The Haven, Re-imagined.
For almost 40 years, the Haven has supported thousands of people to transform their lives and relationships, primarily here on 7 acres of beautiful natural environment, a mix of ocean-side and forest on Gabriola Island in British Columbia.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected us, both financially and in how we can continue to offer our programs. At the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, we had to shut down our in person programs, yet care for our buildings and grounds, and the costs that go with that continued – enough that our future was thrown into question.
The truth is, when the pandemic arrived, we didn’t have sufficient reserves set aside to give us the resilience we needed to respond. Our programs offer transformative learning for adults, youth, and kids, and on the financial management side we’d lost our way. Now we are owning our mistakes, embracing lessons learned, working with the expert guidance we needed, and something is happening! We are finding our way back to health and stability – step by step. We’re not out of the woods yet, though we’re back on the path we need to be on. In our personal growth and relationship building work, honest communication is key – so there you have it.
We are grateful to the many supporters who came forward and supported the Haven’s Alive to Thrive fundraising campaign, and we hope you will hang in with us as we move forward. There has never been a more important time for us to be offering programs that address trauma and stress, reconnects people with each other, and transforms lives, than right now.
In response to the pandemic, we’ve embraced online programming and reached Haven friends old and new, near and far. We’ve also adapted our in-person programs to address the challenges of the pandemic and keep everyone safe while continuing to offer participants meaningful and fulfilling experiences.
As more information on the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants became available, adaptation became an ongoing process. This meant investing in COVID adaptations to our facilities, ventilation systems, and program delivery. The gift of our beautiful location on Gabriola Island allowed us to open for summer and fall offerings. Canopies went up and much of our programming happened outside. And as new variants emerged, public health orders changed, there were additional periods of closure, and new adaptations needed. When vaccines became widely available, we were able to offer more in-person programs and enjoy learning and growing together again. Then there were more public health-related closures.
We are grateful for program participants’ patience with the changing in-person program schedule, and to our faculty, assistants and interns’ flexibility in adapting and coming forward with new program offerings, both online and in-person.
We also used this challenging time as an opportunity to begin re-imagining the Haven, and what we can become now and into the future. As we continue looking long and hard at our financial challenges and how to respond to them, we’re envisioning and developing new programming and extending our reach. Individuals and communities around the world are not only challenged by the pandemic and the strain it has put on our physical and mental health, our work, our families, and our relationships. We also live in a troubled world, and the pandemic seems to have shone a spotlight on our differences. Stress levels are high everywhere. In the face of stress, fear and anxiety, the world seems to be getting more and more divided and polarized. The Haven – whether supporting diverse groups of people online or in-person – has long experience and success in bringing people together to dialogue with each other with curiosity and generosity of spirit. We need this now more than ever.
“We are not broken people. It’s our relationships that need repair. It’s relationships that bring us back to health, wholeness, holiness.”Margaret Wheatley, Who Do We Choose to Be?
Our intention is to learn our lessons, implement meaningful changes and a solid financial plan, and continue our work into the future.