Well. I don't even know where to begin with this trip. This is going to be a long post.
It was such a great vacation, spiritual retreat, adventure (not so much for me being pregnant), roadtrip. Complete package - so fun, so relaxing, so fulfilling.
I guess I'll start with what we started with. When we first drove onto the Ranch, we went straight to the Adult Guest cabin. I'll let the pictures do the talking.
This is the view from our room's porch. And yes, thats a hot tub on the left. I didn't even get a chance to take advantage of it because there was always something going on. I spent a little each afternoon taking a nap in our room with the porch doors open to this! The weather was perfect for napping.
After dumping our bags in our room, we headed down into camp. It is a beautiful property. This particular camp I'd only been to for a few hours before but it was at night so I couldn't see everything.
The first place we went to was Leader Meeting, where we met the current session's assigned team (the team who runs camp for four weeks - speaker, music, head leaders, entertainment, etc) after walking around for a little while (and finding Bryan, one of our best friends who was there that week with his Young Life area - we loved having a whole week with him!). Then we went to dinner. The Mantee dining hall is gorgeous - all the dining halls I've seen at YL camps are.
You can see in the background of this picture how they built several store fronts into the back wall, very cool. One of the adult guests builds houses and this building was very interesting to him.
That night after dinner, we went to Club. Club is the "meeting" (for lack of a better term) that leaders back in the home areas put on back home. At Club, leaders lead kids in singing songs (all popular radio songs), leaders put on funny skits, play games/mixers, and then have a 15 minute talk at the end where a leader will present the gospel. It sounds in theory like the corniest thing ever, but high school kids love it. Some people want to become leaders who have never experienced Young Life past going to club.
At camp, club is even more awesome since there are several hundred kids making it even more loud and crazy. Club is carefully planned to be the most fun and the skits are hilarious. They are back home, too, but usually thrown together, whereas at camp they are planned and tweaked for months. Our program team (the team that puts together and acts out the characters for the skits as one of their many jobs) was one of the best I'd seen. They had everyone rolling.
Discussing life with Bear.
The camp's speaker was really great, too. He presented the gospel very well and also had us laughing a lot. This is him speaking to everyone in the club room, the Kachina.
A great part of the week that I wasn't expecting, for some reason, was how much we enjoyed being with the other Adult Guests. We had 7 couples, I think. Jace and Dayna Thompson from Fort Worth were our Adult Guest Hosts. Jace is over Young Life in the D/FW area and have a long history on Frontier Ranch's property committee. They were great hosts and knew so much about the camp and Young Life.
Wow, I looked really tired in that picture but it was the last day...
As far as what all we did while we were there, I can't even remember all of it to tell you. I have experienced a week at Young Life camp a total of 12 times now combining all of my camper, leader, work crew, and summer staff weeks and I still don't have it down because there is so much going on. They have been doing most of the same stuff for years and years because it just plain works. Every event is planned down to the most minute detail and there is a deeper reason for every event as well. Campers think they are just going through an obstacle course but we give them the agenda of protecting their leader at all costs from water balloons, etc, thereby giving kids an opportunity to bond with their leader. This is important because that same leader will be trying to lead them to Christ. And every event is a complete surprise. They tell them about them right before they happen, giving them just enough time to change into the right clothes, which makes for a very exciting week.
I did get pictures of some things, though, obviously. I won't give lots of details about the night they are on or the surprises themselves since you never know if a kid is reading this and I'll ruin the surprise. I guess its the leader still in me.
There is one night where all the kids are told to go change into their western wear. Here are my pictures from that night.
The other newlywed couple (we're still newlyweds at 2.5 years, right??), Cameron and Austin. We had such a great time getting to know them and plan on visiting them in Austin soon!
Bryan getting pie in his face at the Pie in the Eye booth from his Young Life kids!
At Young Life camps, they have several "rides" that the campers and leaders get to participate in, including horseback riding, ridge runners, ropes course, rappelling, etc. I didn't rappel since a harness around my baby bump sounded super uncomfortable but I got some pictures of the other Adult Guests doing it. Looked super scary. That'd be my mom in the picture below.
We enjoyed several days by the camp's pool! It was fed by hot springs, making it really hard to ever get out. They also had a huge water slide!
Halfway through the week, the kids and leaders go on a pretty intense hike. Mom, Dad, Kanyon, and I opted out of going with everyone for a few reasons, mostly because Dad hurt his back and being super hot and tired makes my morning sickness go in overdrive. But we'd also all done a lot of hiking and didn't feel we would miss it.
We decided to go into Buena Vista, the nearest town. We did a little window shopping and then headed down to the Arkansas River where they had a pretty trail. It was gorgeous!
Obligatory 20 week baby bump picture. My face was swollen several times that week. Great for pictures and meeting new people...
It started sprinkling right after this, so we got in the car and decided to go visit Trail West, another Young Life camp close by.
The camp is in a beautiful Aspen grove. It is a family camp where parents bring their kids, hence the huge fort playground!
After eating lunch in Buena Vista, we headed back to Frontier where the rest of the day was very low key since everyone else was coming back from a long hike.
The second to last day felt a little bit like the last day since my parents were leaving a day early the next morning. Its also the night where the kids are told to where their cleanest dirty clothes for "fancy dinner". Everyone dresses up a little bit nicer and the dinner is always so great, usually steak and fixings.
A huge surprise that I got that night was my friend Lindsay and her husband surprising us! He had interviewed for a job that day in Colorado and they decided to stop by and say hi! Lindsay was on Young Life staff and spent a lot of time at Frontier as a kid when her dad was on staff. It was really exciting since they have been living in Indiana and just moved to Montana, effectively making sure I hardly get to see her! She is a little over a month from her due date with their own little girl, Molly. We were both in each other's weddings and like each other a lot :)
Bryan, who I mentioned earlier, was also in our wedding and Kanyon will get to be in his next week! Bryan is an area director for YL in Fort Worth. I love this picture of the two of them. I'm so excited about his wedding.
Me and beautiful Casey, who became a good friend that week!
Me and my dad, who I loved getting to spend a whole week with along with Mom.
The next day was the last day of camp. The campers were scheduled to roll out in their buses at 8:00 pm after club that night. Kanyon and I deliberated all the night before about when we should leave. We couldn't decide if we should leave before camp is over so we could be home for a day before going back to work on Monday or stay until camp ended. We ended up postponing making a decision until the last minute because we both really wanted to stay. So we did! We spent that day with Austin and Casey and Lindsay as long as she was still there by the pool. We left at 8:00 when the campers did and Kanyon ended up driving through the night, pulling into Welch at 6:30 am. I'm still not sure how he did it.
Like I said, it was an awesome week. So much fun and very spiritually renewing. I can't wait to go back to another camp as an Adult Guest.
If you want to see more pictures of camp, you can look on my facebook's photo albums. There are a couple from Windy Gap and an album from when I worked at Malibu, YL's camp in Canada. You have to check out the scenery in those pictures... amazing.