Following a night of celebration with the 50th Gala, Sky Ranch held it’s annual meeting on Sunday, March 3rd at Zion Lutheran Church in Loveland, CO. Prior to the meeting, Zion hosted a worship service commemorating the past 50 years of Sky Ranches ministry. It was an opportunity for alumni and current Sky Ranchers to worship together at a place that has played an instrumental part in the history of Sky Ranch. Following the worship we gathered in the narthex and enjoyed chili and dessert before diving into the annual meeting.
Mike Williams, President of the Board gave a report on the previous summer including bears, fires, evacuations and, on top of all that, a 15% increase in numbers and finishing out the year in the black. A successful summer indeed where we can now look to the future and the incredible growth that is continuing to happen for the upcoming summer. The treasurer, Gene Elder, gave a report on finances while the year round staff shed light on the past, present and future for the camp.
Sky Ranch received two donations during the annual meeting. Pastor Ken Gibson presented a check on behalf of Grace Lutheran in Woodstock, IL for $5,000 to fund canvas for 4 new tents cabins that will house offsite groups. Kristin Baltrum presented a check on behalf of Bethlehem Lutheran in Longmont, CO for $5,000 to help kick off our Capital Appeal to raise funding for a new bath house. Both very generous donations that will allow us to move forward in expanding program and rebuilding the foundational structures of Sky Ranch!
Plaques were presented to Pastor Mark Peterson from Bethlehem Lutheran in Longmont who wrapped up his time on the board at Sky Ranch and Linda Knaack who served for 3 years as our office manager. We are grateful for everything they have done and continue to do for the ministry of Sky Ranch. Many blessings on their next adventures!
A lot to be joyous and thankful for!
The kick off has begun and the 50th anniversary celebration is well underway! This past weekend Sky Ranch celebrated 50 years of ministry with the Tuxes & Tevas Gala in Loveland, CO. Outfits ranged from Tux jackets paired with jeans or shorts, dresses with “camp” shoes and a bandana here and there to bring formal wear and camp wear together. Aside from the outfits it was an incredible night where generations of camps past came together to celebrate this ministry that has meant so much to so many.
The foundations of the 50th anniversary are Remember, Experience, Imagine. The past 5 decades of Sky Ranch were remembered through stories from Alton Schwant (an original founding member of the camp). Dan Cochel (Emcee of the night and camper in the 70′s), Dawn Trautman (staff in the 90′s), Lisa Dunworth (camper, staff, and brought youth up as a youth director) and Gene Elder (first came up to camp as family camper). The Experience portion was depicted through a slideshow of photos from camp today and finally Imagine where we looked to the future of the camp with Brad Abbott (Executive Director) and kicked off our special appeal.
The room was filled with a community of unique individuals with a common bond. While we have all taken our own paths and built our own roads we have each been blessed by this ministry; a ministry that has uplifted us, challenged us, and helped us grow in ways we didn’t think possible; both in our faith and as individuals. It is great to see Sky Ranchers from the 60’s conversing with a staff member who worked for the first time in 2009. God has blessed us with an incredible gift and opportunity to walk alongside youth in their faith journey in a place set apart. We would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who put in a lot of hard work to make this event a great success and thank you to everyone who has been involved in this ministry through the last 5 decades. Here’s to the next 50 years!
We are pleased to announce the hiring of our new office manager Ally Plucheck. Ally grew up in Colorado and is a member of Bethany Lutheran Church in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado. Ally has worked for Sky Ranch since 2009 serving as the camp cook for 4 summers. Ally is an incredibly hard worker and brings many gifts and talents that will make her a huge asset to the year round staff. Please keep her and the rest of the staff in your prayers as we prepare for an incredible summer celebrating 50 years of ministry!
Ally will be in our office during most office hours Monday through Friday 8am to 4 pm. She is available to help make reservations for the summer and help with any questions you may have concerning registration, forms, etc. You can reach Ally via e-mail at Ally@skyranchcolorado.org or at the office at 970-493-5258.
As Ally transitions into this position we say goodbye to Linda Knaack who has served as the office manager for the past 3 years. She will be leaving us to be a Financial Representative for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Linda has faithfully served our organization helping to implement online registration systems, working to convert our databases, and helping Sky Ranch to become fiscally sustainable. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she transitions into this new position. Linda and her family intend to remain active supporters of Sky Ranch into the future.
Debra Koch Abbott
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This past weekend Sky Ranch had the opportunity to be apart of the middle school youth gathering in Colorado Springs. It was a weekend based around the theme “Let’s Eat” and a reading from Ezekial 3: 3: “’Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” Over 700 middle schoolers participated in a weekend where they dove into what it means to “fearlessly live the life God intended them to live.”
Friday kicked off the weekend with Peter Gonia (a Sky Ranch alum) talking about his journey to Chico, California where he serves as a youth director and organic farmer followed by a Q & A with his father, Bishop Jim Gonia. On Saturday, youth groups had the opportunity to attend break out sessions and serve in the Colorado Springs community. These service projects ranged from building to sorting clothes. More than 700 people put their faith into action through community service and made a huge impact on the Colorado Springs community. At large group that evening they shared some of their experiences. Lauren Seyfarth, another Sky Ranch alum also shared her experiences of serving and discovering her vocation. The youth again had a chance to ask questions and were curious about her experiences in Haiti to if she likes pumpkin pie.
Gatherings like these give us the opportunity to work with our sister camp Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp in southern Colorado. This gathering was a great opportunity to work with one another, catch up, share stories and do what both camps do best. Together we put on six sessions of Team Building for the youth including activities like the human knot and a blindfolded obstacle course. These activities were meant to not only challenge the youth but really get them thinking about the gifts God has given them and what they might be called to do, what their vocation might be.
At times it’s difficult to pay attention to what God is calling us to do. Distractions of what success really means, feeling too overwhelmed to make a difference, or being embarrassed to share our gifts are things we all struggle with. My hope is that throughout this weekend the youth were able to find that they have a community there to back them up. They have people who want them to succeed, who are willing to push them but without judgment. My wish is that they will fearlessly show their gifts and the incredible value they bring to the world and their community. There will always be road-blocks and rivers to cross but as Romans 5 tells us “suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character and character produces hope.” We may not see what’s ahead but that’s the beautiful mystery of faith.
This past weekend (December 28th-30th) Sky Ranch had our annual staff reunion at camp. These reunions give staff from summers past the opportunity to come together once again to celebrate the joy of community a few months removed from camp, catch up on each others lives and of course have some fun in the snow covered mountains. Many laughs were had, card games were played and bruised knees were acquired.
The weekend started out at Trinity Lutheran Church where hugs and smiles were all around. Staff came in from California, South Dakota, Minnesota, Texas and of course Colorado. From there we headed on up the snow packed road and arrived at camp ready to spend the evening in fellowship. Saturday morning included a walk around camp that shortly turned into a walk down the frozen creek (with a few of us who fell through) and a sliding strip across the beaver ponds near hole 6 of the Frisbee golf course. It was concluded that afternoon that the ice needed to be swept off and a game of ice soccer needed to be played.
While sweeping off the snow from the ice, we soon realized that soccer may result in a few minor injuries and instead chose to play broom ball. This may have been equally sketchy however the amount of fun and laughter was worth it. After 4 hours of playing broom ball, a breathtaking sunset, and a variety of bumps and bruises we called it quits and headed back for dinner and evening worship.
It was the perfect way to end the year. It was a time to reminisce on the summer and look towards another. It was a time to be reminded of God’s amazing Grace and the incredible community he has given us that will be there for all of time. While it is fun to remember the past, even with all the adventures it brought, it is now time to look towards the future and how optimistic and exciting that future looks! While many of the staff at this particular reunion were from the summer of 2012, this upcoming summer will be filled with staff reunions from summers reaching all the way back to the 60’s.
It was the beginning of many staff reunions to come- reunions where the story of Sky Ranch will be shared along with the different ways Sky Ranch has impacted each person who visits. There is much to look forward to this summer but I find myself most looking forward to hearing the Sky Ranch story from past and present; how this place has continued to impact people’s faith and facilitate an Encounter with Christ on the Mountaintop and how it will continue to do so for the next 50 years.
This Thanksgiving I had the unique opportunity to attend a worship service with my sister and her five roommates who are a part of a program called DOOR (Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection). The service was an interfaith worship at Mountview Presbyterian in Denver, CO. This particular worship contained members from Presbyterian, Buddhist, Jewish, Unitarian, Methodist and Catholic backgrounds, with each belief system represented in a piece of the service.
The service included chants, songs, prayers, readings and psalms; each with a unique component to the different religions present. Half way through the service I leaned over to my sister and said “do you think they’ll do communion,” . . . she shrugged in response. This brings me to the part of the service that really stuck out to me; “the sharing of the breads.” It wasn’t the communion most of us would expect but rather a prayer and then sharing of various types of bread from each religion passed down the aisle in baskets. Yes it even included gold fish. It was an opportunity for each person to, no matter their background, share in the body of Christ and give thanks as one community- Pretty powerful stuff.
Reflecting on this service, I thought of camp. Camp, simply put, is a place for people from all backgrounds to come together and “Encounter Christ on the Mountaintop.” It’s a place where Catholics, Presbyterians, Mennonites, Nondenominational, etc, come together to a place set apart, a place where God’s amazing Grace is ever present. It’s a place where I have been challenged, educated, and introduced to those religions while still remaining true to my Lutheran belief system. I have come to realize the more you know about someone or something, you begin to see the similarities instead of focus on the differences. It becomes a community united instead of a group divided. A community that I think can all agree that we have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.
Sky Ranch is now accepting applications for the 2013 Summer Staff community. As we look forward to next summer and the celebration of 50 years of ministry, we are looking for 45 young adults, passionate about children and faith, that will form the life and energy of our summer programs.
Want to be a part of the 2013 summer staff or know someone who you think would be a perfect fit for the Sky Ranch community? We are always looking for faithful and energetic young adults who want to delight in a summer of ministry and community, with plenty of fun and games along the way.
For more information about being on staff at Sky Ranch and how to apply, go to the Sky Ranch Website, Employment Opportunities. There you will find a video that shares about the experience of being on summer staff, as well as a link to our online application. We look forward to seeing the community start to come together and the wonderful ministry moments that are waiting to happen!
During Glory of God’s Men’s Retreat this weekend, the group discovered the joys–and challenges–of creating furniture from aspen trees found on the Sky Ranch property. From debarking the trees with a draw knife to measuring, remeasuring, and measuring once again, there was lots of laughter and fun had all around. In addition to the four complete chairs that were created over the weekend, the group also replaced the ramp on the Teresa cabin (which Glory of God has adopted) with composite materials.
Thanks to all the guys for a great weekend. And if building log furniture sounds like fun, keep posted for more information on a Spring Log Furniture Retreat where we will make furniture for the Backpack Center, as well as pieces that participants can take home.
Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp invites you to learn the tools and trade of building aspen log furniture while helping to make new furniture for the Backpack Center and Nature Center. This no cost weekend (October 19 – 21) will be led by Andy Sprain and Ben Haguestuen, with the goal of creating several new chairs, couches, and tables that will replace existing furniture that was original to the camp in 1963.
Participants are invited to come to Sky Ranch for dinner on Friday and time in the evening to review safety protocol and furniture designs. Saturday will be spent building the furniture, with time for fellowship in the evening. Brunch will be served on Sunday, with folks heading home early afternoon. Lodging for the weekend will be in camper cabins with meals served in the lodge. If there is enough interest, we will host another log furniture weekend in the spring where participants can work on their own aspen log furniture pieces.
To register for the weekend, please call our office at 970-493-5258 or email Andy.
Today marks that start of registration for 2013 Sky Ranch summer camp.
Especially with next summer marking Sky Ranch’s 50th Anniversary of Outdoor Ministry, it is never too early to start thinking about next summer. Click here to learn more about Sky Ranch program ministries.
While the schedule remains consistent with previous summers, there are two important changes:
1) To meet increased camper numbers towards the end of the summer, an additional week of all ages programming has been added, running from August 4 – 9. Round Up!, Homesteaders, Mountaineers, Rendezvous, and High School off-site programs will all be offered.
2) Individuals having completed 3rd grade are now eligible for the Homesteader program. We strongly encourage any 3rd grade participants to have previously attended an overnight camp, such as the Sky Ranch Round Up! program.
Below is the 2013 schedule. If you have any questions or want help registering for a program, please feel free to call our office at 970-493-5258. We look forward to seeing you up at the Ranch!