Archive for July, 2011

God’s Everlasting Love

We have come to the end of another great week of camp at Sky Ranch. This weekend I will be posting a few more stories from the week, as well as some photos and videos. For now, enjoy a video from last night’s Song Fest. A great end to a great week.

The Little Joys of Camp Life

Today was basket weaving with Pam Bailey, from Spirit of Joy, Fort Collins. Naturally, the kids were all very excited. Some had never weaved a basket before; others were seasoned pros. All were looking forward to making their own, unique creation.

Something about basket weaving brings out the artistic side of the sides—it’s really quite something to see. I walked into the Backpack Center porch and immediately I had kids shoving their baskets in my face. “Look at what I made. Look at my basket.” Others were so focused on weaving that they paid no attention to the conversation I was trying to have with them. Needless to say, basket weaving is a joy for all!

Also today, a few of the sponsors went out on an impressive day hike to Emmaline Lake led by Mary. Unfortunately, as they made it back to Sky Ranch, the clouds opened up and the rain came down. They were all soaked when we greeted them but were still in high spirits.

The week has been filled with much laughter and relaxation. It has rained a few times but after the rain have been wonderful rainbows. A few days ago the brightest and most gorgeous FULL rainbow arched over Sky Ranch. It was an incredible sight and I couldn’t help but stop and stare.

–Kathryn (Elementary Coordinator)

 

Playing Catch Up

Throughout this summer, the Leadership Staff have done a nice job of writing daily updates of what is happening up at Sky Ranch. Alas, this past week I fell behind on keeping them posted. Today we get the pleasure of experiencing an entire week of camp . . . all in one post! (Photo taken last night . . . the wonders of creation can just take your breath away.) –Andy


Tuesday

Have you ever seen the Television show “Kids say the darndest things?”  It’s a show with clips of kids who say some pretty hilarious things.  If we had a show like that at Sky Ranch I believe it would be called “Kids know what’s up.”  One of the things that truly amazes me is how children depict the meaning of the resurrection and who God is to them.

I had the opportunity to sit in on the evening worship with the round-up crew Monday night.  During the message one of the round up counselors gave a message about the resurrection by using the metaphor of a rainbow after a rainstorm.  He asked the kids how they viewed the resurrection and what the resurrection meant to them.  One response was, “ so the resurrection is like a rainbow and the three days up until he rose is the rainbow part.  Then the part where they find the tomb empty and he has risen that’s like the pot of GOLD at the end of the rainbow!  The resurrection is like a pot of GOLD!”  Ergo “Kid’s know what’s up”  Then the counselor asked, “what does the resurrection mean to you” and immediately a hand shot up and another campers response was “hope,” simple as that, resurrection means “hope.”  It’s moments like these a. that give me chills and b. that bear light on the faith that small children can have.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the deeper meaning of things and we analyze and analyze that we forget about the simplicity.

There is a sign that hangs in my house that says “simplify simplify simplify.”  It was like an “aha!” moment for myself after hearing these kids speak.  The resurrection is about hope, it’s a glorious as the pot of Gold at then end of the rainbow.  Every week I am amazed by the faith that I see flowing through the kids of all age groups and it’s always a nice reminder as to what this ministry is all about.

–Kathryn (Elementary Coordinator)


Wednesday

On Tuesday, we said goodbye to 6 of our campers.  The Parks Girls and Super H, the Round-Up campers, left.  The counselors spent the night as pioneers with the Homesteaders and prepared to welcome 7 new campers on Wednesday.  The Quibbles are excited to be here and the counselors, who nicknamed themselves the houses from Harry Potter, are excited for them to be here.  The Quibbles aren’t the only group that we welcomed on to site on Wednesday.  We also welcomed back our Backpacking group who had a wonderful time out on trail.

Some of the campers got to weave baskets on Wednesday as well.  The wonderful Pam Bailey came once again and shared her expertise.  The kids seemed to enjoy it.  The thing that I love about weaving baskets is that the weaver’s personality is shown in their basket.  People who are relaxed tend to weave baskets that get loose and wider toward the top.  People who aren’t as relaxed tend to weave baskets that look more like lobster traps.  I went over and watched some of the campers weave and their counselors had noticed that they could tell which basket belonged with which kid just by looking at the basket and knowing their campers.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week holds for these amazing campers.

Brandi (Guest Coordinator)

P.S. Hi Mom!

 

Thursday

Today has been another full day of camp with three cabins out on a day hike and the High Wilderness backpacking trip doing a full day of high ropes.  The Homesteaders ventured forth into God’s Creation with destinations like Twin Lake Reservoir, Cirque Meadow, and Comanche Reservoir.

A full day of ropes was a powerful experience for the campers and sponsors of this week’s backpacking trip.  One backpacker said at the beginning of the week that he wouldn’t even climb up the pole to try an element, yet today, not only did he climb up the pole, he walked across the Jungle Walk and did the Zip Line! In the afternoon, he partnered up with another camper and successfully did the Jacob’s Ladder.  The Jungle Walk involves walking across a taut wire with rope handrails and dangling ropes to grab onto.  Jacob’s Ladder has a series of rungs about 4 feet apart that partners help each other climb up.

I thought it was incredible to see him push his comfort zone and challenge himself.  Today he didn’t just try to do the high ropes course; he conquered three elements! He first challenged himself to participate in the high ropes experience, and then he challenged himself by facing his fears and climbing up the pole.  He further challenged himself by trying the various elements. It is experiences like these that make me grateful for the chance to facilitate high ropes.

-Mark (High School Off-Site Coordinator)

 

 


Community Dinner in the Rain

That was one huge rain storm. Loud thunder. Strobe light lightning. We were hoping (literally, we knocked on wood three times) that it would be a clear evening so that everyone at camp could enjoy the community dinner/ BBQ in the rec. area. Barbeque chicken, pasta salad, homemade cookies (not adjusted for the elevation haha!) were on the menu for our cook out. Time for a new plan. We can’t barbeque when it’s pouring and lakes and rivers are forming all over camp. Luckily, the indoor plan can be just as fun. We’ve had community dinner indoors three times now, so the plan is pretty much flawless and well thought-out. Relay races in the basement, food, dancing, and the limbo on the main floor, various card games upstairs, and face painting on the porch. The food was delicious but the community as even tastier. We’re so glad we didn’t get a surprise visit from the rain-storm while we were eating outside. More importantly, no one noticed that this was the plan B. God’s rain can interrupt “outdoor ministry” but that doesn’t mean we’ll give up on the main point of our ministry. Encountering Christ. Pour on.

— Allisun and Ally

Rendezvous Goes Rafting

At the end of an adventure filled week–with high ropes, a day hike, and a full day of service projects–the high school Rendezvous gets to go rafting on the Poudre River. The Poudre has maintained near record levels this entire summer . . . making for a wet and wild ride. Enjoy some photos and video from this week’s Rendezvous rafting trip.
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Sunshine and Ice Cream

Hello friends and family,

Today, we have been blessed with perfect weather and everyone took advantage of the clear blue skies.  The day-hikers came back with great stories about their adventures and ate an absurd amount of ice cream.  The girls worked really hard to climb Jacob’s ladder.  Their counselor was so proud she bought them each an ice-cream sandwich.  I also indulged in an afternoon cone.  It is wonderful to see the campers grow in relationship with each other and with God.

Peace,

Erika (Guest Coordinator)

Enjoy some photos from high ropes, Rendezvous service projects, and other camp happenings.

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It is a beautiful summer morning here at Sky Ranch, but it looks like we can expect another afternoon thunderstorm. Hopefully our two backpacking trips and our four day hike groups will all be able to stay dry as they explore God’s Creation.  So far I have been able to sit outside at the chuck wagon enjoying nature and working on this blog update, but the clouds are already building around us.

This week is one of our busier weeks for our offsite programming and while it has been busy, it has also been very exciting to see some many people setting off into Creation for a week of self-sustained living.  We have two full trips, one group from Minnesota and the other from Kansas.

This morning our specialists are teaching Pioneer history and food education to the Teresa cabin.  The cabin is learning how to cook in a dutch oven, making an apple crisp. A dutch oven is a great way to cook in a fire; it is a cast iron pot and lid that can be used to cook a variety of dishes- especially dishes that require baking and can’t be done on a grill or skewer.  The lid has a rim around it so you can pile coals on top and cook the dish evenly.  Dutch ovens have been used for hundreds of years and we use them to teach about the pioneer lifestyle back in the mid 19th century.

To get ready, the specialists worked to prepare a good fire with plenty of hot coals to cook over.  After preparing the apple crisp, the girls of Teresa cabin placed the dutch oven in the fire and waited for it to cook.  While waiting for the food to cook, the cabin participated in a Bible study, exploring today’s theme of “Hitting the Trail.”  The apple crisp was ready just as the Bible study was wrapping up.  Teresa cabin then got to try the dish that the prepared and cooked. (It was delicious!)

-Mark (High School Off-Site Coordinator)

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It’s official, summer is half over.  Week 5 is a busy week! We have a couple of backpacking groups, a traveling day camp down in Broomfield, Colorado and on site we have our high school Rendezvous program and our Seeker’s confirmation program.

The bible study theme for the summer is “Journey of faith.”  By using the stories of Abraham and Sarah and the calling of the disciples, we are exploring how God encounters us right where we are and calls us to the world so that we might love others.  To help us get into the stories, we’re using a backpacking metaphor.

Today’s theme is “Packing and Planning.”  At our Sunday staff meeting, we were pondering how ironic that title is, especially since as the disciples are called (in Matthew 4:18-22) and they “immediately” drop their nets—leaving their families and their entire way of life for a new reality.

The call to discipleship that we read about in Matthew has got me thinking.  How often do we try to plan our discipleship?   What do we pack for our Christ following?  Perhaps we don’t need to pack or plan for anything!  Just maybe, our Christ following stems out of who God is calling us to be, just as we are.  And not only that, the disciples immediately follow Christ.  What is it about Christ that compels you to follow?  Not out of obligation, peer pressure, or coercion—but what is it about the way of Christ that draws you into the story?  Is it deep joy in love for others?  Is it the grace-filled love that we see in Jesus’ interaction with the least and the vulnerable that draws us to follow?  Is it the life free from fear?  What is it that draws you, just you, just as you are—to follow Jesus?

On a totally different but related note.  The word of the day up here at camp is “Promise”.  Whenever it comes up in conversation today, we plan to throw our hands in the air and yell, “AHHH!” so that we remember God’s promise to be with us always.

If you want to read along…
Monday, Packing and Planning, Genesis 12:1-9 and Matthew 4:18-22
Tuesday, Hitting the Trail, Genesis 13-21 and Mark 14:1-31
Wednesday, Dangers and Detours, Genesis 22:1-14 and Mark 14-15:47
Thursday, Summiting the Peak, Genesis 22:15-19 and Mark 16 or Luke 24
Friday, Taking it Down the Mountain, Romans 8:37-39

–Jenn (Summer Chaplain)

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Family Adventures

Wow, what a day this has been so far!  This morning we spent time in family activities and what a joy it was to have families out on the high ropes course participating together.  Children cheering on their parents and vise versa.  There is something to be said for being willing to be vulnerable with your family; I had the privilege of observing and being with families while they bonded closer together.  As a larger group, each family supported the other families as well!  As one mother spoke, “I couldn’t have done this without the support of others.  It was more of a challenge for me than I expected.”

I have also seen God in the community  as a whole; in our laughter, smiles, our joys, the stories we share and the way that families have opened up to one another.  Through worship, activities throughout the day, meal times, and casual conversations, this community has been present with each other, sharing and proclaiming the gift of Christ’s love in our lives.

Today in our summer theme, we are talking about summitting the peak.  As we are in our fourth day of family camp, many are feeling the joy of being on a spiritual summit.  We have had fruitful conversations around the summer theme and in the adult Bonhoeffer study as well.

As we prepare for our journey down the mountain, I ask that you keep all of the families in your prayers.  This week has been a blessing to many!

— Jess (High School Onsite Coordinator)

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Family Camp Fun

As this week of family camp begins, it is turning out to be an awesome transition into the second half of the summer. The staff is excited about reaching out to families and connecting with both kids and adults. Monday was a fun and relaxing way to ease into the camp life for families. There was a community dinner in the Backpack Center for all of the families and even some guests- a couple that met each other as staff 30 years ago. It was a great way to get to know the families more and continue to build the community with both great conversation and great snocones.

The evening continued with a “drive-in” movie in the lodge as we screen Cars with couches and a sheet screen. Family movie night is not something we get to do a lot at camp, so being able to relax and just hang out for a few hours was amazing. Our evening worship culminated with s’mores, which always makes me happy, and we all went to bed happy and full of sweet marshmallow-y goodness.

Tuesday has been off to a great start. A delicious breakfast of biscuits and gravy (even with vegetarian gravy for those of us who don’t eat meat, which was a nice surprise) was the best way to start of the morning. The kids are busy “moose hunting” while the parents are engaging in discussion and study. This week is the perfect mix of active and engaging programs and time to just relax as a family. The staff is relishing in the time to continue to build community and we’re thrilled to share our home with all of the families here. Whether it’s three year old Mason turning to me to inform me I was his best friend, or the Lundeby’s and myself connecting over our mutual connection to North Dakota, this week is about building those personal relationships. The small number of people on site gives us as a staff the awesome opportunity to really get to know each guest we have present and share our Bible Study and Faith Journeys with them. More and more of the staff are trickling back into camp for the week and we welcome them with open arms- as all guest are received here as Christ. I hope that the holiday was relaxing and fun for the family. God Bless!

–Emily (Counselor)