Help with kids and a retreat centre on Bowen Island in British Columbia, Canada




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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    ** UPDATE ** We are open to applications for short term workawayers who want to come and help out with cooking and childcare in the coming months. Normally we prioritize longer stays, but at present we only have space for short term guests.

    Greetings from the west coast of Canada! We are a family of four living on beautiful Bowen Island in British Columbia, very close to Vancouver (20 minute ferry trip to Horseshoe Bay and then 30 minute bus or 20 minute drive to downtown; or 25 minute passenger water taxi to Granville Island or Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver). Bowen Island is a special community to visit because it is SO BEAUTIFUL, and special in that it really feels like a village. People move here because of its beauty and the sense of community. It has about 3500 full time residents, and many of them are young families. The beaches are quiet, the forests are old growth and lush (50 shades of green!!). It's quiet but you also have coffee shops and restaurants and a bit of local art and a music scene. It really is a wonder that such a natural paradise is so close to one of Canada's major cities. Bowen residents sometimes feel as if we are living in one of this areas best kept secrets...

    Bowen Island is situated off the Sea-to-Sky highway between Vancouver and Whistler, a major ski destination. There are also many ski mountains on the north shore of Vancouver, readily accessible by bus from Horseshoe Bay (which is where the ferry from Bowen docks in West Vancouver). There are ferries from Horseshoe Bay to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, so this is a great leaping off point to explore some of the most beautiful areas of the lower mainland of British Columbia. The weather in this area is glorious in the summer and fall months (May—October)—sunny, dry, temperate—and wet and rainy through the winter months (November—April). The good news about weather in the winter is that it is mild (usually above 0 degrees, hovering around 5-10 degrees), and therefore everything stays green even in the thick of winter. There are snowcapped mountains all around us, though. It's beautiful all year round.

    Saskia is originally from the eastern US and currently working as a hospitality industry on Bowen and as a part time therapist in private practice with a specialization in mindfulness inspired approaches. I am also involved in running a large retreat center and new eco-village development on Bowen. Shahar is originally from Israel, but is also Canadian. He works as a professor of counselling psychology and has a private practice. We have a 7 year old daughter, Annika, who is out-going and a lot of fun, and a sweet 3.5 year old boy named Aden. We live in separate homes, but function as one family.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Babysitting and creative play
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    This exchange would likely really be about NATURE, CHILDREN, and COMMUNITY. Bowen Island is a special place to visit. If you were to pay for accommodation, it is hard to find a place to stay here during the high season because it is (surprisingly) limited due to the fact that there are no big chains or hotels here. It's a local-oriented culture, and so living with a family here will give you a special sense of this place, its forests and trails, and its community.

    We are traveller ourselves—we travelled the world for many years and worked in international development throughout South Asia and parts of Southern Africa. We met in northern India, and until recently lived together in our Cates Hill home. We separated amicably and now live in separate homes, but are still very much part of each others lives. We love philosophy and are really interested in east-west psychology. Saskia is part of a group on Bowen that is working on developing an eco village on a newly acquired 10-acre lot. She also manages a retreat center that hosts yoga, contemplative psychology trainings, and other programs year-round. Shahar also runs programs and retreats as part is his private practice and teaching repertoire. He is a published author and speaker. We really appreciate local food culture, cycling (mountain biking and road), hiking, exploring the BC coastal and mountain terrain, and snuggling down as a family with music, movies, books, and good food and drink. :)

  • Host offers payment in line with the minimum wage

    Host offers payment in line with the minimum wage

    This host offers accommodation and payment.

    Host has indicated that they will pay at least the minimum hourly wage of their country for each hour worked and that accommodation will also be provided. They are asking for help with a business or business activity. Contact the host directly via the site messenger for more information and details about the wage provided. Any arrangements should be agreed in advance with your host.

  • Help


    We are a small family of three—Saskia, Shahar, Annika (our outgoing, spirited, fun, imaginative, adventurous 8 year old daughter); and Aden, our sweet, curious, smiley 3.5 year old boy.

    We will mostly be needing help with the children and some cooking and cleaning at Saskia’s house in Deep Bay—a cute little neighbourhood very close to snug cove and the ferry.

    Help with Annika may involve spending time playing games with or reading to her, helping her to further her education through play, going on walks or forest or beach adventures, biking together on forest trails, art projects, and so on. Help with Aden may involve dropping him off and/or picking him up at preschool (2 mornings per week; very nearby on foot), and going for walks or to activites with him.

    Saskia’s home is right in Snug Cove, where the ferry comes in, and so you’re in a unique position to walk everywhere. It is close to forest and mountain trails that are wonderful to explore with the kids who are not afraid of the rain or of getting dirty. You can also walk all over the cove and take them to coffee shops, to feed the ducks, to hang out on nearby beaches, and so on.

    In addition to childcare hours, Saskia may ask for help with cooking dinners (mostly vegetarian—though our kids eat meat so we are not opposed to having meat cooked in the house), laundry, and light general cleaning and (always!) tidying.

    Saskia will come up with a regular, though generally very flexible schedule for you so that you can plan other activities around it. Most of our WorkAway guests have had 3 days per week entirely off to explore and to do other jobs for pay through connections of ours here on the island. If you need to save additional money for travels, we might be able to help you to find other work (e.g., cleaning, painting, carpentry, gardening, etc.) at the retreat Center that Saskia runs (reachable by forest trails on foot—a pretty great commute!).

    This would be a great set up for somebody who wants a home base in Western Canada for a longer stint, to advance their career (or career prospects) through the work in the lower mainland or through language study (there are lots of language schools for non-English speakers), and for somebody who loves young children. You will be an important support person for our family. It goes without saying that, in exchange, we will do our best to support you to enjoy your time here, and to make it really fun. We may do little trips together (to Whistler, Vancouver Island, and so on), so you will also get to see a bit of the West Coast (if you like!).

    NOTE: Given the fact that you will become part of our family and the lives of our little ones, we give preference to people who would like to stay 2+ months. It takes time for the kids to develop rapport with you, and they become quite attached. Since it's best for them not to have too much change, we will always prefer working with people who are looking for a place to put down some roots for a while. We are open for stays as long as a year and beyond, if the fit is right, and have found that our relationship with the people who have stayed for long periods to be both rich and deeply enriching. Sometimes we have a need for a "stop gap" helper between times when a WorkAway guest leaves and a new one is scheduled to arrive, and at those times we put our profile on the "last minute" list of hosts and make a note at the very top of our profile. You are welcome to inquire about shorter stays, but we will always be balancing our interest in a good fit with length of stay. We have had 10 longer term workawayers in the past 3.5 years, and a few short term guests, and all are happy to act as references. :)

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    You can contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    You would be coming to Saskia’s 3-bedroom home that is within walking distance to Snug Cove (which is where the ferry comes in). We are therefore walking distance to all of the stores, coffee shops, library, galleries, and restaurants and TRAILS on the island.

    If you visit us, you will have your own private room. It has a double bed and other essential amenities, and it is cutely decorated (everything new). The bathroom, shower, and kitchen will be shared with Saskia and the kids (who are here 5 of 7 nights, but away at school/preschool during the days, so the house is often quiet).

    You will be invited to make yourself feel at home here! But, do know that our home is filled with the sounds of a young, boisterous children, and so you must love children and be comfortable with that.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    On your time off, you can walk the trails of Bowen, spend time on beaches, hang out at coffee shops, or travel to Vancouver or the coastal mountains that surround it for the day. You can also use this as a jumping off point for trips north to Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, the Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island, etc. On the North Shore of Vancouver, which we are very close to, you can visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Lynn Valley, hike the famous Grouse Grind for amazing views of the city, and explore an infinite array of trail systems, ski mountains (with cross-country and downhill) and snowshoeing terrain high in alpine territory. This is wild, coastal BC at its best! From our living room windows, you see snow-peaked mountains and trees, and you can hear the sounds of the ferry coming and going. It's a beautiful place to explore.

    If you are coming to North America to learn or improve your English, you will find that there are a lot of schools for language study in downtown Vancouver and we are an easy commute to the city (but a WORLD away!)—my husband gets door to door to his university downtown in 45-50 minutes with the Bowen express bus.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    We have hosted Workawayers who are students of online programs, and/or who work online. Our internet is stable and reliable.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week (possible to work longer days on some days and leave other days open)

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Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

Communication: (5.0)

Host ref number: 488945375815