Service and Learning in Colorado saw 6 students journey westward to Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp to help out with camp work projects. Due to the length of the drive, we stopped in Julesburg, Colorado – home to Julesburg Mennonite Church – on both legs of the trip. The first opportunity to serve came in the form of grilling brats for the JMC congregation as a thank you for hosting us. The rest of our service trip took place at RMMC, where we stayed in one of their lodges, dined in their mess hall, and tackled a number of projects that the camp set out for us. The biggest project was to wash the windows of their two largest lodges, none of which had been cleaned for around a decade. The second major project was to chop an estimated 2 years’ worth of wood to be used to heat one of RMMC’s off-the-grid buildings. Minor projects included hand-washing all of their upholstered chairs, sweeping out large rooms, and cleaning up different work areas.
In addition to the various opportunities for us to serve in Colorado, we also had numerous opportunities to learn. In our first full day in the mountains, we went on a hike lead by maintenance director Tom Unruh. On the hike, in addition to learning how to snowshoe, we also learned how to identify a number of types of trees. We also learned about the devastating impact of the Spruce Bark Beetle and the numerous ways that the camp is trying to combat them. Also on the first day, we had a hands-on Physics demonstration while using inner tubes to coast down a snowy hill and to compete in a human-sized game of curling. On our last day at the camp, we learned how to make cinnamon rolls from camp cook (and Kalona native) Mary Yoder. On our return to civilization, we stopped for a few hours to visit the State Capitol Building and the Denver Art Museum, where we learned about Colorado and Native American history. We then began the long return journey home.