Wednesday, June 15, 2005
work AND play
It’s officially been two weeks since I have arrived at Snow Mountain Ranch. My mom asked me on the phone the other day if I am glad that I chose to come here. All I could answer with was a definite “yes!”
After traveling with five friends from Calvin all the way from Grand Rapids, we made it to the beautiful state of Colorado. Following the road trip, I was confident that the summer was going to be a wonderful experience—after all, I had only spent a few days with a few friends and had a great time. I had the whole summer ahead of me (and still do)!
Looking back at these two weeks that I’ve been here, it has been packed with amazing experiences. Through small groups, leadership seminars, campfires, and hikes, basketball games, and even time at work, my time here continues to be a very rewarding experience.
I have to admit that one of my favorite things to do at Snow Mountain is hike. There are many trails of varying difficulty and scenery. My friend just told me today that he went snowshowing on a nearby trail! On Monday, a few friends and I had the day off of work, so we decided to hike Five Peaks. The trail is a steep climb up Snow Mountain, which overlooks the whole ranch and the surrounding area. It took us five hours to complete the hike, but we enjoyed every minute of it. The view was incredible. Despite the view, I was not quite prepared for the weather. When we started hiking, it was around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. At the five peaks, it got colder and colder, and we ended up wearing sweatshirts and coats in the 40 degree weather.
Although everyone on the Calvin program savors their free time here, it is a WORK-study program. No one would complain about hiking and relaxing all day, but we do have to earn some money to pay for Calvin tuition! Each member of the Leadership Challenge Institute program works 40 + hours a week in various departments throughout the camp. The various departments include, but are not limited to, outdoor programs, housekeeping, building and grounds, maintenance, food minstrel, child care, day camp, chaplain’s assistant, wedding’s assistant, and food service. I work in food service at the Buckboard Grille, which is the restaurant at Snow Mountain Ranch. While it may be a “normal” job in many ways, I don’t dread coming to work whatsoever. I work with a few people from Calvin, but there are many international students who work here as well. On and off work, I’ve had so much fun getting to know these amazing students and spending time with them.
Yesterday many of us in the LCI program moved to Blue Ridge, the permanent staff housing at the ranch. It has three floors full of staff that work here during the summer, but the first floor was not completed until yesterday. Some staff, myself included, stayed temporarily at Pinewood Lodge while they finished renovations on the first floor of Blue Ridge. Yesterday was move-in day! It’s great to have a permanent place to stay although packing and unpacking may not be the most fun thing to do.
While I don’t hike and spend time with friends all day long, it’s the experience as a whole that continues to make this summer one that I won’t soon forget. Mike Van Denend, Executive Director of the Alumni Association of Calvin, mentioned in the last leadership seminar that experiences like these are the ones that strengthen character, deepen understanding, and nurture faith. I couldn’t agree with him more.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Well, what an amazing few weeks it has been up here in the Colorado Rockies! Between hikes, hailstorms, and awesome new friendships, the start to our summer has been both crazy and fun. We have just over 30 members in our group, mostly from Calvin—however we also have a member from Hope college, one from Western Michigan University, and one from Michigan State University. Everyone is getting along great and having a blast.
Last tuesday our LCI program officially began. Rick Zomer, the Calvin program director, began the day, with two SMR employees (including Nate Russell, a Calvin/LCI alum working here year-round in HR) speaking as well. Then we had the privilege of hearing from Glenn Triezenberg, Calvin’s Director of Career Development (and also the man who created the LCI) and CAS Professor Debra Freeberg, both of whom had awesome things to say. We got our LCI fleece jackets (how exciting!!) and then headed up to a place on SMR property called Columbine Point to take a group photo. Needless to say, after all the serious business we were taking care of that day, a fun picture was in order:
After the photo shoot, we headed off for what had been described to us only as “Super Fun Time.” We later learned that this included both a trip to Grand Lake Chocolates for some delicious ice cream (I recommend the Toasted Coconut Macaroon if you’re ever in the neighborhood) and a hike up to a place nearby called Adam’s Falls— gorgeous. The day concluded with a barbeque and a campfire/sing a long. All in all, a great way to start what I’m confident will be an amazing summer.
Tonight we’ll be hearing from Mike Van Denend, the Director of Calvin’s Alumni Association, and beginning our small group studies, which will include the discussion of LCI lectures, as well as the books Will of God as a Way of Life (Sittser) and In the Name of Jesus (Nouwen). God is revealing Himself in big ways here—both through His majestic creation and His beautiful children—and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for this group.