One of the most exciting parts about the second year of Forge is the trip to another camp in New Zealand or Australia. This trip is meant to teach the interns how each camp has a different approach to running their programs. It’s a once in a life time experience. I chose to go to Teapot Valley in New Zealand for my research. I was very excited for this trip. I knew that this trip was going to be a great experience where I was going to see God move.
I left for New Zealand on January 2nd, 2018. After 30 hours of travel I finally arrived in Nelson, New Zealand. That’s where I first met the Executive Director’s wife, Jocelyn. I quickly grabbed my baggage and then Jocelyn and I drove back to Teapot Valley. Once we got to camp I placed my bags at the house I was staying at and got a quick tour of the facilities. While on the tour I met all of the staff who worked at camp. I tried to memorize their names as fast as possible but I was still super jet lagged so it was quite a difficult task. After the tour, I unpacked my stuff and prepared for the craziest six weeks of my life. That night I had the best sleep I’ve ever had.
Once I got over the jet lag, I jumped straight in to helping out at Teapot. The first thing that we did was cater a wedding. I didn’t expect to do anything like that but I had a lot of fun. After the wedding I spent the rest of the week helping in the kitchen and maintenance. I really enjoyed it because at Camp Arnes I’m usually helping with activities or I’m in the office. It was a nice change of scenery.
The next week was the start of their summer camps. In New Zealand kids have two week breaks after doing three months of school. The first week of the summer camp I was a cabin counsellor. It was a fun but crazy week. Since I was the seasoned summer camp worker they put me and my co-cabin leader with the hardest campers. It was definitely a challenge to work with them, but I was still able to have fun with the campers and they enjoyed camp.
The second week of summer camp I was the media coordinator. As the media coordinator I had to take as many photos and videos of the kids as possible. At the end of each day I would edit all of the photos/videos into a big video that would be shown to the kids the next day. This was an interesting challenge because video making requires a lot of creativity. I quickly learned how to make the videos and the kids enjoyed a cool highlight video of the previous day. After having this experience I would definitely like to try more video creating/editing.
Once summer camp was over, Teapot Valley switched over to hosting groups. These groups varied from choir groups to school groups to church groups. I felt prepared for these groups because of all of my training in the first year of Forge. Along with helping in the kitchen, we led group activities and cleaned accommodations. It was really fun to interact with each group and I tried to help out in any way I could. When I was working, most of my time was spent helping the groups.
When I wasn’t working, I tried to go on adventures as much as I could. I went on a kayaking trip in the Abel Tasman region of New Zealand, went bungee jumping, went cliff diving and had other adventures. My coworkers were always up to do something, whether something crazy or just watching a movie at someone’s house.
The New Zealand people are great. Everyone I met was really friendly and the whole culture seems really relaxed. Even though we had big tasks to complete it was never stressful. I found each day exciting because I knew that even though the work would be hard, my coworkers would make it fun.
This trip has taught me a lot. I got some ideas for this summer at Camp Arnes. I also learned a lot about myself. One of the things I learned was that when things don’t work out how we planned, God is working to make things better than we imagined. I definitely miss Teapot Valley and I’d like to go back as soon as I possibly can.
Lastly, I want to thank Paul, Jocelyn, Shirlene, Roz, Chloe, Jared, Rachel, Vanessa, Jade, Josh, Matt A, Grace, Brittney, Mark, Luc, Ryan, Jamie, Will, Merrik, Justin, Jacob, Anna, Matt S, Susan, Coralie, Gordon, Josiah and anyone else who I might have forgotten. They all welcomed me into their homes and their hearts and I really appreciate it!