La Vida Quad Break Trip

By: Blake Denman ’18, La Vida Intern

Quad break this year included a trip up to La Vida’s Base Camp in the Adirondacks. A group of students, staff and La Vida alumni headed to Lake Clear, NY to get the property ready for the coming winter. The first day, after (unintentionally) almost making a detour to Canada, the group arrived just in time for a yummy dinner prepared by Nate and Amber. The next morning, work began on the Algonquin building.

The cabin has been in disrepair for years and was used principally for storage. Gordon College and La Vida recently received a grant to fix up the building and use it to board students who are part of our new Summit program. As part of this work, the bowed foundation needed to be straightened, which meant new foundation footings needed to be dug below the structure. This is where the spry college students came in – several holes were dug below the building, with access gained through cuts in the floor. When the holes were deep enough, wooden forms were placed in and filled with concrete. At the same time, others were demolishing the outdoor staircase and digging postholes for a new handicap accessible entrance to the building.























On Saturday, work on these tasks continued along with splitting and stacking wood, Nate teaching some stumps a lesson with the stump grinder, and an outside group fixing the foundation on the Armstrong (Men’s) Cabin. Once the afternoon rolled around, students headed out for an excursion near Paul Smith’s College to climb St. Regis Mountain. Foliage and weather conditions were perfect and made for a great hike, with a beautiful view of the lakes region and the high peaks beyond, plus a 360-degree view from the fire tower on top!

Outside of working hours, the group ate rejuvenating meals together and hung out around the wood stove that heated Marcy (Main Cabin) at night. Mornings included a devo, worship, journaling and solo time. Evenings were for relaxing and games – if we didn’t choose to sleep instead! Students enjoyed unbelievably nice weather, had the opportunity to relax taxed minds, and learned to understand a little better the value of work and the identity of God as a worker. Everyone had a great time and appreciated the opportunity to spend a long weekend with godly friends, old and new, and to help give future students the ability to enjoy such a beautiful place.


The Morning Rhythms of La Vida

We asked Sam Craig, one of our staff members this summer, to share his thoughts on life at base camp and also to share some of the photos he’s taken since the beginning of the summer. Here is what he has to say:

At 5:40am…

In the early morning, dim light filters through a thin fog that blankets the base camp lawn. A fire is lit and the early risers huddle next to the warming wood stove, with their Bibles and their silence. In bunks and beds the majority of the La Vida staff are still asleep, until suddenly, numerous and sporadic alarms beep and sing like electronic songbirds welcoming their friends to a new day. As slow moving figures, like ghosts, the staff float around the cabins–putting on warm layers, gathering their thoughts, and then drift their way through the fog to the main cabin. A few smiles shine in the early morning, like streams of light streaking through the fog, but not all these ghosts have fully awaken to the dawning the new day. Now those smiles, that pierce the clouds that surround most of us in the early morning, remind us that it is good to live in community.

The F-18 always provides fun in the kitchen.

The F-18 always provides fun in the kitchen.

At 6:55am…

The bell rings and we all gather in the main cabin to give thanks before breakfast. As our early morning conversation and jokes subside, we hold hands and lift up our hearts to God for the day ahead, as well as the food (we love our cook!). At the breakfast table the volume of voices directly correlate with stomachs and by the end of breakfast a new bit (small comedy routine) has usually formed and has inspired soft chuckles and giggling. These bits often lead to some new improv game that will continue to develop throughout the rest of the day. After our tummies have been filled, clean up begins and dancing ensues, which often presents a fun morning aerobic exercise that wakes up the body and the mind as well as the heart.


Eleanor our Gear Manager

At 9:00am…

Work begins and this includes a variety of tasks, projects, and workshops each presenting the staff with moments to further develop their relationships with each other and to do life together. As we work and as we play, smiles abound and this is because we all have a common goal: to give glory to God in all that we say and do. As we learn about the protocols and policies of La Vida–we give glory to God. As we wash and dry the dishes–we give glory to God. And as we enjoy and share each meal–we give glory to God. And we give glory through being present with one another, laughing with one another, and praying with one another. It is in the everyday that God’s light and love shine and we celebrate each day together because God’s love stirs within our hearts. And so we dance when we clean and we sing when we work because it is truly a blessing–to live in Christian community here at the La Vida Base Camp!

Sam loves blueberries. These should start coming in about 2 weeks.

Sam loves blueberries. These should start coming in about 2 weeks.

A turtle walking through the base camp. We named him Charlie.

A turtle walking through the base camp. We named him Charlie.


Stephen taking a break from working on the Noonmark cabin.



Sam Graduation


Sam Craig, Gordon College ’15

X-Country Team Goes to Basecamp

This past August marked a new and exciting partnership for Nate Hausman and La Vida’s Adirondack Program. With the support of Gordon’s Athletic Department, Patrick Rich and his runners from Gordon’s Cross Country (XC) team spent five days of pre-season training at La Vida’s base camp in Lake Clear, New York. Patrick, Head Coach of both the men’s and women’s XC teams, had spent significant time with Nate out on the roads and trails surrounding Gordon’s campus last spring running together and through those many miles, the idea came about to have the team spend the first few days of their season together at the base camp. This new collaboration is even more special for Nate since he ran for Gordon as a student in the 1990’s.

In total, almost 25 runners and coaches attended the pre-season training and as a result, it has already become a topic of conversation for the 2014 season. The goals of the time in New York were multifaceted, focusing both on physical training and conditioning for the upcoming season, but also making sure the team had time to spend together, forming the friendships that would serve as the foundation for a successful season. And, of course, there was plenty of excursions to Donnelly’s ice cream stand and swims down in McCauley Pond.

Both Nate and Patrick are hoping this can become a yearly tradition and with time, will become one of many aspects of being a Gordon XC team member that students remember for years to come. XCteam.Giant


2013 Quad Break Service Trip

This past weekend, 13 Gordon College students and 2 staff members traveled up to the La Vida Base Camp in the Adirondacks of New York to do service projects at the camp and in the park.  The students donated their time by doing maintenance on the Hurricane Trail and also digging two new privy holes at Polliwog Pond.  La Vida has been doing service projects every Fall quad break for the last three years.  It is a great way to give back to the park that the college expeditions enjoy so much over the summer.  La Vida has a very strong relationship with the park rangers, and they look forward to working with us each year.  This weekend was also a time that new friendships were made, and existing ones strengthened.  The group put in a lot of hard work and we are very thankful for their time and effort!

Photo Credit:  Amber Dvornski













Photo Credit:  Nathan Landis