Beyond Normal

Beyond Malibu is an extraordinary place. It’s named after a Young Life camp called Malibu, situated about 100 miles north of Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s a beautiful club-type property on the corner of the Jervis and the world-renowned Princess Louisa Inlet. It used to be a retreat center back in the day for very wealthy patrons. Rumor has it that even JFK and his family visited there.

If you know Young Life camps, you would know that when they acquired the property, they eventually made it one of the top youth “play-houses” in the world. It’s full of cedar decks, built on multiple levels, with shops, a large game room, a gym, a pool, and a myriad of water sports/activities, all mixed with lots of energy from work crew and summer staff volunteers and blaring music, all while being surrounded by beautiful towering mountains that go from sea level to over 8,000 ft.

This place is beautiful as you can see in the photos below…

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And so it is, that at the corner of Jervis and Princess Louisa, there lies this beautiful gem of a property, but a couple miles back, deep in the Princess Louisa, tucked away behind a small island, nestled in the trees that crowd the shore line of this part of the world, is a base camp for the mountaineering/adventure camp called Beyond Malibu, named because you must go “beyond” Malibu, beyond all the comfort and provision of “normal” civilization, to find a new way of experiencing camp.

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At Beyond, there aren’t the same amenities that Malibu has… there’s no electricity except for the kitchen/barn area that is hydro powered from the water coming down from the glaciers. There are no flushing toilets, no snack bars, and no game rooms to fill your free time with. To sum up Beyond, it’s work, rest and people.

You work your tail-end off to prepare each week for mountaineering campers who will go up into the glaciers with guides for 6 days, for an experience with Jesus like no other. The work that it takes to get the base camp ready to send off trips is unbelievable, and the work often takes you past the point of exhaustion, so that when it’s time to close off the work day, rest comes very easily.

It’s also a great detox program for the consumer driven culture of the West that gets what it wants “now”. No electronics for kids, no numbing devices or activities are available to escape the reality of boredom at times, no snack bar to grab a quick snack between meals as hunger breaks into your life around 3pm, and comforts from home are far away as a new normal is slowly embraced.

Beyond Malibu is beyond normal.

What is experienced at Beyond is a way of life that confronts the type of cultures that most of us come from. It forces slowness. It demands patience. It creates wonderful community, especially after the forming, norming and storming process takes it’s course in relationships. It allows space for meaningful conversations as no one can travel in their metal boxes alone from one place to another. Beyond slowly works into each person a certain level of vulnerability that allows hearts to be exposed and known.

Isn’t that what we all really want… to be known? Maybe the first time you hear that phrase, you would say, “That is not what I really want!”, until you sit with the reality of not being known. We were created for this new normal, the Beyond-type-of-normal. A way of knowing that makes social-media-type-of-knowing look like child’s play. It’s a way of knowing that forces you to be honest with who you are and how you really feel in life. You can’t pretend in this environment.

The Beyond normal is a new normal that I believe we all need to some degree, as life can only hold us up for so long as we identify ourselves by “what we do.” We weren’t created to answer the question, “So what do you do?”. We were created to answer the question “Who are you and why do you do what you do?” The “what” is usually answered as you learn about the “who” and the “why” of a person.

Beyond gets past the “what you do” in life and gets straight to the “who are you” and “why it is you do what you do.” We need this new normal to invade our lives so we can truly know and truly be known. This is where meaningful relationships begin. This is a hot bed for the transformational change many of us have been longing for in our lives.

Thanks Beyond Malibu for offering a Beyond-type-of-normal experience!

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