Youth Notes

 
labrynth March 21, 2017
The Labyrinth - an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness combining the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path.  It represents the journey to our own center and back again out into the world. 

Aspen Chapel students and adults participated with respect, intention and silence in the ritual walk where they were welcomed by Charla Belinski from the Snowmass Chapel.  They walked a labyrinth that is a replica of the one in Chartres Cathedral in France. This walking contemplative practice took them to the center of the labyrinth where they could pause for meditation before coming out again. Nicholas told “The Legend of Theseus and the Minotaur” which took place in an ancient labyrinth. This was one of the ways the students were introduced to a practice.
tuesdayschool March 14, 2017
“You cannot go through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.  What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”  Jane Goodall

The Tuesday School Kindergarten through Fourth grade is taking on some powerful concepts in their curriculum of Sacred Storytelling. Inclusion, interdependence, acceptance and evolving consciousness are obviously crucial elements as we educate children for a life of wisdom, compassion, justice and peace.  Bringing these concepts into being requires contemplation as well as action.  You can see in the attached photo our younger children in a moment of quiet meditation.  Through the literature of Sister Anne’s Hands and Amber on the Mountain children see examples of inclusion, gratitude and kindness.  By making dog biscuits for furry friends the children take action in the world.  They experience the concept of interdependency as they look at where their own shoes come from.  The Aspen Chapel’s Tuesday School curriculum is more about how rather than what.
 
IMG5204 Febraury 21, 2017
"Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination.” Voltaire
Love, friendship and of course, Valentine’s Day have been the major topics during our February Sunday School.  We will continue to talk about how we can be a friend to each other as well as to the world around us.  Here is the Friendship Tree Noe and Sasha created this week.  Come check it out as we add to it.
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The middle school students in Developing Consciousness for Kids looked at the question, "Who am I?" Nicholas talked with them about "persona" and they then identified some key aspects of their individual personalities. The children assigned colors to each of these characteristics, and then painted masks to illustrate the part of their personalities that others see. With their masks on, some students shared how they would fill in the statement, "If you really knew me, you would know...." It was a great chance for the students to look at their own personalities and what they show to other people and what they keep inside themselves.
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The kindergarten and first grade students at Tuesday School read the story, I am an Artist. They talked about being the artist of their own lives and what that means. As a culminating project, they each made a collage about what is unique and special to each of them.
“You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” From the Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
DSC0455 January 17, 2017
Youth Notes
Tuesday School families with members of the Aspen Chapel community and the Aspen Jewish congregation gathered to prepare and serve dinner to 30 of our homeless neighbors, 110 participants in all! There were intergenerational groups at stations  happily preparing the spaghetti, salad, fruit salad, garlic bread, trail mix and dessert. Aspen Country Day first graders made placemats, place cards and dessert.  Children made new friends playing games and making New Year’s cards for our guests. It was a true community event and there is great hope and strength in the power of community.   “The time is always right to do what is right.”  Martin Luther King, Jr. 
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IMG1357 December 20, 2016
“You are eternal, you have a place in you that is full of wisdom, full of strength, full of blessedness.” Swami Ashkananda
This is the year's quote we are exploring with the kindergarten through fourth grade groups of "Sacred Storytelling" at Tuesday School.

Mimi and her second through fourth graders practiced some heart opening asana after they read, On the Day You Were Born. They filled out "Certificates of Blessedness" and  talked about the unique and special qualities of each individual.
image1 On the evening of Sunday, November 27th children and adults explored moving to the light as they walked the labyrinth at the Chapel and placed their candles..  The labyrinth was a beautiful created spiral with evergreens and items of the earth; shells, roses, rocks and stars. 
tuesdayschool December 6, 2016
Twenty middle school students, along with high school volunteer, Chamberlain, Elaine and Leanna joined Nicholas for the first session of Developing Consciousness for Kids on Tuesday. "How do we know we are here?" was the question we explored. Using their senses, the students did a blindfolded smell, identified recorded sounds, practiced mindful eating of a Hershey's kiss and tested their visual memory when a tray of 20 items was placed in front of them and then removed. David Floria was our guest visitor and spoke about what it is like to lose one of the senses. Students then asked David questions about being blind. Next week we tackle the question, "What is real?".
harvestFest October 4, 2016
Some of the older students joined youth leaders Drew and Simone for a celebration of harvest during our service on September 25th. They participated in or watched a puppet show about Frederick - a mouse who savored all the wonderful aspects of autumn to share with his friends during the cold days of winter. The students also participated in the contemplative process of deciding what they had cultivated over the spring and summer, which some shared were love, friendship and education. In a stone soup style, they offered their harvests to the community caldron - symbolizing we are all together to support and celebrate with one another.
beading September 6, 2016
Master beader and interfaith minister Wendy Ellsworth taught a beading class to both students and adults at Aspen Chapel while she was working in the valley as a visiting artist with Anderson Ranch. We were so lucky to have her! She taught us the "St. Petersburg Chain Stitch" which is not easy, but the girls all caught on well. Although socializing was a great part of the class, the enthusiasm for learning and creating was definitely the highlight. Choosing from a variety of colored beads with a complementing tear drop bead, focusing on the stitching, and joining in community made the time with Wendy a real treat!
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Sunday School students joined youth leader Drew Sorenson for an afternoon at Aspen TREE at Cozy Point Ranch. This was a culmination event for the Nature and Spirituality theme at Sunday School.They met with Robin who guided them through the Farm Park where they met the Alpacas, fed the baby goats, and collected fresh eggs from the chickens which they were able to take home. They also explored the growing dome and harvested cucumbers and tomatoes, had some fresh raspberries and learned about currants and tasted them as well. It was a wonderful, fun filled, Sunday afternoon.
Look for Last Sunday Children's Events with Drew at the end of each month!

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. Lao Tzu
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DSC0360 August 22, 2016
Students from Aspen Chapel, along with Mimi and Elaine, joined Zoe and students from the youth center, Cat from Jazz Aspen and Jeremy from Mountain Waste and Recycling to decorate some recycle bins to remind people of the importance of recycling. This collaborative effort resulted in lots of fun and laughter, a sense of community, and beautiful recycle bins! Those of you attending the Labor Day festival in Snowmass - remember to recycle and check out the bins decorated by Aspen Chapel and Aspen Youth center kids!
"Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved." - Mattie Stepanek (1990 - 2004), American Teenage Poet
 
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danandjack August 16, 2016
A great time was had by all at the first annual Aspen Chapel campfire and sing-a-long. Children and adults alike took a shot at archery skills, tossed a football and played horseshoes before grilling hot dogs and s'mores on the campfire. Dan Sheridan, accompanied by his son, Jack Sheridan, entertained us with songs around the fire. Children, parents, youth leaders and young adults sat together to laugh, sing, and share stories.
Visit our Facebook page for more photos.
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August 9, 2016

An enthusiastic multi-generational group met at the Aspen Chapel on June 28th to prepare a meal for the homeless at the local day center.  The menu was prepared by Maya McDonough to include green salad, fruit salad, veggie lasagna, garlic bread and decorated sugar cookies.  The following comments with the photo paint the picture of the event.  Alexia - “I liked it because everyone was working together no matter what their age” .  Zach - “Teamwork makes the dream work.” Braden- “I felt good about making food to be enjoyed by someone who needs it.”  Jack - “Can we do this every night?” Eva- “Individually we are one drop, together we are an entire ocean."
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July 24, 2016

As part of the Aspen Chapel Philanthropy Program students from the middle and high schools as well as graduates joined the Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers to work on trail maintenance.  Elaine and Mimi led them through a range of weather from rain through clouds to sun.  They worked on creating drainage as well as general maintenance for the Ajax Trail.   Socializing with new and old friends they became familiar with various trail crew tools including loppers, maclouds, shovels, picks and saws. They enthusiastically trimmed back brush from the trail pulling out roots and rocks for the enjoyment of summer hikers
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July 19, 2016

The children as well as the adults enjoyed the festivities of the Food and Wine Celebration at the Chapel on Father’s Day.  There were free events for them as well.  They joined chef Patty Heydenberk to learn how to dip and decorate chocolate covered strawberries.  Many students decorated aprons for themselves or their dads.  Leanna and Emily Bonds were also on hand for games and picnicking with the children.

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June 28, 2o16 

Aspen Noise, our multi-generational singing group was featured on Fathers’ Day at the Aspen Chapel.  We heard from many individual singers including Jessica Vesey who sang a song dedicated to her father, Nicholas.  They performed a Metta Kindness Blessing, Life is Beautiful, That’s What ’s Up and Living Years.  David Parker and Dan Sheridan accompanied them on the piano and guitar.  Consider joining Aspen Noise yourself.  Open to all ages, Aspen Noise meets on Tuesdays at 5:30 in the Aspen Chapel Gallery and is directed by Barbara Bloemsma.  They meet weekly to join in community, share fellowship, and celebrate the joy of music through song and dance.
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The Youth Program was fortunate to have master beader and youth minister, Wendy Ellsworth, teach a beading class last summer. She presented the class as a form of meditation.  A number of girls meet periodically to practice beading together.  They are looking forward to Wendy’s return in August for another class.  The class is available to anyone age 10 and older - including adults. 


Bracelet sales support the Aspen For Haiti Program.  Please contact Elaine Bonds at ejb@sopris.net if you are interested in purchasing a bracelet.
youthnotes June 7, 2016
It was a mixed age group that gathered with popcorn, and other movie treats to see the moving documentary, “The Starfish Throwers” in the Chapel Gallery on Sunday.
The film, originally seen at Film Fest, told the stories of three powerful and inspirational individuals who found their passion in feeding the hungry.  From a thirteen year old in the southern US to a former teacher in the midst of the Minneapolis to a dedicated man in urban India they each found effective ways to feed thousands.  The showing was offered by Elaine and Mimi as a thank you to all who had volunteered for
the Aspen Chapel.
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May 31, 2016

The children, ages from nursery through middle school, join Drew and Simone every Sunday . This Sunday they continued their focus “Be the Change You Want to See in the World”.(Ghandi).  They asked the students to apply that mantra to themselves.  Using traced stars the students wrote out goals in various categories, personal, family, friends, knowledge. The results were beautiful stars with thoughtful goals toward which they can work.  Beginning in June there will be monthly themes with this month’s being “Confidence”.  The last Sunday of each month they will plan a culminating activity.  On June 26 they will hike the Hunter Creek Trail at 10:30 following the service.
youth2 "Everybody loves to talk about calmness and peace, whether in a family, national, or international context, but without inner peace how can we make real peace?  World peace through hatred and force is impossible.”
“My true religion is kindness.”
Dalai Lama
Through their study the Tuesday School students found the Dalai Lama to be compassionate, faithful, happy, thoughtful, peaceful, spiritual, forgiving, humble, kind and helpful.  He was named the 14th Dalai Lama at the age of 4 but did not become the spiritual and political leader of Tibet until he was 15.  His training for this important role began when he was five as he learned from the sutras that kindness and compassion bring wisdom. At 13 he was studying philosophy and metaphysics as well as calligraphy.  But at age 24 the Dalai Lama escaped to India and began his life of exile.  Yet, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.  The students would have like to ask him if he ever wished he had lived a normal childhood.   Students learned about the study of chakras and yoga as well as the practice of meditation to find inner peace.
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May 17, 2016

“You must give some time to your fellow man.  Even if it’s a little thing, do something for which you get not pay but the privilege of doing it.    Albert Schweitzer
Barbara Owen presented this year's Aspen Chapel Senior Scholarships to five Aspen High School students; Anna Belinski, Elizabeth de Wetter, David Avila, Dolores Sharaf and Courtnay Edwards. These students were chosen because of their commitments to the community which included founding of a kindergarten readiness camp, volunteering at an orphanage in the Philippines, chairing the Aspen for Haiti Club, volunteering with the Roaring Fork Hounds Pony Club and  being Co-President of Aspen High School’s Girls’ Group which helps girls make the transition from Middle to High School.
Since 2007 the Aspen Chapel has awarded 46 scholarships honoring Aspen High School students for their good citizenship and willingness to help others.
Thank you to ALL of the Aspen Chapel community who supported these students.
 
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May 10, 2016

“We all live with the objective of being happy, our lives are all different and yet the same.”  Anne Frank
The Aspen Jewish Congregation and the Aspen Chapel honored the annual Holocaust Remembrance in their joint Shoah Memorial Service.  The interfaith choir including students offered their voices with a solo from Jessica Vesey.  Children from both congregations honored the 11 million who died by lighting candles, sharing their names and ages and Tuesday School students and alumni offered quotes from Anne Frank.  The children and adults appreciated the opportunity to join together as one community for the service and the reception that followed.  
 
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May 3, 2016

Youth leaders Simone and Drew joined children who had rehearsed for the May Pole celebration.  In the welcome sunlight they happily braided the colored ribbons on the sixteen foot pole which filled the chapel.  They were the focus of the May Day service led by Nicholas giving the community an opportunity to experience a ritual celebrating the arrival of spring with new awakenings in our hearts and our natural world.

Click here to view more photos on our Facebook page.
earthday

April 26, 2016


Sunday School students explored Gandhi’s quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.  They created beautiful pastel drawings of the earth  which included the changes they would like to see.   Simone and Drew led them in a brain break with focus time on being calm.  They concluded with a discussion of what it really means to “Love your neighbor as yourself”.   To the left is a photo of students with their masterpieces.
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April 19, 2016

“One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world.”  Malala
 
Tuesday School students became acquainted with the young Pakistani woman, Malala, the warrior with words, who fought for all children’s right to an education.  They discovered that when the Taliban tried to stop her from speaking out the actions of the Taliban only gave Malala and her friends more courage to continue.  They learned about Malala, the girl, who enjoys many of the same things that Tuesday School students enjoy.  They learned about her dress and the wearing of henna tattoos for fun.  The students enjoyed experimenting with removable henna tattoos.  Everything they learned gave them information to use in their letters to Malala, asking questions and admiring her actions.  One group discussion focused on the question, “What would you advocate for if you addressed the UN?”.  The mural above depicts Malala and her life.
 
 
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April 12, 2016


"The final forming of a person’s character lies in his/her own hands .”  Anne Frank
The Tuesday School students learned about Anne Frank’s character as they described her as optimistic, brave, hopeful, strong-willed, faithful and resilient.  Their study included understanding the religious persecution of the time that led Anne and her family to be hidden in the secret annex where she wrote her personal diary.  That diary read by millions has given evidence of Anne’s positive view on life despite a time of great fear and hardship.  Students had many questions about Anne and her time in hiding.  “Who were the Nazis?”  “Were the people who hid her Jewish?”  “Was everyone in the annex Jewish?” “How did Anne die?”  During an activity of self reflection Nicholas talked with some of the students about what it means to be a free society.  The mural below reflects Anne’s life.
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April 5, 2016

Connections between generations are essential for the mental health and stability of the nation.”  Margaret Mead

One of the first questions from a Tuesday School student is, “Do I get to go to Whitcomb Terrace today?”  Each week a group of 5-6 students visit Whitcomb Terrance to read a story, play a game, do an art project or just have a conversation.  Appreciating the diversity in age, Tuesday School students develop the ability to speak slowly and clearly to communicate with each individual.  It is not hard to imagine that these events  are high points in the days of the seniors.  Because these visits take place throughout the winter true intergenerational bonds are created.  Barbara and Eliza involved everyone in a sing-a-long during their final visit this season.
 
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March 22, 2016

“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.”   Anne Frank

As a culminating activity for their recent study of important and inspirational people, Tuesday School students created their own silhouettes.  They inscribed on these the characteristics they would like to develop in themselves.  These choices were based on the attributes they discovered in the series of people  studied in Tuesday School, the Dalai Lama, Malala, Anne Frank,  Mattie Sepanek, and Sacagawea.  Parents joined their Tuesday School students for refreshments, a brain break and to view the murals they had created throughout the study.   This has been a meaningful experience which we will continue to share in the weeks to come.  The comments students shared about their appreciation for Tuesday School included “making friends, going to Whitcomb Terrace, meditating, discussions with Nicholas, and learning about different people.
 

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March 15, 2016

“How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world!  How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contributions toward introducing justice straightaway . . And you can always always give something, even if it is only kindness!"   Anne Frank
 
Tuesday School students delved into various resources to discover the person of Anne Frank; the book, “Who was Anne Frank?”, a video of Anne’s life and the annex where she wrote her powerful insights, as well as National Geographic Kids materials.  Following her journey raised many questions regarding freedom and an understanding of  the mindset of that period of history.  Students' self reflections culminated in projects including decoupage boxes with Anne Frank quotes and a mural depicting her life and characteristics.
This week parents are invited to Tuesday School to join students for a brain break and hear about the different inspirational people we have studied this year; Sacagawea, Dalai Lama, Mattie Stepanek, Malala and Anne Frank.
 
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February 29, 2016

 

"In some parts of the world, students are going to school every day.  It’s their normal life.  But in another part of the world, we are starving for education . . It’s like a precious book.  It’s like a diamond.” ~ Malala Yousafzai
Following their study of Malala from Pakistan, Tuesday School students explored life in Afghanistan with their guest speaker, Paula Nirschel.  Paula shared slides of Afghanistan which revealed landscapes similar to our valley with children in similar activities to ours like skateboarding. With Paula they were able to Skype with an Afghani woman and ask questions ranging in topics from food, clothing (Burqas), religious practices (medication), pets to the the conditions of war. The children enjoyed almond and coconut Afghani treats while they tried on Burqas.  While sharing some traditions  Paula explained the five pillars of Islam
1. A profession of faith
2. Performing prayers 5 times daily
3. Charity to help the poor and those in need
4. Fasting during the month of Ramadan
5. A pilgrimage to Mecca
Curious energy remained high as the children continued their study of the Middle East.
   
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February 23, 2016

"Raise your words not your voice.  It is rain that grows flowers not thunder."  Rumi
 
Having read the story, Malala Yousafzai, Warrior with Words, the Tuesday School students continued their study of inspirational individuals.  Older students watched part of her Nobel Prize acceptance speech and understood the global recognition of the action she had taken.  Younger students looked at how a head scarf is worn in her culture while they played a listening game.  The students described Malala as passionate, wise, unstoppable, inspirational, fearless, capable, and well-spoken.
 
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February 16, 2016


"The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart.”   
                                                                      Helen Keller, deaf and blind scholar
 
Tuesday School Students have been immersed in studies of inspirational people. They have just completed their exploration of the life of Mattie Stepanek, a young man who died at the age of 13 from a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy.  He led a life as a young poet and philosopher writing inspirational poems called “heart songs.”   He believed everyone has a song in his or her heart.  Those who knew him described him as kind, courageous, humorous, hopeful and optimistic. The children then made Valentines in honor of Mattie to send to veterans as part of the Chapel’s contributions to the Huts for Vets Program.

   
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January 31, 2016
 

I have been to the end of the earth,
I have been to the end of the waters.
I have been to the end of the sky.
I have been to the end of the mountains.
I have found none that were not my friends.
 
Traditional Native American Prayer Song shared with the students during Sunday School.
 
The Aspen Chapel Youth Program welcomes a new Sunday youth team, Jeff Hoffman, Leanna Bonds, and Drew Sorenson.  We are excited to have them join us to enhance the Sunday program.  

This Sunday the older students decorated a tree outside the chapel with winter treats for the birds.  The effect of prayer or positive energy thoughts was part of their discussion. 

The elementary students looked at “brain breaks” and yoga as a source of calm and focused energy.  
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January 18, 2016

Over fifty volunteers from the Aspen Chapel, Aspen Jewish Congregation and Aspen Country Day 5th grade transformed the Aspen Chapel Gallery to create and serve a delicious dinner which they enjoyed with 25 guests from the Homeless Shelter.  Adults and children worked together to decorate tables and make Happy New Year cards as well as cooking a complete meal of spaghetti, meatballs, salad, fruit, cookies, garlic bread with bags of trail mix to take home.  The volunteers enjoyed games together as well as the singing Rollin led with everyone.  It was a full and happy crowd that left the chapel into the winter night.
 
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January 12, 2016

Quote:  "There are only two days in the year than nothing can be done.  One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow. Today is the right day to Love, Believe, Do and mostly Live.”  -Dalai Lama

Studying the Dalai Lama takes the Aspen Chapel Tuesday School students on a journey into Buddhism.  Barbara Bloemsma shared the beauty and intricacy of the Buddhist regalia.  The students enjoyed Mindful Awareness games in addition to practicing meditation (as you can see).  They learned about Socratic dialogue through the Buddhist Wisdom stories and chose quotes from the Dalai Lama for the calendars they made.  Trips to visit the seniors at Whitcomb Terrace are beginning.
The students will continue their journey with different kinds of meditation, yoga postures and Chakra study.
 
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December 19, 2016

“All things share the same breath- the beast, the tree, the man.  The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.” Chief Seattle.

Students at the Aspen Chapel came to know the historical figure, Sacagawea, through three weeks of study.  They made murals, explored readings, played games and enjoyed drumming.
They found her to be loyal, respectful, dedicated, brave, kind, persevering and smart.  They shared Chief Seattle’s speech, Giving Thanks - a Native American Good Morning Message.
The students leave this study with the questions,  “How will I put into action what I have learned about this heroic figure, Sacagawea?” " How do we carry the spirits of those who have gone before into
our daily lives."

youth

December 6, 2015

Girls from Girls from the High School Group, “Kids for Kids” joined Elaine for a shopping trip to aid a local teen. Using the funds they raised for the Holiday Baskets program.  They discussed how best to help select items for her room. While the group’s goal is to help children in need all over the world this was an opportunity to help a local individual.  They ended their trip in a holiday spirit with pizza.the High School Group, “Kids for Kids” joined Elaine for a shopping trip to aid a local teen. Using the funds they raised for the Holiday Baskets program.  They discussed how best to help select items for her room. While the group’s goal is to help children in need all over the world this was an opportunity to help a local individual.  They ended their trip in a holiday spirit with pizza.
 
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November 30, 2015 


Quote:  There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.   
Edith Wharton

Twenty students joined the congregation walking in the sanctuary spiral with candles before gathering downstairs where they split into age groups to create advent wreaths. The  discussion focused around light and the symbols of advent.  The younger children shared what made their lights shine, often with their families or while helping
others.  They realized that the wreath’s round shape with no beginning or end is like God’s love and that the evergreens are a symbol of eternal life.  The older students extended the discussion with more traditions  of advent.  
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November 17, 2015

This past Sunday the Aspen Chapel and the Aspen Jewish congregations joined in a full house to celebrate Thanksgiving together.
The Interfaith Choir which included student members led the congregation in a variety of songs including “It’s a Wonderful World”.
Students shared their experiences of a family gathering that produced a meal for the Homeless Shelter.  Thirty-six members of the 
two congregations enjoyed creating a meal together.  Participants shared how much they appreciated the experience by talking about
how good it made them feel to know they were really helping someone.  Others talked about receiving help themselves and that it was
good to be able to return the gift.
 

 

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Nicholas Vesey, 4/13/2015