High School Summit 2020 kicked off in the middle of a snowstorm on Jan. 17 at Glacier View Ranch. As the first guests arrived and took the Matt Morgan shuttle from the head of the driveway, snow that had been floating down all afternoon was picked up by the evening wind and tossed in icy sheets through the air. Nine of the 10 groups signed up for the weekend arrived, bringing with them over 150 students and sponsors. Fortunately, the cold temperatures and blizzard conditions didn’t match the warmth of the blessings poured out on attendees.

The weekend’s events centered around three main sections: Encounter, Engage and Enjoy, allowing students to worship, discuss and spend time connecting.

At the Encounter sessions, Pastor Jennifer Woody from Washington shared messages of hope and joy while simultaneously cutting to the heart of our spiritual journey. Commenting on the Encounter sessions, a student said, “This weekend was spiritually uplifting. Everything Jen said, I really took to heart.”

After each of the weekend’s four Encounter sessions, students headed to the cafeteria for Engage. At Engage sessions, volunteers and sponsors led attendees through curriculum designed to take the topic presented and make it applicable.

Each table had vases filled with water-absorbent beads called Orbeez. Students poured a small amount of water into the vase, watching the colorful beads swell and fill the space—a representation of how our lives fill with joy as we fill our minds with Jesus.

High schoolers like to have fun while presenting a cool and collected exterior, and the Enjoy sessions created spaces for just that. At the Kulikup Cafe, treats and hot drinks were served alongside board games and a Nintendo Switch. In the Long House, artists created one-of-a-kind mugs and decorated bags for Project Angel Heart in Denver. Meanwhile outside, the daring and adventurous students took snow tubes off double ramps and hiked through the wind and cold to experience the spectacular views afforded by GVR’s mountainous terrain.

As the weekend drew to a close, many prayers of praise were lifted for the nice weather that arrived Saturday morning and continued throughout the weekend. Diego, one of the attendees, captured the feeling best, saying, “Wow! Wow! Wow! What a great weekend. Literally one of the best retreats I’ve ever been on, and I’ve been on quite a few.”

Kiefer Dooley is youth director for the Rocky Mountain Conference.