SROM Blog: Wilderness, Ministry, Leadership

Bring Wilderness to Your Community

October 24th, 2019

Don’t miss this chance to bring the light of God through wilderness to your community!

You may have heard about Pocket Wilderness last year when we did our initial “Call Out” for interest. Well, God has been moving MIGHTILY in this brand new program!

If you are interested in becoming a Pocket Wilderness Guide in your area, we are currently accepting applications for our 2020 Team! 

The Vision of Pocket Wilderness is to encourage believers and seekers alike to escape distractions and re-connect with God, others, and your purpose.

We believe God is calling facilitators and drawing participants into a time of “biblical wilderness.” He wants to refresh His people and kindle points of light around the world.

We recognize there are people who may never go on an expedition style SROM course in Wyoming. But we believe that each and every person would benefit and enjoy a focused time in God’s creation. 

Jesus Christ throughout His ministry on earth modeled a pattern of withdrawing to the wilderness to pray to His Father. Biblical history has established wilderness as a medium for God to speak tenderly to His people and draw them closer to Himself. 

So we are calling out to the Body of Christ to join us for this coming year to escape, go, and connect on a deeper level with God, each other, and the plans and purposes God has for each of His children: to make disciples who make disciples in the context of wilderness. 

“The daily list of seemingly urgent things to do, respond to, schedules to keep, emails and texts to respond to as well as interest in the news is all good but intrusive and interrupting to a rhythm that is more conducive to healthy growth and real productivity.  The schedule and rhythm we had on course allowed predictable quiet time, natural interactions, physical activity and enough rest to connect with God and others in meaningful ways.”

David Poer - Pocket Wilderness Guide Training 2019

This training course will give you the knowledge, skills, and abilities to start up and facilitate Pocket Wilderness Weekends in your local areas. 

Here’s what Pocket Wilderness Guide Training includes:

1) Facilitating the physical journey: Instructing and facilitating weekend journeys into local or regional outdoor settings. Empowering each participant to return to the wilderness again and again.

2) Promoting active stillness: Teaching the Gospel of Christ for life application. Modeling Christian solitude, contemplation, fellowship and prayer.

3) Framing of spiritual solitude: Framing times of spiritual solitude and providing opportunities for divine encounter.

4) Establishing authentic community: Building a fellowship of authentic community through encouragement of intentional time with God, self and others.

Join the Pocket Wilderness Team of 2020!

Click the button below to apply or for more information. You can also call 307.755.0642×100 and talk with Admissions for more information about this exciting New Program!

GORP: The Ultimate Trail Food

October 17th, 2019

Good Ole’ Raisins & Peanuts

By: Laura Albert

Trail nutrition is often a conversation around the SROM base. Because food is not only a critical part of our courses, but there’s so many things that need to be stratigically planned out before a course even steps foot on the trail in regards to food! 

But one thing that is a staple for every course we have is GORP. Known historically as “Good Ole’ Raisins & Peanuts,” this snack mix has survived the test of time and countless expeditions as being an essential part of a person’s success in the wilderness. 

What’s so special about raisins and peanuts or GORP you might ask? Doesn’t seem so essential for backcountry nutrition. Trail mix or GORP has become an essential nutritional need in the backcountry because it fulfills many of the basic nutritional needs in one bag that are hard to come by in deep wilderness. 

(Image courtesy of the NOLS Cookery book pg 14)

The Nutritional Basics 

Nutrition in the backcountry is a hard beast to tame. But with the right tools and tricks, you will be able to accomplish great things in your meals to equip and fuel your body for your outdoor activities. 

Most people are familiar with the Food Pyramid. But for backcountry, you need to follow a different model. NOLS has come up with the Backcountry Nutrition Pinnacle. It’s also in the shape of a pyramid, but the line items are different. 

It starts at the base with exercise and water, then grains & starchy vegetables, and so on as you can see in the photo above (pg 14 NOLS Cookery book). 

The point of the pinnacle, is that there are nutritional needs that have to be met in other ways to optimize your body’s output for exertion with appropriate fuel available. And this is why GORP is the Ultimate Trail Food available!

What’s in GORP?

There are many varieties of what can go into GORP to make it the best trail food for nutrition. But the essentials are a variety of nuts and fruits. But if you are looking to create your own ultimate trail food, here are the basic categories you need to add to your mix.

1. Nuts & Legumes (i.e. Beans)

No, we are not saying to put dried black beans into your GORP. But Peanuts are actually a legume and not a nut. Legumes are incredibly high in proteins and peanuts have healthy oils and fats that your body needs.

In addition to peanuts, any other kinds of nuts that you and your group can eat, are always a good thing to add. Such as almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, and even coconut flakes. These items are high in proteins and healthy fats that your body needs for higher energy output and for muscle recovery and repair, wound healing, and overall healthy cells. (NOLS Cookery pg 17)

2. Raisins & Dried Fruit

Not everyone is on fire for raisins. I can recall being the kid who would throw the little raisin box across the room because I really, really didn’t like raisins. I can’t say my tastes have improved much, but there are other options if you’re like me and would rather eat any other dried fruit….

Like golden raisins (huge improvement!), dried apricots, apples, banana chips (starch & sugar), and other kinds of dried fruit.

The benefit of dried fruits in your mix is that they provide an incredible amount of vitamins and minerals that are otherwise hard to get while in the backcountry. They also provide a great deal of natural occurring sugars like fructose that is quick and easy energy for those “type 2” kind of fun days when need some energy quick to keep you going.

3.  Other Goodies

While back in the day GORP really just was nuts and fruit, these days trail mixes typically have a bit more to them that add to the overall nutritional value and to the taste of them. Here are some additional options that you can add to yours:

  • M&Ms: Adds some milk chocolate which nutritionally adds some quick sugar, dairy, and caffeine to the mix. And that candy shell helps a ton with the melting factor!
  • White Chocolate Chips: Adds some dairy and sugar for quick energy with a slower release time.
  • Cereals: Adding cheerios or other kinds of cereals adds some grains to your GORP. This adds complex carbohydrates to the overall nutrition and helpful for longer and more intense days.
  • Pretzels or Veggie Straws: Again, these items add carbohydrates and even some more salt to your mix. The salt helps with staying on the up and up on electrolytes especially in a desert environment where you’re sweating more than you think.

These are just a few additional things that help with increasing the nutritional value of your GORP. But, ultimately you can be as creative or as simple as you want. Depending on your physical and dietary needs, GORP is the one food you will always want on your next hike whether it’s for 2 hrs or 240 hrs! 

WANT TO EXPERIENCE MORE?

Check out an opportunity to fully unplug and go on a wild adventure – connecting with God, others, and your purpose.

Laura Albert

Laura has been full time with SROM since February of 2017. In addition to writing, she and her dog Lily enjoy going on adventures and pushing the limits of “the norm” in their daily rhythms. Most recently that includes the building of their own off-grid Tiny House on wheels this year.

To learn more about about Laura, click here.

The Importance of Space

October 10th, 2019

Creation is for All Humanity, not the Few

By: Laura Albert

“We cannot care for God if we do not care for His Creation.”

– Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods –

Richard Louv makes a bold statement, but one that none the less has an increable gong of truth to it. And it begs the question within our own hearts to be asked:

“Do I love and care for God if I am not loving and caring for His Creations?”

It’s a conversation that is starting, around the globe and one that is important for all of us as Image Bearers of God to ask ourselves.

We all have watched as government shutdowns have not only brought our systems within our country to a screeching halt, but also watched in horror, fear, and a deep sadness as our precious wild places were negatively affected by it as well.

To have to stand by and watch as something precious is hurt or destroyed stirs something deep within us. Something that demands justice, and to some revenge for the deep wrong that was done to something so fragile that can’t always defend itself against our modern world.

And even now, there are our beautiful places that are overwhelmed by populations coming from all over the world. Why? Because they feel the call to experience these incredible places in their very souls. But the spaces are unable to sustain such numbers in a way that doesn’t leave scars. We are “loving” unto death. 

As if that wasn’t hard enough, there are whispers and even blatant attacks on people who “don’t deserve to be in wilderness” because of their ignorance and choices that don’t specifically follow a certain set of rules.

The “new” thing is Nature-Shaming. Both to a person’s face and as if that wasn’t enough, being slandered and shamed all over social media so the whole world knows of your many transgressions.

When did we become the nature elite? The only ones who can do no wrong in nature….When did we become Nature Pharisees?

Nature was created for all, not just the few. Not just the ones who “know” how to best take care of it. Not just the ones who love it the best or the most.

Creation is for All.

But here’s the thing: just as we are commanded by Jesus in the Great Comission,

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” -Matt 28:19-20 

This command is about bringing God’s Kingdom to Earth. That means that if you are a disciple of Jesus, you are teaching others about Him and what Jesus cares about. Psst…. That means ALL created things! Jesus loves and cares about people. Jesus loves and cares about Nature. And everything in between.

As disciples who go out and make disciples, we are to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to All Nations. And the Kingdom includes Nature.

Jesus didn’t shame people. He invited them into His world to teach them a better way. People need nature as much as we need Jesus. Because the very rocks cry out to His Glory! And it is impossible to deny Him and His Glory when you are in it (Roman 1:20). Something in your very soul reaches out to touch the beauty, awe, and wonder that creation can show us about the amazing Love of Jesus.

One of the beautiful things Jesus did for us was come to Earth, to walk along side us in the midst of our sin and doing wrong to show us a better way. And to show us that we could actually walk that better way with Him. He loved us and still loves us enough to walk with us even when we mess up.

As His disciples, isn’t it our job to extend that same love, grace, and mercy to others that has been freely given to us? Something to consider….

Laura has been full time with SROM since February of 2017. In addition to writing, she and her dog Lily enjoy going on adventures and pushing the limits of “the norm” in their daily rhythms. Most recently that includes the building of their own Tiny House on wheels this year.

To learn more about about Laura, click here.

Teaching Gen Z about Jesus

September 19th, 2019

Why it takes a Village

Josh Horak has been on staff with Solid Rock Outdoor Ministries for over a decade now. He is one of our directors and also pastors a local church here in Laramie. This week, we will hear from Josh about how it takes the entire Body of Christ, not just biological parents to reach this next generation and teach them about Jesus.

WANT TO EXPERIENCE MORE?

Check out an opportunity to learn and grow on a wild adventure – connecting with God, others, and your purpose.

You’re Invited!

August 22nd, 2019

RED ROCKS ALUMNI CLIMBING COURSE

DEEPEN YOUR SKILLS & DEEPEN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

CRAVING A GETAWAY? NEED A RECONNECTION?

 

Come hang and reconnect with fellow SROM alumni for a 7-day rock climbing course in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, one of the country’s premier climbing destinations.

 

CLIMB HARD. PLAY HARD. GO DEEP.

 

Our instructors will work with you and your goals to push you as hard or as little as you would like. The evenings will be times of fun, fellowship and discussion that deepen your connection with God, others, and yourself. All the things you have come to love and expect from a SROM course.

COST: $675 per person

TRAVEL: Fly into Las Vegas (we’ll pick you up) or Drive

DAILY SCHEDULE: Base camping at Red Rocks campground, drive to trailhead, hike to crag, climb, have fun and come back for fellowship in the evening. 7 day course with 5 full days of climbing.

WEATHER: Average High’s of 75°F and Low’s of 50°F

 

OCTOBER 6-12TH

Only Two Weeks Left to Register!

It’s going to be epic.

Bear Aware

August 15th, 2019

What to do when visiting Bear Country

Photo courtesty of yellowstonepark.com

 

Bears. We see them in zoos, hear about them on the news, and there are lots of thoughts and opinions about these amazing and majestic animals.

But the main question we need to be asking is this: What should we be doing to be safe in bear country? For our safety and for theirs?

Here are a few things you can do to become more “Bear Aware” when traveling and visiting bear country.

 

Photo courtesy of Central Park Zoo, NY

Learn About the Locals

Not every place you will visit in North America will have bears. But here in the northern rocky mountain region, we have two kinds: Black Bears and Brown Bears or Grizzly Bears. It’s a good idea to learn more about these two kinds of bears prior to visiting or camping in the northern rockies. It will help you enjoy your visit, and also help the bears have a healthier homelife. 

In addition to learning about these two species of bears, it will help you to learn how best to have a positive experience with them. Just like when someone comes to visit your home, there is an expectation about respecting the space. The same is true when visiting public lands. It’s their home, and we as visitors need to respect that. 

Also, in your research, call the park or land agency you are visiting for more up to date information about what kind of bears you might encounter. Each area will have more information that is current for where you might be camping or hiking. It is important to find out more and not just assume.

Photo courtesy of yellowstone.org

Showing Respect

Respecting the park or the land during your visit goes a long way in helping create positive bear interactions! For example, a bear’s nose is 20 times more powerful than a dog’s nose. So they can smell you AND all your food from a good distance. And trust me, it smells really good to them!

Making sure that your food is property stored and contained when you have left your campsite is a big deal. Many land agencies have specific criteria for how they want you to do it, so be sure to check in with them.

But some good ideas for a campsite would be simply to put all food things in your car or vehicle. It’s a lot harder for them to break into and takes the smellable things away from the places you will be sleeping. Some places have specific storage areas for all your food smellable things, so please use those that have been provided.

If you are backpacking, most agencies require some form of food storage system. It might be an electric bear fence, a bear cannister, or simply to hang your food up in a tree. Be sure to check with the land agency you are traveling in to see what the requirements are for that area.

Photo courtesy of Teton National Park

“Hey Bear!”

There are times of the day and areas where you are more likely to have an encounter with a bear. And to be honest, they will likely be just as surprised by the experience as you are! Ideally, we don’t want to surprise a bear. And you are most likely to surprise them in the morning and at dusk when they are typically more active and in thick trees or brushy areas.

If you find yourself in such circumstances, being loud and noisy will help! Saying things like, “Hey Bear!” out loud will announce your presence to any bears or other larger animals that may be nearby. It may not be that fun to talk or sing loudly, but it will go a long way to helping you and the other wildlife choose the type of encounter to participate in.

 

Remember the rule of thumb: if you put your thumb up, and it covers the animal entirely, you are a safe distance away.

 

If you do encounter a bear, do not run and do not approach it. Approaching a bear can be taken as a sign of aggression. And that certainly isn’t what you want! And running from the bear tells it that you are prey- because prey typically run from predators. So if you run, it will likely trigger the bear’s predatory instinct. And they run fast, so you can’t out run them anyway.

But what should you do? Again, talk to it loudly. Make yourself seem bigger. Bears have great sense of smell, but not very good eyesight. Start walking slowly away, but never turn your back on the bear.

And also take out your bear spray. Yep, bear spray. It’s a very strong pepper spray that you can use if a bear starts to come towards you or decides to charge. It won’t cause permanent damage, but will go a long way to creating a negative interaction with a human so as to deter the bear from seeking out such an experience again.

If you do have a negative encounter with a bear, be sure to report it to the land agency you are visiting so that they may be able to help other visitors and monitor the bear as well.

Photo courtesy of Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

Bears are such amazing creatures! But they are also very wild and untamed. It is important when we visit areas where bears live to show them the reverence and respect they deserve. And that includes monitoring our own behavior so as not putting ourselves or them in danger because of our own selfish desires and laziness. 

Respect them enough to obey the rule of thumb, to keep your food away from them, and to not get close for that perfect photo shot. Because it is worth it to respect these animals and their space to just be in and observe their presence and leave it at that. 

 

WANT TO EXPERIENCE MORE?

Check out an opportunity to learn and grow on a wild adventure – connecting with God, others, and your purpose.

Pocket Wilderness is BACK!

August 1st, 2019

We are Excited to Announce Pocket Wilderness Guide Training is Back!

You may have heard about Pocket Wilderness last year when we did our initial “Call Out” for interest. Well, God has been moving MIGHTILY in this brand new program!

If you are interested in becoming a Pocket Wilderness Guide in your area, we are currently accepting applications for our 2020 Team! 

The Vision of Pocket Wilderness is to encourage believers and seekers alike to escape distractions and re-connect with God, others, and your purpose.

We believe God is calling facilitators and drawing participants into a time of “biblical wilderness.” He wants to refresh His people and kindle points of light around the world.

We recognize there are people who may never go on an expedition style SROM course in Wyoming. But we believe that each and every person would benefit and enjoy a focused time in God’s creation. 

Jesus Christ throughout His ministry on earth modeled a pattern of withdrawing to the wilderness to pray to His Father. Biblical history has established wilderness as a medium for God to speak tenderly to His people and draw them closer to Himself. 

So we are calling out to the Body of Christ to join us for this coming year to escape, go, and connect on a deeper level with God, each other, and the plans and purposes God has for each of His children: to make disciples who make disciples in the context of wilderness. 

“The daily list of seemingly urgent things to do, respond to, schedules to keep, emails and texts to respond to as well as interest in the news is all good but intrusive and interrupting to a rhythm that is more conducive to healthy growth and real productivity.  The schedule and rhythm we had on course allowed predictable quiet time, natural interactions, physical activity and enough rest to connect with God and others in meaningful ways.”

David Poer - Pocket Wilderness Guide Training 2019

This training course will give you the knowledge, skills, and abilities to start up and facilitate Pocket Wilderness Weekends in your local areas. 

Here’s what Pocket Wilderness Guide Training includes:

1) Facilitating the physical journey: Instructing and facilitating weekend journeys into local or regional outdoor settings. Empowering each participant to return to the wilderness again and again.

2) Promoting active stillness: Teaching the Gospel of Christ for life application. Modeling Christian solitude, contemplation, fellowship and prayer.

3) Framing of spiritual solitude: Framing times of spiritual solitude and providing opportunities for divine encounter.

4) Establishing authentic community: Building a fellowship of authentic community through encouragement of intentional time with God, self and others.

Join the Pocket Wilderness Team of 2020!

Click the button below to apply or for more information. You can also call 307.755.0642×100 and talk with Admissions for more information about this exciting New Program!

Is Cleanliness next to Godliness?

July 25th, 2019

Staying Healthy and Clean in the Backcountry

“You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them.” Leviticus 15:31 (NIV)

Staying clean when you are surrounded by dirt, and everything that makes dirt is definitely a mighty task. If you do a word search through the Bible, you will find a lot of information on how to remain clean both physically and spiritually. Especially in the Pentateuch, otherwise known as the first 5 books of the Bible.

It is incredible that an All Powerful God cares enough for us as His people to give us such mundane rules to help us stay clean. But, that is just it. The Israelites when they came out of Egypt had been in slavery for so long, they were unable to think past the here an now. They were in survival mode. And God wanted them to thrive in the wilderness to re-learn how to live and live a life that was full.

And, it is not so different with people who have never experienced wilderness in modern times. We are used to having clean water at our finger tips. We are used to having complex waste removal systems. These are just a few of the things that in a modern society, we have immediate access to, but do not in the wilderness. And it can be a bit of an adjustment to most of our participants coming on a course for the first time.

Here are some ways in which you and others can stay healthy, clean, and thrive.

 

 1. Clean Body = Sound Mind

Hand-washing is the single most important habit for health and good hygiene in the field. This should be reiterated throughout your time in the wilderness. Time should be taken in the morning, after the day’s activities, and before ALL food preparation for washing hands, brushing teeth, etc. People should not feel rushed or unable to take the time to do this properly. Everyone on a trip should be required to have hand sanitizer. This should be used as a food group before every meal.

Personal items like chap-stick, water bottles, and spoons should not be shared, even among friends. For trips longer than four days, and many that may be shorter, it’s a good idea take time for swimming and bathing. Biodegradable soap and scrubbing should be encouraged and practiced by all. 

**Pro Tip: When using Biodegradable soap, you want to be 200 ft from the nearest water source or else the soap gets into the water. And if that water source you are also drinking from, whoops! You drink soap. Gross!!**

 

2. In the Kitchen

Before preparing food, everyone should thoroughly apply hand sanitizer or wash their hands with soap. There should be NO taste-testing or licking of group utensils, even among friends.

Friends don’t give friends germs.

Use the ‘pour method’ as opposed to the ‘reaching in method’ for food. Do not allow people to stick their hands into bags of food like brown sugar or trail mix.

**Pro Tip: The ‘Pour Method’ for all food prep is a really easy way to keep yourself and your kitchen area clean in the backcounty. It reduces spills and contamination.**

 3. Doing Your ‘Doo-ty’

Bathroom skills, techniques, and practices are often a tough topic to cover, but essential. In terms of hygiene, make sure that you are wiping appropriately in order to prevent ‘itchy bum.’ Snow is the best natural toilet paper option for maximum cleanliness. Think of it as a cold bidet! 

Wet wipes are useful, but must be packed out. They cannot be buried in your cat-hole or trench as they do not decompose quickly or effectively. So you need to pack them out with other trash. You can wrap a small ziplock bag with duct tape for your wipes and other trash like tampons.

After going to the bathroom, it is best to wash your hands with soap and water, as this will remove any particles that may be lingering on your hands. However, hand sanitizer is an acceptable option. Fecal matter on fingers or under fingernails is the #1 cause of Giardia. And ‘Beaver Fever’ is not something you want to get. So washing your hands is a MUST!

**Pro Tip: Using wipes instead of normal toilet paper in the backcounty is an easy way to keep clean. Do not use alcohol or antibacterial wipes! You will regret it! Instead, use baby wipes or wet wipes as they are designed to be used on such areas of the human body.**

God Wants us to Thrive!

God wants us to thrive in the wilderness while we are learning and growing with Him just as much as He wanted that for Israel. And God wants that for you too. Take the time to practice these three things on your next trip, and you too will thrive, stay healthy and clean in the backcountry!

WANT TO EXPERIENCE MORE?

Check out an opportunity to fully unplug and go on a wild adventure – connecting with God, others, and your purpose.

Thriving in Extremes: Epic Wilderness Weather

July 18th, 2019

Thriving in Epic Weather Conditions

By: Laura Albert

It was early October in the mountains. My dog Lily and I were out on a solo trip for the weekend for some much needed “us” time. I had a great plan to explore some more of the high country on the border between Colorado and Wyoming. There are some great treks to be had that would allow both Lily and I some relaxation and some challenge for a long weekend. I had a plan, but then had to epically change my itinerary due to a winter storm being forecasted a week before it was anticipated to hit. And at above 3500 ft, if they forecast it that far out, you can be 100% sure that it’s not going to be pretty!

So I changed my plans, and went to a place in the mountains that I knew well and had hiked often. Knowing that weather was coming, I essentially packed for “winter camping” just in case. I also packed extra fuel and food for Lily and myself. I told friends where I was going, and when I’d get back. Then we were off to the high country!

We arrived at the trail-head and the weather was sunny, but a little windy. And there was snow. Lots of it. I grabbed snowshoes that live in my car all year long, my gaiters, and off we went on the trail.

As we hiked, it was slow going because the trail was hidden by waist deep or higher snow drifts in places. And as the day progressed, the wind speed increased a lot. So much so that the gusts were literally blowing me over with my backpack on into said snowdrifts. And though it was sunny with no clouds in the sky, I couldn’t help but wonder if I shouldn’t turn back while I could. It seemed like that epic snow storm was coming sooner rather than later…

Mountains & Weather 

Weather in the mountains in my humble opinion is a lot like weather at sea: predictable in its unpredictability. You can have an idea of what to expect going in, and meteorologists for all that we make fun of them a bit, do base their predictions off of certain criteria and observations that are measured. 

But, the biggest lesson I have learned about travel at sea and in the mountains is be prepared for most things, and know when to bail when it gets bad. There are things that you can do to be prepared, but it is important to make good choices when faced with epic weather conditions. Here are a few things to help you not just survive, but thrive in the face of epic weather. 

1. Stay Humble

Staying humble in the face of nature is a must. Knowing your limits, and acknowledging the smallness of yourself in the face of an All Mighty God who commands the weather will go a long way to helping you thrive. Not only that, but submitting to His authority and understanding that He is in control of the weather and that He loves and cares for you will help you stay calm in the face of some extreme conditions. Remember, He isn’t trying to hurt you, but help you grow. 

2. Plan Ahead

 While it’s hard to trust a 10 day forecast, it’s at least a place to start. With all of the weather spotting and technology around the world measuring pressure, moisture, windspeed, etc you can be sure that if something “big” is on the way and people are talking about, it’s worth taking note of and planning accordingly. 

You can be sure the first few days of a forecast will be mostly accurate for that area. After that, it’s good to keep a eye on the horizon.

3. Eyes on the Skies

Learning to take note of your surroundings in the backcountry is always a good idea. It will keep you from getting lost, hurt, and will give you more information than you can possibly imagine! Digging deep and recalling those early grade school years from studying the clouds will go a long way in helping you learn your environment and what’s coming. 

Cloud formations can tell you a lot about what is going on right now, and what is coming. They can tell you how much moisture is in the air, how fast wind speeds are (in general terms) in the different atmospheric levels, and they can help you plan for either a small squall or a major system heading your way. There are lots of great websites that can help you learn more about cloud formations and what they mean. Below are a few good options:

           https://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/cloud_chart/

Making an Informed Choice 

I ended up deciding for Lily and myself to stay the course. And while the wind was gusting at or around 60 mph (and it sounded like a freight train!) the rest of the day, I chose a site only a few miles in from the trail-head and away from any dead trees in order to be safe. The clouds were non-existent from what I could observe, and the skies stayed clear all night long. And though the wind howled, and the temperatures did drop, I felt good about the choice to stay out that night. 

The next morning, after only a few hours of un-interrupted sleep, the winds were still strong, and the clouds started rolling in. It was at this point, that I made the choice to head home rather than continue on for another few days. Because I could see the situation changing rather rapidly. And honestly, I am glad I did rather than toughing it out. Because that night and the next several days dropped over a foot of wet, heavy snow above 5,000 ft. 

The high country is beautiful and well worth spending time in! But it can give you some challenges with the weather than can roll in unannounced and unexpectedly. Taking the time to learn what to look for, and plan for your trip can go a long way to making sure that you are thriving rather than simply surviving what the wilderness brings. 

WANT TO EXPERIENCE MORE?

Check out an opportunity to fully unplug and go on a wild adventure – connecting with God, others, and your purpose.

Laura Albert

Laura has been full time with SROM since February of 2017. In addition to writing, she and her dog Lily enjoy going on adventures and pushing the limits of “the norm” in their daily rhythms. Most recently that includes the building of their own Tiny House on wheels this summer.

To learn more about about Laura, click here.

Creating a Culture of Honor

July 11th, 2019

The Importance of OSV.

Every community is unique. Each individual brings different strengths and weaknesses to the group, and each group faces distinct challenges during their time together. SROM seeks to foster a healthy and transformative culture, both in our office and in the field.

A large part of that culture is encouraging an atmosphere in which individuals are Oriented, Safe, and Valued or OSV.

When people are OSV, they are able to feel connected to the group at a deeper level. 

One of the core components of a SROM course is authentic community. When people are able to foster an atmosphere of authenticity and genuine love for one another, deep transformation can happen.

One of the tools SROM uses in helping foster authentic community on course is encouraging an OSV culture – a culture in which students and instructors are oriented, safe, and valued. SROM full-time staff send course information, follow-up with students and parents regarding course preparation, and answer questions about courses to help OSV students before they arrive at the building.

Once students arrive at SROM, their instructors then describe and model an OSV culture immediately at the beginning of the course, and intentionally refer to it daily as the culture is being ‘caught’ by the students. 

What does it mean to be Oriented?

Being Oriented is rather simple: do you know what is going on? Here at SROM, that can be as simple as a check in on what the route is for the day and those logistics (milage to be hiked, elevation gain, lessons needing to be taught, etc). But in daily life, getting oriented might be a bit different.

For example, you might have a job. Kids need to get to school, or sports events. There might be an appointment you have that day, etc. Getting oriented yourself and orienting others is as simple as communicating what the major events that are supposed to happen that day in order to plan for them. So we are responsible for communicating the events of our day to others. But also, you are responsible for asking the people at work, on a course, or at home if you feel less than sure about the plans.

Creating a Safe Space

While physical safety is always the goal, the Safe in the OSV culture is not just referring to physical safety, but a much larger concept. It is important that all of our staff and students experience emotional and spiritual safety too. Because individuals who do not feel emotionally or spiritually safe are less likely to be fully engaged and trust their environment.

That is why we work hard to foster an environment of open, honest, and humble communication. Often it is difficult to perceive if someone feels unsafe or unvalued in the moment. But, good debriefing time and creating space and the invitation for people to express their concern goes a long way to helping people feel safe and trust again.

How to accomplish this is also simple: allow for honest feedback and ask open ended questions.

In creating a space for people to respond without censure, shame, or guilt, when you ask hard questions people will give you an honest answer about how they felt. Then, validate their feelings/emotions, and ask follow up or clarifying questions to their response.

Such as, “Sue, I get the sense that you were really frustrated by that. Is that true? [Yes] What could I have maybe done instead to help you feel safe in this situation?”

In this way, you are helping repair the broken trust with that person and reaffirming that they are in safe environment with you.

Everyone Has Value

At SROM, we recognize that each person is created in the image of God and has intrinsic value. Period. We are all Imago Dei or image bearers of God. Each person who walks through our doors is accepted, valued, and loved regardless of skill or ability level.

While society may demand that individuals prove, produce, or perform, we recognize and affirm the inherent value in each person. When an OSV culture is established, people are able to practice seeing each other as children of God and submitting to the Christ in one another. In essence, students learn what it means to be the body of Christ to one another.

It is worth noting the distinct difference between paying lip-service to valuing others, and truly valuing someone despite their quirks, differences, or sins. It’s easy to merely say that each person is valuable, but it is much harder to practice valuing and honoring each person! However, it is important to have a clear understanding of what valuing (i.e., loving) one another looks like so that valuing doesn’t translate as enabling.

For example, a student who consistently is not ready on time because they are slow at packing their bag may complain that the group is not valuing them. In reality, they are not valuing the group by choosing not to take responsibility for themselves by working harder (e.g., begin packing sooner, wake up earlier, learn to be more efficient when packing) to be ready on time.

 

OSV culture creates a space where people are shown respect and honor.

An environment that establishes and maintains a culture of OSV towards one another will empower people, not enable poor behaviors and attitudes. An empowering culture has the potential to be transformational and bring God’s Kingdom here to Earth.

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