BAC: What's Your Story?
BAC update from Kevin Glover…
And just like that, our first week together as the Bower Adventure Course (BAC) crew has come to a close. Since the eight students arrived on Monday afternoon, they’ve already completed a whole range of adventures. They’ve SUP-boarded together, learned about servant leadership from Representative Kevin Parker, completed a Basic Life Support class, took part in an intensive Wilderness First Responder class, spent two days being trained for rock climbing and hitting crags in Idaho and Washington, and have rafted the Wenatchee River. My personal favorite metric – we’ve already put nearly 600 miles on our bus.
These adventures, of course, are just a piece of the story that we’re all writing together this summer. The course is intentionally focused around this theme of ‘stories.’ Throughout the summer we’ll be asking the students, ‘What is your story?’ ‘What is Jesus’ story?’ ‘What does Jesus’ story mean for your own story?’ Without exception, these students are coming from places that are extremely spiritually challenging. That’s a function of the post-Christian demographic here in Washington, where as Christians we must continuously ask ourselves what Jesus’ story means here, today.
The best stories aren’t necessarily the ones we’re telling ourselves, nor are they the ones we read in books. The best stories are the ones that are real, and that beg us to join in. Simply, the best story is a good one that is lived. So, this summer, we’re diving into Jesus’ story through the gospel of Luke, and we’re going to see what happens as the BAC starts to live into the story of faith, community, and challenge that the Bible tells.
I thought a lot about Andrew Bower’s story as we did our rock climbing training this week. Roughly half of the students are most excited about our three days at Smith Rock State Park out of all of the adventures in the trip. Andrew would have loved to know that because he knew the challenge and reward of climbing. One of the biggest lessons Andrew learned from Jesus’ story was the value of service, and he even found a way to work that into rock climbing. He took it upon himself to replace the old and rusty bolts that are too often found around local crags. This was on top of the work he did as an EMT and at the Wild Walls climbing gym setting routes and mentoring younger climbers.
Where I look up to Andrew the most, though, was through his service to Peak 7 Adventures. I believe in Peak 7’s mission, and I wish I had been able to guide with him because I know he did too. Andrew is the only guide who has served at all three Peak 7 branches throughout Oregon and Washington, and he had well over 200 trips doing ministry with youth during his service to the Kingdom through Peak 7.
This course is named the Bower Adventure Course because of the faith and values that Andrew exemplified. Andrew guided all of Peak 7’s adventures – rafting, climbing, mountaineering and backpacking. As the students go through all of the same adventures and visit many locations that Andrew himself guided, we’re praying that they start to follow his example in deeper ways, too. They’ll have the chance to see the value of Jesus’ story for their own lives, and, just like Andrew, I know that some of them will learn what it means to lead with a servant’s heart.
We could use your prayers for a few specific things. Several of the students have been affected by recent deaths and suicides in their friend circles, and it has been hard for them to miss memorial services and be away from their friends. There’s a little bit of homesickness, and of course there are all the bumps and bruises that come when a group of teenagers start to live closely with one another. Pray for appropriate challenges for the students, discernment for the guides, and faith for all. Also, shout-out to the inimitable Flavius Micula (Seattle Ascent Guide) who will be joining us for our ten days in the Olympics.
And, with that, we’re headed to the Olympics for ten days of thru-hiking. BAC out!