Camp. It’s better here.

CampSeriously, things are just better because of camp. The air is clear. You know somebody is ready to laugh with you. The food is good – and the cooks are so joyful when they serve it to you. A mug of hot chocolate and bananagrams is a great way to finish your day. All you campers and staff- remember that we. love. you.

Sonlight 2015


2015 Sonlight summer camp dates are posted! Registration opens January 2, 2015 – be prepared for some fun.

*  New * for 2015:

  • Rates hold the same as 2014 if you register by March 31. Every camp goes up by $25 April 1. This is our 4th year with no tuition increase!
  • Plan to register in January. Looking at projected campers vs. weeks of camp, we know that some camps will be packed. There just isn’t another week of the summer to add more camps. Plan to register in January to be sure you get a spot.
  • Sonlight is offering a ‘short’ Discovery camp: Sunday June 28- Friday July 3. A great option for younger kids who may not want a full 7 day camp.
  • As always, scholarship funds are available, so all kids have the opportunity to come to Sonlight! Contact Winston if you need a bit of help with Sonlight camp tuition for 2015.

Fall In The High Mountains

Lake Ann“Late in August the lure of the mountains becomes irresistible”


Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

“In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world – the great fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness.”


Photo of Lake Ann, near the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Conejos River. South San Juan Wilderness. Late August, 2014.

Coffee : Conversation : Endowment : Next Generation



Give Sonlight to the Next Generation, and enjoy a cup of coffee on us.

September 29th is International Coffee Day. Join us in celebrating coffee, conversation and camp by Giving Sonlight To The Next Generation. Make an endowment donation in the month of September and we’ll share the coffee!

Gift the coffee to a friend: You may make a donation and we’ll send the coffee to your friend or loved one . Enjoy great coffee yourself, or share with a friend and do good things for kids along the way!

$35 contribution:  Coffee is on us, we’ll send you or your friend the Sonlight blend of Pura Vida coffee.

$350 contribution: The coffee is on us, and  with it we’ll send a limited edition Sonlight stoneware mug (May be contributed $35/month for 10 months)

$3500 contribution: We’ll send coffee and a limited edition Sonlight stoneware mug to you, and to 6 people you love. You  name the date, and we’ll ship the coffee and mug as a ‘welcome to college’ gift, birthday gift, Christmas gift or anytime gift! (May be contributed $350/month for 10 months)






50 Years of Wilderness

wilderness 50 years logoSeptember 3, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Wilderness Act. This historic bill established the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wildlands for the use and benefit of the American people. Over the past 50 years, and as a result of America’s support for wilderness, Congress has added over 100 million acres to this unique land preservation system. The 1964 Wilderness Act defines “Wilderness” as areas where the earth and its communities of life are left unchanged by people, where the primary forces of nature are in control, and where people themselves are visitors who do not remain.


Sonlight Adventures, Inc.  Sonlight began guiding backpack trips in 1979, only 15 years after the Wilderness Act was established. We have guided hundreds of people in the last 35 years, our trips have spanned the Weminuche, Gore and South San Juan wilderness areas. We have watched the wilderness change under the impact of nature: wildfire, dought, beetle kill, new growth and erosion, to list only a few of the significant impacts we have observed over the years. It has been a unique opportunity for our guides to walk the same paths in different seasons, and year after year. To see an area minimally impacted by man is unique in our world, and we are grateful to have wilderness in our back yard.

Weminuch Wilderness / South San Juan Wilderness: Located in southwest Colorado, these two wilderness areas combined are more than 500,000 acres. The Weminuche is the largest wilderness area in Colorado (three quarters the size of Rhode Island). Both areas are visible from the Sonlight meadow: our backyard.

Seasons Change


It’s early fall here at Sonlight, we love the change in seasons. The weather, the light and the feel of the air change when fall comes. The rhythm of our days and weeks change as well. Weekend retreats are starting up, our calendar is solid all fall with groups who return year after year for their annual Sonlight time. Many women’s groups find great space at Sonlight for their ministry : Mountainside Methodist Church (Albuquerque), the United Church of Los Alamos, Community Church (Ignacio), Grace Church  (Durango), First United Methodist Church (Durango) comes two different weekends, a mens group one weekend and a women’s group a different weekend, and the Pagosa Springs Christian Women’s Retreat will be at Sonlight for their 29th year. We wrap our fall season up with our own High School fall retreat.

Mid week our daily routine is full with facility work to prepare for winter, as well as the groundwork for Summer 2015. Camp dates, summer theme, staff and speakers – the preparation begins now. Autumn is a mellow season at camp, full of memories of a great summer, and the anticipation of the beauty of  snowy mountains.

Sonlight Leadership Team


Lots of things yet to accomplish at Sonlight, Winston and Mary  look forward to the next year and beyond, and all that it will bring. The routine of retreats in the fall and winter, the joy of summer camp in 2015. Winston is well suited to being an Executive Director, as he continually thinks about “next” … next week, next season, next year … and is passionate about fine tuning all that we do at Sonlight. Mary enjoys the creative side: the creativity of great hospitality, website design, blended with the details of business administration. Sara Tyler continues as registrar, and she has picked up some of the bookeeping for Sonlight as well. She is a rock when it comes to supporting ‘all things Sonlight’. We welcome Chelsea Poest to the year round team, as she finishes up her 4th summer at Sonlight. Chelsea steps in to Heather’s shoes as Program Director. A spring graduate of Hope College in Holland, Michigan, Chelsea’s degree is in communications with a minor in youth ministry and spanish. A great team we are!


Bringing Out The Best In Us: Thanks Heather

HeatherOne Sunday this summer, staff walked a labyrinth for our worship. (Thanks Andrew.) As we walked in silence, it was dramatic how our journeys changed as we moved through the labyrinth together. Sometimes we walked in the same direction as another, and then the path would turn and we would be walking in  different directions.

On this journey we call Sonlight, we love to walk with friends and companions, yet we know that this community is fluid. People come and fill a significant role, then their journey changes and the role they fill will be filled by another. What we do know is that there is never an end, just a change.

Heather Quandt has been with us 7 years, and she is now changing direction. She has brought out the best in us, and her impact is lasting and significant on staff, campers and the heart of the ministry of Sonlight. She will be missed in the position she has filled, but it’s not an end, just a change. We wish you the best Heather, and know that your legacy at Sonlight has changed many, many people.

To Guide and Oversee The Organization

board_fall_2014The Sonlight Board of Directors holds the responsibility of establishing broad policies and objectives, preserving the direction and culture of Sonlight. The Board meets a minimum of twice a year, or as many as 8 times a year as work needs to be accomplished for the organization. The current Sonlight Board of Directors:

Rob Breshears: involved with Sonlight for 24 years as a camper and staff member. Rob is a middle school teacher at Lesher Middle School in Fort Collins, Colorado. He met his wife Hannah at Sonlight, and their kids Cedar and Imogene look forward to being campers soon!

Jon Dunham: President of the Sonlight Board, Jon has a 23 year history with Sonlight. His first year was a backpack trip with his youth group from Richardson,Texas. Jon’s other job is Director of Trade Marketing with White Wave Foods in Broomfield, Colorado. Jon met his wife Nicole at Sonlight, and his kids Marshall and Lexi are long time campers.

Mary Marugg: Founding member of Sonlight in 1979, Sonlight has been home for 35 years. Her job description includes business administration, designing and managing the website, as well as all aspects of foodservice and healthcare.

Winston Marugg: Founding member of Sonlight, Winston is able to see the big picture, and focus on the where we should be heading while keeping track of the details of running the daily operation. Winston is Executive Director of Sonlight, solving a bewildering array of situations every day.

Ron McVean: With an 11 year history with Sonlight as a parent to former campers Lexi and Tres, and future camper Bella. Ron brings a rich history of business management to the Board. He is with McVean Investment Group LP in Amarillo, TX.

Tim Thayer has a 19 year history at Sonlight as a camper, then staff member for 11 years. He met his wife Gina at camp, and their 2 sons Toby and Simon will be campers as soon as they are old enough. He is ‘other’ job is Technical Lead  at CACI in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Memories Of Summer 2014


Not to be forgotten, Summer 2014 had some highlights we’ll never forget:

  • Hipster house party
  • HighSchool10day in June
  • Jack’s Shack – donated in memory of Jack Hudson, our new rec shed for ‘all things program’
  • “BTS” – the new slang for ‘behind the scenes” crew
  • Free play areas: mancala, a fort, a gold mining trough, hammock village and tennis ball swing
  • Asphalt walkway from the parking lot to EDub in memory of Donna Strong
  • Medieval times: the counselor capture, jousting and grog
  • Henry camp
  • Gaga (or octaball)
  • The Llama song
  • Messy games
  • The space CD played for banquet night