Learning With The Best Of Them

4colorm_1Winston, Mary and Chelsea are at the American Camp Association, Rocky Mountain Conference this week. It’s a favorite week for us, as we spend time with long, long time colleagues in the camp world, meet new colleagues, and learn what the current buzz is in for camps regionally and nationally. Many kinds of camps are represented: day camps, resident camps, church camps, trip and travel camps, privately owned camps, camps with week long sessions, and camps where kids attend for 4 or 8 weeks at a time. We love the diversity, and always learn a thing or two.

Sonlight is Accredited by the American Camp Association, a professional organization involved in “all things camp.” ACA sets standards for camps, and by voluntarily adhering to all the standards, a camp can earn the ‘accredited’ standard. Much work goes in to the accreditation process, it sets a standard for camps willing to be diligent about a quality operation from facility to program to staffing. Sonlight has maintained our ‘accredited’ status for 20+ years.

Snow On The Peaks

January snowwolf_creek_logosnow


Snow on the peaks:  27″ new snow at Wolf Creek! Winter is here today, and we’re glad for it!

WOLF CREEK SNOW REPORT 11/16/2014 04:16
Ski Patroller: John
Office : Sarah
Summit Base Midway Depth Last 24 Hours Last 48 Hours Snowfall YTD
29″ 29″ 6″ 14″ 41
Latest Storm: 27″




Building Resilience

IMG_0720Camp: Helping Kids Build Resilience

Summer camp does a world of good for kids. One of those good things includes helping children develop coping strategies when faced with life challenges. One example of a challenge experienced at camp is successfully conquering a difficult hike when they thought they could not do it. In an article written by Michael Ungar, who has a Ph.D in Nurturing Resilience, it mentions 7 things camps provide to help children develop great coping strategies.

New relationships, not just with peers, but with trusted adults other than parents.

A powerful identity that makes the child feel confident in front of others.

Camps help children feel in control of their lives.

Camps make sure that all children are treated fairly.

At camp kids get what they need to develop physically. Ideally, fresh air, exercise, a balance between routine and unstructured time, and all the good food their bodies need.

Camps offer kids a chance to feel like they belong.

Camps offer children a better sense of their culture.

“Summer Camps Make Kids Resilient”

By: Michael Ungar, Ph.D in Nurturing Resilience

Published February 5, 2012

2015: CREATE

Create Logo 230

Summer 2015: CREATE.

Many campers have already been asking about the theme for next summer. They are ready to start preparing their banquet night outfits and are itching to find out what kind of games we will be playing. Summer 2015 will be unlike any other. This coming summer is all about the campers discovering the gifts God has uniquely given each of them and creating something beautiful with them. Whether it is in sports, music, art or anything in between, we all have gifts and we are all called to use those gifts to serve God and create something good in this world. Camp is a great place for kids to discover their talents and learn the meaning behind God giving them each different gifts. Create: Summer 2015.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as a faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”

1 Peter 4:10

We’re Mixing It UP! Summer 2015

IMG_0457Summer 2015: Some new schedule changes:

  • Discovery Camp has 2 options: a “one day shorter” camp ending on Friday: June 28-July 3, and our regular full day camp August 9-15
  • Due to demand, as well as school dates, we added a third week for Adventure Campers

We love the input from parents and campers. We do the best we know how to make the schedule work for all!

Fall Retreat Is In The History Books

pumpkins and a pineapple IMG_2455-23 IMG_2377-2

What a great weekend. Thanks Jason Boggs from Sandia Presbyterian for being our speaker, and thanks to all the volunteers and staff for all their hard work! Heather and Mary in the kitchen, Andrew, Jonathan, Sarah, Shelby, Ian, Molly, Jordan as counselors, Kelsey was our photographer and Leann, Mike, Jennifer and Winston took the lead ‘in the back’.

The weather was cloudy and rainy- and we loved it. The Saturday night bonfire was huge. Cookie decorating- just made us laugh. A privilege to spend a weekend in the company of friends!

Photos are posted: 2014 Fall Retreat Photos

Camp Is Just Good For Kids

mountain topIMG_0933Junior Camp

A unique place in our world – there just isn’t much “screen time” at camp! From a recent article published by UCLA In our Digital World, are Children Losing the Ability to Read Emotions?:

“UCLA scientists found that sixth-graders who went five days without even glancing at a smartphone, television or other digital screen did substantially better at reading human emotions than sixth-graders from the same school who continued to spend hours each day looking at their electronic devices.”

Send your kids to camp! A place they love to be, and most kids tell us they don’t miss those screens at all. Summer 2015 dates are posted- there are some good changes to our usual schedule.


Peaks And Youth Development

Cherry Cairntrail signSonlight holds priority permits with the US Forest Service, allowing us to take groups of kids on day hikes and backpack trips. Each February, Winston spends several days mapping out the hikes we’ll be doing the next summer, coordinating the age of the kids, the specific trail and how much snow may be on the trail still melting from winter. We are privileged to hold the permits, as there are a limited amount available in the Weminuche and South San Juan wilderness areas. Permits are regulated to protect the wilderness, to prevent over use. Sonlight is the only youth organization currently holding permits in these wilderness areas.usfs

We value the opportunity to gets kids out into nature. Climbing a mountain provides so many benefits for young people. Youth development research tells us that young people need challenging and engaging activities and learning experiences in order to grow into confident, happy adults. To be out in the sun and rain, to be successful in getting to the top of a peak takes physical and mental strength, and the effort gets us to some of the most beautiful country around. Summer 2015 is closer than you think! Don’t miss the opportunity to come to camp and climb a peak with Sonlight.

Snickerdoodles in October

fall colorFall colors are finally at camp, and it’s beautiful. The peaks aren’t as white as they were last week, but there is still snow in the shadows. What do we do in the fall? Wednesday Winston, Mary and Chelsea explored a new trail up to the base of SquareTop. We’ll be hiking that trail next summer with either High School or Adventure camp. Winston has the mowers serviced and put away, and he’s putting chains on the tractors, and getting the plows and snowblower mounted and ready to go. Summer brochures are about to go to the printers, and Mary is finishing up website updates for summer 2015 staff positions and applications. Each weekend we host a different group at camp, many Women’s retreats from churches in Durango, Pagosa, Albuquerque, Bayfield and Ignacio. Gals from the First United Methodist Church in Durango will be with us this weekend. We continue many conversations that we started this summer, both with campers and staff. We are reminded of the impact of summer camp, and how it changes lives. We are sad to see 2014 winding down, as it’s been a great summer and fall season, but we’re looking forward to all that summer 2015 will bring.

His Desires

IMG_01591-1God is not looking for spiritual giants. He is looking for believers who believe for a change.

Glorious God, in your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility, and righteousness. Let your right hand display awesome deeds.
Psalm 45:4