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Experiencing Spiritual Growth Through Outdoor Adventure

Steven Lofting (College) tells the rich story of his Briercrest journey, which began with the Kaléo Leadership Program that takes place at Camp Qwanoes. This camp on Vancouver Island, BC, was founded by his grandparents and has been an integral part of Steven's life.

Kaléo is an eight-month leadership program created by Camp Qwanoes and Briercrest College to develop young Christian leaders. Camp Qwanoes is truly a unique setting for a unique program. Located in beautiful British Columbia, the camp is well suited for the program’s outdoor adventures—from ski and snowboard trips, cold-water surfing and sailing, caving, and many other west coast adventures

Qwanoes is also an ideal location for the retreat component of the program. God works to change lives in the camp's serene location since it is ideal for discovering, experiencing, and sharing life. It is a space free from distractions where you can hear the voice of God while being part of a community of believers who will speak truth into your life. Kaléo is not a typical classroom.

Steven is in his fifth year as a double major student in the Biblical Studies and Christian Ministry programs at Briercrest. He started his Briercrest education with Kaléo, where he developed his spiritual and academic foundations with the advantage of being surrounded by a community that really knew him. Additionally, he is using skills he gained at Camp Qwanoes to fill the role of Briercrest's videographer. 

The impact of Kaléo on Steven’s life has been invaluable. Here is his story of how God grew his faith at camp, then developed it at Briercrest:

"My grandparents, Ken and Betty Bayley have been involved with Camp Qwanoes ever since its very beginning in 1966. My grandpa was actually on the original search committee that was tasked with finding the perfect property for the new camp! They have continued to serve at Qwanoes in many different roles over the past 56 years, with my grandpa serving as the director for many years.

They raised their kids (my mom, aunt, and uncle) surrounded by camp, and my parents raised my brothers and me the same way! My parents even worked together at Qwanoes for several summers before I was born, and my Uncle Scott and Aunt Julie are currently serving at Qwanoes as directors. So the familial ties to Camp Qwanoes run very deep for me."

Steven began at Camp Qwanoes as a camper, then became staff.
Steven began at Camp Qwanoes as a camper, then became staff.

"Having been a camper and staff member at Camp Qwanoes on Vancouver Island for many years, I had grown up hearing about this first-year adventure-based college program that’s a partnership between Briercrest College and Qwanoes and takes place at the camp. 

A few years after high school, though I had no plans to continue my education, I felt God prompting me strongly to apply for Kaléo. 

I did it, and my life has never been the same. 

Jesus shaped me profoundly through all the aspects of that program, and for the first time, I began to harbour a great passion for learning, a hunger to understand better God’s Word, and a desire to pursue the calling of full-time ministry Jesus had placed in my heart. After that extremely formative year, it was a very natural choice for me to move to Caronport and continue my education on-campus at Briercrest."

Jesus shaped me profoundly through all the aspects of that program, and for the first time, I began to harbour a great passion for learning, a hunger to understand better God's Word, and a desire to pursue the calling of full-time ministry Jesus had placed in my heart.

"I now serve at Briercrest mainly in my role as Videographer for Marketing and Communications, which I started this Fall as a staff member after working three years as a student worker. I’m also the Coordinator of the College Chapel Tech Team, and I’ve done that for the last two years. 

Putting my skills and love for media to use in these areas has been really fulfilling for me. I’m so thankful that I’ve been given many opportunities to improve upon my abilities and even get chances to teach others what I’ve learned. Getting the opportunity to equip others with the knowledge of how to operate a camera, run a sound console, or even oversee live streaming events—and then seeing them put those newfound skills to use with excellence, that’s always amazing for me to see. 

Of course, having a job where I get to be creative, filming and editing videos weekly, that’s wonderful too. I really love having opportunities to capture what God is doing on campus, whether that’s times when the missional work is very apparent (like at a huge YQ retreat) or times when I’m capturing people or work that often goes unnoticed but is having just as big of an impact (like in the retirement celebration of a beloved faculty member)."

Steven's start as videographer for Camp Qwanoes lead to his employment at Briercrest.
Steven's start as videographer for Camp Qwanoes lead to his employment at Briercrest.

Education That Disciples

"To be discipled by my education, to me, means that people are coming alongside me to mentor me in what I’m learning, challenging me to grow, and walking with me in whatever questions I may have. These are all things I’ve continually had in my years at Briercrest.

Learning doesn’t just happen in the classrooms here; it continues to happen throughout all aspects of day-to-day life.

I know that I’ve seen discipleship happen in my own life at Briercrest in many ways. A big one has been getting to serve in so many areas at the school where I’ve had amazing leaders pouring into me—leaders seeking after Christ’s example of servant leadership and showing me practically what it means to lead people humbly and lovingly through words and actions.

I’ve also had so many opportunities to meet with my brilliant professors to dive further into what’s discussed in the classroom, and the fact that they encourage meeting after class has always been something I really admire.

When I was still living in the dorms, I even experienced discipleship continuing there in incredible ways. Having meaningful discussions with friends about your questions—and growing together with them through community living—is an area where the impact of discipleship at Briercrest has been incredibly evident to me."

Everyone at Briercrest feels like a friend to me, and the community really is a beautiful example of what happens when the love of Christ and the pursuit of building his kingdom together is core to everything that we do.
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Community That Loves

"A unique thing about Briercrest is the closeness everyone here has with one another. Of course, Caronport is a small town—so we are all physically quite close! But it goes beyond that, and to me, it’s always felt like you can comfortably approach anyone here and begin a conversation, even if you’ve never interacted before.

The class sizes are smaller than in other institutions, which means the professors know you by name. I usually get to know most of my classmates as well because I’ll keep seeing them on campus throughout the day! Living closely with other people in the dorm, eating with them in the dining hall, going to chapel together, attending basketball games—everyone is just close.

And out of that closeness, lasting friendships form. Everyone at Briercrest feels like a friend to me, and the community really is a beautiful example of what happens when the love of Christ and the pursuit of building his kingdom together is core to everything that we do.

More than anything else, my experience at Briercrest has shaped me entirely. I was a very different person before I entered the Kaléo program four years ago, and throughout that year plus my three (and a half) here on campus, God has shaped me intellectually and spiritually every day—to the point where I nearly don’t recognize the person I was before."

Steven's baptism at Camp Qwanoes
Steven's baptism at Camp Qwanoes

The legacy of camp ministry, studying at Briercrest, and being employed here have formed a unique experience for Steven Lofting. The close-knit community at Briercrest has fostered lasting friendships and a life-changing journey that helped him grow intellectually and spiritually.

Thank you, Steven, for sharing your story! Your amazing gifts and talents as a videographer bring joy and life to the Briercrest family!

If you’d like to know more about Kaléo, check out this video that Steven made about the program: 

Promotional video made by Steven Lofting
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