My plans and His ways

Learning to pivot

By Cindy Verbeek, Northern BC Manager

May 27, 2024

My recent item for praise during our congregational prayer went something like this:

“After wondering what God was doing by not giving us funding for staff this summer I have been able to partner with various organizations to bring Nature Camp not only to Houston but Smithers and Burns Lake.”

Hilariously this prompted a wave of applause from my dear brothers and sisters in Christ. You are so sweet. But I have to admit I was still struggling with disappointment that God hadn’t provided the way I wanted and the summer was going to look a lot different than I had imagined. It reminded us of the Friends TV show skit “Pivot”. If you know you know. “But it should have worked…you had a sketch.”

What was I hoping the summer would look like?

First, the Conservation Science team would have at least 2-3 staff for safety in the field and support for Marjorie. We applied for funding for 4 conservation staff for 16 weeks.

Then I wanted to hand over the reins to a full team of nature camp leaders so that I could focus on mentoring and managing staff. We applied for funding for 4 education staff for 16 weeks.

And lastly I wanted one person to work on the backyard and small construction projects as well as another person to help with communications and admin for the summer. We applied for another 2 positions for 16 weeks.

That’s 10 positions for 16 weeks…my dream team. So when I received the news that we got 3 positions for 8 weeks, I was deflated. I remember thinking, “Well I guess my answer to “Can I give over the children’s education program?” was “Not yet” but not one education staff member? “Good grief!” How was I going to keep the Nature Centre open, offer summer nature camp, deliver interpretive programs in the neighbouring provincial parks (a partnership that was already in place) and keep the grounds looking good, while still managing the 4 staff we will have?

Needless to say I spent a few days having very pointed (heated?) conversations with God and wondering what the summer could look like with only three conservation staff for half the time. (Some tears may or may not have been shed.)

Pivot: What it will actually look like.

Since I had been exploring partnerships just out of principle I thought at least I’d be able to run some camps in Smithers and Burns Lake but Houston was going to be another story. Enter the Edge Learning Centre in Smithers. They received funding for two education staff and had time to give. After a wonderful meeting brainstorming a collaboration we came up with a plan to trade my time mentoring and coaching their staff to do a nature camp in Smithers for their time to help me run a nature camp in Houston and attend a couple of the interpretive programs at Tyhee Lake so I wouldn’t be alone. I had also negotiated a similar arrangement with the Village of Burns Lake to bring nature camp to Burns Lake. And as mentioned before there were 8 interpretive programs already planned in Tyhee and Red Bluff Provincial Parks. Wow!

Next I was approached by the Houston Secondary School to see if a couple of their students could do a work experience at the Nature Centre, and by the Houston Christian School high school teacher to see if there was anything I needed done that would keep 25 kids busy for an hour…giving me many hands to make light work of the backyard and other small projects.

And last but certainly not least there are several amazing volunteers who will be helping with summer nature camps and being nature centre attendants which will be a huge help.

I am so grateful for this provision for the next few months for A Rocha in Houston and am reminded of Anne Lamott’s book Help. Thanks. Wow. The Three Essential Prayers. All three of these prayers have definitely been uttered in the past few weeks.

There are still many many projects that we are in need of help with, so if you find yourself with a bit of extra energy and time we would love to explore some ideas with you. Check out some great opportunities here: Volunteer Sign Up

And a huge thank you to all those who have already partnered and volunteered with us. We simply could not do all we do without you. We appreciate you!

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Do you have some extra time on your hands? Are you looking volunteer opportunities in Houston? We need you! Please take a look at our 2024 Volunteer Sign Up form and see what might be a good fit for you! Thank you for your continued support and prayers.

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