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. The majority of 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~
we have New camps coming your way!

 ***Dates will be confirmed at the beginning of January 2019***

Registration Links Posted mid-January

Last Updated December 2018

In addition to the two Adventure Discipleship Program expeditions we lead with Heritage Christian Online School, Zao will be offering (for the first time!) our own summer camps! 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.  

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Adventure Discipleship Program

June 2019 HCOS Students - contact us for more info

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ZAO Family SURF in TOFINO

June 26 - 29 2019 (tentative)

A great activity for families! No experience required! We have high hopes for our first surf trip, many of our guides have surf experience and will be working with your family to help you have a great time! Kids of all ages are welcome to join, for the younger ones we will have beach-side activities so that they have fun too! Get ready to have sand everywhere, sea water up your nose, and learn some awesome surf lingo.

Ages: all ages!*

*this trip is for families - all youth must have a responsible adult registered with them

 
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Guide Leadership Training (GLT)
with Wildside at Camp Imadene

Early July 2019

Our vision for GLT is to deliver an 11-day leadership camp filled with learning experiences that focus in on two primary goals: Servant Leadership Development and Outdoor Skill Development. Upon completion of GLT, participants will be qualified to be apprentice guides with either Zao or Wildside. They will also have outdoor leadership certification and leadership experiences that will be an asset for work in other fields. This is no small thing!

Ages: 16 - 19

GLT Info Page

 
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ZAO Adventure SURF Camp

July 14 - 18 2019 (tentative)

No surf experience required! We will spend part of our time out in the Pacific, honing our surfing skills, and we will do some easy-moderate day hiking to experience all the beauty that Tofino has to offer! Get ready to have sand everywhere, sea water up your nose, and learn some awesome surf lingo.

Ages: 14 - 18

 
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ZAO alpine backpacking camp

July 21 - 26 2019 (tentative)

We have planned a multi-day backpacking trip in the beautiful Strathcona Provincial Park. We expect participants on this trip to have some experience hiking, and must be comfortable carrying approximately 30lbs on their back for prolonged periods. Practice hikes are encouraged! Do not let our expectations dissuade you from registering, this is a once in a lifetime trip with some of the nicest terrain on the island. If you are not sure, get in contact with us, and we will let you know if this trip will be a good fit!

Ages: 16 - 18

 
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Zao Sea Kayak camp

July 29 - August 3 2019 (tentative)

This will be ZAO's first sea kayaking trip! No experience necessary, we will teach you all the kayaking skills to become a competent paddler. Get ready to enjoy the breathtaking Gulf Islands and revel in its abundant wildlife and scenic views. You will be able to see a number of the Gulf Islands, and there may even be chances to see dolphins, sea lions, killer whales, seals, and more! This is a place that many people consider “a kayakers paradise.” We look forward to sharing it with you!

Ages: 14 - 18

 

Adventure Discipleship Program

August 2019 HCOS Students - contact us for more info 

 

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ZAO coastal backpacking camp

August 18 - 23 2019 (tentative)

We are switching things up this year, and doing a brand new hike on the Sunshine Coast! We expect participants on this trip to have some experience hiking, and must be comfortable carrying approximately 30lbs on their back for prolonged periods. Practice hikes are encouraged! Do not let our expectations dissuade you from registering, this is a once in a lifetime trip, and we hope that you can join us. If you are not sure, get in contact with us, and we will let you know if this trip will be a good fit!

Ages: 15 - 18

 
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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


Don’t see what you’re looking for?
We also do custom programs!

You bring the group, and we will plan the perfect trip!
Get in touch with our Communications Director, Alexis, to find out more.
403.975.1993 | alexis@zaoministries.org