Muskoka Woods Alumni Community. Embody. Encourage. Engage.
Fall 2016
A NOTE FROM MIKE BARLOW, CHAPLAIN

A familiar question I get asked this time of year is, "How was your summer?" When one works full-time at a large camp in Muskoka on the beautiful shores of Lake Rosseau, it is inconceivable that the answer could be anything other than, "Great, thanks!" As predictable as it may be, that is my final answer. The weather was amazing, our 350+ staff were incredible, and we had 4,500 guests come through our front gate. There are many stories of transformation that, for an old-timer like me, continue to be a source of encouragement and inspiration in my own faith journey.

As the temperatures begin to drop, and the seasons change from summer to fall, it is also a time of change at "The Woods", as we turn our attention from one busy ministry season to the next. Our team up north is working tirelessly, hosting school and retreat groups. We have a full schedule of leadership development programs in the Studio. In Toronto, preparations are already underway for Summer 2017. Across Ontario, our campus ministry is up and running in 10 communities. There is plenty to be excited about. All of this activity is being used by God to bring about change in people’s lives and impact the communities around us. What a privilege it is to be part of what God is doing.

 
STAFF SPOTLIGHT
KEVIN SAWKA, DIRECTOR OF SCHOOLS & GROUPS

Born and raised in British Columbia, Kevin Sawka came to Muskoka Woods in 2008 after going to college in Texas on a baseball scholarship. Kevin soon joined our leadership staff and was a Core Team member of our Outdoor Recreation program in 2011.

Since then, Kevin has spent the last 5 years in automotive management, specializing in sales and marketing. Kevin and his wife Rebekah (Beerman) met at Muskoka Woods and are excited to be living year round in Rosseau. If you’d like to connect with Kevin, you can reach him at k.sawka@muskokawoods.com


LUCAS DUROCHER, SUMMER PROGRAM DIRECTOR

We are excited to officially welcome Lucas Durocher to our team of full-time staff. Lucas has been a staff member at Muskoka Woods since 2008. He has served as a Counsellor, Section Head and Director. As of September 10th, Lucas took over as the Summer Program Director. Over the last 8 years, Lucas has earned an Honours Bachelor of Science - Kinesiology Degree from McMaster University, as well as a Bachelor of Education from Nippissing University. Lucas is an active rower, loves Muskoka Woods and, of course, his lovely wife, Kirsten (Faarup).


 
WHERE ARE THEY NOW
Dallas (Rempel) & Doug James and Family

Dallas worked at Muskoka Woods from 1991-1999 in Housekeeping, J2 and on the Ministry Team. Doug was a guest for 7 years, and then worked on staff between 1992-1999, instructing Gymnastics, Trampoline and Ropes Course, and serving as a Gym Area Head and Athletic Director.

Doug & Dallas James live in Stouffville, ON with their three kids: Max (14), Tia (13), and Claire (7). Doug is a Police Detective, currently working in the Vice Unit, and Dallas is an Arbonne consultant. They met and married at Muskoka Woods, so it holds a very special place in their hearts. This past year, they set out on a month-long sailing adventure with their children. You can read about their unforgettable adventure here.

"Life is beautiful, messy and full, and we wouldn't have it any other way."

Christine (Clemens) & Matt Dacosta and Family

Matthew worked at Muskoka Woods from 1992-2006 in Maintenance, Mountain Biking, Outdoor Rec, Sports Equipment Purchasing and Sales, and Registration. Christine and Matt met in 1997 when she worked in the resort office for the Spring. Christine worked full-time as the Registrar of Summer Programs for several years. Their last summer at Muskoka Woods was 2006 when they went to Rift Valley Academy in Kenya. They have been living in Sarnia for the past 8 years and attend Sarnia Evangelical Missionary Church. Matt works for the local electricity distribution company as an Energy Manager and Conservation Programs Administrator. Christine is caring for their kids and aging parents. Their children are Ben (13), Rachel (10), Abigail (8) and Eden (6).

"We were so thankful to return to Muskoka Woods for a week as an alumni family this past summer. We loved that our kids could experience an unforgettable week at Muskoka Woods. It was a privilege to return, to reconnect and to serve."

 
GET INVOLVED
ALUMNI MENTORING

If you are in interested in being paired up with a Muskoka Woods college/university student in your area, please contact Tina Barlow at tbarlow@muskokawoods.com. This is a great opportunity to speak into someone’s life on a regular basis throughout the school year.

PROJECT 52/CAMPUS COMMUNITY GROUPS

If you know any post-secondary students that might like to attend one of our Muskoka Woods Campus Community Bible Studies, please have them email Tina Barlow at tbarlow@muskokawoods.com. We offer Bible Studies in the following cities: Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Montreal, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Toronto, Halifax, and Waterloo.

ALUMNI FAMILY VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

This past summer, 27 alumni families joined us for a week of volunteering. If you are interested in this program, or would like more information, please email Tina Barlow at tbarlow@muskokawoods.com. Applications will be sent out in the New Year.

 
EVENTS RECAP
CITYCAMP BY JEREMY LAVERTY, DIRECTOR

This summer was incredible! Thanks to many alumni families, we were able to host out of town staff as we travelled throughout the GTA. We brought a taste of Muskoka Woods to Newmarket, Stouffville, Markham, Toronto, Burlington and Oakville. Our biggest week was at John Knox Christian School in Oakville, where we hosted 104 guests! Our activities continue to grow with the addition of the Jump Pad and Bazooka Ball. The Jump Pad is a giant, inflatable mattress that you bounce on and learn basic jumping skills. Bazooka Ball is paintball, but with foam balls - no bruises and no mess! We are looking forward to next summer, as we plan to bring CITYCAMP to even more places and serve more guests.

MUSKOKA WOODS YOUTH FOUNDATION BY MARK GROVES, VP OF DEVELOPMENT

We are very thankful and encouraged by the number of guests impacted through the Foundation's Summer 2016 programs and initiatives. A highlight was witnessing a young 14-year-old boy, who had recently arrived from a refugee camp on the border of Syria and Jordan, experience the Giant Swing! Hearing his story from his Youth Unlimited leaders was heartbreaking, but seeing his smile throughout the week was quite moving. It reminded me that God's work at Muskoka Woods is global, and it's inspiring beyond words.

In other exciting news, we have recently broken ground on our Sensory Garden. This space is designed to provide a place of fun, laughter and rest for guests with Autism, joining us through the Exceptionality Program. We are so looking forward to Summer 2017 and seeing the impact this space will have on these children.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. Please feel free to reach out to me if you'd like more information on the Foundation at 416-495-6960 or mark@muskokawoods.com

 
EVENTS RECAP
NEXT LEVEL LEADERSHIP TRAINING FOR WOMEN - October 28-November 1, 2016

NextLEVEL Leadership Training is taught in many countries around the world, and is now available through the Leadership Studio at Muskoka Woods. Women are invited to join us for four days of leadership training, followed by an optional
three-day facilitator-training program. Contact ellen@muskokawoods.com for details and to find out about how these courses can be applied as
credits at Briercrest College and Seminary.

2ND ANNUAL BRAVE WOMEN RETREAT - January 13-15, 2017

Once again, the Leadership Studio will create a rich time with friends, great meals, meaningful worship and solid Bible teaching. We will have thoughtful discussions about building confidence in ourselves and others, resiliency, living fully and fruitfully, and finding our voice/advocating for others. Girls in grades 6 and up, and women of all ages, are most welcome to join this powerful intergenerational retreat. Contact sarahb@muskokawoods.com to register today.

SUMMER CAMP REGISTRATION FOR 2017 OPENS IN NOVEMBER!

Visit muskokawoods.com to start planning your child's summer adventure today!

 
WE'RE HIRING
SCHOOLS & GROUPS

Join a vibrant ministry serving more than 20,000 guests year round in beautiful Muskoka! We are still hiring for fall and winter positions at the resort. Positions include working with kids in program, serving our guests in the kitchen, or working behind-the-scenes in maintenance and housekeeping.

If you or someone you know is looking for a great opportunity to work and live in a close-knit Christian community, apply today at muskokawoods.com/jobs/year-round-jobs or email theresa@muskokawoods.com

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