Taytay: “Megan, would you rather live in the mountains or Denver?”
Megan: “I’m not sure, where would you want to live more?”
Taytay: “I think Denver because you can leave your food out and it won’t get eaten by bears.”
Taytay (pictured with one of our Young Leaders) is just one of the twelve, 9 to 11 year old kids from the Colfax Community Network that we went camping with last week.
For most teenagers, the summer means no school, sleeping in, lazy days, and less commitments. For Colorado Young Leaders, the summer means impact, volunteering, adventures, and summit projects.
Each summer a group of CYL youth plan, organize, and lead a summer camping trip for the elementary aged youth that are part of the Colfax Community Network. This years camp trip was awesome, challenging, and oh so rewarding – we got to play mini golf, navigate a maze, jump on huge trampolines, cruise on the alpine slide and more at the base of Winter Park; we rafted, we play EPIC games of tag around the campground, we made s’mores, and after all the madness, our CYL students stayed a night in a backcountry hut to debrief their time with the little kids. We asked them four questions, and below are our leaders thoughts.
What did you LOVE most about this Service Adventure?
“The entire trip including the challenges was great, but my favorite part was getting to build relationships. I was able to meet new people and build relationships that I will never forget. My first day working with the kids was so much fun because I helped open their eyes to new experiences like the alpine slide and setting up a tent. This trip was the most fun and amazing adventure I have been on in a long time” (Kailee)
“I loved that the kids got the opportunity to camp, raft, and play in the outdoors. Also, the fact that we were able to experience and teach them things they had never done. I loved the smiles on the kids face after doing something they didn’t want to do.” (Maddy)
“The camping trip had many amazing moments but the very first day was by far the most fun. The kids had a blast, the volunteers had a blast, and the adults had a blast. Whether the campers were rock climbing, riding the alpine slide, or bungee jumping, the whole group had full smiles on their faces. It was a great way to kick off the trip.” (Will)
“What I loved most about this trip was the ability to connect with these kids while also having an adventure. Camping, sitting around the fire and rafting with these kids was a truly awesome experience.” (Josh)
What did you LEARN from this Service Adventure?
“I learned that some people lack unconditional love in their lives and receiving it makes them uncomfortable. Also, when others don’t understand why there are rules in place, it may be because they don’t have that structure in their lives. Sometimes, your love can’t be understood, and this misunderstanding can lead to disrespect and some refusal to follow rules. When this happens, you must continue to love them and do your best to keep them safe and show them there is someone there for them no matter what happens.” (Kailee)
“I learned the importance of communication and preparation. To have been more successful, we would have needed to build better relationships with kids, prepared the expectations, and had been on the same page with the CCN staff. This would have resulted in more structure. Despite that challenge, I learned what the face of sheer joy looks like.” (Maddy)
“I learned that sometimes you have to deal with more than you initially expected. There were some definite obstacles in supervising a group of 8-12 year olds in the wilderness, but the relationships we forged will be what stays with us the rest of our lives.” (Will)
“The biggest lesson I learned on this trip was how to be patient even in some of the most chaotic situations.” (Josh)
How did you grow as a LEADER from this Service Adventure?
“I grew as a leader by simply focusing on how I could make this trip the best it could be for the kids we took. I also worked with other leaders as a team in order to teach the kids how to camp and to keep them safe. We gave them our love and helped them to trust us, even though most of them had just met us this summer. I got to share my story with them and also had stories shared with me.” (Kailee)
“I grew as a leader because I was able to understand the importance of respect and trust when entering a situation where you must lead with little to no relationship with your “followers.” I learned the importance of patience in being a leader.” (Maddy)
“On the trip, I had to use a different strategy of leadership than what I was used to doing. The little campers proved to be VERY energetic and rowdy which required a different way of interacting with them. I had to find a balance between the nice, fun guy the kids were used to me being, and the strict leader which was needed to assure the trip ran smoothly. In doing so, I learned a new approach to leadership that will be important in future endeavors.” (Will)
“I grew as a leader on this trip in the sense of my ability to cooperate with other leaders in order to gain control over tough situations.” (Josh)
What ADVICE do you have for the little kids at Colfax Community Network?
“My advice for my friends at CCN is to always try and find the positive on a rough day and to find a way to have fun. Also, respect each other and help your friends out, because they will most likely help you. Even though sometimes it’s hard to find it, there is always love in this world. Remember, we love you all, and there are plenty more people who love you and want to help you out.” (Kailee)
“Never be afraid to try something that looks a little intimidating. Life is full of opportunities that can just pass you by. Don’t be the old man or woman looking back on your life regretting. Your world starts with you.” (Maddy)
“The CCN kiddos should know that they are loved by all the people at CCN and CYL. They need to know that they can trust all of us the same way they trust someone like Kelley. We all want them to have fun and develop into even greater people than they already are. In order to get the most out of things like the camping trip, they should understand that we all want what’s best for them and that being on their best behavior will lead to the most fulfilling experience as possible.” (Will)
“No matter what other people tell you, make sure to choose your own path. Learn from others around you, but in the end, make sure it’s you making the final decision.” (Josh)
Want to see more awesome pictures of this CYL Service Adventure? Check out our Facebook page!