By Lily Oyer
Uncertainty, anxiety, and worry – these were some suggestive feelings that were trying to make a home in my mind. I had just graduated from Principia College (virtually, due to COVID-19) and was living in my childhood home with my mom. Getting ready to graduate from college can be stressful enough, so the added factor of graduating amidst a global pandemic didn’t seem to help.
Struggling to find peace in the unknown, I realized that I needed to hand this over to God. I stopped fearing and started trusting. I experienced the epitome of “letting go and letting God” and wow, was that a good choice!
A few weeks after graduation, the opportunity arose with a longtime supporter of my education, The Albert Baker Fund. I began a remote, month-long endeavor as their outreach intern. I deeply enjoyed getting to expand my knowledge of donor stewardship and enhance my oral, written and visual communication skills. Not long after, I was packing for the next adventure as the marketing and Foundation intern for Adventure Unlimited.
Prior to my arrival, I wondered how the A/U Ranches would operate in the summer with the regulations put in place for Colorado residential camps. But the moment I arrived, the love and principle was palpable in the air. From every interaction, I felt at peace – but it wasn’t coming from having a specific answer. We all were basking in trusting God to guide our next step. I was surrounded by lots of staff members who had all agreed to come to camp without knowing what would happen. This trust and utter gratitude to be there was extremely evident.
As things progressed, the A/U Ranches staff adjusted its programming. Youth Camp was reconfigured as a day camp, Family & Friends Getaway launched, and DiscoveryBound National Leadership Council (NLC) students arrived for different aspects of the NLC program.
It looked like this: Local members of the community who had never been to the A/U Ranches were invited to day camp to experience all it has to offer. Families found a nurturing environment to grow spiritually and physically. An NLC class was able to be together in spite of their adventure trip being cancelled, and NLC students from different classes came to serve as counselor-in-training interns for two weeks.
We went from 0-100 real fast! Of course, there were lots of campers who weren’t able to attend Youth Camp this summer, so in efforts to share the love from camp and stay connected, staff members wrote letters and sent videos.
With the organization’s 2020 metaphysical theme focused on blessings*, I think we found that during a time when there’s a seeming lack in activities or connection with others, our lives were overflowing with an abundance of blessings.
My job this summer was awesome. I got to capture the goodness happening in the different programs Adventure Unlimited runs, not only at the A/U Ranches, but also (through Zoom) with DB participants from Compass, NLC, 20s/30s and Outreach programs. After speaking with dozens of people, I found that during a time that presents challenges of loss and isolation, Adventure Unlimited provides a community that doesn’t let you feel alone.
People are staying connected with their NLC, Compass, Outreach and 20s/30s “family” via phone, Zoom, Facebook… and for some, at the A/U Ranches. Every interview uplifted my day, serving as a reminder that so much good still goes on, even when things are challenging and different. The stories I collected included a healing at the A/U Ranches this summer, finding an online community of like-minded young adults through the 20s/30s Facebook group, gratitude for the support they receive from their peers and more.
This position not only offered the opportunity for me to be in one of my favorite places on earth (!!!) but also to highlight the good going on within Adventure Unlimited, and in return uplift my spirit and provide a high-quality work experience.
I’m so grateful for every experience I’ve had with Adventure Unlimited. The staff persistently prayed for the next right step, and the summer turned out better than anyone could imagine. Blessings were ever-flowing from the programs held in-person and also virtually. Adventure Unlimited never fails to meet the need and bless others, and it most certainly did that for me this summer.
Do you have a story of how you connected with your A/U Ranches or DiscoveryBound community this year? Let us know at [email protected]. It may be published here in Zipline.
* “The inevitable condition whereby to become blessed, is to bless others:” – Miscellaneous Writings, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 127