Saturday, October 9, 2010

What's Up With Work Crew?

In 2007 when I applied for my third Captivating retreat, I yearned to partner with Ransomed Heart to help them with this amazing event and their important ministry. One opportunity was available - work crew. When I visited their Web site to read through the application for this team of volunteer helpers, I was arrested by the age restriction: 35 years old! Yikes! I was 37 at the time.

Now, not one to buck the system usually, I e-mailed a question: would they consider a healthy 37-year-old for the team? I like to think that my e-mail changed the dynamics of future work crews (however, my friend Cindy Lotton, who was also over the age limit, also sent an e-mail that same year...perhaps we can share the credit!). I was accepted and served on my first work crew at the March 2007 retreat.

The next year I served on the work crew again, and then in 2009 I had the honor to lead my first Captivating work crew. It's something I love, love, love to do, and I feel incredibly blessed to be invited to do so by my friends at Ransomed Heart.

Here are pictures from the Sept/Oct 2010 Captivating showing the incredible work crew I had the honor to lead: 13 beautiful women from across the United States. In case you're wondering, I'll share a little about what we do during the four-day retreat.

The past three Captivatings I've been lucky to have one of my closest friends, Jennifer, along for the journey. She's served on the past two work crews with me.

The work crew flies in on the Wednesday prior to the retreat and connects in Colorado Springs. I love to start my trip with a visit to the Garden of the Gods...such a stunning landscape that resets me to Colorado time mentally and spiritually.

Our work crew arrives at Frontier Ranch late on Wednesday, and we spend Thursday readying the ranch for the arrival of the attendees. This year we hosted more than 350 women from 27 countries. Incredible! Two of the main projects we focus on are preparing the registration area and the resource area. The resource area is set up in the dining hall and offers the books, CDs, and DVDs by John and Stasi Eldredge and Ransomed Heart. Above you can see Jennifer at one table in the completed resource area.
On Friday and Saturday afternoons the attendees enjoy two hours of free time. We were fortunate to have incredible weather for this retreat, so the women could choose from several activities: rappelling (the rappelling tower is picture above), the ropes course, the three-person swing called "The Screamer" (pictured above), and even horseback riding and fly-fishing lessons. Work crew helps the Young Life staff manage these activities. Above you can see Jennifer at the landing pad of The Screamer. Two members of work crew "catch" the courageous souls who brave this free-falling swing.

Work crew stays in Thunderbird, one of the many great facilities at Frontier Ranch. We do a little sleeping and a lot of talking. Fourteen women sharing one bathroom (okay, there were multiple shower stalls, sinks, and facilities) can be interesting, but we did well and were all ready by our 7 a.m. meeting time each morning.

On Sunday we gathered at "The Screamer" landing pad for our morning meeting. The main event? Watching the sunrise together.

After the retreat ends at noon on Sunday, we stay behind to help the Ransomed Heart team pack up all of the supplies and resources. By 1:30 p.m., we're pulling out of the ranch -- both invigorated and exhausted. Above is a picture of the complete work crew. What a group of unique, spirited, and seeking women! It was a true joy to walk through the weekend with them. Well done, friends!

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