all ages to connect and deepen in mind, body and spirit! This is a place where being present and connecting to oneself, others, nature and the Sacred become easier. Those who come develop a special place in their hearts for this inclusive, welcoming, spiritual community.