Ms. Emily Beckman has put together another service trip, to Colorado Springs, CO. Students on the service trip will be working with organizations to help rebuild the Colorado National Parks that were destroyed by the 2012 fires. The fires destroyed over 30,000 acres of Colorado forest. During the trip students will also get to tour many popular Colorado Springs destinations like Garden of the Gods, United States Air Force Academy, Olympic Training Facility and Seven Falls to just name a few.

2016 Service Trip to Colorado Springs, CO
Thursday, June 2 to Friday, June 10

Pictures from the 2016 Trip

We departed DeLaSalle at 3pm on Thursday, June 2nd. On the way to Colorado Springs, Colorado we stopped at Ms Barry’s brother’s art studio – Hot Shops. It was very interesting, there was even someone blowing a glass bowl. We rode overnight on the coach bus, some chose to sleep on the floor while others slept in the seats. Many found it was difficult to sleep. After eating breakfast together, we all got on the bus and drove to Care and Share Food Bank. Half of us gardened and planted vegetables and the others worked inside sorting donations. After that, we drove to Manitou Springs and explored the downtown scene, while others decided to explore the nearby mountain. Then we came to the school and played many fun games, such as apples to apples and sardines.

~Leysa, Mara, Chase, Spencer, Isaac

Today we started off tired. It was a slow morning; we arrived to the Ute Valley State Park at 8am. We started off by receiving trash bags to go around the outside of the park, and collecting anything that didn’t grow.

After we were done picking up all the trash, it was time to grab the macleod, rake, Pulaski, shovel, mattock, grub hoe and the lopper and headed to the trails. We hiked up the mountain with our tools. The goal was to cover one trail to help divert people away from that trail and push them towards the new trail that was built last year. To cover the old trails we loosened the soil with the macleod, rake, Pulaski and then put down grass seed and covered it with the rake. Once the seed was down, we paced dead twigs and branches over the trail to help detour hikers from using the trail. We worked on getting the new trail cleaned up so it was easy to see that it is “the” trail to use.

Our work ended early so we got to go for a hike up the mountain. We hiked all the way to the top. We were tired but the amazing view was worth it. We gathered as a group for a few group photos, we made sure the view of the other mountains was in the background.

We ended our day with church at Corpus Cristi Catholic Parish. It was a day of a lot of work and effort but we were rewarded with some amazing views we don’t have in Minnesota.

-Clara, Matthew, Sheridan, Brennon, Isabel and Kellan.

Today we woke up at 5:30am because we had a full day of fun activities planned. We traveled to Canon City, CO – about 1.15 hours from Colorado Springs – where we went Whitewater Rafting and saw the Royal Gorge Bridge.

On the way to the landing the guides talked a lot about safety and what to do if you fell out. Their main rules or objectives were to 1) Stay inside the boat, 2) Don’t fall in the river and 3) Listen to your guide. They made it sound a lot scarier than it really was. We hit the water at 9:30am, it was cold, nothing like the lake water back home. We rafted in class 2 and 3 rapids for most of the trip. We did have a few that went swimming one was even Ms Barry. The rafting was extremely fun and we were sad that it was over so soon.

After we were done rafting we went to visit the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. The park was impacted greatly by the 2013 wild fires that swept through the area. The fires look out almost everything but the bridge. The bridge provided us with an amazing view of the Royal Gorge and the Arkansas River, the same river we were just rafting on an hour before. You could take the gondola across or you could walk; no matter your mode of transportation your view was nothing but spectacular.

After the bridge we made our way back to Colorado Springs where we got a special tour of the Air Force Academy. The tour was long but very informative. We got to see where the cadets ate, went to class and learned about life in the academy. We learned about some of the new things the Air Force is working on and we got to see fighter jets. It was an extremely informative tour and many of us found the rigor of the cadet life to be extremely intense.

It was a great day of first for many of us. We are back to our service work tomorrow and we were extremely happy to learn that we don’t need to be up until 7:30am!

-Maggie, Alex, Asante, Manuel, and Madison

With a bright outlook to the day, we woke up at a lovely 7:30 am, such a nice change. Even though we find our service to nature fulfilling, we also acknowledge our personal needs in order to do such service, such as sleep. Starting around 9 am, we worked in the garden or along the trails of the University of Colorado- Colorado Springs. The gardens were near the Heller Center, a really interesting historic center that was hand built by its founder. This inspired us that when given the tools and materials; we can build or do anything. Even though we don’t prefer gardening back home in the Twin Cities, we found weeding surprisingly rewarding. We understand that some plants just delay growth and reflected on our lives. For trail work, we worked to open up trails so they would be more visible and accessible to hikers. We did this through…can you guess? PULLING WEEDS!!!!!! Despite the constant weed pulling throughout the day, we enjoyed our service and discovered not all menial chores and tasks are grueling. After our day of service, we were fortunate to tour the University. We found their green innovations throughout campus inspiring and admired their determination to provide their students a way to live a healthy and green lifestyle. This tour instigated new questions and ideas about the prospective college process. Our favorite part of the university however, was the free WiFi and the gorgeous view. We thank you for this and future experience and hope for more opportunities in the future. Shout out to all of the support needed to make this trip possible!

– Maggy, Maya, Izzy, Ellie, Keenan & Quinn

We woke up this morning at 6:45 fresh and rejuvenated ready to serve the Colorado community with a bright smile. After a healthy breakfast was served, we boarded the bus at 7:45 and prepared for the long and fun journey ahead. The bus ride lasted an hour and we reached a new record elevation of 9,100 feet. Today we worked with CUSP to replenish the forest that was lost in the wild fires of 2013. We were separated into groups of all different grades, and then we set off into the forest with a guide to help us know how to effectively plant the trees and where they should be. We did this activity for just over two hours until we took a quick rest and ate our lunches with the crew.

After lunch, we continued our service with CUSP in the high elevation and the barely manageable heat. At the end of our day, we had planted over 950 trees in this once barren forest. We loaded the buses and said our goodbyes, and then we were off to the Garden of the Gods. Hustling under the rain and hail into the visitor building where we learned from the exhibits and captured this moment with a group photograph. Through the pounding rail and hail, we drove through the garden and safely made it back to St. Mary’s High School.

Once we arrived there was a mad rush for the showers. To fill our time before dinner, we all played card games in the Great Hall and reflected on our service. Ms. Barry made a delicious home cooked meal of a tator tot taco hot dish, and everyone seemed to return for seconds or thirds. Ms. Kai led the daily reflection consisting of us writing down our personal values, drawing a tree to represent our service, and meeting people we have not spent time with before.

In conclusion, this day was really educational and full of fun. We were all thankful for these opportunities and can’t wait to return to CUSP tomorrow to continue our work rebuilding the forest. Thank you so much for reading and supporting us—we appreciate more than you realize.


Sarah, Addie, Dana, Charlie, Miles, and Donovan

Today we continued our work with CUSP up in the Waldorf Canyon region. Our task was to rehab burn piles. Because the forests have grown so thick, it’s important to thin out some areas, which gives the community a chance to stop a fire from spreading. In the event of a wildfire, flame retardant chemicals can be dropped from airplanes and hit the ground where they can work, rather than the treetops of overgrown forests where they are useless. The trees that were taken down in the area are put into piles and burned during the winter months with the help of gasoline. After the trees are burned, the ground is damaged and covered in soot. In our groups, we shoveled the soot from the burned piles and dispersed the ashes throughout the forest. After the ashes were removed from the pile, we seeded our burn piles, and covered it up with tree branches, pinecones and pine needles to make it look natural with the forest. We seeded the burn pile because it will help replenish and rejuvenate the burned area to help with grass growth. By the end of our service, we were covered head to toe in ashes, but we managed to rehab a total of 227 burn piles!

After our service with CUSP, we went to Red Rock Park and hiked on the trails. We felt like epic exploders and we climbed to the top of the Rocks. It was super fun, and we loved the beautiful view of Pike’s Peak. After our Red Rock adventure, we returned back to the school and had a yummy dinner. We concluded with reflection on the topic of what service means to us, and why it is important to do service. Overall today was a great day of service, we worked really hard, made the CUSP workers really proud, and the private property owner was pleased with our work we did with covering all of his burn piles!

– Alyissa, Geni, Victor, and Valerie


2015 Service Trip to Colorado Springs, CO
Saturday, May 30 to Sunday, June 7

Today we worked at the same location as yesterday with the Flying W Ranch, constructing log erosion barriers to help slow water movement down the mountain. This allows for vegetation to regrow and for less debris to travel down the mountain preventing flooding in the city below. In doing this we also helped Flying W Ranch to rebuild its historic western town after a devastating fire. As a whole, this trip has been very enlightening. It has shown us parts of ourselves and others that we were previously unaware of and allowed us to push ourselves in ways we didn’t know we could. It has given us a greater awareness of our impact on our surrounding environment and a deeper understanding what it means to serve others. We had a great time working with the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, the Coalition for the Upper South Platt, and Flying W Ranch. We’d also like to thank all those who made this trip a reality, especially every donor, chaperone, and parent who contributed their time, resources, and support to make this journey an impactful experience and for providing us with skills that we will share with our community in service.

-Jack, Lance, Julia, Liz, Annie, and Jacob

Today we worked at Flying W Ranch, a former Western food and entertainment hotspot. It was damaged by a wild fire due to overpopulation of trees in the summer of 2012. The majority of the area was completely destroyed including almost 400 homes. When we arrived today we were shocked by the damage the wild fire produced. Our project was to clear out larger pieces of burnt tree branches to prevent further damage to the ranch and the greater community of Colorado Springs. A major goal of our leaders was to restore the habitats of animals living in the area. We are very proud of the work we did today and finished our night at the movie theatre. We are still having a blast, but are happy to be going home soon!

-Jake, Emma K., Cooper, Nate, AJ, and Matt

Today we were helping to prevent the spread of forest fires in Divide, Colorado with CUSP (Coalition of Upper South Platte). CUSP helps prevent dangerous forest fires by thinning out invasive tree species and converting them to mulch and ash to provide nutrient to the native plants. Our jobs were to collect invasive wood and then throw it into a wood chipper and also to distribute the wood chips and ash to the plants in the area. After a morning of hard work it was fantastic to be able to see the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Among the top-notch facilities and dedicated athletes, inspirational quotes resonated on the walls and ceilings. They reminded us of our purpose here in Colorado and that hard work, focus, and persistence is all we need to make a difference.

-Joshua, Soniya, Seeley, Kate, Billy, and Sophie B.

Today, Wednesday, we were fortunate enough to not only help with trail work, but also garden. It was lovely to mix it up, and we were able to build rock check dams, which were able to help control erosion and were quite enjoyable to build. After a long day’s work, we had the privilege of climbing the pulpet rock where we could see Pikes Peak. It was a little “rocky” (lol) getting up, but it was worth the view of the whole city, mountains and more. Afterwards, we were persuaded to attend University of Colorado- Colorado Springs by our Hawaiian handsome tour guide Scott, who showed us the campus. Don’t worry parents, the tuition is only 27,000$! We had a fantastic day and hope for more shenanigans and sunburn tomorrow!

– Maggy, Patrick, Maddie, Ethan, Sofia and Hannah and special guest Emma K

On Tuesday, we had the privilege of either going whitewater rafting or horseback riding. It was a two hour drive with a beautiful view the entire way. The horseback riders went on a trail up over into the mountains. The group saw tons of wildlife and had a fabulous view of the snow-peaked mountains. Whitewater rafters suited up with wetsuits, life jackets and helmets and took a bus ride to start their adventure. The group split into rafts with six or seven people and a guide and took off. The river was calm at first but the rapids increased as we went along- they were fast, exciting and exhilarating. This was a new experience for many and was awesome for all. No one in our group fell off of the rafts, phew. The group then had the opportunity to jump off a 15 foot cliff into the river. Everyone had a great time!

We ate lunch at a park and did activities such as bouldering and Frisbee golf at the next site we visited. We moved on to the natural hot springs and it was a relaxing and enjoyable way to end the day. We are very grateful for our parents and chaperones for giving us this opportunity and putting their time, energy, and effort into making this trip amazing for all of us. We are so blessed!

~Olivia, Emma U, Peter WC, Amaris, Molly, Sierra

On Monday, we got on the bus and got ready to work. We arrived at the Garden of the Gods, which was a beautiful place. We learned about safety on the trails and using digging equipment. Then we went right into working on repairing the uneven trails. Some of us dug out dirt and put them in buckets, others carried the buckets to place the dirt on the trail. This helped us bond and created team work with one another. While we were there we all got to learn about the problems in the park like erosion and social paths (unofficial paths created by people walking over the vegetation and disturbing habitats). This experience allowed us to see how important it is to take care of the environment so that others can enjoy the view and so that the animals and their habitat are protected. After a long day, with a beautiful view of the mountains, we finally finished the trail.

After a long day of hard work we were able to visit Manitou Springs, a small town in the mountains. We had two hours to explore and buy souvenirs, which was a nice break from our hard work that we did today. After we finished we returned to St. Mary’s and had dinner and were able to reflect on the service work that we did today.

~ Cassidy, Erica, Peter, Nick, Ben, and Brady

            On Saturday, we got on to the bus and got ready for an adventure. We got ourselves situated (not necessarily comfortably) and watched some movies. We stopped in Omaha at an art gallery called Hot Shop, and met M. Barry’s brother. In addition to pottery, he taught us some important life lessons. We also witnessed a glass-blowing demonstration and worked together to create some amateur artwork. Then we ate pizza and explored the gallery. After several hours it was time to leave. We got ready for bed, and tried to sleep on the bus.

Sunday morning we went straight to church, and witnessed the sacrament of Confirmation. We were all very tired, but then we went to the Denver Zoo. Everybody split up and enjoyed the animals and the experience. We learned that minors are not allowed to be journeying around the zoo unaccompanied. We then loaded back onto the bus and drove to St. Mary’s high school in Colorado Springs. It was there that we finally got to change clothes and shower! We played board games and did other activities until dinner was ready. We ate a delicious dinner, and then reflected on our experiences.

~ Diego, Isabel, Sophia, Kellan, Johnny


2014 Colorado Service Trip
Saturday, May 31 to Sunday, June 8

Today we built Log Erosion Devices at the Flying W Ranch. The logs we installed will be used to prevent erosion by collecting sediments as water flows down the hillside. This prevents the sediment from contaminating the water supply used by many residents. By doing this we learned the importance of teamwork. Through this, we protected the environment and developed new relationships. Our communication skills were strengthened today as well as our willingness to step out of our comfort zones. Today’s work taught us that even the smallest task can make a big difference to others. We will continue to serve others in our own communities with the knowledge we’ve gained in Colorado.

By: Charlotte, Leighton, Francis, Mary, & Archer

Video – Fires at Flying W Ranch

Today we worked to restore the natural habitat around a creek by planting grass and willow trees. We raked the area around the creek to plant grass, but also to prevent sediment from going into the creek. This is important to prevent erosion and restore the natural habitat after the fire. The forest fire in 2002 was the biggest in Colorado. Our efforts helped to restore the damage that was done. We learned a lot about teamwork, organizational skills, and how to restore the original habitat. As a group, we learned how to work more efficiently as a team and we also strengthened our friendships in smaller working groups. From today’s work we will take away a greater sense of community, a greater understanding of dealing with natural habitats, and a deeper knowledge of how fragile the environment is. The seeds that our group will bring back home are friendships, teamwork, openness, care for the environment, and the importance of service in a community.

In addition to our service work, we ended our last night in Colorado at the movie theater. Students had the choice of watching Neighbors, The Fault in Our Stars, X-Men, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and The Edge of Tomorrow. With a mixture of tears of sadness from The Fault in Our Stars and then tears of laughter in Neighbors, it was a good bonding experience and great finale to the end of our service trip.

Written by: Anya, Antonia, Marian, Sarah, Charlie, Raymond

  • Breakfast
  • Pack our own lunch
  • Drive out to forest
  • Group climbed in back truck drove to site
  • Hard hats, gloves, ear plugs, glasses, long sleeves, long pants
  • Picked up tree branches
  • Everyone lined up behind the wood chipper
  • Placed the branches in wood chipper: spit it out in shavings to spread over the forest floor
  • Ate our packed lunch in the woods: saw different types of animal poop
  • The Guide tricked us into thinking he ate Elk poop (it was only chocolate covered almonds)
  • Moved through the forest with the wood chipper
  • Bad weather came in and it started to rain
  • We left an hour early and headed home
  • Watched “Fantastic Four” on bus
  • Played kickball, basketball, and soccer in the gym
  • Some went for a run
  • Quick pick up at the grocery store
  • Played Snake Oil and hung out with friends
  • Dinner: Sloppy Joe’s, potato salad, watermelon, chips, and lemonade
  • Reflection time: working alone in the forest (ear plugs) gave us time to reflect on distractions in our lives: spending more time with family and friends, limiting time on media, focusing on school work and resisting the urge to procrastinate, staying true to ourselves and sharing our gifts with others
  • “You have brains in your head. You have your feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the guy who will decide where to go.” Dr. Seuss

Video – Our day thinning the forest with CUSP

If we could sum up today’s experiences in one word, it would be teamwork. As our young missionaries journeyed to the Wilson Ranch Pool to restore unforgiving forest terrain recently damaged in wildfires, the hopes were high and the expectations were higher. We were tasked with planting new trees in the desolation of recently destroyed mountainsides, a certainly unique experience for all of us. As we set about our work, we quickly had to adapt to the terrain and learn to work together to maximize our efficiency. It was easy to make mistakes, but through teamwork and dedication we were able to make a difference.

This afternoon, we had the pleasure of visiting the Olympic Training Center. We had the privilege of witnessing the intense training programs of some of the greatest athletes on the planet. It was intriguing to see the athletes’ training areas and some special techniques they use as they prepare for an Olympic Games. A highlight of that trip was being able to see Michael Phelps show off those tremendous pipes of steel and see them flex with each rep.

Written by: Victor D., Gabrielle E., SamP., Isabelle C., Claudia B., Diego

Video – Our day planting new trees with CUSP 

Today was our first service day of the trip and we were excited to get to work at the Garden of the Gods. We arrived at 8:30 and before getting to work, sang happy birthday to our dearest Charles. The guides showed us how to use the tools and briefed us about things to look out for – namely staying hydrated and avoiding rattlesnakes.

During the day, we worked as a team to accomplish the task at hand. We learned the importance of teamwork when we were hauling rocks and dirt up the mountainside. When we were finished with our work, one of the chaperones, Mr. Pearson, found an inchworm. We dared him to eat it and he took us up on our dare. By the end of the day everyone was tired, but very satisfied with the day’s work.

Written by: Nicholai A., Isabella B., Stylianos D., Hana F., Bekka M., Kira N.

Video – Our day in Garden of the Gods

We began the day bright and early by packing our lunches, and headed off to Adventure Outfitters to go whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River. We were split up into groups of six per raft and made our way down. A few people fell off going through the rapids, but everyone was safe due to our experienced guides.

Next, we made our way to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Unlike the Minnesota Zoo, this zoo was on a mountain. Several students took a lift to the top to experience the beautiful view. There were animals from every continent, including hippos, elephants, and wallabies. Several peacocks were allowed to roam free throughout the zoo. We could also feed the giraffes, which allowed us to get close enough to touch them.

Today was our last day of touring Colorado. Tomorrow we move towards the purpose of our trip, service.

Written by: Lindsay B., Hannah J., Grace L., Joe M., Connor O., and Katie W.

As we boarded the bus and said goodbye to our families yesterday, we were filled with many different emotions. Even though the bus ride was borderline torture, we managed to make it to Colorado with our sanities intact. After arriving at St. Mary’s High School and freshening up, we made our way to the Air Force Naval Academy to attend Mass at the chapel. It was a beautiful service as was the campus. We enjoyed some sight seeing before we made our way to Manitou Springs for the remainder of the afternoon.

The environment of Manitou Springs was unlike any other place we’ve been before. We enjoyed seeing unique people such as the hikers with the cats on their shoulders, the tarot card reader and the numerous amount of tattooed and dread-locked individuals which was rather eye-opening.

Before we knew it we were heading back to the school to enjoy free time and dinner with our peers. Overall, it was a great beginning to our adventure.

Written by: Angela L., Peter G., Lucy D., Madison Z., Andrew J., and Chloe F.