Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Great Sand Dunes 2014

Hiking for miles with 50+ pound packs. Learning to cook an entire meal in one pot over a tiny stove. Climbing a 13,000 foot peak. Hiking over a mountain pass in a howling windstorm. Learning to keep walking even when cold, wet, and hungry. Struggling with altitude sickness. Discovering giant seesaws made from fallen trees. Worshipping together under a blanket of stars. Laughing, laughing, laughing. Learning to trust. Becoming vulnerable. Letting go of burdens. 
These are a few of the many adventures that Ekklesia Mountain High students and teachers experienced on The Great Sand Dunes backpacking course, August 18-28. Ten juniors and seniors, three instructors, and one instructor-in-training spent ten days in the wilderness in the first of their four core courses. 
“This is the foundational course for the year, and we went into it wanting to establish what kind of community we are going to be,” said EMH Director Ben Little.  “We want to be intentional in creating a community centered on openness, trust, growth, and encouragement. We want the students to see themselves as a family...”

The students were challenged in many ways during the 10-day course.  One commented:

 “I learned a lot about myself through this course. God reminded me of several areas he wanted me to grow and develop in as a daughter of God, such as my true identity, my dependency on Jesus, and how I need to work on putting Christ first in my life.”
There's more! To continue reading  the full article, and see more of the course photos, click here to continue to the EMH blog page.

Ekklesia Mountain High is a boarding and day-student program for high school juniors and seniors at Darren Patterson Christian Academy, in which approximately forty days of wilderness experience and leadership training is integrated with rigorous academics in DPCA's Biblically-centered environment.  To learn more, please visit the school's website at, and the EMH program's website at

Thursday, September 11, 2014

To Serve...

Seth works on a log rack  for a fall 2013 service project
Last year's spring fundraiser event was called "Aim to Serve" and though it was named to describe the elements of the event, the clay shoot and the food-gathering service project involving our students, the name is appropriate in a much larger context:  it is one of our core values at DPCA that we teach students to be increasingly others-oriented.  Our goal is to develop an attitude in our school that is consistent with Philippians 2:3-5  "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus..."

As our students learn to see and identify with the needs of others, we hope that translates into the growth of a lifelong attitude of "see the need - be part of the solution."

So again this year we are "aiming to serve" - setting our sights on places in our community where DPCA students can help out and make a difference with their energy and abilities.  Service projects undertaken so far this year include a quick few minutes helping at Shirley Smith's house, and a full Friday afternoon with the 7th - 12th grade students helping with a landscaping project at Trail West.

Another afternoon at Trail West is planned for this coming Friday, and our fall school-wide community service chapel is scheduled for September 26th.  Readers who have ideas for places where DPCA students can serve are encouraged to call the school office at 395-6046 to share suggestions.  Meaningful projects are needed for all of our age groups, so ideas are welcome!

Fall Mini-Retreat

Sam, Jacob, and Cailyn at the video exercise bikes
Is Tanner working out or just relaxing?
A climbing wall, water-slide, racquetball court, gym, running track, weight machines and exercise bikes - all were available and put to fun use by DPCA's 7th through 12th grade students at last Friday's Fall "Mini-Retreat".  "We've done a number of different things over the years to help our junior and senior high students grow together as the school year begins," said Mr. Ben Little, who works through his roles as teacher and secondary chaplain to help students and staff build a healthy and dynamic school community.  "We'd done a trip to the Breckenridge 'Rec' Center a few years ago, and the students really enjoyed it, so we decided it was a good year to do that again, and to focus on building up the community just by giving the students and staff an opportunity to play together and enjoy each other's company." 

Students and staff traveled to Breckenridge on Friday afternoon, September 5, and played at the recreation center for several hours.  A pizza dinner at Extreme Pizza rounded out the afternoon. 

Hawk and Joel take on Mr Euler and Mr. Little

Alli and Sydney enjoy the water slide...