While many of my peers have written before me about our time here, everyone has a different experience, and mine is just as exciting as my classmates. As you have probably read other students’ blog posts, you might have a good idea about what goes on around here. However, I want to talk about a few of the small things that occur on a more daily basis. Things like stargazing, putting funny quotes on the student refrigerator, or napping in the hammocks.
Imagine thousands upon thousands of stars in the sky. Many of you cannot because of the light pollution in your towns, homes, and streets. We, however, have none of those. Sometimes there are clouds, but for the most part it is clear. The silence and tranquility that we get when stargazing is unmatched by anywhere else. We can see the dusty tail of the Milky Way, Orion’s Belt, and at one point the Aurora Borealis. Many of the students go by themselves to enjoy the peace of the stars. However, I am one who enjoys the company of others while looking at God’s great creation. I’ve come to the conclusion that the stars do declare His (God’s) name.
Oh! Is that the game where you chase people around with sticks and pitchforks? Now I know you must be thinking, “Honey start the car, we’re getting our child out of there.” But don’t freak out, it’s only a quote from our fridge. There is a tradition here that revolves around putting funny quotes that the students or staff say on the fridge (on tape of course). Anywhere from CK’s “prophetic dreams,” grocery shopping with Max Upp, or the strange things that people say when they have cabin fever. When the fridge is not being used as a wall, it is stuffed with food that the students get every Sunday (they do feed us well, but we like to stock up on personal deserts and such).
Every once in awhile a group (or the group) of students will go out and camp in their hammocks. Nothing feels better than the feeling you get when you’re 5 feet off the ground and freezing in the cold under the stars. However, that is not the only use that we have for hammocks. We study in them, we nap in them, and every once in a while we get flipped out of them. There are many different colors of hammocks and it’s really exciting to see 7 of them on 5 trees. It’s also a great cure for cabin fever.
It’s a little over half way through the semester, and I think that the staff are doing a wonderful job. There are many things that these wonderful people do for us that we don’t even know about, and since we don’t know about them, I can’t write about them. I can, however, write about what we do know they do for us. They cook for us, drive us around, keep us sane, and pray for us. We could not have asked for a better Semester staff. They are more than just people to keep us in line, they are our family. They care about our wants, needs, and wellbeing. Natasha is on her third year staffing here at Snow Wolf Lodge. She is the one who took all of the student mug shots (see mine above). Her photography skills are unmatched by anyone else here. Brooke is our fairy godmother. Her bubbly personality, hysterical laugh, and excellent choice of music have won her the hearts of everyone here. The person keeping us alive is Lindsey. As the resident nurse and fill-in cook (in addition to being one of the girl mentors along with Brooke and Natasha), Lindsey does a great job juggling multiple responsibilities. Ben is the quieter of the two male mentors. However, just because he is quiet, it does not mean that he does not have a lot to say. Ben always knows what to say, and when to say it. Many here might say that Ben has taken on the father figure role. Last but certainly not least is Kellan. My mentor, and a native to Colorado, Kellan has lived his whole live around Summit people. His insight, knowledge, and love for his small group make him a valuable part of our daily lives.
When I initially arrived here I did not expect that living in the mountains would require so much energy. Everything from the thin air, to the really steep hills, and long hikes makes always having enough energy a necessity. Getting enough seep certainly is important, however it is only part of the solution. The other half is the wonderful food provided for us by Max and CK. Everything from smoothies in the morning, to fiesta Friday, Max and CK always know what to cook for us. All in all, my experience here has been a pretty positive one. Although I’m excited to see what happens on the flip side of the Semester, I will definitely miss the first six weeks.
Max Hoekstra hails from Sioux Center, Iowa. With an eagerness to serve others and a gift for working with children, Max spends much of his time volunteering in after-school programs and in the children’s ministry at his church. His compassionate and willing heart has led him to realize that he would like to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education so that he will be better equipped to work in the field of personal care and development with children. In his free time at the lodge, Max is likely to be found reading, exploring, making friends, playing board games, or helping out in the kitchen.