Our CBOQ Youth flagship retreats approach their 22nd year. Last year was our first ever fully online retreat experience. We were amazed at how God continues to bring his message of hope through these new channels for us.

Many were asking, “What will Avalanche and Blizzard look like this January/February 2022?”

Our aim was to host a hybrid retreat experience for both Avalanche and Blizzard.

  1. Onsite at Muskoka Woods
  2. Satellite for groups gathering locally whether in-person or online

On December 30, 2021 and January 3, 2022, the Ontario government released its updated response to the Omicron variant. Some key details include:

  • PCR testing is only available for high-risk individuals and workers/residents in high-risk settings; the general public with no/mild symptoms will not be tested
  • Individuals showing COVID symptoms (along with their households) are required to isolate for at least 5 days
  • The beginning of in-person learning at schools will be postponed to January 17
  • Reduced meeting capacity is important in limiting numbers of people gathering together
  • It is presumed that community spread will increase in the coming weeks

On January 4, 2022, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit announced no overnight camps (including Muskoka W00ds) can operate until at least January 26.

Given these announcements, we will not be able to host our retreats at Muskoka Woods this year.

We will continue to move ahead with our satellite option that has always been part of our plan. Your youth ministry may choose to gather in-person or meet online for that weekend. Our intention is to still host a weekend experience where we seek to:

  • Create a space for students and leaders to meet Jesus, possibly in a different way than they’re used to
  • Empower leaders to be the “pastors and priests” of their youth in their faith journey
  • Model and experiment with different elements of youth ministry
  • Exemplify God’s kingdom that extends beyond our local churches and the Baptist family

In the coming days, for those choosing to join us during the weekend (registration is still available at cboqyouth.ca/avalanche2022 and cboqyouth.ca/blizzard2022), we will provide details on ways youth and leaders can participate throughout the retreat. Moreover, we are excited that some of the work initiated at Avalanche and Blizzard can be extended through Alpha’s Life Shared series (https://lifesharedseries.com/).

We also recognize that our theme this year, “IG Story – In God’s Story” extends beyond January 16. We recognize some groups, especially during these coming weeks where it may be challenging to gather either in-person or online. The content of both retreats will be repurposed for you to use in your own group weekend experience or as part of your youth ministry program in the future. You can contact Alvin for any assistance you need.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to contact Alvin (alau@baptist.ca, 416-620-2946).

We believe Jesus’s challenge to his church to invite others into his story doesn’t stop with the pandemic. We believe he provides new (and often unexpected) opportunities to invite others into that story. It is our prayer that Avalanche can be part of that continued mission alongside you and our friends at your church.

Revised: January 4, 2022