COBS provides scholarships for many students to go on our traditional open enrollment courses every year. At times, we receive funding from individuals or organizations to use for specific programs – to bring the experience of a COBS course to a particular community. Often times, these students come to us with no previous outdoor experience – camping in and of itself can be a momentous experience for them. This year COBS was fortunate to partner with such an organization thanks to a sponsor, Joseph Henry Edmondson Foundation. A group of teens from the Deerfield Hills Community Center in Colorado Springs joined us for a weekend at the Leadville Mountain Center, and two other teens received a full scholarship to attend a course. Here are a few excerpts from the staff and students that joined us for fun in the wilderness:
To the wish granters at COBS;
Thanks to your great efforts in coordinating both the Southwest Leadership Rafting experience and the two night Leadville camping trip, eleven young souls connected with nature in ways they will never forget.
Filled with diversity and coming from all walks of life, our group of teens started their journey together but on very different personal paths. Some had never been away from home; some couldn’t wait to get away. Some were hanging onto a battered self-esteem from being told they weren’t good enough, while others were carrying far too many expectations on their shoulders. From an outside perspective, the morning of their arrival showed a confident group joking around about rain pants and fighting bears, but the truth was that each teen nervously quieted one insecurity after another for every loaned pair of camping equipment they received from you.
Then, all of the planning and organization on your side sprang into action! Our nature guru guides brought those insecurities out and taught our teens how to conquer them through discussion, team work, and good ol’ fashioned outdoor adventures. One teen conquered her fear of heights on the ropes course, which showed her that she was strong enough to conquer her insecurities. Another teen found that he didn’t always have to be the top student, jock, or perfect role model when he found his true self along the river he was rafting. During a deep group discussion, two brothers learned that blood really is thicker than water. Plus, two staff members were given enough positive memories to share with anyone back home who needed a reminder that yes, there is hope for humanity. For every nature inspired breakthrough during solo and every group celebration after beating a team challenge. For every laugh during hide and seek, and for every teen who grew beyond their starting boundaries. For the simple fact of believing in our Community Center enough to make these trips happen, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
With gratitude beyond description,
Parks Operations Administrator
Youth Programs Director
For so long, it has just been my sister, my mom, and me. My family means everything to me so when things hit the fan this summer, I didn’t know how to handle it. So, I didn’t handle it. I just buried it down and kept laughing, kept being the funny guy. And then I was invited to go on this trip. There is something about nature that forces you to be honest and I’m glad for it. I laughed a lot, I smiled all the time, I played, I hiked, I dunked my head in freezing cold water, I cleared my mind, I was able to breathe, I thought about my family, and I knew we’d be okay.
This was a tough summer for me, lots of drama and hardships going on in my personal life. I didn’t like how I looked, I didn’t like how I felt, I didn’t like a lot of things. The whole trip was fun but the solo helped me see me.
I’m the oldest brother in my family and there isn’t a lot of time to myself or to think or to be myself. A lot of times I worry about what other people think or what they are going to think of me. Even though there were still people that I wanted to impress on the trip, the main person that I wanted to impress was myself. I wanted to be a leader, a good brother to my annoying brothers. I wanted to be someone that is worth looking up to. That is what I learned about myself during the solo, when there wasn’t anyone else but myself. And I’m grateful that I got that time. Thank you for letting me have it.
I wasn’t really sure about this trip when I first heard about it, but now, I am really glad that I went. People who were strangers became friends, I even learned a lot about myself. I wanted to face challenges and to become a better team player. That is exactly what I accomplished, and I became way more patient. Our guides and the center staff were so positive; I’ll never forget this trip.
I have grown up at Deerfield and am so grateful for this experience! My family doesn’t do this kind of outdoorsy stuff, which is horrible, because I am now hooked! The camping area was like our playground and we all became kids again. Hannah and Felipe were awesome! They kept us going all the time but we were always having fun playing different games or learning new skills. The lake hike was B-E-A-Utiful and the solo time was life changing. I really hope that I get to go again next year so that I can sleep outside in my hammock! Thank you for this opportunity, I’ll never forget it!
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of such a great trip! My family is going through a hard time, and this helped me regroup. I liked connecting with people I didn’t know and with nature. I’m not the athletic guy or the guy who is going to get picked first for a football game, but I am a guy who can hike up a mountain and I am a guy who won’t give up. I think that I always knew deep down but this trip forced me to prove it to myself. When we made it to the lake I was really proud of myself and so were the guides and staff. During the solo I just kept thinking about all of the other things that I used to give up on and how I won’t anymore. Thank you for letting me go on this trip, I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about myself.