Communities Working Together for (un)Common Blessing
Circle Square Ranch in Brantford is a summer camp that operates under Intervarsity Fellowship providing a fun, safe, wholesome camp experience for children from all over southwestern Ontario. In August, Reto journeyed with me to the ranch to drop off my daughter for her annual week of overnight horseback riding camp. It was then that his mind started to buzz with the possibilities of partnering with the camp. We started to dream about a good, old-fashioned work weekend in the great outdoors. We started to imagine a group of friends from Sanctuary London serving the ministry of Circle Square.
This past weekend, Reto’s dream became a reality. Armed with all the tools we could gather, a short wishlist of jobs from Camp Director Steve Richardson, and a desire to serve, eight men set out from Sanctuary London on Friday morning with snow in the forecast, determination in our hearts, and a cup or two of hot coffee. Two days later, having seen frost but no snow and having downed more than our fair share of camp coffee, seven guys made up for my lack of skill and managed to exceed Circle Square’s expectations of our team, completing everything the camp wished and quite a bit more.
Here’s why I think that is amazing. Not because we got lots of work done, but because we were given the opportunity to complete lots of work. I’ve spent my last two summers at Sanctuary and I know that often, little thought is given to the abilities our community possesses and rarely do many imagine us serving others. To Circle Square’s credit, they didn’t see us as those who live on the fringes of society with nothing to offer, but rather as a group of willing, skilled, hard-working volunteers, and what charity can’t use a few of those?
They worked alongside of us as we felled trees, split firewood, re-shingled three roofs, cleared brush, and laid more than 100 feet of water line for their barn. They talked with us, laughed with us, and dined with us. For a brief window in time, away from the concrete of downtown London, we formed a small community of equal, like-minded workers… all of us working together, trying to provide a better place for children to attend camp.
Isn’t that all anybody wants? An opportunity to serve. An opportunity to be in community. An opportunity to be recognized as equal. It is through these things that we find blessing. Mutual blessing. Circle Square was blessed with a weekend of free labour. We were blessed in the opportunity to contribute fully. Reto was blessed in seeing his dream realized. I was blessed to see it all come together through the efforts of an amazing group of men and the welcoming hearts of our fabulous hosts. ~ RD