The adventurers of the CAP Club at STRIVE Prep – Sunnyside have been busy bees this fall while exploring the natural world and growing together as a team. Back in October they had an a-MAZE-ing time at Denver’s Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms, and earlier this November they were caught horsein’ around at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch.
Chatfield Farms provided our crew with an ideal location for some festive Fall fun and exploration, and though many of the farm’s prized flowers and foliage were on their way out, pumpkins, gourds, scarecrows and corn stalks were in high supply! The Farms are also home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds, invertebrates and insects, and the group made a point to appreciate this rich ecosystem while taking a scenic walk to some beaver dams. Once at the dams, the Cottonwood instructors shared some of their beaver ecology knowledge and the group practiced some mindful reflection in a “sit-spot.” Everyone then hiked back to the Farm’s central gazebo where lunch was unpacked and voraciously shoved into mouths. After lunch, the group migrated to the highlight activity of the day: the Farm’s infamous corn maze. Silliness and laughter ensued, and while not everyone was technically able to complete the maze, no soldier was left behind. Many thanks to the Chatfield Farms staff for sponsoring our crew and providing us with a memorable day outdoors!
Earlier this November, our cohort set off on yet another adventure together, this time heading North to Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch near Loveland, CO. The trip was a truly memorable experience for all, and for many it was their first time sleeping in a tent under the stars! Laughter, stories and s’mores were shared around a warm fire, constellations were rediscovered by new eyes, and during daylight, the group spotted hawks, eagles, mule deer, wild turkeys, bear scat and Rocky Mtn. bighorn sheep! One student reflected that her favorite memory from the trip was when the group went on a hike, stating that:
“while we were walking up that giant hill all I saw were rocks and poop, and I know that sounds horrible, but it was great! As we walked all I was focused on was smelling the fresh air and feeling the wind through my hair like a brush. We we finally stopped to take a break and I turned around for the first time, I saw a view like no other. Like nothing I’d ever seen before. It honestly made me cry it was so beautiful. It felt like I was in a painting but I wasn’t.”
Yet another student drew a sketch of our campground in her notebook and remarked that:
“… my favorite memory was our campfire, the way the flames looked. The tiny little flakes that looked like little fireworks. The different colors, blue, orange, red and yellow and the way the colors danced off the sticks.”
Many thanks to the folks at Sylvan Dale (especially those lovable horses who allowed us to pet and feed them!) for hosting our group!
Stay tuned for info about our Community Action Project!
Written by CAP class Instructor Zach Booz