Getting water with buckets.
It's a success! Our efforts to access potable drinking water from our campsite are finally at an end! Confused? Don’t we already have access to such a basic thing? Well sort of…
We have always served potable water to campers and guests. But, doing so hasn't come without its challenges. Due to our location, we partially rely on nature around us to sustain our campsite. For instance, the water in our pipes flows from a nearby river head. However, as it concerned drinking water, we've had to drive a distance to manually fill water in buckets from an outlet by a spring in the surrounding area.
Members of our team discussing our water project.
While we were thankful for this natural source of potable water, we also longed for a time when we could easily access this in our efforts to provide for our staff, guests and campers. So, we began brainstorming ideas we could use to turn this 'pipe' dream into reality.
Once we settled on an idea, our next step was to figure of how on Earth we would fund something like this. As we sent out sponsorship requests in vain, we nearly began to lose hope. Contrary to our feelings, we prayerfully went ahead with what funds we had in hand – asking God to meet our needs along the way. Doing so required a lot of patience as we continuously waited for God to provide somehow, each step of the way.
Teen Challenge's men digging the foundation of the sump - under the oversight of Lemon, our local mason.
And God came through!
So many people ended up helping once they heard our need. Several friends of New Gen gave money, allowing us to raise $1.6 million Jamaican dollars! This support propelled us to venture into even more unknowns – we now had to trust God to tackle our actual project! Thankfully, God’s provision didn’t end with the donors. A group from Bethel Bible Church (Texas, USA) along with Fredi (a friend of ours from Florida) came down and gave us a BIG hand with the construction work! We even got some help from Teen Challenge Jamaica for half a day.
Talk about answered prayers!
We were very new to this process, yet we persevered – praying for wisdom and learning from our mistakes throughout. Firstly, we built a "sump" to catch water near the spring's outlet. After about a year, this was ready, and we were ready start installing a pump. To do this, we worked throughout another year, building the pump house, purchasing the pump, and laying pipes from the sump all the way to the campsite.
!Our completed sump
Which brings us to this year – 2019. Over the past several months, we’ve laid more pipes from the tanks on our property to our camp’s kitchen. And this October, we FINALLY, saw the fruits of our labour!!! For the first time, we were able to witness drinking water run into the campsite from the sump!
This project began as being somewhat of a daunting task. There were times during these last 3 years, when we felt exhausted and maybe even a bit frustrated that we couldn’t always see how we’d reach the next step – let alone the finish line. But the Lord used our friends to keep us going. Everyone’s unique talents and resources perfectly aligned to meet our exact needs. There was NO way we could’ve seen it through on our own.
New Gen's team joined by the overseas missions team.
Easy access to potable drinking water seems like such a simple concept, and one which many of us may sometimes take for granted in our own lives. But, in reality, it can be quite difficult to gain. Our 3-year journey has, not only given us this access, but also strengthened our faith in God and opened our eyes to what a caring community we have around us. Now that we have better access, we’re excited to see what a huge blessing it will be to our campsite going forward.
For a long time, our A Cappella Camp has been a special place for teenagers to experience the transformational power of music. Now, as we head into our 10th year of this unique camp, we'd like to turn back the clock to see what a huge impact this camp has been having for the past decade.
Above: Rachel accepting a gift from our New Gen team on A Cappella Choir Camp's 5th anniversary!
The idea for this camp was sparked when Rachel Yadu, a Canadian, came to Jamaica and heard of New Generation Camps. She approached us with the aim of starting a camp that harnesses the voices and musical talents of young people. Before long, we were able to attract, not only Jamaicans, but also several other Canadians from Mennonite churches abroad who helped to both sponsor and volunteer at the camp. Since then, our network of local and overseas support has only continued to grow, and now even includes churches in the United States which see the powerful effect our camp has had on Jamaica’s youth.
Above: Uncle Cam teaching campers music theory!
In fact, many of our overseas friends have volunteered as counselors, teachers and choir directors and have worked tirelessly with campers to learn a variety of songs and valuable musical concepts. It takes a lot of commitment on campers’ part as well to learn the material, follow directions and work together as a group. But, by the end of each week, they can see their hard work pay off in a BIG way when they perform at our annual end-of-camp concert in front family and friends.
“It’s fun to see the lights come on in the kids’ eyes when they catch unto to one of the parts that they’re singing. And then the sound that we get by the middle or the end of the week […] is so much different from the beginning. It’s so amazing to see the change.”
- Dwylyn (Choir Director)
Above: One of our campers singing her solo with confidence!
We’ve tended to choose diverse sets of inspirational songs, some of which are a bit more technical and harder to sing than others. But we’re happy to say that, time after time, we’ve watched in amazement as campers eagerly rise to meet the challenge. This is has usually been helped by the fact that our songs have wonderful melodies and lyrics which are fun to sing.
“We have had testimonies from students who remarked that in difficult times the words of the songs would come to their minds. I believe that music is a powerful tool that the Holy Spirit can use to guide these young souls in their daily lives.”
- Rachel (co-founder of A Cappella Camp)
Above: Several campers hanging out in our dining hall
But it wouldn’t be New Gen, without those quintessential hallmarks of camp! Apart from music, campers also enjoy swimming, sports, games, a campfire and more! Plus, after so much time spent with one another over yummy meals, in tents, and in classes – the campers all become close friends by the end of each week.
“You get to be away from all the stresses of life for a little bit. All the people are amazing. [...] You get to learn a lot. You get to build your relationship with God. You know, when you leave there, you get to leave with friends you can have for life […] The feeling that you get when you're there, it stays with you for a very long time even after camp has ended.”
- Sekayi (former camper turned counselor)
Above: Our campers and counselors from 2019!
It's been 10 amazing years of watching God work in the lives of all who pass through this special camp. If you think you’d like to join this incredible legacy, as a camper or counselor, just let us know! You can learn more about the upcoming A Cappella Choir Camp experience here.
Before camp this year, we received a testimony from someone whose family has been blessed by our ministry!
Above: Matthew and Katrina as counselors!
“My niece and nephew [Matthew and Katrina] will be serving as counselors at one of your Summer camps this year. They are excited to be giving back. They appreciate what Auntie Marjorie had done for them. It helped to boost their self-esteem with Christ. Thanks for New Generation!”
Above: Katrina with her girls at camp!
Over time, we’ve watched these young people of God, blossom into the kind, confident leaders they are today.
Above: Marjorie with her campers ... And there's young Matthew in the light yellow shirt!
We are so encouraged and moved by this testimony. Marjorie, Judith's mom, was a firm believer of helping children to get to camp. She went around raising funds to make sure this happened. She would also take time to sit and get to know different children at camp. She loved them deeply, and it was clear that they loved her too!
Above: Matthew hanging with his group of guys
Thank God for Marjorie's legacy - and for the children, now young adults that call her blessed! One generation to another.... declaring God's mighty acts!
Our dear friends, Beth and Brandon DeHamer (from Colorado, USA), have been coming to New Generation Camp for many years now. They’ve even brought their baby girls to expose them to camp life!
This past week they left their girls in the care of grandparents and, together, Beth and Brandon came to support our Ultimate Series Camp (14 - 17 year olds). Beth led a jewellery Hobby Shop ...
... While Brandon led a baking one! They also decided to bring a suitcase with cool items to make it really fun for the participants.
Over the past several years, this caring couple has transitioned from our junior counselling team to our senior staff, providing technical support and encouraging younger staff in New Gen's culture and values. Their servant attitude and calm, Godly wisdom is appreciated by campers and staff alike.
Thanks Brandon and Beth for yet another year of service!
The kitchen became the main focus of our efforts as we mounted the new knife rack and sink, and refurbished the preparation tables. Midweek, we traveled to Trench Town, visiting the Operation Restoration Christian School (ORCS) and interacting with students and teachers. We shared supplies, words of encouragement and prayer with all at the school. On Friday, the school came to camp and participated in scripture teaching and challenging activities.
Seasons of Change!
New things are happening at New Generation!
In January of 2018, we welcomed Phyleshia Hendricks as our new Bookkeeper! Now, at the start of 2019, our team has grown yet again due to the addition of our Digital Communications Specialist, Kathryn Meghoo, and our Administrator, Joelle Rattray. Let’s look at what our new team members think about working at New Gen so far!
“I am happy to be working at New Gen because it is where my relationship with God became more real and genuine after going to the Discovery Summer Camp when I was 12 Years old. It means a lot to me to be able to continue to establish the same place that established my relationship with God. [Plus,] I have always wanted to work in ministry and be a missionary since I was a little girl while at the same time using my artistic talents.”
- Kathryn Meghoo
“There is no greater feeling than serving and working alongside my fellow brothers and sister[s] in the faith. This brings me great joy knowing that we are all working together with the aim of bringing people to Christ along with allowing them to develop [a] greater love for Christ, no matter the roles we play. I am truly grateful to Christ and New Gen for allowing me to be a part of such a transformational oasis which allows me to do what I love which is accounting and spreading the love of Christ to one and all.”
- Phyleshia Hendricks
“I think it’s such a pleasure to work with like-minded people who have a passion for what they do. The open and welcoming persons at New Gen make it so easy to feel like part of the family. I also really like working in an organization which has the incredible mission to bringing up a new generation of people who are transformed in Christ. As a former camp counsellor, I saw how New Gen sews spiritual seeds into the hearts of children. Now, as a more official part of the team, I’m excited to see how New Gen impacts, not only children, but everyone they serve.”
- Joelle Rattray
As we wave hello to these new faces, we’re also saying goodbye to some old ones .
In December, God decided to steer Stefon Spleen, our Programs Manager for 3 years, in a new direction in his career. Although, we can’t wait to see what God has in store for him, we were, of course, sad to see him go. Our Managing Director, Judith Lewis, looked back at Stefon’s time with us here ...
"Engaging children and teens in play is so key to our camp ministry and this is what Stefon did best. As our Programs Manager, he could quickly build trust with a counselor or camper over an activity he was introducing like 9-square in the air, or a staple activity like football. Stefon loved being at camp and seeing campers connect with each other and with God. We loved his input on our Management team and will miss him even as we pray for success in his new adventures."
Monique Spleen will also be gone for a while as she and her husband prepare to welcome their new baby into the world! During Monique’s maternity leave, Joelle will fill in as our Retreat Manager later on this year. We’re so excited for the Spleens and we know God will walk with them through this new adventure in their lives.
Looks like 2019 is shaping up to be quite a year! Change, no matter how big or small, can be a bit daunting at first. But we know that, in the midst of it, we can always trust God. So here’s to embracing every new season with open hearts and minds!
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
- Isaiah 43:19
Having a Blast at Stop-By-Days!
In December we hosted another one of our Stop-By-Days: Christmas edition! Stop-By-Days is a time when we invite friends of New Gen – past and current campers, counselors, parents and donors – to ‘stop-by’ and enjoy the campsite. During this couple of days, we got a chance to catch up, encourage each other, and have fun!
The days were PACKED with excitement. Judith, our managing director, saw the campsite through the eyes of a family visiting for the very first time. She witnessed how a nervous father eventually loved seeing his daughters challenge themselves on our adventure course. She also saw a mother and daughter reluctantly take a plunge into the cold, Cranbrook river, only to then enjoy it so much that they stayed in as long as they could.
"The stop-by days were a blast for the kids. They loved the activities and being around other kids their age. For me, it was a welcomed break to have them in a safe contained space outdoors where it was ok for them to play and have fun."
- Kibibi Thomas, mother of 2
We also enjoyed some quieter moments. We got creative on an art project and enjoyed tasty s'mores while singing silly songs together. Even the drive down to the campsite allowed one of our team members, Monique, to get closer to 2 of our campers. These moments of downtime helped us to have deeper conversations and really get to know one another.
“I […] remember the reflection time we had as a big group. I think it was helpful to just stop for a few minutes and think about different “storms” God has taken and/or is taking us through and have that comforting reminder that though He doesn’t always calm the storms, He promises to be there with us through them.”
- Monique, Guest Service Manager
Stop-By-Days was an AMAZING time full of fun, friendship and faith! We cherished every moment we had as a New Gen family and hope to see you at the next one!
My visit with Arianne in Sweden
Written by Nel Blanken
On my travels in Europe this Summer, I fulfilled one of my long-time dreams of visiting with Arianne in Sweden. Arianne, who is Jamaican, was around when we were still bushing the campsite in the mid- nineties. She enthusiastically was part of all those early developments, as camper, as leader and as intercessor, both in the Christian Student movement and in New Generation Camps. She felt called to minister to Muslims. Then she met her husband, a Swede, at YWAM and moved to Sweden in 2001. Arianne wondered what would become of her calling. In the meantime they had 2 children and Arianne learnt the language, and even now works as a dedicated teacher.
I am so fascinated about her journey of integration and how she makes her mark, as a Jamaican (no qualms about her style of worship and very clear about her faith in a secular society). Her calling? There are Muslims and many others around who she is prepared to share the Joy with, that she has. Arianne has not forgotten her roots and continues to support New Generation on a regular base. It was such a delight to see her and her family, her school and church environment! Thanks Arianne for the example you are to so many! Big up and love to you and your family!
Building on UK connections
Written by Judith Lewis
NewGen is honored to have friends all over the world. While in the UK this April I got to connect with two families who lived in Jamaica for a few years in the 1980s. My husband, Ricardo, and I spent a cold yet lovely day in Cambridge with Richard and Mary Leveritt and we also had great conversation over a meal with Lloyd and Dorothy Dwyer in Croyden.
My main purpose in the UK was to attend a Board meeting for Christian Camping International - Worldwide. It's an honor to serve on a board of camping veterans who have a heart for what God is doing through this ministry. CCI-WW is in transition this year as our International Director for 10 years hands over the baton to a new leader. We celebrate all that Dan Bolin accomplished as he faithfully served in this ministry and we pray for Mark Heasman as takes on the baton.
Teambuilding with CARIFTA Swim Championship Team 2018
Come join the water movement!” That was the slogan for the recent swim meet held in Jamaica over Easter, and New Generation is happy to say we joined the water movement!!
When New Generation first began offering team building training to groups, one of our target groups was the various sporting teams which represent Jamaica. Nobody knew us then, so nobody took up our offer. But 15 years and the word is getting out, and we were asked to train the CARFITA Swim team.
The CARIFTA games is an annual sporting competition between all the countries in the English speaking Caribbean, featuring high school students. The main championships is the one featuring athletics, but there is also a Swimming Championship which has been held since 1985. Last year Jamaica placed 6th, and with the championships being held in Jamaica this year, the push was on to finish in the top three.
Enter New Generation. A team of us put the young people through their paces, pushing them to work together as a team, eschewing their selfish individual goals for the good of the country. We believe we played a small part in the team moving from 6th place to 3rdplace this year, and they were just a couple points out of second.
Way to go Team Jamaica!!!