This was a men/boy trip to Beautiful Yampa, Colorado for 4 days, 3 nights at the Fish & Cross Ranch. Pack Country Outfitters hosted us and led us on an adventure of a lifetime. 2 feet of snow made the going difficult. Our snow shoes sunk in the light snow so we were left to trudge through the snow for several days without them. The trip included elk hunting for a few of the boys that elected to harvest an animal. Most of the boys watched the many elk through binoculars and stalked them with great pride and success. "It is okay to not harvest the elk" were the words of Christian. He uttered these words as he sat in the deep snow on a steep hill after hours of stalking 18 elk spending the day in the snow among the aspens. Christian's words were great words of wisdom as he enjoyed his 12th birthday with us on the top of a mountain. We sat there and enjoyed the snow clouds rolling over the Flattops Wilderness as the elk sauntered across the valley below us stopping often to forage through the deep snow to the grass. Sunday night included a trip to the natural hot spring in the 7 degree weather. At 104 degrees, the hot spring was wonderful relaxation under the stars. Had it not been for the continuous dares to get out and roll in the snow, the night would have been more relaxing!
Most of the HFP group said they had never been to a live theatre presentation. So we fixed that. Golden's Miner's Playhouse hosted us to their holiday play called Greetings. The kids got to experience a fun and complicated play where a family celebrating Christmas is visited by an alien. Lots of laughs and good discussion followed. We will follow this up with a day that the kids get to perform their own play in the up coming months. A big Thank You to the Golden Miner's Playhouse and especially Rick Bernstein!
Every year we seek to find a project that allows us to give back to our community in a meaningful way. Teaching kids to be thankful for what we have - even if it is not much - is tremendous for their souls. The kids love the concept of helping others even when they are the ones that may need the help. Taking the focus off of ourselves is an important habit to get into and the kids do this with much joy and compassion. Today's event was in conjunction with the Healing Tree and Cops Fighting Cancer. Both are charities trying to make a difference in the world and both enjoyed partnering with 16 of our youth for the event. The kids decorated about 75 Christmas trees to be delivered to kids in the hospital during the Christmas season. The trees are meant to bring smiles and encouragement.
posted Nov 16, 2012, 6:28 AM by Rod Atherton
updated Nov 27, 2012, 8:43 AM
Big game season always presents interesting challenges. The trips are tough, the hunts involve things like crawling hundreds of yards through cactus, sharp thorns, and rocks. The knees and hands take a beating. Success is just being there. At one point we snuck for about a mile and as we were crawling across a wheat field, two bucks surprised us and watched us for a couple of minutes with intense curiosity. We watched them and they nervously wondered what we were. We were very close yet out 14 year old girl had a doe tag. What we missed were the 7 does also watching us from 50 yards to our left. The bucks held our attention from 30 yards in front of us. A fun time, but no need to harvest an animal that day.
posted Sep 9, 2012, 6:47 PM by Rod Atherton
updated Sep 12, 2012, 2:46 PM
A great Summer day gives us a good excuse to be outside and taking advantage of mentoring outdoors once again. It is out objective to be outside as much as possible. We borrowed paintball guns from Warehouse 180 and found some open space donated by Foothills Community Church in Arvada and created another successful mentoring event. One of the kids reports that she has all A's and one B. That is a big improvement over nearly failing out of school last year. Encouragement and positive influence can't hurt this process. And certainly being shot with paintballs must help as well. Many smiles and 4000 paintballs under a beautiful Colorado day. The kids report they want to go camping! So planning a camping trip is on the todo list!
posted Jul 29, 2012, 8:30 PM by Rod Atherton
updated Jul 31, 2012, 4:49 PM
A bunch of kids, a load of cheap frisbees and some duct tape. Add some picnic food and a lesson about how frisbees create new friends and you have a recipe for a great afternoon. Frisbees represent a smile creator and their inability to fly straight creates new opportunities to meet others. Our HFP youth had a blast throwing frisbees and creating new bonds. The afternoon couldn't have gone better. Colby rescued frisbees all afternoon from the creek and was applauded for his efforts. The rest of us learned how poorly we could throw those discs and found that par frisbee golf would be a mystery to be discovered at a different time. But smiles and laughs were everywhere. That is what the day was all about!
Our annual Vahalla camping weekend was fantastic. 10 kids went through the Colorado Hunter Safety program to obtain their Hunter Safety cards. These cards last a lifetime and open the kids to all sorts of outdoor opportunities. Thank you for Pheasants Forever and the use of their trailer and archery equipment. The kids enjoyed the archery and most became very proficient at hitting the targets. The swimming hole gave great relief from the heat. The annual tree swing event provided much humor! Thanks to Vahalla Hunt Club and to Pheasants Forever for your help in making the weekend a success!
We couldn't hike due to the Colorado fires so bowling took the place of our planned event. As we expected, it was a blast and everyone pretty much stunk at bowling. But the kids want to do it again! Thanks to Westminster Brunswick!