Vol 4 No. 16 Urban Camping


Here are some examples of questions that many of you have been asking Rod Olson and that I too have wanted him to use as an opportunity to fill out the picture for us. Rod is a gifted and gracious member our Canadian Baptist of Western Canada family and he and his work are a great encouragement to me.



In Christ

Jeremy Bell


Q ‘n’ A for Urban Camping with Rod Olson

We’ve been hearing about Urban Camping Initiatives for a while now, can you remind us what this ministry entails?

At its basic level, Urban Camping Initiatives is a fund set aside to assist Canadian Baptist churches and young leaders who are eager to creatively engage their neighbours, children and youth in particular, with the good news found in the Story of God.

What are the goals of Urban Camping Initiatives?

First of all, we want to make spaces for children and youth where they can belong, believe and then become discovering the God-inspired intent for their lives. Second, we want the church to once again become fully engaged with the culture – our time of sitting back and waiting for people to come to us is over and we need to continue to move into the neighbourhood so we not only see the need, the trouble, the pain, but that we also see the new life that God resurrects in those dark and broken places.   I guess there are two goals in that one – reaching out – but at the same time being energized because we are given the gift of seeing the redeeming God at work.  Our final goal is to empower and unleash a new breed of leaders within the denomination.  Leaders that know how to stick at something difficult, leaders that don’t wait to be given our permission because their passion, idealism and impulse for social justice calls so loudly that we best not get in the way.  Leaders that know how to benefit the body of Christ and in particular our Canadian Baptist churches.

What is a legitimate idea for Urban Camping funding?

I think the better question is ‘What is God inspiring you to pay attention to?’ Or ‘What issue or problem on your street, in your city is calling out to you?’  Or ‘Who in your church seems to be restless and wants to make a difference?’  If you start with passion, I am ready to fund almost anything you bring that will fit in with the goals mentioned above.  “Free your mind.”  Does that help?

Yes I like that – but for our readers that are more concrete, why not tell us what are some initiatives that you have funded in the past.

We have funded churches that want to set up a day camp type experience in the summer. We have helped well established day camp models expand and have a broader influence in their communities.  We have funded a collaborative camp in Regina between Westhill Park, Regina Christian School, and social organizations.  We have helped Mustard Seed Victoria offer an affordable camping option for inner-city kids to connect and get out of the constant concrete to encounter creation.  We have also funded weekend camps through the year as well as a leadership retreat.  For 2008, there are some exciting options of once a week drop-ins for kids, an arts based camp in Vancouver and the possibility of a social justice camp for grade fives and sixes.

If someone had an idea for an Urban Camping Initiative what are the steps to take?

First they need to contact me, Rod Olson at rod.olson@gmail.com.  Once I know of their interest I will forward the “How to Write a Funding Proposal” which will guide the interested person through the process of applying for funds.  I will also send a document called “Evaluation tool” which is a tool that will help to sharpen the focus of their Urban Camping Initiative.

Once I receive the funding proposal with the budget included, decisions are made regarding the proposals, cheques are sent and children and youth are blessed by the initiatives of people in our denomination.

The final, easy-to-forget step is the follow up report that details how the money was used- how many kids we were able to create space for, how many leaders, and stories of people engaging their neighbourhood.  (I also like to receive thank you letters as a sign that we stand against our culture of entitlement).

Is there still time to receive funding for this year?

A great question Jeremy. There is, in fact, still time.  The deadline to apply for funding for summer initiatives is June 15, 2008.

If you miss that deadline there is another for initiatives during the fall to the end of 2008, which is August 15, 2008.  This enables us to continue to build a strong partnership with the leadership programs at our residential camps and offer real spaces for these young leaders to practice and stretch their leadership skills.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Yes, keep checking the new website at www.cbwc.ca for the inclusion of Urban Camping in the near future.