It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but it was also one of the best experiences of my life.
— Zao participant exploring the relationship between challenge and joy during a backpacking camp

If you're new to Zao, check out this video to see how we offer a different flavour for summer camping. Our summer backpacking and paddling camps are designed for people without prior experience. If you're wondering if you could do it... the answer is almost always, "YES!"

By their very nature, multi-day backpacking trips and canoe routes are really challenging. Indeed, these experiences are meant to challenge campers physically and mentally. Zao Outdoor Ministries runs camps that are led by professional guides.  They facilitate these experiences by providing an environment that is participant-centred, and supports growth. Campers should be ready—and excited— to abandon some of the comforts of city/town living in order to make room for an epic adventure!

In other words, we want our campers to WANT this kind of camp. We are not a boot camp that campers get sent to—we provide a supportive environment for new experiences, and we ensure our participants aren't challenged beyond their limits. You are ready for this. We have been waiting for you!

From arrival until departure, all food and group equipment is provided (tents, tarps, kitchen, etc).  Zao also provides sleeping bags, sleeping pads and backpacks if required.  We have a very detailed packing list that includes personal clothing and equipment (i.e. hiking boots, headlamp, eating utensil, etc) that participants will need to bring. The summer camps listed below will eventually have more detailed information available. In the mean time, don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions. 

summer 2019

~Stay Tuned~

Last Updated October 2018

In addition to the two Adventure Discipleship Program expeditions we lead with Heritage Christian Online School, Zao will be summer camps with our outstanding local camp partner, Wild Side at Camp Imadene. Continuing this year is the Guide Leadership Training program. We have heard from many young women and men who are interested in gaining more outdoor leadership experience, and we are putting effort into giving them leadership training. This outdoor ministry training includes industry leadership certification with the Outdoor Council of Canada, and will bring opportunities to work as an apprentice in this growing field. 




Summer 2018—two camps including our new GLT program


Registration Links Posted mid-February

Adventure Discipleship Program

June 2019 HCOS Students - contact us for more info


Guide Leadership Training (GLT)

July 2019

GLT Info Page


expedition alpine camp

Stay tuned for dates

Multi-day mountain backpacking expedition in Strathcona Provincial Park

Find out more info here! With Wildside at Camp Imadene


Sea Kayak guided Adventure

Summer 2019

This will be ZAO's first kayaking trip. Put together and led by our Program Coordinator and lead guide Adam Strong. We will be enjoying the breathtaking Gulf Islands and reveling in its abundant wildlife and scenic views.

Pricing depends on amount of clients. Participants should be 16 and up.

Adventure Discipleship Program

August 2019 HCOS Students - contact us for more info 


Stay tuned for dates

We have high hopes for our first surf trip, many of our guides have surf experience and will be working with you to help you have a great time! Get ready to have sand everywhere, sea water up your nose, and learn some awesome surf lingo.

Ages: 16+. Younger children must be accompanied by an adult.

A great activity for families!