BC Teen Challenge representative Ben Vermeulen holds up a piece of ribbon he cut in celebration of the Saturday

Faith-based addictions camp opens at Cowichan Lake

Never mind their addiction, Cowichan Lake’s brand new faith-based addictions camp is ready to take in men that are ready to fight off their demons.

  • Oct. 3, 2011 12:00 p.m.


Drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography.

Never mind their addiction, Cowichan Lake’s brand new faith-based addictions camp is ready to take in men that are ready to fight off their demons.

“It’s any addiction. Addiction is addiction. We leave it at the gate,” the camp’s operation’s manager Steve Pippin told a group of people during a tour of the facilities, Saturday, October 1, during its grand opening celebration.

This brand new camp is the Vancouver Island Men’s Centre, of the Teen Challenge organization; an organization operating in 91 countries, with 27,000 beds.

Although called Teen Challenge, the program accepts participants aged 19 and older.

Cowichan Lake’s camp is located at the previously vacant Sylvan Acres Bible Camp property, consisting of 38 acres north of Lake Cowichan, near the Meade Creek Recycling Depot.

Although the facility has the capacity for 30 participants, it currently has only five.

“We’re hoping to be at 15 for the winter. We take locally, and all over,” Teen Challenge pastor Andy Peters said.

The full program is one year in duration, though as a voluntary program participants are able to leave whenever they choose.

The program’s purported 87 per cent success rate isn’t about participants simply scraping by after they leave, Peters said.

“It’s not just about being sober and clean, but it’s being successful, and giving back to the community,” he clarified.

The one-year program has participants adhering to a very strict schedule that beings at either 5:30 a.m. or 7 a.m., depending on the day.

Each day can filled out by prayer and bible study, work detail, classroom time, study time with a learning package titled Group Studies for New Christians, and recreation, alongside other personal development exercises and activities.

The first six months of the program is more generic, while the second half is individually tailored to help prepare each participant to re-enter the world in whatever capacity they aspire to re-enter it in.

Each participant’s intake fee of $1,000 merely scrapes the surface of the $25,000 per student yearly cost to the program.

This is where the community can become involved.

“To make this centre work, we need the help of everyone in this circle,” executive director Brian Pearson said. “We’re not only going to get people off drugs, but we’re getting leaders.”

Participants can be hired for odd jobs, including trades-specific duties, depending on what training the participants at the time have.

Old vehicles can also be donated. Participants at the local camp have fixed-up and re-sold five vehicles in the past month alone.

“They’re also great in the kitchen,” Peters said, of catering work participants can be hired to do.

The camp also has a  “Blessings Room,” where donations of various items are also accepted.

“If we can’t use it, we bless, or give, it to others,” Peters said.

Although last weekend marked the camp’s grand re-opening, organizers would still like to see some more improvements to the property.

“We would like to utilize all this space,” Peters said.

More information on the new camp can be found at their internet website, at www.bcteenchallenge.com.


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