Last year, we got lost in the woods. This year, we’re going to the Eastside.

    The year is over. Welcome back! We’ve missed you (and we’re not just saying that).

    While you were away, we learned:

    why they are selling 25¢ crack pipes in vending machines in the Downtown Eastside.

    why cops don’t just arrest people who are obviously selling drugs.

    how roasting cocoa beans can make a difference.

    why what you’re learning in university actually matters.

    And we want to share all of that with you. That’s what this retreat to the Downtown Eastside is about.
    (Oh, and we also learned that there’s a lot we don’t know).

University retreat – May 2nd to May 4th

That’s a Friday to a Sunday.
Click on the tabs below for more details.

We’ll be heading to the Downtown Eastside. Before the West Van bubble tries to suck you in, we want to take time to remember what matters, what’s important. We joked about calling this weekend “From botox to detox”, mostly because in West Van, we can all use a bit of a reality check – a reminder that there’s more to life than booze and bikinis.

During the day, we’ll be meeting people who live just across the bridge from us in the Eastside, and others who have moved to the area on purpose. We’ll be connecting with organizations that are making things better, and helping them out in tangible ways (need a fresh coat of paint? sure!). Mostly, we’ll be hanging out together, using the time to readjust our hearts and minds after a busy school year.

At night, we’ll be seeing a different side of the city. We’ll then be staying in the neighbourhood both nights at a local hotel. It’s really not THAT scary.
Ok, but what will we really be doing?

  • Connecting with First United, and serving dinner at a soup kitchen
  • Listening to passionate people who live in the neighbourhood to make a difference
  • Service projects to help organizations that just don’t have the time to garden, or clean, or paint
  • Doing street church, learning what God means to people in this neighbourhood
  • Having lunch at a social enterprise, learning more about how we can use our own resources to empower people
  • Serving breakfast in the streets on Sunday morning when most organizations are closed
  • Hanging out, meeting people, catching up with one another
  • …etc?
  • $75. That covers your two night stay, transit, and breakfasts.

    Make sure you bring a bit of extra money to cover your lunches and dinners.
    (We’ll send out a list of what you’ll need).
    Part of that is healthy! But don’t worry.

    First, Katie has been working in some capacity in the neighbourhood over the last 6 years. She’s street smart as they say.

    Secondly, we’re planning all of this with the help of a guy from Union Gospel Mission who does these kinds of weekends for a living, having taken hundreds of university students out of their comfort zones in ways that are, ultimately, still safe. This guy has the COOLEST story; he used to be a manager at Big White, until he became a Christian because of a radio in an old pick up truck, and decided to give everything up to work in the Eastside with the marginalized of our city. He’s the real deal.