There was a buzz of excitement leading up to our first Kinbrace Thanksgiving weekend . In the days before the trip, conversations about work permits and hearing dates were interrupted with questions like “are we really going to an island?” and “how tall is the mountain we’re going to climb?”
Most residents were excited as soon as they heard about the 2-night trip to Daybreak Camp on Anvil Island. Some, however, were worried that their stresses of finding an apartment for $375 (the current welfare rate), or affording a trustworthy lawyer, would follow them across the water and make it too difficult to relax.
After words of reassurance, 50 members of the Kinbrace Community packed their bags and waited, with both fear and anticipation, for the weekend to come!
Saturday morning dawned with clear blue skies and a hot October sun. Everyone piled into buses donated by St. Francis of Assisi School and made the beautiful drive to Porteau Cove. Kids sang songs and everyone smiled for photos as the boats arrived to carry us across Howe Sound.
Within minutes of arriving at camp, people were already throwing frisbees, organizing beach volleyball games, and trying to guess which cabin they would be sleeping in. Any previous anxieties gave way to laughter, smiles, and the evident joy that comes from being in a beautiful place.
The sun shone all weekend long.
We hiked to a mountain look-out, visited a beautiful pebble beach, had a roaring bonfire, swam, boated, danced, and enjoyed a glorious Thanksgiving feast together.
As the weekend came to a close we piled back onto boats and set sail for the mainland. One resident, who has felt especially burdened this past month with the lack of a work permit and the loss of family back home, came and sat beside me. As we gazed out at the ocean surrounding us he waved his hand across the expanse of islands and said “Emily, everything is new. Never have I seen anything like this before.” There was a pause as he marveled at the scene before him and the weekend he had just experienced. As we boated back towards Kinbrace, and the stress that would ultimately return, he looked at me and said “I am so lucky Emily… I am so lucky”.
And my heart was full.