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
While students on campus are wishing the snow was gone, the 28 students that were on ski trip enjoyed it as much as possible. This past weekend, outdoor club students spent three days skiing and snowboarding at Copper Mountain Resort. Kylie Wehling, a sophomore stated, “Ski trip is about being freezing-cold, sore, and tired, but it’s also about having the time of your life with your friends in the most beautiful place in the world.”
Most were thankful just to be able to practice this iconic Colorado sport with their friends. Cade Lukens, a senior, expressed that “being able to snowboard with my closest friends hasn’t just made me a better rider, but has also helped me grow close to those I wasn’t close to before.”
For three full days, the students skied their way across three different mountains and over twelve thousand feet of elevation. Some students preferred to ride the terrain park jumps, and others preferred to cruise across the natural high-alpine terrain.
In addition, on Saturday the students were able to lead the church service for the Leadville Seventh-day Adventist Church. The students led out worship in praise and prayer, and four students shared personal testimonies of times when God touched their lives. The church provided a potluck lunch following the service. After lunch, the group went tubing at the local sledding hill. “Sledding is always fun,” said Trent Kiefer, a senior, “especially when you try to fit as many people as possible onto one tube.”
Caleb Wehling, Senior, Guest Contributor
Over the past weekend, 15 students and six sponsors packed their tents, sleeping bags, food, and other gear in their backpacks and headed off for an adventure to summit the highest peak in Colorado: Mt. Elbert. Leaving after classes on Friday, they hiked in from the trailhead about two miles under the light of the full moon.
The next morning, they took on the challenge of reaching the summit which was about nine miles round-trip and 4,700 feet of elevation gain. The hike was long and strenuous, but the group was rewarded by magnificent views along the route and especially at the summit. Students and sponsors teamed up to encourage each other along the way and helped each other surpass their individual limits. The weather was clear and comfortable for hiking, allowing the group to relax at the top and enjoy the afternoon hike back down to camp.
After hiking back out to the trailhead parking lot on Sunday morning, the group was faced with one more unexpected challenge to overcome; the school vans, trailer, and Steve Eickmann’s car were all blocked in by other cars in the parking lot. The group quickly put their heads and muscles together and began rolling boulders out of the way to create a narrow opening between a few cars. After some multiple point turns and readjustments, Yves Clouzet got the first school van through. The trailer had to be unhitched so the second van could go through, then everyone pitched in a hand to push the trailer through and hitch it back to the van on the other side. Finally, Eickmann proved that he is acutely aware of the width of his vehicle by squeezing it between some of the parked cars, sparing less than an inch on either side.
In the end, the group all made it safely back to Campion with accomplishments to cherish and stories to tell.
Jill Harlow, Communication Director
10. Be prepared
"We had to be prepared to sleep in a tent in the cold. The first night I didn’t wear a lot of clothes, but then the second night I wore all my warm clothes and it was so much better. " – Giovanni Silva
9. Drink water
"If you don’t drink enough water, you will feel sick at the top!" – Sydney Halvorson
8. Stick with a buddy
"You never know when you might get hurt and need a friend to help you." – Sydney Cornett
7. Don't be too quick to judge
"When we found ourselves blocked in at the parking lot, we were all upset at a certain red car that was parked in the middle of a lane. After thinking about it later, we realized that the red car actually had to have been parked before the entire row of cars that came in front of it, so didn't deserve all the blame that we had been so quick to give." - Jill Harlow
6. Encourage one another.
"When you have a friend when things get rough, you can encourage each other to get through it." – Kent Kast
5. Don’t look back
"Every time I looked back, I felt so high that it made me nervous. I just kept looking forward to the goal of the summit." --Greg Lang
4. Relationships come first
"I learned that being the first or fastest isn’t always important, it’s the people that you persevere with, even if you don’t get to go as fast or far as you want with them, that are important in the end. - Jadon Harden
3. You can push through the pain
"I was honestly ready to give up and just turn around but I kept going even though it was difficult. Having the accomplishment of summitting the mountain kept me going. – Sami Hodges
2. Slow and steady wins the race
"We set a slow pace, but we did not stop, and we were the first group at the summit." -Kean Jagitsch
1. Never Give Up
"When I was climbing the first false summit, in my head I thought I would just quit after that summit, but after I got there I saw the real summit wasn’t so far, so I encouraged myself to keep on going and at the end I made it." -Jarrod Lang
"You will have an incredible gift when you get to the top." – Giovanni Silva
This Sabbath, all of the students got on buses to go out and spend time in God's second book, nature. Students could choose between three options during their visit to Rocky Mountain National Park. The first bus took people to a rigorous hike to Loch Lake. The second bus took people to Bear lake which was more relaxing, but just as beautiful. The last option took students to the top of Trail Ridge Road, where they climbed many stairs to the top of the peak. A few students shared their experiences of how they saw God while in the mountains.
Jordyn D., sophomore, says, “Pastor Goetz shared with us this verse, Psalm 121:1-2 which says, ‘I lift my eyes to the mountains- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.’ It really helped me understand that God made the mountains, and created us to enjoy and marvel at all of his beautiful creations. It made me feel truly small compared to everything around me and I am so grateful that I was able to be in God's presence while I marveled at his creation.”
Erick M., senior, says, “I took the bus up Trail Ridge Road and was able to get an amazing view at the top. Seeing all the huge peaks and deep valleys God has created made me feel pretty small and insignificant in comparison. However, being up there was an awesome reminder that God cares about and loves me deeply, no matter how powerless or small I feel.”
Beverly O., senior, says, “During mountain church, I had a wonderful experience. Hiking up the mountains with friends, and seeing the waterfalls made me see the real beauty and power of God. It reminded me of the verse Isaiah 43:2. That even in the deepest waters, God gave me rocks for stability in faith and in trust.”
Blessing S., sophomore, says, “Being in the mountains reminded me of how God is my rock and can hold me through any time. I could see how much of a great God he is. My God created the world and made wonderful things for me to enjoy. I loved looking into the waterfall. When I saw my reflection, it reminded me that I was made in his image, and I am a reflection of him.”
Adrianna Campbell, Senior, Student Editor
At the end of August, the senior class of 2020 left for a highly anticipated four-day trip to Glacier View Ranch in the mountains. Senior Survival has been a tradition at Campion for many years, and a key moment for bonding. The theme for the weekend was trusting in others, yourself, and God. The journey up the mountain was challenging because the bus only took us so far, and then we had to take our packs for the week and hike the remainder of the distance. Once we made it to the campsite, our next challenge was making a shelter. We were provided two tarps for rain protection, stakes, and twine. Many chose to sleep in hammocks but some were brave enough to sleep on the ground.
Each day consisted of many challenging team-bonding activities. Our class was split into three groups which separated typical friend groups. The activities were challenging mentally and physically. They required us to put trust in our teammates. Each night after the activities were completed, a campfire was built and everyone gathered around. A short worship was given by our chaplain Mrs. Eickmann, and then the time was given over to the class for discussion. Some nights we would go around and tell funny stories, or we would share our greatest struggle. Even people who were typically quiet opened up. We repeated the saying, “What is said on the mountain, stays on the mountain.” Grant, a four year senior, shares, “Everyone was open and honest. We had such a good time telling stories, laughing and crying together, and getting closer to each other and to God. It’s definitely something I’ll never forget.”
For some students, there was one activity that was dreaded. The trust fall is a group activity where one person climbs onto a rock, while the rest of the group stands in a line ready to catch him or her. Mrs. Eickmann sat at the top and prepared the person who would be falling. She encouraged us to let go of one of our fears and give it to God. For some it was easy to let go and fall, but for others it wasn’t so easy. Ashley Halvorson, a four-year senior, shared, “My favorite part of the trust fall was seeing the trust being built in our class. When it was my group’s turn, there was one person who was scared to fall and everyone began encouraging her. It was silence and then all of the people started yelling things such as, ‘we believe in you,’ ‘we will catch you’ and then she fell. It was inspiring to see the positive impact our class can make on people when we work together.” The entire class participated in doing the trust fall, thanks to the encouragement of the groups.
Senior Survival was such an amazing opportunity to get away from the stresses of school and even personal stresses. Leaving everything behind and focusing on bonding with our class is what made the time so special. Getting to hear from everyone and their stories is something the senior class will never forget. The bonds formed in the mountains will continue to strengthen as the senior class continues their last year of high school. Graduation may be harder because of the new friends made, but I am sure none of the class would change that.
Megan Michalenko, Senior, Student Editor
Photos by Dean Helm, Caleb Wehling, and Kayla Gonzalez
“It was a blast!” says Campion Academy sophomore Janeline Kindangen after returning from a 5-day trip to Moab, Utah. She and the rest of the sophomore class traveled with biology teacher Cindy Santana on a field trip they’ll never forget.
The annual Moab trip brings all of Mrs. Santana’s classes together: earth science, biology, and world history. Students review the flora and fauna of the Moab desert during the long bus ride. Once there, they chart various plants for identification and then mount, identify, and describe one flowering plant of their choice for the Campion Herbarium, a collection of plants from the area. “We got to learn about plants, but we got to experience Moab, too,” adds Janeline.
Students view geological formations and learn about the development of arches in Arches National Park, and they see the history of the Ancestral Puebloans as they tour cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park.
Cindy Santana sees this trip as a chance to “connect the classroom learning with the real world. The textbook learning shouldn’t happen in a vacuum,” she says. In Moab, students achieved exactly that as they experienced God’s creation first hand.
After several days of camping, hiking, river rafting, and cliff jumping, the sophomores bonded with their class and had an unforgettable learning experience. Sophomore Damarys Nieto says cliff jumping in Mill Creek was her favorite part of the trip. She also liked hiking in Arches National Park. “It was a hard hike to see Delicate Arch, but it was worth it because the arch was really pretty,” she says.
Students from previous Moab trips still come back to Mrs. Santana and tell her they can never look at rocks and flowers the same way again. That’s what real-world learning does!
photos: Alex Fazio and Cindy Santana
by Matthew Roberts and Wes Carle
Every year the Rocky Mountain Conference hosts a bible conference at Glacier View Ranch that Campion Academy, Mile High Academy, and several other schools regularly attend. During the vespers and worships, students played ice breaker games, discussed Bible texts, sang praise songs, listened to a speaker from Union College, and spent lots of time praying.
This year's conference lasted two days instead of an entire weekend, yet the time was packed full of spiritual emphasis. According to Campion student Madi Kamarad, "The weather was on point, as well as the spiritual atmosphere. It was awesome being able to hang out with other schools--Mile High Academy, Aurora Church, and Wyoming schools. Most of all it was a very rejuvenating experience to have to get away from school and focus on God."
The main theme of the conference was "Flawless." We are all flawless in God's sight was the lesson learned. The kids and adults all got to go on some amazing hikes, and as you can see from the picture, got an even more amazing view of God's creation. Another Campion student, Chantelle Bravatti, also had something good to say about the conference. "It was awesome being out in God's nature away from the busyness of the city. It was also awesome being able to experience God with all my friends." The weekend was a very cool, God-filled experience for the people that went.
Mountain Church began several years ago when Cindy Santana, our biology teacher, decided Campion needed to make sure every student had the opportunity to see the grand vistas in the Rocky Mountains. Since then, we've used an outdoor amphitheater in the national park to have church and lunch, and then provided guided hikes and a bus trip to the Alpine Visitor Center on Trail Ridge Road at an elevation of over 12,000 ft.