SROM Blog: Wilderness, Ministry, Leadership

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.

WANT TO EXPERIENCE MORE?

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

The Battle of Humility

July 4th, 2019

Wearing the Mantle of Humility

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 to recognize the moments that call for Humility before God and Man. 

WANT TO EXPERIENCE MORE?

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

What You Bring is Enough

June 27th, 2019

No matter the day or the offering, You are enough.

By: Laura Albert

“But for now, dear servant Jacob, listen – yes, you Israel, my personal choice. God who made you has something to say to you; the God who formed you in the womb wants to help you. Don’t be afraid, dear servant Jacob, Jeshurun, the one I chose. For I will pour water on the thirsty ground and send streams coursing through the parched earth. I will pour out my Spirit into your descendants and my blessing on your children.” Isaiah 44:1-3 (MSG)

The desert and canyon country is amazing! It is a place of extremes and opposites. There are large awe inspiring walls and formations towering in front of you, and up and around you. There are dry, seeming desolate places, and lush hanging gardens that are full of life!

It is one of the reasons why I first fell in love with the Southwest. The epic grand scale beauties and the small little details, in this world of opposites, draw me into this wildness and closer into the glory of God’s heart.

Last year, I went on SROM’s Wilderness Ministry Professionals Course for professional development trip! I went into the canyon country of Utah unsure of what God would develop in me there.

Prior to going, I had felt like an emotional hot mess and inadequate. I felt ineffective in what God had called me to do and was honestly doubting whether I was in the right place. At one point I cried out, “God, why me? I’m no good at this!” The voices of my past and the voice of the enemy kept coming at me from all sides before I even stepped into the van to travel to the trailhead.

You are chosen 

But on Day 2 of fourteen days in the wilderness, God gave me the above passage from Isaiah (I looked back into my journal to be sure…) on which to ruminate, even before I could fully digest it. “But for now, dear servant Jacob [ Laura], listen – yes, you Israel [Laura], my personal choice,” Isaiah 44:1 (MSG).

He was showing me that contrary to the good, the bad, and ugly that I had done before as a leader, I am His personal choice.

That no matter what I bring that day, I am enough. I was chosen for this.

I was handpicked by God for this time, this moment and this purpose. There were days that I felt too weak and unable to hike with the load on my back. He knew that, and kept speaking into me, step-by-step, that I am His personal choice.

I noticed that day-after-day, no matter how strong or how weak or however I felt, I came before the Lord to give what I had each and every day. Because what I have to give to Him is an act of worship. Because each day and each step I give is enough for God. I am giving Him my best in that moment, in that day, and it is enough.

On those days when I felt the weakest, and needed help from my teammates, even that dear friends, was an offering to God. And truth be told, every offering that I give Him every day, whatever I had that day, was enough. I was reminded that God is good, and He will take the offering I give Him each day in each moment, and multiply it above and beyond what I can imagine.

Even beyond that, He spoke to me from Isaiah that I am worthy to be a leader. I was designed that way in the womb! I am worthy because of Jesus, who chose me for such a time as this. To lead, to give of myself, and to be used by the Father for His purposes and His glory here on earth.

So. Are. You.

You are covered in the blood of Jesus. You are God’s personal choice to be the wineskin of heaven to “pour out water on the thirsty ground,” for you are the “streams coursing through the parched earth” that God is sending into the dry lands to bring that living water to the thirsty hearts who long for the life and freedom that Jesus brings.

So, as God says, “Don’t be afraid, dear servant Jacob [insert your name], Jeshurun, the one I chose” (Jeshurun means “Upright One” in Hebrew).

Don’t be afraid. You were not only created for a time and place such as this, but you were chosen to be here. You are worthy to be here. It has always a part of God’s plan that you are here today, reading this story, journeying with the amazing people in your communities and places that God made.

What you bring to this day, to this moment, is enough. Because you have first brought it as an offering to God. He will multiply what you bring to the table to quench the hunger and thirst of those longing for the life that Jesus brings.

For He is good, and He tells of this promise in the last verse: “For I will pour water on the thirsty ground and send streams coursing through the parched earth. I will pour out my Spirit into your descendants and my blessing on your children.”

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.

Pedal Predicaments

June 20th, 2019

How to Take Care of Your Feet in the Backcountry

By: Laura Albert

Your feet. 

It is a constant battle to take care of your feet in the backcountry. To keep them warm, dry, blister and pain free. It is a battle each person takes on when they make the choice to go into the wilderness on foot. 

And trust me, I get that the struggle is REAL. I go through blister systems like water goes through mesh. Every time I buy a pair of boots I pray that they don’t give me blisters. Because by now I have come to realize that my feet get blisters. All the time. And seriously after almost 16 years guiding, I have a few tips and tricks that I have learned the hard way, so you don’t have to! 

Be One with your Feet

The first “Step” in this whole process is to know your feet. Just like each person is uniquely and fearfully made, each pair of feet is unique! So when you are looking at systems, new boots, or whatever ped-shed you are wearing it is important to know thyself. 

Because truly, how can you expect someone else to tell you what you need, if you don’t have the basic awareness of your own two feet? Take the time to understand your own feet:

  • What’s your gait like? Fast, long, short, uneven, etc. 
  • What part of your foot you step on most (outside, inside, ball, heel, etc)? 
  • Do you spread your toes for balance? 
  • Do you have a high or low arch in your foot? 
  • Do you have a high or low volume foot? (ie how much space in a shoe does your foot need?)
  • Do you have a wide or narrow heel?
  • Do your feet sweat a lot? Or do they stay really dry?

All these questions are a great place to start in getting to know your own feet and an essential process in finding shoes and boots that will help you thrive, rather than just survive. 

Plan Ahead and Prepare

While it is certainly the most important of the Leave No Trace Principles -in my book at least- it is definitely applicable when it comes to foot care.

You do not – I repeat: DO NOT! – want to purchase new hiking shoes or boots a mere days before you go on your adventure. This is a recipe for disaster, pain, and suffering! And, you can also do some serious damage to yourself.

Plan ahead and purchase your footwear several months before your intended trip. Then, take small day hikes to test drive them. Or, if you are unsure if they will work well for the long haul, take your boots and a weighted pack to the gym and use the stair stepper or treadmill to test them out. In this way, you will more likely be able to return them.

*Pro tip: most outdoor footwear stores will not accept boots or shoes that have been worn outside. So do your training indoors and within 30 days, and you will have a higher success rate in returning those boots or exchanging them.*

If you feel a “hot spot” or a spot that is pinching or uncomfortable. Stop. Expose. Treat. Or SET if you will. This is your body telling you something isn’t right. So SET aside your pride and take a moment to do some self care. It may seem inconvient to stop at that moment, but it is far more inconvient when you can’t go the miles because of something that was avoidable.

Lastly, have a foot care system packed. There are many ideas out there of what works. And honestly, I have tried them all. Literally. The things that I have found work well for me and I keep in my foot care pack are these:

 

ArmaSkin Liner Socks

These socks are a compression sock that have a silicone lining on the interior of the sock that help it stick to your skin.

Doesn’t matter if your feet are wet, sweaty, cold, or whatever these socks don’t move once they are on your feet. Which in turn significantly reduces friction and opportunities for hot spots and blisters to form.

I will never go hiking without these socks ever again. They are amazing and make my blisters and fear of blisters burn away like the morning fog. 

Leukotape

This tape is better than any other tape I have used for treating hotspots or blisters. Bar none. It is super sticky and has a softer side that faces outwards to reduce friction on the spot that already is having issues. 

This tape is bombproof and stays in place so well! I used it while hiking in canyon country of Escalante in and out of creeks and rivers, scrambling up canyon walls, and so much sand that it gets into your imaginary friend.

This tape stayed in place for three days before I removed it to check on the blister that was there. I’m telling you, this is a must have in every hikers foot care kit!

Duct Tape

When you are in the moment and let’s say, you don’t have either of the first two items handy, Duct Tape will work well. I have used duct tape more times than I can count on my heels to reduce friction within a wool liner and wool hiking sock. 

 

 

The great part of duct tape, is that it is really affordable and something that you will likely have with you on your trip anyway. So it is accessible and reduces friction really well! Plus, I mean who doesn’t like teal and magenta cheetah print as a fashion accessory?

The downside to duct tape, is that it can also create more issues. If your feet get super wet or sweaty, the sticky layer will not stick to your skin and has the potential to bunch up within your sock layers. And thus creating even more issues with your hotspots and even making new ones. 

All in all, you were made to thrive not simply endure on your backcountry adventures. And keeping your feet heathy is a surefire way to ensure that you start and end your trip smiling, and excited to go on your next one! 

These are just a few tips and tricks, and there are many out there! But truly from a long time blister sufferer, take it from me, that prevention and planning are guaranteed to ensure that your feet will carry you through the paths you travel. 

Happy Feet = Happy Trails!

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.

Drum Roll Please……

May 30th, 2019

Welcome to our 2019 Summer Staff!

We want to take this opportunity to give a warm welcome to our incredible summer staff for 2019! They are working both in the field and on the SROM base to bring God’s Kingdom here on earth.

Please be keeping them in your prayers this summer!

Laura Albert

Laura has been full time with SROM since February 2017. 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!

Andrew Arnold

I have spent my entire life adventuring outside in God’s creation.  My earliest memories include backpacking, climbing, horseback riding and biking in the outdoors with my family.  The wilderness and times of connection and encounter with God and others have shaped who I am today. I am deeply thankful to Jesus and my family for giving me the opportunity to advance the Kingdom in the context of creation. I have been married to my amazing wife, Jessica, for 17 years.  She is incredible and my best friend and most faithful supporter. We have three wonderful children, Isabel age 16, Sara age 14, Flynn age 11. They are my greatest delight!

Susan Brubaker

God has created me with a love of adventure and people! One of my favorite activities while on a wilderness trip is go rock jumping or rope swinging into a lake or river. One of the things I hope that people take away from a Srom  course is a deeper understanding of how much they are loved by their Father.

Karly Buer

Karly is a lighthearted adventurer. She is passionate about many things, including puppies and candy, and above even those is her love for sharing an experience of the Creator within creation with others by entering into wild spaces. Her adventures of choice include: climbing, snowboarding, backpacking, white water and mountain biking.

Emily Cable

Colorado girl turned Wyomingite, Emily loves Jesus, enjoys the outdoors, and delights in sharing both with others! Ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, guitar, singing, family, and spontaneity with friends are a few of her favorite things! Guiding and working full-time for SROM since 2014, she has witnessed God’s work of captivating hundreds of our students and instructors with His love and goodness, changing lives forever! “An adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.” – G. K. Chesterton

Jacob Chmielowiec

Jacob believes in the life changing power of the gospel as well as the special role wilderness plays in spiritual development. These convictions brought him to SROM as summer staff in 2009 and led him to join full time staff in 2012. Jacob works at SROM because: “There are desperate needs all around the world for men and women who will lay their lives down to serve God and one another. I want to be a part of that.” Jacob is passionate about making other people awesome in Christ, mountaineering/alpine climbing, photography, film, music, and learning.

Derek Cook

This year will be my 4th consecutive season instructing at SROM. I have a passion for discipleship and church planting and I’m pursuing a call to pastoral ministry. In my free time I enjoy ultimate frisbee, trail running, CrossFit, and rock climbing. I’m the guy on the left. 🙂

Shannon Davis

Shannon has been instructing seasonally with SROM since 2014, and uses her educational talents in the public school classroom as a teacher during the academic year. Her primary field of interest is climbing, but she also enjoys mountain biking, skiing, caving, backpacking, and Marvel movies. Her life has been transformed and she has been functioning more and more in her Christ-given identity in the context of spiritual community and Kingdom family.

Jon Deviney

I started hiking and adventuring about 15 years ago. Last year I completed the Wilderness Leadership Minor and learned all kinds of new things! Mostly how Jesus encounters us there and living more as a son. This has given me the confidence to open a business and mentor young adults. I’m truly blessed to be a son of the living King!

Rachel Engle

Rachel is a recent addition to the full-time staff at SROM and is excited to be instructing two teen courses this summer. She has signed up for the Pikes Peaks this summer as well so she’ll be packing her running shoes!

Steve Ericson

I am excited to have the privilege of instructing with SROM again this summer. I particularly love the Father family course and the joy of digging into the Father heart of God. I am married to my highschool sweetheart Becky and we have 3 children Gracie, Corban and Colter.

Logan Gill

Born and raised in Tennessee, Logan grew up on bluegrass music and spending time in the outdoors.  After completing his BA in Leadership Studies at Regent University he walked away from a fifteen-year career as a fire and rescue professional to pursue a God given passion for wilderness and helping people grow into the leaders God created them to be.  Logan and his bride Rachel (also a SROM instructor) have been married for nearly six years.

Rachel Gill

Rachel is a true southern girl from Florida and Tennessee and her internal struggle will forever be mountains versus ocean. She grew a love for the outdoors camping, hiking, and traveling with her family from a young age. She has a passion to be a part of the transformation and bonding experience that happens in the wilderness. She and her husband (Logan, also a SROM instructor) sold their home and most belongings, moved into their travel trailer, and have been traveling the US for the past year.

Tim Grunstra

My name is Timothy Grunstra, Tim if you like. I am a full time staff member and instructor for SROM. I am married to Jamie Grunstra, the most amazing women alive! I am wildly in love with my savior Jesus Christ and have been abundantly blessed to work in his great creation with his awesome people. Be blessed and may all good things happen to you!

Parker Gulbranson

I feel most at home when I am working at the zip line, enjoying a sunrise hike or going mudding with my friends. I recently graduated from John Brown University with a degree in Outdoor Leadership Ministries and plan to pursue a career in program development for wilderness ministry. My hobbies include playing ukulele and harmonica, ultimate frisbee, unicycling, hunting, backpacking and making toast.

Emily Hall

It was in the context of wilderness that I first considered the reality of a loving God. I began working at SROM in the summers during college (way back in 2006!) and joined full time staff in 2010. My passion for wilderness ministry is rooted in my own experiences, as well as routinely witnessing Jesus tenderly draw people and then meet them. I married my awesome husband in 2012, and we had our daughter, Sylvie, in 2017.

Daria Holler

Daria has worked for SROM full-time since 2015. She’s super proud of her husband, Austin, for recently graduating with his nursing degree! She loves laughing and deep conversation. A fan of miniature model making!

Bryton Maclennan

Bryton grew up in the tiny town of Ouray, nestled in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. God used Bryton’s parents and the church to captivate him with the gospel at the age of 6. Caught by the grace of a loving savior, Bryton has been on a journey of transformative discipleship ever since. An explorer at heart, Bryton would often roam the mountains of Colorado. There he developed a passion for hiking and climbing. God used these mountain wanderings to call Bryton, speak tenderly to him, humble him, and teach him to walk boldly in faith, often leaving him awestruck at the majesty of the Creator. While attending Grove City College, PA, God taught Bryton the power and joy of leading others into the wilderness and allowing God to use those spaces to reveal the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is with joy that Bryton feels called to serve SROM, excited to enable others to go “Further up and further in!” -C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

Joanna Richardson

Lover of God!! Gifts he has given me… coffee, bonfires, sleeping under the stars, family, and friends!

Andrew Schindler

I moved to Laramie, WY in fall of 2018 and I am stoked about sharing the Father’s love with anyone and everyone! Let’s get out in the wilderness and experience His presence…and also climb some rocks!

Audrey Stelzer

A Michigan native who loves God, people, llamas, and creation!

Chelsea Van Essen

I have been an instructor for 8 years and love nearly all things in life. I love the mountains and nature, people, sunshine, flowers, and God 🙂 

Melita Zuck

My favorite place on earth is in the wilderness surrounded by natural beauty and order. I’m passionate about going where I’ve never been, and inviting others to join in the adventure! I spend the winter in Pennsylvania, and no matter where I am I love creating safe places for learning and growth. My name is Melita, and I hope to someday be part of your story!

Hills and Valleys

May 23rd, 2019

Mountain Top Experiences to Daily Life

“ ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’ ” – Isaiah 57:15

 

There is always something about mountains that make me stop and stare at them.  Like every part of my being just has to pause and breathe and just look at them for as long as I can. They inspire so many different feelings inside of me and it doesn’t matter how many times that I see the same mountain or mountain range, I still stop and stare. 

Many of the same reasons I stop and stare, are often similar reasons why we go to the mountains. To experience the awe, wonder, and challenge of being in such rugged terrain that cannot and will not be tamed. There is something inside of each of us that begs to go and attempt what seems impossible. 

This is a part of why wild places are so amazing! They are a reminder to us of our smallness, and that we are not the ones in control, but that God is.  These high places and mountain top experiences are so powerful and so incredible! And we each seek these experiences to grow, learn, and test ourselves against the power that Creation and the Creator provide.

But can a person live on mountain top experiences alone?

 

Let’s take a look at mountain tops. What is there? Snow. Rock. Lichens. Ptarmigon. Pikas. Bugs. Maybe some grass. Truly, there’s not a lot of things that can survive and thrive in this rugged terrain. There’s little to no nutrients or soil and thus, it cannot sustain a wide variety of living things. 

The opposite of these high mountain tops, are the valleys below. Lower in elevation, they are often teeming with life. There is water, nutrient rich soil, a wide variety of vegetation and animals that flourish. We often try to push through these valleys in order to get to the high peaks and places where we can see for miles. But what are we missing when we rush through the valleys?

 

Mountains and Valleys each offer us opportunities to learn more about ourselves and about God.

 

“High Places” have always drawn people to visit, worhsip, and to sacrifice on them. People in the Old Testament worshiped God on the high places (Ex. 19; 1 Sammuel 9). But people also worshiped pagan dieties on high places that God even commanded Israel to destroy these spaces (Deut. 12:2; 2 Kings 18:4). 

It seems pretty apparent that there is something within us, both past and present, that seeks the devine and seeks God on these mountaintops and high places. But as we have explored, there is very little to live on and survival is incredibly hard on the mountain tops. And yet valleys seem dark, and hard to walk through sometimes in our lives. So why do it? Why do we climb or hike to these high places?

René Daumal expresses it well:

     “You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come  down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but that is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”

It is not in the climbing, in the summit, the pride or sense of self and acoomplishment that we feel when we climb mountains. All those things are not bad things unto themselves. But it is in taking the lessons learned and the experiences from the action, and bringing them into the everyday, the mundane, and the “valleys” of life.

And actually do what Daumal says that when we return to our day to day,  we no longer will see with our eyes but we will know deep down in our spirit the lessons that God has taught us on the mountain. 

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 Albert

Laura has been full time with SROM since February 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 May. 

To learn more about Laura, click here

Creating a Culture of Honor

May 16th, 2019

Honor: The What and the Why

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 why Honor is so important in the Body of Christ. 

WANT TO EXPERIENCE MORE?

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

Staying Found

May 9th, 2019

How to not get lost in the Wilderness

 

In our world today, there are many places we go where there are clear directions and we have technology to literally direct us where to go. All we have to do is punch in the address of where we need to get to, and Siri (or whatever system you use) will talk you through how to get there step by step. It’s gotten to the point now, where most people under the age of 20 have never heard of a Road Atlas let alone used one!

But what do you do when you’re not on a road? Or a trail? What happens when the signs that should be there directing your travel are either un-readable or literally don’t exist where they should? How do you not get lost then?

I mean, getting lost is a big deal. So how do you not get lost, but Stay Found?

Staying Found is different than not getting lost.

 

What does it mean to “Stay Found” and how is that different than not getting lost?

Well, like most things in life, it’s about prevention. Staying found is something we teach on our SROM courses in addition to basic orienteering (ie map and compass reading) skills. Because map reading has become vintage in our world full of technology, this much needed wilderness skill takes some getting used to for most people.

Staying Found is a major part of this skill. It is using the map, the compass, and what you are seeing around you to keep yourself and others on the right track. It is an active process that you use moment by moment because depending on your path, your view of potential landmarks can be skewed or blocked.

Here are a few steps you can take to practice Staying Found in the wilderness.

 

Study the Maps Together

Studying the maps yourself AND including everyone in your group to study them is really important. Because you are all on this adventure together! So getting everyone on the same page on where you are starting from that day to where you are going is really important.

You will want to do more than a basic run down.You should be going over a detailed plan all together on what route you are taking to get from Point A to Point B. This includes:

  • Elevation gain and loss – and how you identify that
  • Major landmarks to look for. Like an unusual rock formation, ridgeline, a river, lake, or canyon
  • Milage for the day. Not just the total milage, but the short ones too. Such as, “It will be around 2.5 miles to this unusual rock formation.” By knowing the distance to those features, it will help you and your group stay connected with both the landscape and the map.

 

Watch Out for Comfort Traps

In many places that you go into the wilderness, you will stay on a trail. But there are also many places where you will find yourself route finding between trails or off the trail completely. In either case, it can be easy to get comfortable following a trail or trail-like feature blindly.

You may end up following the trail so far and trusting it so completely that when you stop, you have no clue where you are at.

It is so important to check in with the maps and keep looking for those easy to spot landmarks along your ENTIRE route for the day. Just following a trail doesn’t mean you can’t still get lost. So make sure that you are checking in with each other and the maps often.

 

A Culture of Communication

It’s not just you on this adventure, there’s your entire group! And many pairs of eyes are better than one! So encourage each person to keep not just their eyes out along your route, but to speak up if they see it. Because, let’s be real honest, you can miss things along the way. And if you encourage each person to take up the mantle of keeping a lookout, you are less likely to miss the landmark and increase your ability to Stay Found.

When you take the time to practice Staying Found, you create this great opportunity to grow and develop a strong community that values communication and teamwork. Because we all aren’t good at this skill right away. But we all have the ability grow and develop in our skills on these adventures.

And in practicing the art of Staying Found, you are not only reducing the chances that you will get lost. But you are also fostering an environment where you and your group of intrepid adventurers can achieve great things that you maybe wouldn’t have done alone!

WANT TO EXPERIENCE MORE?

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

Laura Albert

Laura Albert

Laura has been full time with SROM since February 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 starting in May. 

To learn more about Laura, click here

An Attitude of Gratitude

May 2nd, 2019

How Daily Gratitude Keeps Us Relational

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” ~ 1 Chronicles 16:34

 

When I think of gratitude, I think of this moment in the movie White Christmas, where Bing Crosby is singing to Eleanor Clooney a song called “Counting My Blessings.” (see video below)

And I get it, it seems a little cheesy. But here’s the amazing thing: when we focus on gratitude or as Bing puts it, our blessings, there is a literal change in our brains! Like a switch that gets flipped from being in the ‘Off’ to the ‘On’ position. Just from spending a moment in gratitude helps you to reconnect to peace, joy, and to others quickly. 

Is it in the ‘Off’ or the ‘On’ position?

 

You might be wondering, “Why does it matter if my switch is off or on?” 

Well, that “switch” in our brains is what helps us connect, engage, and develop healthy relationships. Because truly, that’s the whole point! God wants a relationship with us! And even more, He wants us to build healthy relationships with others in our communities and families too. But how do we do that? I mean, there’s so much pain and hurt! How can we even begin to build healthy relationships when all that is out there?

Well, we can start with ourselves. In re-learning what it means -in the simplest ways- when our brain disconnects and how we can teach ourselves to reconnect and stay connected in difficult situations. 

First things first, how do you know if your switch is on or off? Here are a few questions or indicators the Life Model  developed to ask yourself whether your relationship switch is turned off:

1: I just want to make a problem, person, or feeling go away.

2: I don’t want to listen to what others feel or say.

3: I am dwelling on something or a situation that is upsetting.

4: I am not willing to hear what others feel or say.

5: I cannot feel gratitude or appreciation. ¹

 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, in any particular circumstance or just in general, it probably means that your relational switch is in the ‘Off’ position. Hey, it’s ok. We all end up there from time to time. But if you are in that place, you are missing out on so much by living in that state. With your switch turned ‘Off,’ you are in survival mode. Instead of just surviving, God wants us to thrive! And it starts with a flip of a switch.

How Gratitude flips the Switch

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said to the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’” ~ Psalm 126:2

 

There are several things you can do to help turn that switch into the ‘ON’ position and reconnect with God and with others. Engaging in an attitude of gratitude is one of them! By taking a moment every day to have a gratitude moment will help you to reconnect to many of the fruits of the spirit: joy, peace, kindness, and others.

It is a way to reconnect with God for the blessings He gives us. It is also an act of worship and spiritual warfare. For our enemy wants us divided: from God and from each other. But when we intentionally engage in gratitude, it flips our switch from the ‘Off’ to the ‘On’ position and we are then able to connect so much more with God and with others around us. It is from that deep well of relationship with God, that the peace that surpasses understanding flows freely from us. ¹

I know, it’s hard in moments of stress, to stop and have a gratitude moment. But I can promise you, that when you’re stressed, worried, or ______ (pick any other negative emotion you can think of), pause. Breathe. And express gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness to God for one thing from that day. Just one thing. Then take note of how you feel.

I am putting it you: The 30 Day Gratitude Challenge.

Try this for 30 days in your own life. Just finding one thing to be grateful or thankful for that happened that day. Just one. And see the difference that it makes for you in your relationship with God, and in your relationships with those around you at work, at home, in church, on a bus, in an elevator, wherever! Because why wouldn’t you want more peace and joy in your life?

 

Resources:

 ¹. Brown, Amy & Coursey, Chris. Relational Skills in the Bible. Deeper Walk International. Carmel, IN. 2019. pg 15-28

². Life Model Works. https://lifemodelworks.org/

 

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 Albert

Laura has been full time with SROM since February 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 starting in May. 

To learn more about Laura, click here

Please Welcome our 2019 Interns!!!

April 25th, 2019

Taking the time to do an internship is a really big deal. And we want to take this moment to welcome and introduce these two amazing individuals into the SROM family!

Andrea Belcik

Summer Admin Intern 

Andrea is our first ever Summer Admin Intern! She is pioneering the way this summer with this new internship being offered by SROM. Here’s a little about this amazing woman of God:

“Hi, I’m Andrea Belick from Jacksonville, Florida. I am a caring person, especially when it comes to family, friends, and dogs. A person who enjoys being a big ole goofball (I got on the Colorado Rockies jumbo-tron for my silly dance moves.. twice). A person who loves going on new adventures, but also freaks out about them sometimes. A person whose facial expressions usually let you know what I am thinking. A person who appreciates the outdoors.

I applied for the SROM Internship because I appreciate the value of becoming a better instrument for the expansion of the Lord’s Kingdom. Combining that with getting away from worldly distractions is my life mission so I really resonate with SROM’s purpose.

My favorite wilderness memory was hard to choose as there have been many awesome outdoor adventures, but I will have to go with one of the first snowshoeing adventures. This was my favorite because I love the snow and hiking so snowshoeing is a great combination. Anytime I am around that delightful frozen water the little kid inside comes out in full force (especially because I live in Florida now). This particular occasion was super fun because I was with my cousin and some good buddies when we came across this short steep incline. We all looked at each other and were like yup.. We are climbing that gem. As we were climbing, we did a little bit of intentional sledding and a little bit of accidental sledding, but we kept on trekking to the top. Once we finally made it to the flat surface we were striving for, we stumbled upon some large chunks of snow. Naturally, my cousin and I decided to throw them at each other and karate chop them in half (my karate chops are top notch). It was a simple outdoor adventure, but definitely one of the most fun!”

 

Josh Gilmore

40/40 Field Intern 

While Josh isn’t our first 40/40 Intern, it’s so amazing to have him as a part of the next generation of SROM! Especially as Josh’s dad was one of the FIRST SROM instructors back in the day! We are so excited to welcome Josh and see the legacy that he is bringing with him! 

I’m Josh Gilmore and I am going to be an intern this summer for SROM on the 40/40 Field Internship! I’m from Jackson Wyoming, but I have been living in Grand Rapids Michigan for the past four years while I have been at Calvin College. As I was finishing up my degrees in Physics, and Business/Mathematics. I ultimately decided to do the internship so that I could have time to reflect on my time in college, as well as pray for guidance about what to do next, and I never feel more connected with God than when I am in the wilderness. 
 

I connected with God strongly in the wilderness this past January, in Panama National Park in Honduras. Myself and a group of students had a worship service in the middle of our hike and as we were singing the dense fog that had been there burned off and we got to look over the spectacularly serene Lake Yojoa. 

My favorite experience is hard to choose, but it was this summer when I hiked with my mom to Lake Solitude, that she thought she might never get to again before that day. As well as it being amazing that we were able to do the hike, we literally almost ran into a moose, as well as a bear later down the trail. They were both rough blind corners, but it made for a very memorable day.” 

Want to Experience More?

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