Sky Ranch Spotlight

C

Meagan Murphy (left)

From the day I returned from camp, everyone I talked with would ask me, “How was it? What was your favorite part? Can I see pictures?” It was great knowing that people were interested in my summer, but the unfortunate part was that my inquirers did not have a day and a half to spare as I shared a long, detailed response about its splendor. My answers were short, usually, “It was amazing, the best summer ever!” The pictures I shared included mountaintop views, pictures of the camp property itself, as well as some funny pictures taken with some friends on staff. But what I couldn’t show in those few moments I took to share my experiences from the summer were the learning moments that left me with a changed heart.

Time passed and I started to receive fewer opportunities to share my experience with those around me. Fortunately for me, I was asked to share a reflection about my summer at a Campus Ministries event at my school, Augustana College. This allowed me to re-focus on those mountaintop moments that left me feeling rejuvenated at the end of the summer and share them with a new audience and different people wondering what sets Sky Ranch apart. Since it had been a few months since I returned from camp, I was able to solidify learning moments that gave me a new outlook on life. Moments I felt I could share with everyone I met. Sky Ranch taught me how to be selfless, live fearlessly, as well as offer and accept the abundant grace of Christ. Now, when people asked me about my experiences, or when I would share in public settings, I was able to tell them these learning moments, about how I watched others transform and how I too was transformed as a counselor.

But now, it’s been even longer, and the opportunity to share what I’ve learned becomes increasingly rare. I feel myself looking back to try and recapture those moments that taught me how to love and be loved. But the reality is that I can’t go back in time, and I can’t bottle up my learning moments and send them out for all to hear. So now the question is, how do I live into the moments that seem to become increasingly intangible?

This past summer at Sky Ranch, we always asked the campers how they were going to take what they had learned and bring it down the mountain. What I never thought about then, was how I too was not only going to bring the essence of Sky Ranch down the mountain, but also how I was going to make it last. At first, I thought bringing Sky Ranch down the mountain meant taking with me the pictures and the smiles to share with my friends and family and say, “Look how great this place is! That’s me on high ropes!” Don’t’ get me wrong, the tangible things are important. And I am grateful for those memories I find in the pictures and artifacts from the summer, because they inspire me to live life down the mountain the same way I lived during the summer. But in the end, it’s not about how well I can tell Sky Ranch’s story, but how well I can imitate the love of Christ through my own story.

Sky Ranch is a part of who I am. When people ask me about my time there, I need not feel restrained by the length of my response or number of my pictures, or the ability and readiness to share with them clear, concise learning moments. But rather, I should be comforted with the understanding that Sky Ranch has been integrated into my story, shown through an overflowing of God’s grace and love that I can share with the world. This is bringing what I learned at Sky Ranch down the mountain, and this is what I strive to do every day.

Meagan Murphy
Augustana College, Rock Island, IL

Each month we will highlight a story from a camper, staff, adult sponsor volunteer or guest on their experience at Sky Ranch. 

Past Sky Ranch Spotlights

Joe and Luke Rein

Haley Plucheck

Dave Kiel

Robin Lutjohann

Katharine Ritzi

Ben Fulton

Meagan Murphy

Kaari Von Bernuth

Doug Hill

Caitlin Almer