by Syene Kulendran (Florida)
Living in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, has been an incredible experience, but living at Snow Wolf Lodge, away from civilization six days a week (give or take a few adventure days), has been life-changing.
Being secluded in a national forest played an interesting role in shaping community to be as essential as it is to Summit Semester. During the first few weeks, we had to entertain ourselves with conversations and group activities. It was hard at first, but once we moved away from the awkward “getting to know you” stage, we found it easier to prosper in this community and to connect. Also, the location not only provided a communal atmosphere, but it kept distractions out, including technology. Not having access to service throughout the week, it allowed us to focus on each other, building the strong community we now have.
Being away from the influence of the culture allowed us to focus on the here and now.
Now, we are human, and we make mistakes, which means it wasn’t the perfect bubble of a community, but the love of God shone through each one of us, and forgiveness, grace, and mercy were practiced among the community, which made it an honor to be a part of. Because of the mindset within the community of showing love, relational growth was prompted among people who now consider each other a family.
The seclusion not only allowed us to be even more involved in this community, but it also allowed us to be one with nature during our solitude and exercise times as well as adventure days, which brought us a sense of peace when experiencing God’s beautiful creation. Being away from civilization allowed us to truly appreciate what we have here, and now that we’re going home, we can see that with clarity. I know I can’t speak for the others here when I say this, but this community, this experience has been something that we wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world.