In late June, several families and individuals from Casa de la Esperanza joined the Cottonwood Institute on an overnight adventure to Cal-Wood in Jamestown, CO. This family overnight trip was preceded by Cottonwood’s work with Casa de la Esperanza youth in the mini-CAP program this spring. This weekend together was a great opportunity for students to teach parents what they had learned and all share in the calm joy of being in nature together.
After departing from Longmont on Saturday morning the group arrived at their campsite, set up camp and began exploring their home for the weekend. They learned essential camping skills, played games, told stories, and simply enjoyed the warm Colorado sunshine. To give back to Cal-Wood, the group completed a service project pulling invasive cheatgrass along the road where it rides in on tires from all over the Front Range. Among the highlights of the weekend were interactions with animals. During a deer sighting, one participant exclaimed “That was the first time I saw a deer!”. Later in the evening, immediately following dinner, the group began to hear animal noises all around their camp. Based on knowledge of bear activity in the area, the instructors attributed the noises to black bears. The group stayed safe by thoroughly cleaning up dinner and making a lot of noise around camp. Listening to the ruido del oso (noises of the bear) throughout the night proved to be an empowering experience; one participant reflected, “as I stayed outside with the bear sounds, I actually got comfortable with it”.
On their way home on Sunday, the group stopped for a day hike on the beautiful Ceran St. Vrain Trail. The trail closely follows part of the South St. Vrain Creek, originating from the Isabelle Glacier. They escaped the building heat of midday by splashing in the stream and relaxing in the shade. Participants reflected on the strong bonds they formed with each other while camping. By playing nature awareness and group games such as Camouflage, Pretty Darn Quick, and Ninja, laughter and smiles filled everyone. Spending time in the wilderness with friends and families offers a unique time of joy, stillness, and appreciation. While getting ready to depart, one participant asked, “Do we have to leave already?”; always a mark of a successful trip!
A big “thank you!” goes out to everyone who helped make this incredible experience possible!
Learn more about their adventures by clicking here to look at pictures!