Last weekend, the boys left campus to have an experience camping out together for a retreat at Glacier View Ranch (GVR). The Residence Hall deans, Michael Gann and Jordan Dubini planned activities and worship times for the boys to bond with each other.
Upon arrival to GVR, they set up their tents and hammocks at the Pathfinder Village, a Men’s Club tradition for the past four years.
The Rocky Mountain Conference Youth Director, Brandon Westgate was the speaker for the event, giving them advice on how to be a “man of value”.
The boy’s experienced some challenging weather conditions with a lot of wind at night, causing tarps to fly everywhere and tents to collapse. Gustavo Silveira, a new junior international student shared, “I think it was a unique experience; on the first night, it the wind blew very hard and our roof of the tent was taken with the wind and half of it fell on top of me, but as I was very cold and tired, I just went back to sleep. But, we had some worship and songs around the fire and a lot of good food. I especially loved the marshmallows which are better than I’ve had in Brazil. So these things made my weekend very special; I loved it.”
As an additional sponsor on the trip, Jordan Dubini’s brother, Jared (known to students as “Two-bini”) came and cooked for the students and shared all of his culinary gifts and good recipes. Nathan Baez, a freshman student commented, “ My favorite part of dorm retreat was the food, “Two-bini” is so good at cooking and I loved it, especially the pancakes and the breakfast burritos.”
Despite the difficulties and cold weather, the students were happy and thankful for the opportunity to get off campus and enjoy the mountains.
A senior student, Shawn Ferguson commented, “The retreat was fun, despite the weather being more extreme this year. I think the best parts of this weekend were making the best out of the weather and overall just being able to enjoy God’s nature and the peace and quiet in the mountains.”
Pedro Vieira, Student News Team
The entire student body left the classrooms behind to learn from nature at Rocky Mountain National Park on Wednesday, September 13. The teachers each led a group of students to study a variety of topics including Elk Ecology, Orienteering, Park History, Junior Ranger, and Front Range Floods, while also exploring the top sites of the park.
One of the groups tested their endurance on a nine-mile round trip hike to Sky Pond. Jack Ramos shared that they found wild raspberries to enjoy on the hike saying, “They tasted so good! I’m glad that I experienced these moments with friends.”
The Elk Ecology group not only observed bugling Elk, but also saw a variety of animals including a bear, bighorn sheep, and marmots. “I learned all about the different animals that live at RMNP and how the park is trying to protect and regulate the Elk and other animals,” recalled Sarah Rushhold, junior at Campion.
In addition to the learning components, one of the objectives of the day was to allow all of the students to experience the Rocky Mountains. Eriane Saraiva, a senior from Brazil, explained, “This trip was my first time in the mountains and for me it was a very fun and different experience. One of the parts I enjoyed most, apart from spending time in nature, was taking a break from studying and school, and I also had the opportunity to talk to people I hadn't gotten to know before.”
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
The Campion Academy seniors carried on the tradition of bonding as a class while surviving in the woods surrounding Glacier View Ranch from Wednesday, August 30th to Sunday, September 3rd.
They hiked into the wilderness with their backpacks to set up their shelters using only natural materials, ropes, and tarps. The students were lucky to not have to contend with bad weather, as it was mostly warm and sunny for the entire trip.
The students went without their phones, allowing them to find entertainment through conversations and games. “It was really nice seeing the students interact with each other and talk because kids normally don't sit there and talk as much as they did,” Amy Kluchesky, senior class sponsor, elaborated.
During the days, the seniors had to use communication, leadership, and patience to complete group activities, including a trust fall off a rock. Natanya Razafindrabes shared that this was her favorite memory of the trip because “during the trust fall, we were all connected and really bonding since we literally had to trust our classmates to catch us.”
On Friday evening, many students shared their testimonies around the campfire. “I was able to see God during these testimonies no matter who told them, and even if they were struggling with understanding God. I saw how God would take care of and communicate with each person,” Seth Harmon, Senior Class President, remembered.
Many students felt that they grew closer with one another over the trip. Dwayne Rey, senior, expressed, “We've gotten more comfortable with each other and we're able to be vulnerable, which makes our relationships stronger. We got to know more about each other's opinions and how we handle things. We were able to see things from each other's perspective, which makes it possible for us to grow.”
The staff also noted how well the class connected. Sue Helm, senior class sponsor, reflected, “The girls and guys bonded by spending time and playing games together. I think they definitely bonded during the trust fall. That was a huge, huge one. These kinds of activities bonded them as a class because they had to work together. They had to understand each other's feelings, and what each one was going through and what he or she needed at the time.”
Finally on the last evening the students had a communion service and held class elections.
They returned to campus on Sunday, stronger as a class.
Catie Fairfield, Student News Team
The Campion Academy seniors bonded as a class and grew closer to God over the five days of Senior Survival in the mountains of Glacier View Ranch.
When they arrived last Wednesday, each pair of students was given supplies to build a shelter to stay dry. Many students brought duct tape and rope to help build their shelters. Several students brought hammocks and others slept on the ground. Thankfully, the students had relatively warm and dry weather.
Each group that camped together collected sticks and chopped wood to build a fire, which they used to make their own breakfasts and suppers. They cooked meals such as stew, French toast, hotdogs, and breakfast burritos.
At night, the seniors gathered around a campfire as Chaplain Carlos Santana led them in discussions of faith centered around the theme “Level-up”. Senior Carlos Lopez commented, “My favorite worship was when everyone sat around the fire, and we were finally honest with each other and shared our fears because now we know that we are not alone and have friends that have become like family to help us through.”
During the days, the seniors all participated in team-building activities where the had to work together to cross through obstacles. “I really enjoyed the spider web and the Ground is Lava activities because they got me closer with the other seniors, and taught us teamwork,” commented Noah Greenemeier, senior.
Early on Sunday morning, many of the seniors climbed to the top of a hill to watch the sunrise before packing up their camps to return to campus.
Santana said, “This was my first time going to Senior Survival, and it not only met my expectations but surpassed them. I saw God working in this senior class of 2023. God not only worked in them, but in me as well. It gives me hope for the spiritual future of the young people here at Campion.”
Haley Beckermeyer, Student News Team
Twenty-three Campion academy students backpacked a total of twelve miles reaching American Lakes and Lulu Mountain in Jackson County this past weekend while enjoying the scenery and each other’s company.
On Friday afternoon, the outdoor club hiked four miles up a steep side of a mountain to reach their campsite. Sophomore Marcela Zuniga says “I loved hiking even though it was hard, I thought I wasn’t going to make it to the campsite, so as I was walking up the mountain I asked God to help me and He did!”
Along the way, a few of the students got a surprise visit by a mother and baby moose that temporarily blocked the trail. Haley Beckermeyer, senior commented, “I thought it was really cool seeing the moose and her baby up that close. Even though she kind of halted our hiking process a bit, it was spectacular.”
On Saturday, the whole group made their way up the steep trail to Snow Lake. Some students chose to spend most of the day at the lake. Sophomore Keaton Drake reflects, “It was really awesome getting to climb on the rocks, play in the water, and look at the scenery. The view of the forest and valley was honestly incredible.”
The second option that students could do was hike up the 12,002 foot peak of Lulu Mountain. Keon Paez, sophomore, said, “At first I didn’t think I would make it up because it’s super tall, my legs got really tired, mostly because I didn’t get a lot of oxygen up there. But, once I got to the top, I felt very relieved because I didn’t have to climb anymore. The view was incredible and captivated me. The hike was hard but definitely worth it.”
The weather in the mountains was constantly changing. Junior student Dwayne Rey says, “The weather was crazy, at times the sun would be out and it was chill, but then like two seconds later, it disappeared. It was super windy, then it would stop. It was raining, then the hail came. It was CRAZY!”
After breakfast on Sunday, the group hiked back down to the vehicles. Zuniga says “The hike down was a whole lot faster and more fun because of the steepness of the trail. It was such a relief to make it back to Campion after having many challenges and many good times.”
For the students who hadn’t camped or backpacked before, there were a lot of new skills they had to learn, including filtering water for the whole campsite, cooking food on a tiny stove, and even fitting a sleeping bag into its sleeve. Sergio Enriquez, freshman states, “We all were working together to stay alive. We got water together for the entire camp. We bonded by experiencing the same struggles and the same laughs.”
Toby Quillin, Campion News Team
This past weekend, Campion Academy’s Girls’ Club held a dorm retreat at Glacier View Ranch. Guest speaker Erica Jones gave seminars on practical life lessons, but most importantly spoke on how to be content with yourself.
A huge spiritual blessing was gained from this retreat. “I was heavily impacted by Erica Jones’ messages over the weekend,” says Sandra Arlt, senior. “She made her talks relatable and thought provoking. She included God within all of her messages and made sure we were getting what she was saying to us.”
The retreat was not only sitting in meetings, but also bonding with and getting to know each other. “I had a lot of fun making new friends in my cabin. I’m already looking forward to next year’s retreat,” Gwen Cress, sophomore, said.
The mountain views mesmerized the retreaters, with some girls waking up before dawn to watch the sunrise from the top of a rocky point. “The view was really pretty. I love the mountains,” commented junior Isabel Navarro.
The girls also had the opportunity to go paddleboarding and kayaking, and had a karaoke night on Saturday.
Students were thankful to be able to leave campus and experience a more normal retreat this year. The ladies returned to campus not only with new friendships, but a new sense of purpose in Christ.
Jacqueline Kobagaya, Student News Team
Photos: Love Pickle
Fifteen Campion Academy students and sponsors immersed themselves in nature over the weekend on the annual Outdoor Club backpacking trip.
For several students, this was their first backpacking experience. Jared Marcenaro, a junior, said, “It was a lot of fun and I definitely would go again. I was going in blind and had no idea what to expect. Using the restroom in the forest was definitely a challenge I had to overcome. Since I’m from Kansas and there are no mountains, it was cool to see first hand how huge the mountains really are. I now understand the significance of the phrase that God moves mountains because he really is so strong and powerful.”
The backpacking trip was originally scheduled for the weekend of September 11th but was postponed to September 18-20 due to snow. In another turn of events, on the day they left, the sponsors of the trip were informed that there was a fire near the planned location, a mountain range in Wyoming. They had to quickly change plans and relocated to Peaceful Valley in the Indian Peaks Wilderness near Glacier View Ranch.
The students hiked about 15 miles total over the weekend, which included going up to Coney Lake, camping by a river, and witnessing a moose near camp.
Airi Nomura, a junior, said “It was a lot more fun than I expected. The hike was hard but the view and sense of satisfaction definitely made it worth it. I was exhausted and my legs hurt a lot, but my friends were there and everyone helped each other out. I definitely want to go on another one, but maybe the hike could be a bit shorter and the days a bit longer.”
They had worship on Friday night and on Sabbath during which the group talked about how the plans people make will not always be the plans God has for them. Jillian Harlow, a sponsor, said, “Personally, I love doing outdoor activities and getting away from the rush and stress of life. I am able to grow and reconnect with God, and I love introducing students to that experience as well.”
Bentlee Barry, Student News Team
Campion Academy welcomes new Acquainting Agriculture class instructor Doug Hoos, who will work alongside Program Director Russell Branham. Hoos’ gardening roots go back to 1973 when he attended a summer-long gardening course in Loma Linda, California. Now retired from a land surveying company, he likes to garden and relax in his free time.
“I was looking to get involved with more extensive gardening, but after my wife retired, we kind of discontinued that and had other plans for this summer. But COVID-19 came along,” Hoos explained. “So, I was praying for some place to do some gardening and saw the Campion newsletter come out saying they were re-starting the program at Campion. The timing seemed to be right.”
Hoos shared his goals for this program: “[I’d like] students to learn simple, very low cost methods they can take home or anywhere in the world to use to garden.”
Gregory Lang, sophomore, said, “During Agriculture class so far, I learned how to plant vegetables and how soil could change the development of the plants. It is a fun class. Mr. Hoos is a kind man, and he has the passion to make this class a good learning experience.” Acquainting Agriculture is open first and second semester to students in all grade levels.
Produce is available for sale to the community on a limited basis. Currently, the program offers zephyr squash, green beans, emerald okra, crimson okra and lots of basil. Carrots, beets, brussels sprouts and radishes are not quite ready yet. The Agriculture class will be growing mostly root type vegetables through the winter as well.
Russell Branham, husband of Director of Development and Alumni Relations Darcy Force, has been hard at work planting Campion’s summer garden as the new Program Director of Acquainting Agriculture. Branham took over the care of the garden and produce sales as a volunteer last summer through this spring, including maintaining a winter garden. After Campion Academy procured a grant from AdventHealth this spring, he has been able to manage the garden as a part-time employee.
Branham has had previous experience working in greenhouses and gardens and has a personal passion for agriculture. “Long before I came to Campion, one of my personal goals has been to help teach people how to grow food for themselves,” he explained. “Agriculture seems to be a dying skill, and I think we need to get back to our roots. I’d like to see the young folks learn about growing and becoming self-sufficient.”
Without students or volunteers in the program this spring and summer (or the promise of a farmers market), Branham has kept the garden at a smaller, more manageable scale, and he plans to keep produce sales to our school and church community. Currently, he is growing crops such as bush beans, okra, brussel sprouts, beets, carrots, squash, radishes, turnips, asparagus, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs, and raspberries. He expects to have produce available for sale in mid-August. With a future sweet harvest in mind, Branham has also started a small peach tree orchard from seed with 35 saplings growing strong.
In early July, through the use of grant funds, Branham was able to purchase a BCS 739 walk-behind commercial tractor as a much-needed piece of equipment to increase his efficiency. The tractor has multiple implements and he is currently using it for tilling the ground and creating new rows for planting. He is working to improve the garden area overall for future harvests. “Right now I’m focusing on the health of the garden. It was very overgrown with weeds and I’ve been able to get that under control. I’m working on squaring off the sections we are using for growing and tarping off the areas around to reduce the weeds.” Branham uses all natural methods of weed and pest control without the use of chemical pesticides.
In the fall, he plans to work with students to plant winter crops both in the greenhouse and in the ground using simple row covers. Campion is currently still seeking a classroom teacher for Acquainting Agriculture in order to offer it as a class, but Branham will work with students in the field.
The grant received from Advent Health will cover the basic costs of employing Branham and a teacher for the program for the next year. However, the program will still rely on donations as it continues to get established. If you have an interest in helping the agriculture program please consider donating for the following needs:
High Wind Tunnel Kit - $2,800
Implement - Rotary Plow $1,495 (to be used with the new tractor)
Used livestock tanks (items to be turned into large planters)
Large water containers (used is also fine, as long as no chemicals were used in it. Food Grade.)
campion.net/give | 970-451-1513