Apr 302015

By Rachel Davey


Morag in Thunderbird’s new entrance foyer in the making

Work on the Thunderbird dorms has been underway for a month now, and we are all very excited at the progress made and the opportunities this new style of accommodation will offer. Recently, we identified ‘the art and science of living well, together’ as part of the essence of programs at The Haven. As we get further into the Thunderbird dorm project, it’s becoming clear that this also encapsulates the essence of what the dorms will be.

This project looks both to the past and the future. It has always been a feature of Haven programs to share accommodation space with others. This was more common in the past than now, and we still have a significant number of participants who share a room with someone they have never met before. We know that lifelong friendships have sometimes been the result, and sharing has always been a great opportunity to practice the Communication Model, if nothing else! For David Beckwermert, who donated the funds to create the dorms, his experience of having to share a room was an unforgettable (and not entirely comfortable!) experience, rich with learning. Whereas Haven rooms have to date allowed two or three people to share, the dorms will hold up to six people in one space.

The future aspect of the dorms is the focus on micro living, making the most of a small space. A great deal of thought has gone into making the space comfortable and as private as possible. We can’t control the human beings involved of course, but we can consider issues such as heating, light, noise, storage and privacy and how that might support the idea of living well together. Rather than building one huge dormitory, we have kept the idea of three separate spaces (formerly rooms 135, 136 and 137), each with their own washroom. Given the limited amount of space, we are also ensuring that shared spaces, like the Satir (TV) and Bugenthal (Games) rooms in the Orca building are fully equipped to be used more often than now.

The result will be a cozy and comfortable place to sleep, and an affordable accommodation option that we are fully expecting to become one of our most popular buildings to stay in. We look forward to welcoming our first guests at the end of June.

Apr 302015

By Cathy McNally

Cathy McNallyWow! Many things converging in my life – like a gift.

Yesterday I turned 60.

May 1, I have the pleasure of joining Rachel on The Haven’s monthly Q&A online session, topic: listening.

May 10–15, I am representing The Haven in Greece at the Centers Gathering!

So what is the thread here? In Confucian writing about aging, the wisdom goes: “at sixty my ear was attuned” – which I take to mean I am ready to listen well, hearing more of what is truly offered. This is a good thing because I believe that ‘listening’ is my primary task at the gathering in Greece.

The original impulse for International Holistic Centers Gatherings is still inherent today: a recognition of the genuine value in the Centers meeting in a relaxed way to exchange insights, information, and best practices – in a spirit of friendship, collaboration and mutual support. Centers come from all around the world, and broadly have – at their core – a shared intention to support improvement in the lives of the many thousands who attend their programs.


This year’s Centers Gathering is on the Pelion Peninsula in Greece. The film Mama Mia with Meryl Streep was filmed here!


At each gathering there is not a fixed formal program of speeches and presentations, rather each center is invited to propose their offering, and request any support they seek. The gathering self organizes, and – in my experience (I attended in 2005 and 2006) – the results are remarkable, bringing significant impact for all.

I am excited and looking forward to this journey. It is my intention to write and share about my experience as it unfolds.

Thanks for listening!


 Posted by at 12:27 pm
Apr 262015

We recently received this wonderful Come Alive testimonialCome Alive Howard Thurman W&W

I have been a career Emergency Medicine Physician for 30 years, currently practicing in Edmonton. I had two weeks off in my emergency department schedule and was exploring holiday/educational opportunities. There was a major Emergency Medicine conference in Las Vegas and I was all set to register when I recalled my wife telling me about her Haven experience. I went on line and discovered the Come Alive program on those same dates. I must have been ready for something different because I chose the less ‘comfortable’ option and came to Gabriola. This was the best decision I could have made. Not only was this an incredible journey of personal self-discovery, I believe it will make me a better physician. Much more so than any of the medical conferences I have attended over my career.

I have worked a number of clinical shifts in the ER since my return and have developed a new approach which has provided a more gratifying experience for both me and my patients. Taking time, taking deep breaths, being fully present, touching, using different communication skills … all have made me a better clinician. One interesting technique I have developed is, when listening to someone’s chest and asking them to take “deep breaths”, I have been doing the same … it has allowed me to slow down and be in that moment, not thinking about the next patient or what test I need to order, etc.

I have nothing but positive things to say about the program and the leadership of David Raithby, Gisela Sartori and all the staff. I learned so much about myself and it has allowed me to ‘Come Alive’ in many ways.

Thanks again. I will be back for another of your programs in the near future.


Register for Come Alive here.

Mar 312015

Tbird dorms Breaking Ground March 28On Monday March 30 we officially (and symbolically) ‘broke ground’ on the latest project under the Haven Facilities Masterplan, the conversion of three of the rooms in the Thunderbird building to purpose built dorms. Pictured here is Project Manager Vince Iameo of Architrave Design Build on Gabriola and The Haven’s Housekeeping and Facilities Project Manager, Nellie Bonin. Both were closely involved with the Masterplan and are excited to see this project come into being.

The need for dorms became clear to us as we were developing the Facilities Masterplan. Every year in the summer we struggle to provide high quality, high density accommodation for our growing numbers of youth leaders. Through the rest of the year, we want to offer a range of accommodation options to make it possible for as many participants as possible to stay at The Haven. Sharing accommodation has been an option at The Haven since its founding, and many lifelong friendships have come about in this way, not to mention frequent opportunities to practice the Communication Model!

As with so many of our projects, we are able to move forward thanks to the generous support of a donor. David Beckwermert, a long-time friend of The Haven as a participant, parent and major donor, has gifted us with the budget for this project. In discussions with David, he shared how much he benefitted from the experience of sharing a room at The Haven, despite some initial resistance! So the creation of the Thunderbird dorms seemed like a perfect fit with his aspiration that The Haven should continue to thrive.

Three of the rooms in Thunderbird will be converted into purpose built and comfortable dorms, with three separate bathroom blocks. The plans have been created with privacy and comfort as important fundamental principles. The Thunderbird building is one that the Facilities Masterplan intended to remain in place for the foreseeable future, as its foundations house the second biggest water cistern on the property, so it is a vital part of our water infrastructure. It was also one of the last buildings to be constructed during the ‘construction boom’ during the first 12 years of The Haven, so it is well constructed and built to recent code specifications.

We will keep you updated with progress as the project unfolds. The dorms will be ready in time to welcome our guests in the summer.

 Posted by at 9:23 am
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