Mountains and Missions
Join us for ten days in beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park!
Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Would you like to use Bible stories to communicate the story of Jesus more effectively to others?
Spend 10 days camping and hiking with 24 college students in the Rocky Mountain National Park while you learn how to connect with people the way Jesus did – through stories!
You will spend your mornings and evenings engaging with God as you explore his Word through a set of Bible stories from the life of Christ. In the afternoons, you’ll hit the trails and share the stories you learned with fellow hikers. While in the evenings, you will enjoy campfires and s’mores under the stars!
You will use Bible stories in evangelism and discipleship, and you’ll learn skills in leading small groups. You’ll also hear about opportunities to join StoryRunners in our mission to bring God’s word to cultures with little or no Scripture.
We will be tent camping in Rocky Mountain National Park. You don’t have to be an athlete to participate, but you should be able to hike for a couple of hours in the mountains. Hiking options include everything from an easy stroll around Bear Lake, to the short-but-strenuous hike to the top of Alpine Ridge (just over 12,000 feet) where the elk herds hang out, or to a long hike to crystal clear, boulder-strewn Sky Pond, just below the tree line. We won’t have any overnight backpacking, but lots of day hiking!
We’ll provide the tents and the campfires and the meals, but you’ll need to bring your own sleeping bag, pillow, and camping pad (or your hammock if you want to sleep between the trees!) See the packing list in the FAQ section. Round trip shuttle service between Denver International Airport and the park is included, but the cost of transportation to Denver is additional.
“This was the best week of my life!” Michaella, pictured above, initially implored her boyfriend to turn the car around as they were making their way to the airport to come to the Rocky Mountain Summer Mission. Ten days later she had a new attitude–she didn’t want to leave! “I was scared to pray out loud in front of a group. I was scared of talking to strangers and of bringing up faith in conversations. This week I realized that I don’t have to be scared of things I don’t know about.” -Michaella, Texas
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the cost for the Rocky Mountain Summer Mission (RMSM) include?
The cost includes campsite rental, tents, all meals except one lunch and while traveling, trail snacks, shuttle from the Denver airport to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) and back, a meal in Estes Park, and other activities.
When is the payment deadline?
You need to pay a $100 non-refundable deposit within 2 weeks of your acceptance date. The $875 balance is due July 1.
How do I raise the funds for this trip?
As with all Cru Summer Missions, the StoryRunners staff will coach you on raising support for your expenses. You can explore the MPD website https://mpd.uscm.org/. If you have used a Relay account or Facebook to log in before, you can use that same account.
What about my other expenses?
If you raise more than the $975 cost of the mission trip, you can be reimbursed after the mission for
- transportation to and from Rocky Mountain National Park (airfare or car mileage @ $.12/mile)
- stamps, envelopes, and printing for support letters
- $100 deposit, if it was paid by you or your parent
- NO reimbursement for shoes, clothing, camping gear, or any other items on the packing list
Where and when should I arrive/leave?
Your flight itinerary must be approved by an RMSM staff before you purchase it.
Arrive in Denver by 12 noon on July 8th.
- If you are flying, arrive at Denver International Airport (DEN) no later than 12 noon MDT. We will arrange a shuttle for you to the YMCA of the Rockies.
- If you are driving, arrive at the YMCA of the Rockies by 2 pm for registration & orientation. (2515 Tunnel Rd, Estes Park, CO 80511, 970-586-3341)
Depart Denver after 2 pm July 18th.
- If you are flying, book a flight 2 pm MDT or later from the Denver International Airport (DEN). We will shuttle you to the airport late in the morning.
- If you are driving, you can leave the YMCA of the Rockies anytime that morning.
Where will we stay?
We’ll have a 1-night orientation at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, CO. Then we camp for 7 nights in tents (bring your hammock if you have one and prefer to sleep among the trees!) at the Moraine Park Campground located in Ponderosa Pine Forest. We’ll finish with a 1-night debrief back at the YMCA of the Rockies.
What are our housing accommodations?
During your stay, you will share accommodations with 3-6 people of the same gender. We’ll sleep in tents in the RMNP and in dormitory-style housing at the YMCA. While we are in RMNP, you will have access to public toilets and sinks, as well as shower stalls that accommodate solar-heated shower bags, but there is NO RUNNING WATER in the showers!
What about the weather?
Summer days in July and August often reach the 70’s or 80’s and then drop to the upper 40’s at night. At high elevations, the afternoon may be windy and there is snow all year. Be aware that high elevation, as well as changes in altitude while hiking, will affect you physically. We are camping at 8,150 feet but you might hike as high as 12,000 feet. You’ll get tired more easily, and you could experience altitude sickness. You will need to drink a lot of water, so if you don’t like to drink plain water, bring packets of powdered drink mix to mix with your water.
What should I wear?
You need very warm items for sleeping in unheated tents or in a hammock in the open, and you’ll want a sweatshirt/jacket and jeans/sweatpants in the evenings and mornings. Bring modest clothing (mid-thigh shorts, no low cut tops or spaghetti straps).
You will want shorts for hiking during warm afternoons, but you will also need a sweatshirt/jacket for chillier day hikes and for nights. You may want a lightweight rain poncho (see optional packing items) because it often rains.
What else do I need to pack?
- A sleeping bag rated for 40F, a camping pad/air mattress, pillow, and a flashlight. Including a sheet inside your sleeping bag adds a lot of warmth (night temperature will be 50 or below).
- If you bring a hammock, you still need a pad to put between you and the hammock. Nights are cold! Plus, in case of rain, you’re going to want to sleep on a pad in a tent.
- Other: a 12-day supply of any medications you need (2 extra days in case of travel delays), personal toiletries, towel, washcloth, Bible, journal, money (travel expenses, one lunch during the summer mission, and spending money for Estes Park), hiking boots or good walking shoes, day hike backpack, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, TWO 1-liter or larger water bottles or a CamelBak-type larger container for longer hikes, flashlight.
- Optional: solar-heated shower bag (we found an inexpensive solar shower bag by Googling ”solar shower bag”), packets of powdered drink mix if you don’t like drinking plain water, rain poncho (you can find them for around $5 at most large sports or outdoors stores), bug spray.
How should I prepare physically for this trip?
There are opportunities for many miles of hiking at high elevation (8,000 – 12,000 feet), but there are also places to walk and to hike that do not require long distances or significant elevation changes. You need to be in good health and able to handle some strenuous physical activity because you’ll be hiking for several hours each day. We suggest that you prepare for the trip by exercising more (cardio, weights, interval training, etc.) between now and July. If you have questions or concerns about your physical health, consult with your doctor.