The trip to Camp Frenda was my first time there. I had my expectations but it was definitely not the way how I imagined it to be. I've never been to a camp this comfortable. However, with all that occurred, the experience reminded me that we should always remember to never take the simple things in life for granted. Power in our houses, water to flush our toilets or even water to have a shower whenever we feel like.
The Sabbath was a blessing and it does make me look forward to next year's retreat. Unfortunately, the weekend met a premature end, which was to the disappointment of everyone. But on a whole, it was a great experience.
It was windy, very windy, and as I packed my bag in the trunk I knew this was going to be a weekend to remember. It was the evening of Friday May 4, and according to Veridian.on.ca, all of Pickering was without power. No stop lights, no Tim Horton's, or gas stations; nothing had power. Nothing except for the ever increasing winds that had begun to rattle the chimes outside peoples homes and swing stop lights as they hung dimmed above growing traffic.
We left the house just as the rain began, and it poured down like a veil obscuring visibility to the point of almost not being able to drive. With wipers set to maximum speed we made our way to pick up Sean, a nearby church brother, and arrived at his home 10 minutes later. The good thing about heavy rain is that it usually stops as fast as it starts, so by the time we got to Sean’s house the rain had stopped. We picked up him up and headed north towards Muskoka, excited about the events of the weekend.
As we passed through traffic and made our way up and out of the city, we noticed just how strong the wind had become with shingles laying on the ground victims of its power. As we drove north, the wind ripped twigs and even bark off a few old trees as it wrestled against my driving, trying to keep me from holding a straight line. I gripped the steering wheel with both hands, as is my custom under these kinds of circumstances, and kept extra distance from vehicles going in the opposite direction. With the GPS as my guide we listened to gospel music as we talked and laughed, hopeful yet concerned about our first Camp Frenda experience.
The view was very relaxing as we passed farms and open fields, quaint little communities, and forest trees lining the road decorating the soft shoulder with leaves forced down by the breeze. This wasn't my first trip to Camp Frenda, and finally after a few hours some landmarks signaled to me that we were near, as well as Google Maps reminding me how far I had left to go.
Soon the turn off from the main street dwindled down to a small road, and then finally the large gate read "Camp Frenda Welcomes You!" and we cheered that we had finally made it. Our celebration didn't last as long as I expected, as we approached the parking lot something looked weird, maybe even out of place. Then I realized what question in my head was missing and answer, ‘why was there so few cars in the parking lot?' We pulled up and parked the car, looking around to see if we could spot any of the early birds who arrived before us. Leaving our belongings in the car we got out and went inside of the main hall, looking for anyone else. No one. We called out, and looked around the main hall and recreation room and still no one.
By this time the sun had started to set and the blue tint of the evening had started to settle on the camp. We got back in the car and drove up the hill to see if perhaps the cabins were where we were staying. While up on top of the hill we saw the new buildings that had been added, but still no one from Ajax. On returning to our parking spot we noticed something strange, the stars had begun to come out and looking over the lake not a single glimmer of light reflected from across the water, or a window glow in the distance. And that is the moment we realized that Camp Frenda, Port Carling, Muskoka had no electricity.
Just outside the main hall a figure was spotted slowly waving. We got out and walked up to discover that it was Sis. Vassell, with news to confirm our suspicions; Camp Frenda was without power. She guided us to a room with the rest of the Ajax members who had arrived earlier. We greeted each other and, using our cell phones and flashlights, made our way to some seats set in a circle in the middle of the room. Sis. Brown handed us room keys, and updated us to the current situation while directing us to the food table in case we were hungry. Quickly the discussion around what we were going to do surfaced. Some considered turning around and going home, but others were still on their way and would need instruction. As the realization of our circumstance was analyzed it was noted that with no electricity, there would be no running water. All bathrooms would only be able to flush once with the water that they had already, hence the reason for us cutting the trip to next day, Sabbath morning.
Spirits were still high as we talked about how best to handle things and waited for all of those who reported to be on their way. Slowly but surely more and more people began to arrive, and we stayed up until the last group arrived around midnight. Tired, in the dark, and a little bit sweaty we finally went to our rooms to rough it out for the night. As we settled into our room, a realization began to spread. We had no electricity to pump water up the pipes, but we still had plenty of water nearby. Grabbing whatever we could find, buckets were filled and toilets were flushed. Despite the really nice bunk beds, now it really felt like camping. I'm sure going down to the lake in the dark to catch water is a Camp Frenda experience not many will get to have.
Through all of this the amazing energy, laughter, and excitement was not drowned by our circumstance, and we actually enjoyed the shared experience as a church family. Luckily, a generator was connected that allowed certain rooms to have a very limited amount of power, enough to charge phones and turn on a few lights. After more chatting and good-nights we all settle in to sleep, but not before being warned that breakfast the next morning was a short windows. We set the alarms on our phones hoping they’d still be on in the morning, and went to sleep.
Ajax SDA Community Church
Photo: Lenoi Hendricks
Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world."
Ever since I started elementary school my family has encouraged me to take part in as many clubs and teams as possible. In terms of sports, Basketball, Volleyball, Track and Field, Curling, Dance and Cross Country . In terms of art clubs, Band, choir, visual arts club and crochet. For initiatives, Eco advocate, Recycling team, Office and Library helper, announcements and Master of ceremony .
Then when I became an intermediate a new factor of Leadership was presented in the clubs that were geared towards the division. That factor impacted my yearning for being a leader and helping others. The biggest leadership role I have taken to date is running for and being elected student council president and class representative. The decision to run for those roles were natural for me since they captured my yearning. My tagline for my campaign was "power to the new generation" which captured the essence of what I was aspiring to do in my positions. The second group I would like to touch base on is the recognition committee. I take a leadership role in this because it puts a spotlight on some of the hidden figures in my school that do things but don't get the praise they deserve for it and help mentor younger students to become the best they can be. Third of the other big groups that I'm a part of is Me to We. Although doesn't touch base on leadership that much it still fuels the aspect of outreach and social justice which are two things I'm very passionate about. I've received 7 Character Trait awards and 3 platinum for my work in school. That concludes my paragraph on Leadership in my school.
When it comes to community involvement I try to inspire other youths. The biggest role leadership role is being a part of Ajax outspoken speaker's Youth leadership program. The program promotes Effective communication skills. I've had the honor of being a part of the program for nearly two years. I've been able to be a model for numerous workshops. On March 27, I finished my run as the program's first Youth leadership program's President. Which meant a lot to me because I had to win a speech competition against five other nominees. The Second role is the Black woman of congress. I've just begun participating in congress activities targeted towards youth last year. Last year I won a black history month trivia competition with a team of 2 other participants. During March break I got the chance to volunteer for an African drumming workshop which touched base on the black diaspora. The last but not the least community involvement is in my church. At my church, I've gotten a chance to teach classes of younger students and go over their lessons of the week with them. I've done a lot of summarized sermons. The biggest leadership role that involves my faith is being a Pathfinder. With being a Pathfinder you're able to learn more about Christ and advocate for your religion. For awards from my community, I've received 16 certificates, 2 medals, 1 trophy and 5 badges. That concludes my community involvement and leadership.
Malcolm X once said " the future belongs to those who prepare for it"
For the future I overall want to be a role model for youth and that when you believe in something you can make it happen. I've started doing this already by speaking at assemblies by spreading awareness on social adversity and breaking down barriers in terms of race and gender. Helping out others through student council like making fundraising effort like Candy grams which we did for Valentine's day. Mentoring/helping others in my class by helping them with clarification and or being there for them when they need somebody to talk and help with school work. In terms of High School, aiming for leadership positions such as the Student council and even the DBEN ambassador program to help organize events and overall create change. In terms of post-secondary, I would overall like to become a doctor most likely a pediatrician because I've been aspiring for that ever since I was 2 and a half years old and have stuck with it ever since. In terms of schools, I would love to attend an HBCU, Ivy or University of Toronto. Finally, I want to be somebody remembered as an advocate, trailblazer and most importantly a leader.
by Cassandra John Whittingham
I have attended various types of Christian churches over the years, discovered a
correlation between all of them. Often as children of God we tend to overlook
the one of the main purposes of a congregation. In the very least, it may be
unintentional but as human nature will have it, cliques are formed and
judgements are pre emptively made prior to getting to genuinely know our brothers
and sister as we know the word.
A church building is supposed to be a sanctuary; a place where everyone feels at
home. What does the word sanctuary mean to you? For me it signifies a place of
refuge or a safe haven; where you are at most peace and contentment and nothing
can harm you. As per the English dictionary, sanctuary is defined as a sacred or
holy place; any place of refuge; asylum.
Church is indeed a sanctuary for many people. Unfortunately, it’s also a place
where people are judged far to often by other individuals. We as Christians
should always remember that none of us is more worthy than another because we
have all sinned. The bible states verbatim:
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified
freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God
presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood
—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because
in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished."
(Romans 3 23:25 NIV)
Churches are losing sight of why Jesus died for each and everyone of us.We need
to all remain focus on the cross, Christ died on the cross and shed his blood
for each and everyone of us, there is no greater love than this. For God so
loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in
him should not perish, but have everlasting life For God sent not his son into
the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Although we set aside a special day for our Saviour, we must remember every day
is Gods day, not just Sabbath. It is not acceptable to do what as we wish for
six days then on Sabbath we behave more holly as though we can’t mash ants. That
kind of behaviour is call Hippocrates.We should strive every day to be the best
we can in Christ, yes we may fall, but we get up, brush ourselves off and ask
the Almighty for his forgiveness and guidance. "Remember the Sabbath day by
keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh
day is a sabbath to the Lord your God" (Exodus 20:8-10)
Remember no man is an island, as brothers and sister we should strive to uplift
one another the way Christ would and love one another. For if it had not been
for the Lord, and for prayers on our behalf by loving family members and
friends, many of us would be at the wayside. Let us all be mindful of that we
serve a loving unwavering God who never ceases in loving and protecting us even
when we do not deserve it.
By: Althea Nedd
Turning over a new leaf can sometimes be the best thing that you can do for yourself. It sometimes opens the door to possibilities that you or people around you never thought could happen in a million years. However, it can also be one of the most difficult things you will ever have to do. It could be changing a habit, starting a new task, going into a new situation; either way it can be an immense challenge. How can we face the challenge of turning over a new leaf, if we really want change in our lives? God tells us that He makes us a new creature when our hearts are convicted of His love and awesomeness. God is the ultimate leaf turner, and if we want to change something we have to realize that for that change to be real, for it to stick, for it to be who we are from that point onward then we need to ask God if He will make that change. Leaf turning is usually seen in a positive change, trying to do better, make a move towards where we know we should be. God through His Word has been rustling leaves for generations trying to move us towards allowing Him to make changes in our hearts. He has been at work from the very beginning, knowing that we need His help to make those changes, and that we are incapable of making complete change in our character, our thoughts, and hearts unless truly convicted in our hearts.
If you've been trying to turn over a new leaf, put down a habit that you know you shouldn't be doing, perhaps change your group of friends, or leave your past in the past. Ask God to come into your heart and really clean it out and make you a new creature. Only with His help will you truly be able to say that you've started over with a clean slate, that you've truly turned over a new leaf.
by Daniel Husbands,