Valor Students Inspire Service on the Western Slope
About 200 miles west of Valor lies a quiet little camp outside Rifle, Colo. Located on 40 wooded acres along the West Mamm Creek, Teepee Bible Camp (TBC) is indeed a quiet spot on Colorado’s Western Slope. However, the noise turns up during the summer months when kids of all ages descend upon the camp. Eager for adventure and hungry for a spiritual connection, campers gain an experience of a lifetime that remains with them long after the camp returns to its dormant winter state.
Over the years, a handful of Valor students and alumni have spent their summers at Teepee learning scripture, chasing adventure, building relationships and gaining perspective. Somewhere along the way, this group began to love Teepee not for what it did for them, but for what it allowed God to do.
During fall break, students can participate in a long weekend of service to Teepee camp by signing up for Discovery’s Colorado Western Slope team.
Inspired by the work that students Sam Billman ‘21, Ethan Carlson ’23, and alumni Hunter Carlson ‘18, Jack Billman ‘20 and Ava Carlson ‘20 did at Teepee Camp this summer, and in an attempt to offer meaningful service opportunities within Colorado, Discovery is offering the experience along with five others throughout Denver and Colorado.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Teepee to cancel camps. Still wanting to serve the special place that serves others so well, the Billmans and Carlsons traveled west to give back. “I’ve been attending TBC [as a camper and then as a counselor] since I was maybe nine years old,” explains Jack Billman. “Teepee camp gives underprivileged kids an opportunity to spend a week learning about God. Most of the kids at this camp come from difficult and abusive family situations. In just one week, the kids open up and many accept Jesus into their hearts. Seeing God work is what keeps me going back.”
“This past summer, I had the opportunity to serve at camp,” Sam shared recently. “We cleaned up the campsite and restored the house kitchen. There was a lot of work to be done and the camp didn’t have much money to pay for all of the renovations,” explains Sam, who urges Valor students to sign up for the great opportunity this fall.
“Because this camp is so affordable for underprivileged families, it doesn’t bring in extra income,” Jack remarked. “The cost for a camper goes straight to bills and food, so they don’t have any spare change to do work around the camp. We decided to volunteer for a week to try and do whatever they needed.”
Additional fall break opportunities include three Denver teams, one experience in Englewood, and a Buena Vista experience. Students can serve on an equine therapy ranch, alongside homeless ministries, through work projects and through love to underprivileged youth. These teams are open to all students, offer a safe way to serve despite COVID-19 restrictions, and give students the opportunity to make friends and develop rich relationships. Fall experiences do not require service hours for qualification, but they will provide students with approved service hours which qualifies them for subsequent national and international teams.