Beginning Monday, I'm out of town for the next two weeks as one of seven staff taking 28 soon-to-be-seniors on Westminster's Summer Seminar to South Dakota. Though I hate being away from Megan and the girls that long, I'm looking forward to the trip. Here's the official write-up:
"The Summer Seminar in Liberal Arts is an interdisciplinary course designed to stimulate physical, intellectual, and spiritual growth. Over a 12-day trip through the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota, students will explore the theme of “shalom” (restoration) through three, two-day course cores in literature, ethics, and science.
The focus of the course is the development of a biblical understanding of 'shalom' (restoration) as finite creatures living the reality of the Gospel in community with each other and the whole of creation. Students will interact with a variety of literary selections and participate in a three-day bike tour, selected day hikes, and a two-day float trip down the Cheyenne River.
The Summer Seminar is not designed to be an 'adventure' course. While the physical activities will be demanding, the seminar is an attempt to integrate reflection, aesthetic appreciation, and the life of the mind in the formation of a Christian understanding of the world. Ideally, each student would complete the seminar having integrated the Creator’s imprint in nature, community and the liberal arts into his or her understanding of restoration. Students may take the course for a one-semester elective credit."
Parts of the itinerary I'm most looking forward to are:
- being at Wounded Knee (I've been reading this book all week for some good background)
- seeing the Black Hills and Badlands (including Mt. Rushmore, though I'm not feeling all that patriotic after reading how our government treated the Indians in acquiring land)
- meeting and talking with Dan O'Brien, author of Buffalo for the Broken Heart, about his vision for bringing buffalo back to the West (we also share publishers)
- biking almost 100 miles in three days on the Mickelson Trail (I went on my first ride in years this past Friday and rocked it - that is, I didn't die)
- hiking around Devil's Tower in Wyoming (and humming John Williams' famous five-note greeting from Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
- kayaking on the Cheyenne River (though the water is really shallow and muddy)
- finishing up the trip with a nice night at Firesteel Creek Lodge (former Cardinals pitcher Todd Worrell is the owner and a Westminster dad)
- and, of course, camping out for ten days and spending 30-40 hours in a van with high schoolers (at least none of them get to drive)
Unless I find some free wi-fi (and some spare time), I doubt there'll be much action here on the blog over the next couple of weeks. In the interim, if you happen to land here and think of us, pray for safety and meaning on the trip, as well as that Megan and the girls will be okay while I'm gone (don't worry - they've got plans).