If you’d like to join TCOW’s 2017 experience, which will culminate with a service-learning trip to Colombia, you can apply via the forms on our website. They can be found under the TCOW 2017 menu above!

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16. February 2016 · Comments Off on Announcing Two Countries One World 2017 · Categories: Announcements

A Global Citizenship Experience including service and learning trip for High School students’ grades 10 and up.

Join us for one of the following info sessions:

Harcourt United Church:

Tuesday, April 5th @ 7:30 PM

87 Dean Ave, Guelph, ON

Parkminster United Church:

Thursday, April 7 @ 7:30 PM

275 Erb St E, Waterloo, ON

Melville United Church:

Tuesday April 12th @ 7:30 PM

300 St Andrew St W, Fergus, ON

Trillium United Church:

Thursday April 14th @ 7:30 PM

450 King St E, Cambridge, ON

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10. March 2015 · Comments Off on The countdown is on! · Categories: Announcements, Blog, Nicaragua 2015

Three days from now the Two Countries One World participants and leaders will be on their way to Nicaragua for the ten-day culmination of the year-long TCOW program. We hope that you’ll send along your prayers and best wishes for the group as they experience life in Nicaragua first-hand and make new friends on their adventure.

We’re hoping to post reflections from participants on the website each day to give you an idea of what the experience is like. If you’d like to be notified when a new post goes live on this website, you can fill in your email address in the form on the right-hand side of this page and click the ‘subscribe’ button.

You can also follow along from Facebook via our hosts, Compañeros Inc. Check them out here!

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03. December 2014 · Comments Off on TCOW’s report to Waterloo Presbytery (November, 2014) · Categories: Announcements, Nicaragua 2015

Some participants and leaders from TCOW were able to host the dinner for Waterloo Presbytery in November. We also submitted a report to the presbyters to bring them up to date on our work. That report is below!

TWO COUNTRIES- ONE WORLD (TCOW)

A Waterloo Presbytery Outreach Initiative, encouraging Global Citizenship among our United Church Youth through bi-annual trips to Central America.

NICARAGUA 2015

After a winter, spring and summer of meetings, interviews and a selection process, the TCOW Organizing Committee is pleased to announce that 20 candidates have been selected for our trip to Nicaragua over March Break (March 13 – 23).  They include:

  • 6 youth from the Guelph congregations of Dublin, Harcourt and Three Willows;
  • 5 youth from the Kitchener congregations of Bridgeport, St. James Rosemount and Trinity;
  • 4 from the Waterloo congregations of Emmanuel and Parkminster;
  • 1 student from Three Willows in Cambridge;
  • 2 from Knox United in Ayr; and
  • 2 from the Belwood-Metz Pastoral Charge.

These students will be led by the following 5 capable leaders:

  • Gord Spence from Emmanuel United, Waterloo
  • Rev. Kate Gregory from Belwood-Metz
  • Merrill Pierce from Harcourt United, Guelph
  • Kelly Moores from Parkminster United, Waterloo, and
  • John Watson from Parkminster, functioning as the trip Videographer

This is the third time in the past ten years that TCOW has partnered with Compañeros Inc., a Canadian-Nicaraguan enterprise that designs volunteer services and cross-cultural learning experiences focused on Nicaraguan community-centered priorities.  In the past our efforts have centered on a struggling barrio in the capital city of Managua. This year will offer an entirely new experience in the mountainous, region of Jinotega, a two and a half hour drive from Managua.  For five days of our time in Nicaragua, TCOW participants will live with and share in the lives of a small community of 65 permanent residents on a coffee plantation, learning the journey of a coffee bean to the cups of coffee we so enjoy here in Canada.

Our presence on the farm will provide educational support for the workers and their families and encourage the advancement of fair and responsible practices among coffee producers. To help mitigate against child labour, the producer on El Recreo farm, our hostess, is collaborating in a model initiative with Compañeros Inc.to provide a sound school experience for the children of her farm workers throughout the year and during the augmented community that gathers for the harvest.

Some of the projects we (and others) will be contributing to include renovations to the one room preschool and primary building, the provision of a reading area, library books and resources, the restoration of two washrooms that will remain dry and clean during the rainy season, the building of a family gazebo gathering area, and the preparation of and participation in after school activities for the children.

The history and stories of Nicaraguan communities are preserved and celebrated in large, colourful murals.  TCOW participants will also get to help local artists and the children to bring this tradition alive within their own community, by joining in the crew of painters. [These murals will be on display at the Pan American and Parapan American Games being held this summer in Toronto ( July 10-26; August 7-15).  Look for them!]

In this collaboration, the producer on El Recreo farm is investing her time, 25% of the materials, labour and delivery costs,  housing for our participants, and some food.  Compañeros Inc., with the help of funds we raise, will purchase all the materials and provide labour support and overall coordination.

The total amount each candidate must raise for the trip is $3000.  TCOW is providing a grant of $400 per student.  $1000 raised (and more if possible) is earmarked for our Nicaraguan projects.

The remaining amount includes $55 for TCOW administration costs and preparation days (one a month until the March trip, except for December), $850 for flights and insurance, $950 for on ground expenses covered by Compañeros Inc., and $145 exchange rate for USD.  Fund raising efforts have already begun in the supporting congregations.  Tonight’s Presbytery Dinner is being hosted by TCOW with any profit going to this year’s trip.

The participants in Nicaragua 2015 have met for three Saturday sessions this fall.  The September meeting provided students and parents an orientation to the trip and the initial building of our community.  In October we visited Six Nations, exploring the spiritual, cultural and historical realities of the First Nations People of the Eastern Woodlands; touring the former residential school and hearing stories from one of its survivors; learning about the two United Church Apologies and the subsequent events and projects that our Church has pursued in its effort to establish right relation with First Nations People, and making our own commitments to right relations, which we symbolized in the making of wampum bracelets . During our November meeting, we began looking at the social and political issues that have marked the history of Nicaragua and learning so basic Spanish.

The experience of our six previous TCOW trips has shown that congregations have been both enthused and enriched by their partnerships with their student(s) and the service and learning in which they are all able to share.  It is the hope of the organizing committee  that members of Waterloo Presbytery will also feel caught up in the spirit of TCOW.  We thank you for your support in the past, the present and the future.

Please feel free to contact our committee at waterlootcow.ca with any suggestions or questions to be answered.  You will also find important information at our website: www.waterlootcow.ca  and that of Compañeros: www.companeros.ca.

We thank you for your partnership in this faithful adventure!

Your TCOW Committee (C) and Leaders (L):

Elizabeth Eberhart-Moffat (C), Gord Spence (C/L), John Watson (C), Sarah King (C), Jen Auger (C), Vanessa Spence (C), Judy Paul (C), Lu Jimenez (C), Kate Gregory (L), Merrill Pierce (L), Kelly Moores (L), Kate Gregory (L)

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16. October 2014 · Comments Off on Information for First Nations Day (October 18) · Categories: Announcements, Nicaragua 2015

Hello again TCOW participants and parents!
This week, October 18, we will be traveling to Brantford to learn from our First Nations friends. Timing for the day will be as follows:

Meet at Parkminster United Church, Waterloo at 8:30 A.M.
Tour Woodland Cultural Centre and Residential School 10:00 – 12:00
Lunch and games: 1:00
2:00 Sacred Circle Activity.
Leave for Parkminster at 3:00 to hopefully arrive by 4:00 PM

We’ll try to leave as soon after 8:30 as possible, so please be on time! As usual, lunch is provided. Also, dress for the weather in case we’re playing games outside!

See you all soon!
Gord Spence (TCOW Registrar)

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28. September 2014 · Comments Off on Trip Dates & Bits of News · Categories: Announcements, Nicaragua 2015

Dates

In case it was missed at our initial gathering last weekend, the dates for the actual trip to Nicaragua are March 13-23, 2015 – expect an early start on the 13th and a late return on the 23rd.

Forum

At the suggestion of a parent at the Info Session last weekend, a basic forum has been implemented on this website (click the “Forum” link at the top – you won’t be able to see contents until you register). You’ll first need to register a username, then you’ll be able to view and post in discussions. The registration link is in the right-hand column in the subheading called “Users” (beneath the subscription option, which you should definitely use so that you can get updates from the website right away).  As the Registrar/Webmaster, my time is fairly limited, so I’d ask that any questions that need answers from me or the committee be directed to the usual email address, info ‘at’ waterlootcow ‘dot’ ca. I would encourage both parents and participants to join in the discussions remembering that tone doesn’t always translate well – use Holy Manners (digitally!) in your conversations!

Letter to Congregations

A heads-up to our participants and leaders – the TCOW organizing committee is going to be sending a letter to congregations introducing their TCOW participant(s), explaining financials, expectations, and how congregations can offer active support. This should be on the way to churches in the coming week.

 

Blessings,
Gord Spence (TCOW Registrar) on behalf of the TCOW Organizing Committee

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11. September 2014 · Comments Off on TCOW 2014/2015 First Gathering! · Categories: Announcements, Nicaragua 2015

TCOW Participants and parents!
Please find below the information for our first gathering in our preparation for TCOW 2015. We’ll be gathering at Parkminster United Church in Waterloo (directions) from around 9:30 AM until approximately 3:00 PM. Parents are invited to an information session at the church at 10 AM to help answer all of your lingering questions around the trip details. See the attached flyer for more information!

TCOW Saturday September 20th 2014

Don’t forget to bring your $400 deposit cheque made out to “Waterloo Presbytery” (memo: TCOW 2015).

Also download and fill out a Photo / Video Release (click to download). Please be sure to sign this as appropriate and bring it with you on the 20th. Don’t worry, there are lots more forms coming, but we’ll save those for our second and later gatherings!

See you soon!
Gord Spence (TCOW Registrar) on behalf of the TCOW Organizing Committee
http://www.waterlootcow.ca/
info ‘at’ waterlootcow ‘dot’ ca

PS – Final details for total fees should be available by the 20th as well (we’re just waiting on some information from our hosts in Nicaragua).

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29. June 2014 · Comments Off on TCOW 2015 Leadership · Categories: Announcements, Nicaragua 2015
From left to right, Merrill Pierce, Gord Spence, Kelly Moores, and Kate Gregory.

From left to right, Merrill Pierce, Gord Spence, Kelly Moores, and Kate Gregory.

The TCOW organizing committee is pleased to announce four leaders for the 2015 trip to Nicaragua. They will spend the time leading up to the trip to Nicaragua preparing alongside the participants and the organizing committee! The leaders who have been selected are: Kate Gregory (Bellwood – Metz Pastoral Charge), Kelly Moores (Parkminster UC, Waterloo), Merrill Pearce (Harcourt UC, Guelph), and Gord Spence (Emmanuel UC, Waterloo). More information about the leaders can be found on the “Who is TCOW?” page of this website!

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20. March 2014 · Comments Off on Pre-Trip Event Days Posted · Categories: Announcements, Nicaragua 2015
Dates for the learning days ahead of the trip to Nicaragua have been put together and here they are straight from the TCOW organizing committee meeting:
 
Leaders only: June 14 (Teambuilding and Meeting the Organizing Committee)
 
September 20, 2014 (Introductions)
October 18, 2014 (First Nations in Canada and Nicaragua)
November 22, 2014 (Nicaragua Day)
January 9-10, 2015 (Urban Plunge – sleepover starts in the evening Friday and ends mid-afternoon on Saturday)
February 21, 2015 (Final Prep Day)
 
Specific times will be laid out closer to the dates, however for the most part, plan to be available for the bulk of the days.
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Participants

TCOW is looking for youth who will be in grade 10-12+ (age 15+) as of March 2015 who have an interest in social justice, and are excited to learn about the culture in Nicaragua in relation to issues which exist right here in Canada. Applications need to be submitted by May 15.

To apply as a participant, click here or select the participant application page under TCOW 2015.

Leadership

The TCOW organizing committee is looking for three adult leaders to help lead the youth during the pre-trip events along with leadership during the voyage in Nicaragua. In addition to the three program leaders, the TCOW committee is search for a leader to act as a chaplain to accompany our youth through the pre-trip events and trip to Nicaragua. Applications need to be submitted by April 26.

To apply as a leader or chaplain click here or select the leadership application page under TCOW 2015.

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