Coming Home

Categories: A/U Ranches, Alumni Memories Tags: ,

By Peter Swank, National Alumni Board

A/U Ranches 2003 staff
The one and only Dream Team staff of Conquerors and Eco-Challenge (“Con-Eco”) in 2003 (Peter Swank back row, center)

I’ve always had fond memories of my time inside the ponderosa-dotted tree line tucked beneath Mt. Yale and Mt. Columbia that surrounds the A/U Ranches. After going to the Ranches for two years as a camper and three years on staff, it’s become a cherished place for me to come back to year after year. Each time I drop into the Arkansas Valley, my thoughts overflow with memories of great friends, amazing adventures, incredible spurts of personal growth and unbridled spiritual insight.

The A/U Ranches was where I went mountain biking, took a multi-day backpacking trip, went rock climbing and rafting for the first time – now things I take for granted in my life. It was also the first time I had been surrounded by peers who were Christian Scientists. I think almost anyone who has been to the A/U Ranches can relate to the magical combination of community and adventure that helps make the experience so special. It’s incredible to know that Adventure Unlimited has been providing these bountiful experiences for 60 years now! Think of all the lives that have been touched by the many programs that the A/U Ranches and DiscoveryBound have done. It’s truly inspiring!

I remember riding the bus through the gates of the A/U Ranches for the first time after my freshman year in high school, knowing almost no one there. Fast forward two weeks, and I was filled with gratitude for the new life-long friends and instructors who had inspired me and pushed me to grow. As the bus pulled out onto the paved road, I knew it would not be the last time I saw those gates.

As I plan for the upcoming 60th Reunion, it not only brings back fond memories, but also keeps me thinking about all the new activities that the A/U Ranches and DiscoveryBound (DB) are continually offering. It’s hard to believe that a decade ago I got to help Deb Eastwood run the first group of DB National Leadership Council students through the A/U Ranches. What a blossoming program it has become now!

I’m excited to drive back through those magical gates once again for the 60th Reunion and hope to see you there!

It’s not too late: You can still register for the 60th Reunion, August 21-24. Go to

Leave a Reply