In 1997 Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters was established in the small town of Andrews. A small group of people began clearing land by hand with a vision in their minds and a passion in their hearts for this area. By 1999 Snowbird had made its way into the school system and began meeting and building friendships with the students and faculty in the county. I just happened to be a sophomore at Andrews High School when the first ever Athletes Day took place on the campus of Snowbird. We spent the day participating in team building activities with breaks in between to hear a variety of people speak to us about being role models in our schools, our communities, and even within our own families. We heard people speak about relationships, abstinence, and leadership. Most importantly, we heard about God and what it meant to have a real relationship with the creator of the world and how this would affect every area that we had heard about during the daily sessions we sat through. At this point in my life I would have told you that I was a Christian. I gave my life to Christ when I was thirteen years old on a Sunday morning in a local church, but once again I had no real relationship with God like these people spoke about. I experienced no discipleship by those who were around me and I had no idea that there was more to being a Christian than just walking down the aisle and saying a little prayer. I found my identity in sports, girls, and good grades and thrived on the attention and popularity it all brought me. This was my life. This is what I lived for. The topics that were discussed at this Athletes Day confused me but sparked my interest at the same time. I wanted to know more.
It wasn’t long before I heard about a Monday night Bible study that Snowbird was about to begin at The Rock, a local Christian youth center. This Bible study was like nothing I had ever experienced in my life. I heard a different kind of message than I heard in my local church. Not only does Jesus save, but He wanted to have a daily real and personal relationship with me. I heard a different kind of music that I had never heard before and I learned how to worship. I met a group of people who had a desire to see me grow and who loved me without even knowing me. I began to discover my identity in Christ and how to experience joy in Him. Over the next couple of years I became more involved with Snowbird. I began attending Bible studies regularly, going to the camp when groups were in on retreats and sitting and listening to services without my mother making me go, and I quickly found myself spending all my free time around the staff who really showed an interest in me and my life. These people came to my school and ate with me, they attended my sporting events and supported my team and encouraged me when they saw me later in the week. I love talking and they listened. I knew this place and these people were different.
Snowbird has completely changed my life. Snowbird has changed the lives of my closest friends. It has renewed and grown my friendships with these people like I could have never imagined. Because of Snowbird I now have a real relationship with God and I desire to live my life to honor and glorify His name. I now understand that my Christianity didn’t end that morning in my local church. The practical teaching and love that those staff had for me shaped who I am spiritually today. I was challenged to establish what I believed and to know why I believe it in order to defend my faith. I had a desire to learn about other religions so that I would have a better understanding of where they are coming from if I ever had the opportunity to sit down and share with someone who believed differently than me.
Our community is so blessed to have Snowbird and its staff as our friends and neighbors. They have such a desire to see our community grow together and discover a holy God. In my time as a supporter of Snowbird I have seen nearly two hundred local students attend the camp with the help of the scholarship fund that Snowbird has set up specifically for them. They come with no leaders so the staff that are from Andrews stay in the tents with them and build relationships with them during the week that we hope and pray will last much longer than just their week of camp.
When I moved off to college I didn’t know what to expect. I came to find out that many of the ministries on my campus had turned into social clubs. It was very difficult to find strong Christian fellowship while I was away. Snowbird continued to affect my life even at this point. I approached a full time staff member at Snowbird, and asked him if he had time to meet with me every now and then during the week to encourage one another and establish some accountability in my life when I wasn’t at Snowbird. He didn’t even hesitate and responded, “We can meet at least once a week and I can even drive all the way to your school if you can’t meet me somewhere.” Snowbird has a passion that isn’t circumstantial. It doesn’t meet the needs of only certain age levels. The staff at Snowbird have loved me, encouraged me, held me accountable, and taught me for a very long time. They have taught me what real fellowship is, and what a real relationship with God is, and although I mess up a lot, it has changed the way I live my life.
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Do nothing. The way they treat those who attend their organization is first rate, organized, and professional.
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