This week for confirmation intensive we are living out the story of Jesus, in the year 30 AD. Our first day we searched the land and heard from several prophets about who the Messiah would be. Some spoke of dreams of prophesy, some of rulers that would bring power and glory, and some of a caring, sacrificial God incarnate. But the most impressive prophet was John the Baptist. As we approached the river, we could hear him shouting about repentance. We walked closer to discover a wild looking man, half immersed in the water. He told us we must prepare the way and then he ate leaves from the nearest Aspen tree. A camper next to me was thoroughly impressed. “He should be paid a lot of money for that,” she said seriously. “Like a hundred dollars per leaf!” I agreed with her and promised to ask for a raise for him. The commitment John the Baptist showed to his character clearly won the prize that day. If only we had some locusts. . . .
– Katie (Leadership Coordinator)
Sky Ranch has been transported in time. That’s right folks! Up here on the mountain we’re living in 30 A.D. and it’s a blast. Yesterday, we visited with John the Baptist in Beaver Creek and tonight, Jesus came to camp riding on a donkey while his followers waved palms (donkey = wheelbarrow pushed by HighSchool helper dressed as donkey and palms = bandannas). Our Confirmation Intensive program is off to a great start.
This week, Trinity Lutheran Church from Texas is participating in our FourWinds program. They play hard and they work hard. I can’t wait to see what the Beaver Flats area looks like when they are done. We’re blessed to have this wonderful group with us this week.
As for the staff, we’re doing great. Today on ropes, two brave youth directors took to the sky and their campers cheered them on. The campers, who’d already mastered the feat, gave them lots of good advice and one remarked how strange it was that he, “was telling the youth director what to do.” In reality, he was teaching them and this is an experience that staff have every day. Our campers teach us valuable lessons about faith, community, friendship and Justin Bieber (this last one may not be quite as valuable).
Love from the mountain,
Summer weekends at camp have a different feel to them. For most of the staff, the weekend means that it’s time for rest. Sabbath-taking was happening all over the place! Some of the staff went for hikes, many of the staff went down the mountain to spend time at home, celebrate birthdays, watch Cars 2, go out to eat, re-stock supplies for the week or weeks to come, etc. . . . There is a casual peace in the air that allows for deep conversation, laughter, endless piano playing, and processing all that has happened so far at camp this summer and all that is yet to come.
A couple of us had the joy of working this weekend–and amazingly, even our work was restful. With the aid of our weekend chef, Charlene, we welcomed a family to the lodge and hosted a couple of families in the campground. Dinner on Friday night was an impromptu tea party! Worship was a couple of songs, a meditation on Psalm 46, and followed by s’mores. Saturday chores included getting ready for traveling day camps during week three to Burlington and Casper. Dinner tonight was homemade meatloaf and au gratin potatoes from scratch! As the staff were enjoying their last few hours of rest, they thought about how they might share their faith this week, they contemplated new friendship bracelet designs, they took pause to care for one another.
Tomorrow, the weekend will end with a Service of the Word and a reflection on discipleship. At about 2 p.m. we will welcome to camp, campers that are here to experience or support our confirmation intensive. Looking forward to another week of experiencing God’s presence in our midst at this place we call Sky Ranch. We hope you have a good week, too! Remember us in your prayers when you think of us!
–Jenn, our summer Chaplain
For the past two week, three high school youth and two Sky Ranch staff set out to explore what it means to be a leader and to listen to God’s vocation call in their lives. Whether at camp, at Harvest Farm, or on trail, they had a fantastic time building community, with lots of laughs along the way. Here’s what the experience meant to them . . . in their own words.
“Youth Go! has been on of the best experiences in my life. It has not only taught me leadership skills that I can use in my everyday life but also how to translate what other people say and suggest into ideas that work for everyone.”
“The main thing that I will take away from this experience is that we all have the tools that we need to be a leader, but without God it is meaningless. We do not work for ourselves or change people’s lives . . . it is God that works through us and uses us to lead and reach out to people.”
“One outstanding memory I have of Youth Go! is sitting on top of Denny’s point on a moonless, cloudless night. We went on a night hike and I don’t think anyone expected the beautiful scenery at the top. You could see every single star in the sky. We sat there silently for at least an hour, just gazing at the breathtaking sky.”
Every week we have a special themed lunch varying from Superhero lunch where kids come soaring in to conquer their lunch, to pirate themed lunch where they sit shipwrecked on the floor and only use random utensils left by angry pirates.
Today’s theme was announced at breakfast. Allisun announced that the lodge was turning into Hogwarts because today’s lunch was Harry Potter. Instantly everyone was claiming their character. Everyone was so excited . . . except for the two cabins who were going on their day hikes. Listening to all the campers, I overheard one camper ask his counselor if it was alright to skip the day hike so that he partake in the crazy lunch adventure.
Because of all the excitement, we decided to extend the Harry Potter lunch into dinner (so that everyone could be a part of it). The pictures speak for themselves.
- Ally (Summer Cook)
(Here are some photos from the Harry Potter meals, as well as other happenings around camp.)
2011 has seen record snow pack in Northern Colorado. In the basin where Sky Ranch is located, snow pack was up to 250% of normal and with cooler temperatures the past several weeks, the snow has been slow to melt off. Which means many of the peaks around us are still covered with snow. The upside is that we have been able to avoid any major flooding that we would have seen with a fast melt. It also means that the Poudre River has stayed at peak flow for almost three weeks (and is currently at 253% of it’s mean flow).
Each week our Rendezvous High School program goes rafting on Thursday–a nice end to the week. We go through Mountain Whitewater Descents in Fort Collins. Their excellent guides take great care of us and take us on an exhilarating 12 mile stretch of the river. Especially when the river is running this high, their expertise is much appreciated.
You may have seen in the news that a guiding company was involved in an accident on the river, resulting in a fatality. While our hearts go out to them, we are relieved to share that it wasn’t Mountain Whitewater Descents guiding the trip and all of our campers are safe. There is always risk in the things we do, especially with the river running this fast. Our thoughts and prayers go out the families of those involved.
As a matter of chance, our group was on the river shortly after the accident. Luckily all of our campers had an awesome experience and have lots of stories to share. Attached our a few photos from the outing. And thank you to Mountain Whitewater Descents for taking such good care of us!
God blessed Sky Ranch with beautiful weather today. We enjoyed clear blue skies and sunshine all day long. Our high school campers, Rendezvous, worked hard to complete service projects and are looking forward to tomorrow’s rafting trip down the Poudre River. I spent my day facilitating high ropes for our Mountaineer campers. They were amazing!!! I was truly impressed by the way the campers supported and encouraged each other. On one element, Jacob’s ladder, pairs work together to reach the top of a large swinging ladder. One camper told his partner that he would do whatever it took to help him reach the top. He shouted, “do it! Just use my head for leverage.” And sure enough, he did! When the boys reached the top, their counselor promised to buy them ice cream for their amazing teamwork. I’ve never seen two prouder smiles as we lowered them back down to the ground. We’re looking forward to the rest of the week as we continue to journey together and grow in our faith.
- Erika (Guest Coordinator)
Enjoy a few photos from the last few days–including a moose seen on a day hike to Pingree Park, Homesteaders on the Pioneer Walk, and Youth Go! on their backpacking trip.
After a few clouds yesterday, we have been blessed with a morning of sunshine! The morning started with singing at SonDance, followed by time with the specialists doing arts & crafts, nature education, and food education. We bid farewell (for the day) to the Mountaineers and Rendezvous as they “hit the trail” for the day hike — “Hit the Trail” happens to be today’s theme. The Mountaineers ventured to B 17 and Comanche Lake and Rendezvous hiked to Cirque Meadow.
Today we said goodbye to the first session of Round Up campers. While we are sad to see them go, we are excited to welcome a new group tomorrow.
It’s only Tuesday and yet God’s presence has been flowing through this place. Jenn (our chaplain) overhead a conversation between two campers in Rendezvous during an evening worship service. One camper asked, “Do you know what it means to be a Christian?” The other camper, who speaks very little English, said, “No.” The camper answered, “It’s all about God loving us and loving each other. So, I’m your brother in Christ.”
While this is just one example of God’s presence, examples are everywhere we look. At a place like Sky Ranch, it’s hard to miss!
- Kathryn (Elementary School Coordinator)
Week 2 is off and running and I love it! It’s cold and wet outside but everyone is sunny here. A group of 1 – 3 grade boys are in the lodge making communion bread as part of their food education activity. One of them asked, “Are we practicing for communion?” It’s beautiful to see these learning opportunities, even for little ones. They are curious creatures and are obviously enjoying themselves.
At the same time, a group is busy decorating their faith bags that they will use to collect faith items from staff members this week. (Staff members choose their items to represent or serve as a symbol for their faith journey and hand out the faith items each time they share their story.) Another group is working on the low ropes, challenging and empowering themselves. Already, this community is bonding and becoming strong and it is only Monday! It’s great to see this ministry in action
Peace, Allisun (Middle School Coordinator)
(Below are some photos from the week, including Rendezvous on High Ropes and Round Up making S’Mores.)
On June 4th, Spirit of Joy (Fort Collins), hosted a wonderful evening of BBQ and Bluegrass music as a kick off to the summer and a fundraiser for Sky Ranch. It was a wonderful evening–hard to say which was better . . . the food or the music. We were able to bring the entire staff down the mountain to join in the fun. It was great to have the staff get to meet so many wonderful supports of camp.
Here are some photos of the evening. If you want to see more (and better) pictures, CLICK HERE to see Eric Pabo’s photos.
Thank you to everyone who put so much time and energy into making BBQ & Bluegrass such a success. In addition to the fun, over $4000 was raised to support the program ministries at Sky Ranch. A great kick off to the summer, indeed!