Welcome to CAMP: A Four-day Island Retreat for SFU Students

January 28, 2022

By Claire Patterson

We hope everyone who attended CAMP 2022 had fun! Don’t want to wait for another year to get the experience? Check out our summer 2022 Semester in Trust, Money and Power: Funding Change, a 7-week immersive course that explores how to fund social and environmental change. ⁠

You wake up at the near end of February on a small island off the coast of Vancouver to a view of the mountainous horizon just beyond the ocean. Far away from the setting of a traditional university classroom, but you are surrounded by other students, each of which is here with a similar purpose, to create meaningful connections, gain skills in leadership and self-care, reflect and have fun. You are at CAMP, a four-day sleepaway retreat on Gambier Island where you are spending your reading break alongside other university students including a team of CAMP leaders, who are students too. Together you form a community, share delicious meals, inspire one another and create memories. 

The SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue is hosting the second annual CAMP retreat for first and second-year university students this coming reading break. The idea for CAMP was born in 2020 after the pandemic isolated students through online learning and lockdowns. This especially affected new students who were not able to see the inside of a university classroom let alone form meaningful connections with their classmates.

CAMP aimed to forge connections between new students through dialogue. Dialogue focuses on deep and active listening. It requires an absence of judgment and allows individuals the opportunity to understand each other more deeply. The first CAMP retreat took place online with virtual yoga and mindfulness activities, live music, creative games, competitions to win prizes, journaling and practice in how to use dialogue. Participants left with new friends and skills in dialogue which are not only vital in caring for community and creating new connections but build the foundation to become a good communicator. You can also learn about these skill in our summer 2022 Semester in Trust, Money & Power: Funding Change.

CAMP also acts as a taste of a Semester in Dialogue experience at SFU, which is consistently ranked as students’ favorite course. Many of the CAMP facilitators are alumni from the Semester in Dialogue program such as Sarah Law. Sarah spoke upon her experience with dialogue, “Healing, connection, and love” were the things that dialogue brought her that “changed her for the better”. “I am a better student, caretaker, and friend because of the relationships I made at the retreat. The connections you make here are life-changing and life-giving. I found my purpose and liberation in dialogue. Everyone should experience what it feels like to show up as your authentic self and find belonging too” says Sarah.

This year CAMP is growing! We are moving off-line and into nature. Participants will travel by ferry to beautiful Gambier Island where they will stay in cabins, have campfires and connect with each other and nature. At CAMP you will have conversations to help you gain insight into complex problems, be given opportunities to listen and speak from many diverse perspectives and have time for self-reflection and self-care to help you assess your own skills and abilities.

CAMP is open to all first and second-year SFU students and is a space for self-exploration. The experience of CAMP aims to be intersectional, accessible and inclusive. Come as yourself, discover, grow as a community and develop the skills to thrive in and outside of university.

Want less talk, more conversation? Sign up for dialogue in your inbox.

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Email: *

How would you like to engage with us?