Randy and Kim Grebe in the early days of Adventure Learning Centre. Taken from the tower at the Centre.
Where there is no vision the people will perish.
The adventure began in 1986, when missionaries Randy-affectionately known as “Uncle Randy” to the Bahamian students-and Kimberly Grebe had a vision for reaching out to students in the Bahamas. The Grebes envisioned an outdoor education centre that used the visible wonders of God’s creation to minister to students of the Bahamas.
At first, Randy and Kim took their hands-on programs to the schools and youth group outreaches. In January 1991, after presentation and approval of the proposed programs and building plans to the Bahamian officials and Ministry of Education and a generous government approved land offer by Hesketh and Dawn Johnson of Crossroads Ministry, the ground breaking and construction of Adventure Learning Centre began at the site where the main section of the Centre is today. Psalm 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain” was the guiding scripture during the building process. The Centre was built by the financial donations and volunteer labor from generous supporters throughout the world.
On September 13, 1993, with the official endorsement of the Ministry of Education and a grand opening ceremony, Adventure Learning Centre began reaching thousands of children through field trips to the island’s only outdoor education program. The first group of students arrived on October 18, 1993, and by the end of the first school year, 7,700 students had visited the Centre.
Formerly Joy Bible Camp, Adventure Learning Camp was offered by Canadian missionaries Jack and Audrey Adams in late 1993 to Adventure Learning Centre board of directors.
Randy and Kim Grebe on the tower in February of this year when they were on the island chaperoning a mission team from the school in Florence, SC where their daughter attends school.
On September 19-21, 2013, Bahamian dignitaries, past and present staff, volunteers and board members, and friends of Adventure Learning Centre and Camp gathered to celebrate 20 years of “Bringing the Wonders of God’s Creation Together with the Curiosity of Kids” and “Exposing Laborers to the Harvest Through Short-term Missions” at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp. The three days of events included a donor dinner at a Nassau restaurant on Thursday evening, a celebration ceremony at the Centre on Friday, and a Family Funday on Saturday. It was a wonderful time of celebration remembering and reminiscing about the past , thanking God for what He is allowing us to do now, and praying for wisdom as we look ahead to the future.
We now invite you to enjoy pictures from the days leading up to the big events and the big events themselves!
Preparation for the 20th Celebration at the Centre began last Spring with meetings for making the picture book and planning the 3 days of events. During the 2 weeks leading up to the Celebration, work on the program and facility took much of our time. Here the facilitators were working on the puppet show in the new puppet stage.
The puppets in action in the new puppet stage tree house.
One of the pre-celebration projects was the erecting of the new sign at the Camp…
…and the new sign at the Centre
While we did help with some of the preparation activities at the Centre, we also prepared for and hosted 14 people who had come from the States to attend the Celebration. This is Jon and Annemieke Stassel. They were the first of the out of town guests to arrive. Jon is Tim’s cousin and was a huge part of the construction of the ALC. They ministered at the ALC until 1996.
Another of the big projects was the cleaning and repairing of the structures around the Centre. On Thursday, September 19th, Tika, Sam, Marion and Jen continued the HUGE job of scrubbing fences with bleach.
Zachary and RJ (Centre Office Manager, Eldora Knowles’ son) were also recruited to help get the Centre ready for the Celebration events.
RJ and Zachary painting the wall around the flag pole.
Moving chairs from the Media Centre to the pavilion for Friday’s ceremony.
Tom Schafer (our maintenance guy), Sean Wilson and our other 2 grounds keepers worked really hard around the Centre as well.
One of my (Mindy) jobs was to make airport runs to pick up guests. This is Humprhey and Marilyn Duncanson. They are from Long Island, New York and were on the ALC board during its early days. It was great meeting and hosting these dear people.
Thursday evening’s donor reception took place at Luccianos in downtown Nassau.
Directors of the ALC&C
Tim- Camp Director
Mark (Kim) Wallace-Centre Director.
Mark’s wife, Kim, did a fantastic job at decorating and putting together the decorations for the events. She and Mark spent 100’s of hours working on the details of the events.
Our table at the donor reception. Seated with us are Cranston Knowles (current board member), Mark Davis (past board member), as well as 2 couples we had just met that evening. Mark Wallace, Randy Grebe, Tim, Lee Burtelson (current board member), and Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald spoke at the reception.
Friday morning, after a time of prayer with the staff, we began putting the finishing touches on the Centre. It had rained heavily on Thursday evening and a little on Friday morning. Dirt had to be brought in to absorb some of the water.
Ms. Aida one of the many helpers getting the pavilion ready for the ceremony.
Kim Wallace (left), pictured with Tika Penn, supervised the decoration of the Centre for the celebration ceremony. She put in a LOT of time and effort into every detail. Her brother also donated a lot of his time and materials for making the ALC look really nice.
Alfred Nahkla, Eric Nelson, Randy Grebe before the ceremony.
The ALC ready for the celebration!
Guests started arriving and our job was to greet them and hand out the anniversary book.
Ceremony opened in prayer by Pastor Cranston Knowles, one of our board members.
The ceremony began with the Bahamas national anthem. Three schools were invited to send children to the ceremony.
After the national anthem, the ceremony began with a puppet show. The puppets sang the Celebration song.
Following the puppet show, Mark Wallace addressed the crowd. In the audience were several media outlets. Minister of Education, Jerome Fitzgerald was in attendance.
Some of our staff enjoying the ceremony from the back.
Part of the ceremony included dividing the audience into 3 groups and sending them to the three program areas to experience what the school children experience on a daily basis when they come to the Adventure Learning Centre. The three areas were the wetlands via the train, the planetarium, and the petting farm/nature center.
Minister of Education, Jerome FItzgerald, addressed the audience. Randy Grebe and Chet Lowe also addressed the audience.
Minister FItzgerald with the children on the train.
The ALC staff family! Several of the staff were honored for their many years of service. We feel so honored getting to be a part of this group and getting to serve our Lord together with these awesome people.
Friday evening, after cleaning up from the ceremony and setting up for the Funday to be held on Saturday, some past facilitators hosted a meal at the camp for everyone. Everyone staying at camp: along with our staff are Paul and Beth Hadley, Humphrey and Marilyn Duncanson,, Alfred and Maria Nakhla, Nate Kaiser, Randy and Kim and Annika Grebe, Roger and Grace Grebe, and Jon and Annemieke.
Every morning while they staid at camp, the guests attending the celebration activities would join us at our house for breakfast. Since we knew these people from back in Wisconsin/Minnesota/Illinois, it was so much fun visiting with them.
Breakfast at the Seeley’s house.
Friday after the ceremony and Saturday morning, the staff set up for a Funday. A Funday is a carnival of sorts that we use to help raise funds to operate the Centre. Although we had a great time, the turn out was low due to many factors including the weather. It was rainy much the day.
One of the Funday activities is a skit of sorts that coincides with the train ride. This is where the gospel is presented to the guests. Tika Penn was in charge of the skit this year, and she did a fantastic job telling the story of Creation, man’s fall into sin, and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ! Way to go Tika!
Music provided by a DJ!
Ms. Aida’s awesome chicken wings were among the food items available.
Our pastor’s wife and daugther, Alexine and Abby Moss, were among the many volunteers that helped us man the activities of the Funday.
Although the rain dampened things a bit, the 580 people that did come out for the Funday seemed to have a great time.
Randy and Kim Grebe introduced us to this young man. This young man laid one of the first blocks in the construction of the ALC back over 20 years ago.
Playground and climbing wall
Train ride with drama presentation
We would like to publicly thank all the people that came out to help us celebrate and to help serve the community for the Funday. We could not have done it without you!
We feel so honored that God has allowed us to be a part of this awesome ministry. Although we have been here for only part of one year, we feel very attached to this ministry and the people it serves. We love the Bahamian people, and we hope and pray, as Jesus tarries, that we will be able to serve Him here for many years to come.
Please pray for the ministry and for all of the ALC&C staff. Most of all, please pray for the people we serve. God has brought us all here to this ministry for one reason, and that is to serve and bring glory to HIm. May Christ be glorified in deed!
**Stay tuned for the third and final post this weekend. We will be doing a general update of what is going on at the centre and camp and what will be coming up in the next couple of weeks. We told you we had a lot of ground to cover this week. We hope you have enjoyed the journey!