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

High School Fall Retreat


October 31st – November 2nd, come reconnect   with fellow campers and staff members, as well as meet new friends! The 2014 High School Fall Retreat is an opportunity for current high school students to get their dose of Sonlight outside of the summer months. Come have lots of fun participating in different activities, such as pumpkin carving, as well as find moments of quiet and stillness, getting an opportunity to recharge. It is a weekend you do not want to miss! High School Fall Retreat registration is open and online at sonlightcamp.org.

Heroes: We Will Miss You Paul Henry

IMG_0566-1“The heroes of yesterday, and tomorrow, Lord we need men like that today. Men not afraid to be righteous, men who would follow the narrow way…”

Melody and Lyrics: Justin Cowan

This week Sonlight lost a dear friend, and our community lost a hero when Paul Henry passed away unexpectedly. A man who lived humbly, with compassion and integrity. His family and friends were his life, and he lived intentionally and fully. Paul was often at Sonlight in the fall, winter and spring, willing to help Winston with whatever project needed doing. Paul arrived with donuts and a smile, and we had many a great conversation over coffee. We are all better people for having had Paul in our lives, and he will leave such a void. We know we’ll see him again, and are grateful for all the conversation, laughs and the journey we shared with him. Thanks Paul. We miss you.

“Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent form the Lord. For we walk by faith, not sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to the present with the Lord.”

Corinthians 5:6-8

September Coffee and Conversation

coffee_wpSeptember 29th: International Coffee Day.

Sonlight is celebrating coffee, camp and conversation. A contribution to the Endowment fund in September, and we provide the coffee. We’ve had a great month, enjoying hearing from some folks we haven’t heard in a while, and though we’re not in cities all over the west to share the coffee, we’re enjoying sending the coffee to our friends. The limited edition stoneware mugs have arrived, and they are impressive! We appreciate the generosity, and most of all are celebrating a community of folks coming together to contribute what they can to Give Sonlight to the Next Generation. Gifts this month to the Sonlight Endowment have ranged from $10, to $10,000. It’s not the size of the gift, but the heart behind it that means so much to each kid in the next generation.

“Thank you for having Sonlight! Keep doing it forever and ever! I can’t wait to go for a whole week next summer!”

- 2014 camper

Along The Way

DSCN7269-1Along the journey of life we don’t really know what is next, despite our planning. To walk with God, and hear His call is our quest, above all we seek to know Him.

There comes the baffling call of God in our lives also. The call of God can never be stated explicitly; it is implicit. The call of God is like the call of the sea, no one hears it but the one who has the nature of the sea in him. It cannot be stated definitely what the call of God is to, because his call is to be in comradeship with himself for his own purposes, and the test is to believe that God knows what he is after.

(My Utmost for His Highest, emphasis added)






The leaves, they are a changin’ – Just barely!


What The Kids Say

From the 2014 Summer Evaluations –  favorite activities:

Best Activity Wordle

Jack’s Shack

jack hudsonA huge thank you to Keith and Stephanie Hudson, who contributed funds to Sonlight for a rec shed – “Jack’s Shack” in memory of Jack Hudson. Or titled more appropriately as Jack would have called it:

A Waterproof Recreational Equipment and Tool Storage Facility in Memory of a Great Counselor and Father.”

Jack Hudson, an engineer at Sandia Laboratories in Albuquerque, volunteered as a counselor at Sonlight for years. His first motivation was to come to camp with his son Scott, who needed a bit of assistance because of limited mobility from muscular dystrophy. Jack jumped in fully as a counselor, willing to give to kids and staff as needed.

Jack’s Shack holds “all things program” – giving us great organization for equipment and supplies we use every day for camp. The foam machine, teams course equipment, messy games, theme props and all the rest are now easy to get to and easy to store. Thanks Keith and Stephanie- we appreciate you guys! We miss you Jack, your spirit of joy lives on.