I remember….

11 years. 22 retreats.

I remember each and every one like it was yesterday. I remember the countdown on Fridays as I anxiously waited for the bell to ring at the end of the day to usher me out the front doors and into freedom. I remember tossing my bags in the car and rushing to the bus. I remember the anticipation building as the night grew darker and the bus trekked onwards.

And then I remember it all in a series of flashes – like a blur of pure bliss. Music, laughter, friends. I remember running through camp and feeling like I was free – free to roam and dream and finally free to be. It was liberating and exhilerating and I remember feeling like I was coming home. Coming to a place where I was found, accepted and a place I belonged. I remember feeling like this was family. This was where the memories were made, this was where the laughter was found. This was where my heart grew a thousand times over. This is where I found myself – it was here that I recognized who God was calling me to be.

11 years later and I’m no longer that 11 year old girl waiting for the school bell to ring. 11 years later I am the young woman who is eagerly awaiting the moment when hundreds of kids arrive at the front gate. I am the young woman who knows exactly how they feel. Because I’ve been there. 22 times before. And I know what they are on the brink of. They are on the brink of the beginning of everything. It is here that they will dive deeper than they ever have before. It is here that their heart will awaken for the first time. It is here that the journey begins.

From the girl who has been here a few times before – I hope you join me. I promise you it’s beyond your wildest imaginings.

– Kaitlyn


It’s getting closer!

GDSLV – theUNDERGROUND Fall Retreat is getting close! its only 27 days until we are together for a weekend and we don’t want you to miss out! Our early bird pricing of $125 ends next Sunday- Nov 8th! So don’t miss out on this great deal! Head on over to gdslv.com now to register and for all the most up to date information for the retreat! Don’t forget to invite your friends and send them over to our retreat website to check things out as well.

While you’re there check out our GDSLV blog. Over the next 27 days we will be posting thoughts, videos, art and ideas to help us prepare ourselves for our time together at the retreat. Make sure you check back in every few days to get the latest content.



We are SO excited for theUNDERGROUND Fall 2015 Jr. + Sr. High Youth Retreat- GDSLV! We can’t wait to head up to Muskoka Woods November 27-29, 2015! Here at theUNDERGROUND we love that every year we get two opportunities to join together with the youth from across all of our sites to spend a weekend in Muskoka, hanging out, making new friends, engaging in worship, playing epic games, going deeper into God’s word and spending time as a community together. GDSLV is our 27th retreat and it’s going to be one of the best yet!

For REGISTRATION & RETREAT INFO head on over to www.GDSLV.com and check back regularly for the latest updates!

Early bird pricing ends November 8th, so don’t forget to register soon and send your friends on over so they can register and join us on the Fall Retreat too!

Follow along with #GDSLV on Instagram & Twitter with @theUGyouth!

Here we go again…

It’s that time again! Everyone is back to school. There has been haircuts, new backpacks, topping up on school supplies, and balancing schedules; trying to squeeze in family time wherever possible! It’s a fresh new school year, full of anticipation for what is to come! Maybe your child has begun their final year of school and is planning on hitting the books hard – ensuring a spot in their desired program for university. Maybe it’s their final shot at taking home the championship. Maybe your kids have changed schools because they just started high school and they are worried about making a good first impression. Or perhaps you have a child who has just started Grade 6 and is has just joined us at theUNDERGROUND for the first time!


Well no matter how far along in school your kids are, we are so excited to welcome EVERYONE back to midweek :) We have had a great start to the year and are so excited to be back into the swing of things! Starting back at midweek is almost like New Year’s Eve for us! We have been thinking through what our “New Years’ Resolutions” will be! And we welcome you to join with us in our hopes for this school year. We have taken a good look at our Mission and our Values over the summer, and we want to be more intentional about living and breathing these values, making them part of our DNA instead of a list of ideals. Our Mission is ‘to lead students into a growing and lifelong relationship with Jesus’. This is no easy task! And I would love for all of us to think about that word, ‘lifelong’ for a moment.


Students are in theUNDERGROUND up until Grade 12. We have seven years with your kids (if they go start to finish). But they are with you for life! As parents, you have an incredible opportunity to speak into your kids’ lives. Sometimes they don’t listen, we understand that. In fact, sometimes they find their youth leaders to be some of the smartest people in the world – and all we do is repeat something that you’ve already told them 100 times! But let’s go back to ‘lifelong’ again. We get a brief time with your kids. Our hope is that in that time, we can work with the parents of our students. One of our values is ‘resourced and spiritually engaged parents’. We believe that parents are the primary spiritual influencers in the lives of youth. We want to communicate with, resource and engage parents in the life of the youth ministry. We want to come alongside you and help your kids become lifelong followers of Jesus.


Parents, I want to challenge you with something. I want you to think about all the activities your kids are involved in, and which ones are the highest priority. Have you built in time for them to grow spiritually? Have you set up a culture in your home where hockey practice is more important than homework? What is more likely to happen: your child becomes an NHL prodigy, or graduates university? What if the students in theUNDERGROUND spent as much time with God as they did in any other activity? What if the primary focus for their future was a relationship with Jesus? My challenge is to be intentional. We are intentional about providing kids with a safe space where they can be themselves, learn about Jesus, and grow as a community. And you, as parents, are the most influential part of that spiritual community.


So how do we ensure that this New Years Resolution doesn’t end up flopping a few weeks in? Communication. Involvement. Prayer. We do our very best to communicate and keep you up to date about what’s going on inside the doors of theUNDERGROUND. We have Facebook pages, blog posts, newsletters, etc. Look us up! Say hello :) Let leaders know what’s going on at school or at home, maybe there is a piece of the puzzle that you can provide! Let us celebrate with you, let us grieve with you. We have committed volunteers who have a heart for ministering to your kids, let them be a consistent voice in the lives of your kids. Midweek is a great, intentional time for your kids to be involved in games, small groups, discipleship, and teaching. Ask them what the night was about! And if they can’t tell you – let us know so we can make adjustments :)


Try your best to get your kids on retreats, these a great for building relationships, getting away from life and focusing on Jesus, and for just plain old fun! We understand that it’s not realistic to send every kid, from every family, to every retreat, just know that we are happy to help in any way we can. And lastly, the most important thing you can do as a parent is pray for your kids. Pray for their small group leaders. Pray for their youth coordinators and pastors. Pray for their teachers at school, their coaches, and their friends. There are so many spheres of influence in the life of a student, and we want to remind you that we are on your team! Let’s commit to helping your kids enter a lifelong relationship with Jesus.


– Mark Muller


A week well spent!

City camp team 1

It’s been almost one week since our City Camp Summer Leadership trip ended and in the week that has followed we’ve taken some time to reflect on some of the incredible moments we got to share in as a team. We spent our week serving alongside the Muskoka Woods staff, sharing in leadership development sessions and having fun in community together. As we reflect on the week we can look back and see three key lessons we can take with us.


Through working alongside the Muskoka Woods City Camp Staff we came to understand the value of encouragement. Working at a day camp for one full week gave us all a chance to experience the high demand the counsellors are in. They run activities, plan games, create skits and videos and lead kids through a full and exciting day of camp. We learned first hand that at the end of the day you’re exhausted and one of the greatest ways to regain energy is to know that there is a team of people supporting and encouraging you in your role. Our students spent hours writing beautiful encouragement notes to the entire Muskoka Woods City Camp Staff team. It was a joy to watch how much life it gave our students to encourage those they had been serving alongside and amazing to see how those words of affirmation fuelled the counsellors in their work.


Through our Leadership Development Sessions we learned how to prioritize our own spiritual growth. Over the course of the week we made our way through a few concepts and ideas that held incredible weight in each and every one of our spiritual lives. We learned about our personalities and the way we’re wired, and we learned about how to approach our spiritual gifts with a heart of thankfulness. We talked  about following God’s guidance and the importance of looking retrospectively at the times when we could see God at work in our lives, and we talked about the immense power of our story and seeing God use our lives as living testimonies. Through all those sessions one fundamental truth was clear – We were created to love and be loved.  We put that into practice as we served the Muskoka Woods Staff, our campers and each other, while we wrestled through what God has called us into- a lifelong journey with him.


Through our time together in community we began to understand the importance of investing time into relationships. Our team started out as 21 strangers (a group of students who barely knew one another’s names) to a team at the end of the week who ran to hug one another goodbye, who laughed over shared experiences and who stayed up till the early hours of the morning writing one another notes of encouragement. There was time serving together, time eating together, time leading together, time having fun together – all that invested time allowed us to reap the ultimate profit – friendship. Our team was open, honest, vulnerable and quick to support and encourage when the moment called for it. We came to understand that when you invest in a friendship, when you take time to pour into someone you gain a deeper appreciation for who they are, who they were created to be and who they are in the midst of becoming.


Our week was one of laughter, memories and incredible opportunities to experience growth together in community. We are so thankful for the chance to have made new friends, shared our stories and to see how evidently God is at work in the lives of our students at theUNDERGROUND.


– Kaitlyn Kirkwood

We’re half way there!!!

We are over half way through our Muskoka Woods City Camp Leadership Trip and have been having a blast!! The 20 students from different sites have been paired with one of four cabin groups and have been facilitating the camp activities for the kids at City Camp. The Muskoka Woods City Camp staff are loving having our students working with them and the City Camp kids are having a great time!

Our students arrived on Sunday and jumped straight into work! We spent the afternoon setting up equipment with the Muskoka Woods staff and many hands made for lighter work for all. Our evening was filled with some great time getting to know each other and setting some personal and community goals together.

We have been spending some really intentional time in the evenings in leadership development with our students. So far we have talked through Being real as we hang out and serve together, our different personalities, how to approach our spiritual gifts, our stories and how they can impact others, and listening to Gods guidance in our lives. Its been a real privilege to see our students engaging in these times and getting a deeper grasp on the ways that God has made of each of us intentionally unique, and uses us all in different ways.

Our group has really come together over such a short period of time and we are excited for the rest of the week. We’ve had some great times of fun relaxing at the park, chilling out in front of a movie, enjoying a pool party together, and can’t wait for Aerosports Trampoline Park this evening! The junior leaders have been doing a phenomenal job leading our small groups and demonstrating vulnerability in their discussions. Its been amazing to see them taking the leader and growing so much this week!

Please continue to pray for the students as they continue to interact with the kids at camp and with each other as we finish off our week together!

City Camp is almost here!!!

We are only a few days away from welcoming students from across our sites to the Muskoka Woods City Camp Leadership Trip! We have 20 students that will be joining us this Sunday to serve in Oakville for the week. This is a great opportunity for them to have fun serving kids in the Oakville community, while learning who God has made them to be and exploring their own life story.

During the day, our students will be assisting the Muskoka Woods staff and campers in a variety of camp activities such as; trampoline, laser tag, inflatable slides, and even bubble soccer! Yes! BUBBLE SOCCER!!! Our evenings will be spent together doing some of our own activities and team building exercises, as well as helping students discover various leadership qualities. We have some great things planned for this group! We have even created a special leadership track for some of our older students. Our grade 10s and 11s will have some in depth leadership development that they will practically apply each day by leading small groups of students in grades 7-9. This allows them not only to discover and learn, but apply and share the tools we are helping them develop.

Our goal is that all of our students will step into leadership roles for the upcoming year in theUNDERGROUND, no matter what site they attend! We would appreciate your prayers as we bring these kids together for an incredible opportunity!

CityCamp Leadership Trip – July 2015


This summer we have the exciting opportunity to partner with Muskoka Woods again to host City Camp at our Oakville location. This will be an incredible chance for students to grow in their faith as they learn to serve and lead with other Jr and Sr High students from across all of our Meeting House locations.

We have two main goals for this trip:

Hands-On Serving Opportunities - We have the chance to connect with hundreds of elementary students from the Oakville/Mississauga region and invite them into a relationship with Christ. We will be supporting the Muskoka Woods staff to run a day camp for children who come from a variety of backgrounds, many of whom would have little to no church experience.

Learning to Lead -During this trip we will be facilitating intentional leadership development training through a variety of avenues. They may include: workshops, guest speakers, service projects, team building challenges, and more!

Why Camp in the City?
At the heart of this initiative is a desire to reach into the community with the message and love of Jesus. Muskoka Woods wants to partner with churches as a “living exhibition of life with God” in their neighbourhood.

Who Will Be a Part of the Team?
This trip is a cross-regional experience; which means that we have opened the application process up to all of The Meeting House sites. Students in grade 7 – 12 may apply. This team will be composed of up to 25 students and 6 leaders. If more than 25 students apply, preference will be given to Jr High students as this is their only trip opportunity with The Meeting House.

What Will The Team Do?
During the days, theUNDERGROUND Leadership Team will spend our time working with children from the surrounding cities to facilitate City Camp. We will be serving alongside trained Muskoka Woods staff at the Day Camp, out of the Oakville Site.

The evenings will be spent in various learning opportunities. These projects vary considerably and may include the following: team building, educational materials, serving the marginalized, hands on projects, learning from experienced leaders, etc. We will also participate in musical worship, evening devotional times, and a training from Muskoka Woods staff to increase our overall awareness and leadership skills.

We are offering a leadership development trip for our Jr & Sr High students! This is a cross-regional trip and we’d love to have students from across all of our sites on the team!! The team will be helping with Muskoka Woods “CityCamp” that’s happening at the Oakville location. It’s a daycamp that targets kids who may not have any church background and we’ll be doing some really intentional leadership development with students on the trip. Kids currently in Gr 7 – 12 can apply and we’ll email you all the info as it’s finalized in the next few days!! Let me know if you’d be interested in being part of that trip July 5-10!

Apply today at www.themeetinghouse.com/summerleadershiptrip

theUG Spring Retreat | Anchored in Hope


Jr & Sr High Spring Retreat!

The retreat was amazing with over 430 students & leaders coming out for a great time of fun, learning, worship, community and being reminded that when we are rooted in Christ, we are anchored in hope! Cluster spirit was strong for our game of Shipwrecked and there was plenty of dancing! but the most amazing thing is to see lives changed from our time away together. A student told one of our youth pastors… “I get it. I actually get it. I don’t have to do anything to be enough. I am more than enough because of Jesus and the expression of God’s love for us. I have been made that way. This has changed my life.”
Thanks for entrusting your kids to us for the weekend! We cant wait till we are all together again for our next retreat Nov 27-29!

Cory- our Sr High youth pastor from Oakville, spent some time over the retreat recording a vlog so you can see the ins and outs of what a retreat really looks like!  Watch the retreat vlog here — https://youtu.be/o2LPT83Vc_U.

Heading Home – Wilmington 2015

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV)

On our second night here in Wilmington, we had the awesome opportunity to have dinner at the home of UrbanPromise Wilmington’s Executive Director, Mr. Rob. He then led us in a devotional surrounding Ephesians 3:14-21… It’s hard to believe that we’re going home tomorrow, but as we reflect back, there are so many examples of the ways those words have been true for this team throughout the week – and that is a beautiful thing.

God has done and is doing immeasurably more this week than any one of us could have ever imagined, and we know that He will continue to do incredible, amazing, Kingdom-building things long after we leave tomorrow. We have definitely been rooted in Christ’s love this week, and our days have been full in every sense of the word. And thinking on the beginning of the verse where it talks about family, it has been such a blessing to be a part of a community that, as one of our team members so eloquently put it , is not just a community, but a family – because of Jesus.

Last night, we had a blast at UrbanPromise’s 4th-12th Grade African/Latin American Speech Contest. Dozens of 4th-12th grade students who are connected to UrbanPromise delivered an original, self-written speech about an influential and inspiring African or Latin American. Many of us on the compassion team have had the privilege of working one-on-one with many of the 4th and 5th graders on their speeches this week, and were honoured and delighted to be invited up to go up on stage with our students for moral support. We were blown away and inspired by their courage, and very impressed with how much they accomplished – from their memorization to their ability to nail last-minute changes that had to be made to their speeches.

Goodbyes have been and will be very hard over the next few hours. Many of us have really connected with the kids at our after-school programs, whether we just met them this week or are reconnecting after past trips. Many of us who have hung out at our after-school programs before have been blown away by the night-and-day growth that we see in the character and leadership of so many of the kids. Others of us have been blown away by how fast we have created connections with the kids we just met and have so quickly been able to deeply love them with Christ’s love and want God’s absolute best for them.


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