Vol 7 No. 23 Calley and Carrie Erickson and Zao Ministries

Dear Folks,

Calley and Carrie Erickson have been involved in youth and camping ministry and its related work for several years. Most recently, they have been resident at Mill Creek Camp in Alberta and are now well ensconced on Vancouver Island for a wonderful new camping concept and idea that is described below. I have asked them both to respond to a series of questions and I deeply appreciate their willingness to do so. The Erickson family is living presently at Shawnigan Lake, just south of Duncan, BC, but will be leading their contingent of Vancouver Island campers to Keats Island over the summer months.



In Christ,




1.  You both have interesting ministry experience history.  Could you tell us about it?
We have both grown up in the local church and have found purpose in serving the local church for as long as we can remember.  Our full time service had us learning and serving in the community of First Baptist Church, Lethbridge, AB in their College & Career Groups, Children & Families, and Youth.  Our natural love for camp though had us transition to full time camp ministry at Mill Creek Baptist Camp.  This shouldn’t have been a huge surprise as Carrie has spent every summer at camp since she was about 14 and had been working with Mill Creek building their Leadership Development Program and leading their main camp program.


 2.  What lead you to BC?After 8 years of co-directing at Mill Creek together we knew that God had a new season for us.  We weren’t sure what was in store for us, but upon learning about the passion that the Sylvan Acres Board had for a year round ministry centre with passions for creation care and lifelong discipleship/evangelism we knew that we had to apply.


3.  The camp you were called to has an important story.  It includes a new name.  Could you share a bit about that?

After serving for the past few months helping to shape the next chapter for Zao we are excited to be leading the transition to Zao Ministries – connecting people to Christ’s simple, just & faithful life.  Zao, the word living in Greek, is what we are trying to inspire on Vancouver Island – living every aspect of life to the full.  We dream of inspiring people to not only connect with the source of life – God, but to live properly in relationship with ourselves (living simply), in relationship with our neighbours (live justly), and in relationship with our God (live faithfully).  Sylvan Acres had been operating camps for over 50 years on Vancouver Island and from the stories we hear we know that this ministry has impacted not only the hundreds who attended, but the entire island because of the difference it was making in peoples lives.  With this new season, new property, and new direction – we have renamed Sylvan Acres.  We have done this to be clear about some of the changes in direction and so that, while we appreciate and respect the past we don’t live in the past, but rather in the present with our eyes on the future.


4.  What are the hopes/dreams you and the Board have for the camp?

Zao Ministries is a place that we, with our Board, dream will impact Vancouver Island by being a place of radical welcome and hospitality; by journeying with Young Adults to help keep them connected to Christ’s simple, just & faithful life through community and service; and to offer summer camp opportunities to families, children & youth on Vancouver Island.  We imagine the ministry will have an ethos of joy, play, living sustainably and farming.  We look forward to how it is going to be shaped in the months to come.


5.  What are your immediate plans for next year and how can we pray for you?

At this immediate time we are working with Keats Camps to take campers to Keats Island and offer them a great week, sharing what God is doing in our lives and helping them recognize God’s love in their own lives.  We are working on purchasing a piece of property on Vancouver Island to be the home of the ministry coming out of summer camp.  With our hope on God providing the land, we look forward to the work that will before us as we transition it into a ministry home and a place of retreats, gatherings, community, and summer camps that will come in the future.


Please pray for our land acquiring as well as for the campers and staff that are attending camp this summer.