MALIBU, CANADA - While most students were enjoying a well-deserved break from school the Saturday after school got out, 29 students and four adults assembled for a morning departure to Malibu, Canada.
The group was heading up to a Young Life summer camp located in the gorgeous Princess Louisa Inlet on the west coast of Canada. The camp was originally built by Tod Hamilton, owner of Hamilton Standard Propeller, in the 1940s. It was there that he entertained many of his rich friends from Hollywood. However, when they lost interest in it, the property was sold to Young Life founder Jim Rayburn, and the first campers arrived in 1954.
Fifty-one years later, Grant County's Young Life campers were faced with a long trip up to Malibu, including about 15 hours on the bus and four hours total on two different ferries. Since the trip took two days, they spent Saturday night at Accent Inn in Vancouver, Canada.
The last leg of the journey was a ride on the Malibu Princess, a ferry that belonged to the Malibu club. Since the camp is only accessible by air or sea, all the Young Life campers, including some clubs from Montana, Idaho and Colorado, met to ride the ferry together. When the ferry docked, the campers were met by excited high school and college volunteers and Malibu staff members.
The campers were assigned to rooms (known as cabins) in buildings with names such as Nootka, Sootka, or Lilloet. Each cabin had eight to 10 students and one adult, and the campers in each cabin were all from the same town.
Throughout the week, the campers enjoyed such activities as wake-boarding, rock climbing, waterskiing, inner tubing, hiking and playing frisbee golf. They also went on a tour to Chatterbox Falls, a majestic waterfall on one of the mountains surrounding Malibu.
In the evenings, all the campers attended club, which lasted from one and one-half hours to two hours, and was filled with singing, skits and games. Toward the end of club time, speaker Dave Keynote gave a talk about God, and then the campers headed off to their respective cabins where they had "cabin time," a time when they discussed with the other campers in their cabin what they had learned from the speaker.
After cabin time, the staff at Malibu always had some sort of surprise in mind for the campers, such as a live concert from Jonah Werner, a musician who also sang at club and had released a CD, which was on sale at Malibu's store.
One of the camp's highlights included the night-time obstacle course where staff members had to hold flashlights so campers could see where they were going. The obstacle course included a waterslide, a water balloon attack, and culminated with a group tandem jump into the ice-cold inlet water.
Another highlight was the pirate night, when everyone dressed up as pirates for dinner. After dinner, the campers had a dance party that ended with a conga line that went straight into the pool, which was not heated, but if you're at Malibu, you get used to getting wet.
The last day was a sad day for everyone, as staff members lined up to give farewell handshakes to the campers as they boarded the Malibu Princess once again. Much to the surprise of the campers, as the ferry slowly left the shore, the Malibu staff ran off the dock and jumped into the cold inlet waters.
Unfortunately, when the Malibu Princess docked at the other side of the inlet, Grant County's Young Life group found that their bus was not waiting for them. It had broken down, and in order to get home on time, the campers rode on buses with other groups until they reached Pendleton, where a rented Pendleton school bus drove them to John Day.
Even after all the trouble getting home, and the hours of effort put into fund-raising, the group agrees that it was totally worth it.