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Friday, June 5, 2009


for years, i've been lobbying to go to colorado. both sides of the hubster's family hail from denver, and a place that is so special to our hearts is frontier ranch, located in buena vista, colorado. frontier is a young life camp, a place where the campers' leaders spend a week laughing, exploring, enjoying and discovering with them. best of all is introducing the campers to Jesus. pretty much every camper comes home declaring, "that was the best week of my life!"

both of our kids pilgrimmaged to frontier, in fact, knoxville typically sends around 300 kids to frontier every summer, right after the school year ends. they hop on a bus at midnight, travel all night long and have breakfast under the arch in st. louis. after breakfast, it's off to a water park to burn off some energy and have fun. the year boy wonder went, they stopped in denver to go to a rockies game (todd helton is from knoxville and hooked them up!), had young life club at a hotel at 11 pm, then spent the night there before heading out the next morning. frontier is about a 2.5 hour drive from denver that looks like this pretty much the whole way. after spending a few days in denver meeting families i've only heard stories about (more on that another day) the hubster and i left for something we've been offered several times but were never able to work into our schedule before. we were off to be adult guests at frontier! a chance to be a "fly on the wall" and see just what goes on at a young life camp. needless to say, we were pumped!

we stopped at a little hole in the wall for a couple of bottles of water. the signs were charming. like "port-o-potty around back." thank goodness i was in good shape in that regard!not too long after our pit-stop, we entered the hallowed gate. i could have sworn that i heard angels singing!

because we needed to fulfil some family obligations first, we missed the first four days of camp. we missed opportunities to do the high ropes course, see the tableau before dinner (a real experience, i'm told), see the program (a hilarious running skit with crazy characters), go on the giant (and i mean GIANT) swing, and many others, but we are thrilled to be experiencing what we can while we're here (yes, friends, there's wireless at our cabin, a true luxury!).

we arrived just in time for lunch, and almost immediately saw boy wonder, who is volunteering a month of his time to life guard at the camp. (it's a real sacrifice to sit in the sun and watch girls. . . um .  . . swimmers) we visited him up at the top of a huge slide that empties into the heated pool. and it would have to be heated because the weather in the area has been hovering in the 50s - 60s since he arrived two weeks ago. brrrr! 125 trips down the slide will get you into the 7-mile club (see the sign next to boy wonder) and it takes pretty much all day and all the energy you have (wait, we're talking about teenagers. they have no limit to their energy!after lunch the adult guests took the same hike that the campers had been taking all day. it wasn't the worst climb i've ever encountered, but it was maybe one of the most challenging because i was not completely acclimatized to the elevation (around 9,000 feet) and basically sucked wind the entire time. as they say on most hikes, it was completely worth the effort. the view from the top was amazing. and it wasn't just the vista surrounding us (which was pretty much incredible!) but the three crosses at the top of the mountain that were the best. badges of "i've made it!" were tied to the crosses: bandanas, t-shirts, etc. i got a lump in my throat.i'm sure the campers felt the same sense of accomplishment in knowing they had pushed themselves beyond their comfort zone, pushed themselves physically and acheived an experience shared with everyone else, and couldn't be fabricated. at the top we were given the same message of striving for the cross that the campers had been given and spent a few moments to meditate on what that meant to each of us personally. the descent was tricky and steep. the terrain was crumbly, so i went down the way we came, which was about twice as long.  actually more than that since falling off a mountain is pretty quick business! i didn't trust my knees to do it, and i'm happy to say everyone made it to the bottom in one piece!the best part of the day was after club, where each of the campers heard the story of the cross. it was a powerful message that was followed by an opportunity to go outside into the camp and sit and look at the stars and the mountains illuminated by an almost-full moon. a time to ponder the message and see how that fits into their hearts. we joined them out on the campus, secluded by our own thoughts and for twenty minutes prayed for them. that they would claim the victory of the cross.

the time was concluded by the work crew and summer staff singing

i’m forgiven because You were forsaken,
i’m accepted, You were condemned.
i am alive and well, Your spirit is within me,
because You died and rose again.

amazing love,
how can it be
that You, my King, would die for me?
amazing love,
i know it’s true.
it’s my joy to honor You,
in all i do, i honor You.

the perfect ending to a perfect day.


  1. I don't love camping, but that looks like fun!

  2. Hi there I sent you an email in response to your question.

    God bless.

  3. That sounds so wonderful! I would love to be able to do that sometime. I never went to camp, and now, I feel like I missed out. I think doing something like this would be fantastic!!


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