Youth Notes

Youth notes June

June 17th, 2018

“Nature doesn’t come with a built in Wi-Fi signal, but you’re guaranteed to have a strong connection!” Dr. Jay Kumar
Armed with loppers and saws, a group of Aspen Chapel students along with Mimi and Elaine groomed Aspen’s Little Cloud Trail with the Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers.  They had a great time socializing while giving back to our trail system.  They received many “Thank You’s” from fellow hikers who were out enjoying the day.
Aspen Chapel 3

June 10th, 2018

Congratulations to our senior scholarship winners for 2018!

Emily Driscoll has been involved with Aspen Chapel since kindergarten. She attended Tuesday School, sang in the children's choir with Sarah Stevens, participated in many Aspen Chapel services, traveled to Haiti with our Aspen For Haiti group and worked on philanthropic activities at Aspen Chapel. Emily will be attending Occidental College in the fall.

Maya McDonough has also been involved with Aspen Chapel since she was in kindergarten. Maya participated in Tuesday School, helped teach Sunday School, traveled to Haiti twice with the Aspen Chapel and Snowmass Chapel sponsored group, was head of our contemplative beading class and participated in many services and community service opportunities with Aspen Chapel. Maya will be attending Bates College next year.

Olivia Fite joined our contemplative beading group in high school and recently traveled to Haiti with our Aspen for Haiti group. She also walked in our scholarship walk to raise money for Aspen Chapel Senior Scholarships. Olivia will be attending University of Colorado in Boulder in the fall.

Finn Allen has assisted Drew in teaching Sunday School as well as joining friends at the Aspen Chapel for philanthropic outings for many years. Finn will travel to Boston College next year.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

June 3rd, 2018

Emily Driscoll represented the Aspen Chapel at the Aspen High School Baccalaureate service at Snowmas Chapel. She read the Desiderata along with a fellow classmate. Emily has been involved in the Aspen Chapel since she was in kindergarten.

She fondly remembers Tuesday School, singing in the children's choir, performances on Christmas Eve. and volunteering for philanthropic opportunities with our youth program. She is pictured here during one of our trips to work with Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers. Congratulations to Emily and her classmates who graduated this year!

“You are a child of the universe no less than the tress 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

May 13th, 2018

Aspen Chapel Sunday School students had their  recognition of Arbor Day by exploring the notion of “giving back”.  In the photo you see Tamir reading The Giving Tree to the other children, particularly his brother, Arslen.  The group had shared the story of Wangari Maathai who won a Nobel Prize for the The Green Belt Movement in Kenya.  The children did their own “giving back” by making guacamole for the reception before they took the avocado seeds home to sprout.
maypole youth

May 6th, 2018

Children led the dancing as the adults joined in welcoming the arrival of spring, another experience at The Chapel to develop and celebrate community.  As the mike was passed for comments from participants one young girl shared that, “Everyone was smiling”.  And indeed they were.

April 29, 2018

Reading “A Handful of Quiet” by Thich Nat Hanh guided Aspen Chapel Tuesday School students to explore the concept of finding peace and harmony from within.  They shared how they could see elements of harmony in nature.
Suki - Fresh like a flower
Ronan - Bright like the sun
Spencer - Sturdy as a mountain
Margot - Calm as smooth water
Jacob - As pure as sparkling snow
George - As free as space
In the photo below you’ll see the 1st and 2nd graders singing the following song
May I be happy
May I be well
May I be safe and sound
May I be peaceful
May I be at ease
With love in my heart and all around

May you be happy
May you be well
May you be safe and sound
May you be peaceful
May you be at ease
With love in your heart and all around

Well you can sing your love
And you can dance your love
And you can play your love
Today, my love

And you can laugh your love
And you can cry your love
And you can walk your love
And you can fly your love ... all around

April 18, 2018

“Compassion is even more powerful than courage. Sure, with courage you can conquer a world - but only with compassion can you heal and build it.” 
? Rasheed Ogunlaru

Aspen Chapel Middle School students put their study of compassion to use as they visited the elders at Whitcomb Terrace for an after-school time of companionship and bingo.  As you can see they all enjoyed the time spent together

April 4, 2018

"Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.”
 - Janine di Giovanni

Easter Sunday was activity filled with hunting and decorating eggs, in addition to painting and coloring butterflies. The lesson began with children introducing themselves and sharing something for which they are grateful. The list included family, spring, sports, friends, and life! You’ll see pictured below some of the younger children on their egg hunt.
Youth Notes 4

March 28, 2018

The middle group students wrote a song about Tuesday School and performed for some of the younger students
This song is a compilation of ideas, thoughts, and insights they had while exploring empathy and compassion
As promised before, here are the lyrics!

Open Your Eyes - by Tuesday School students and Sarah Stevens

When things get dark and gloomy
And you're feeling down
And you need to find a way to turn the day around
Feel the mystery
The possibility
Look inside you
You'll find the light within....

Open your eyes and ears
Reach out your hand
Listen to your heart
And we can help each other understand

When you see someone
Having a hard time
You'll know how to help your friend to find some peace of mind
Walk with her
Talk to him
Listen closely
You'l find the light within....

Youth Photo 1

March 21, 2018

In the Sunday School study of the lives of various Saints Drew shared the life of St. Catherine, the Patron Saint of Artists with the children.  She founded two monasteries, was a practiced artist and is honored for her charity and kindness.  The children honored her on her feast day, March 9th by creating sculptures from their imagination.
Youth Notes 314

March 14, 2018

We are fortunate to have our own singer/songwriter, Sarah Stevens to sing with the Tuesday School students. They learned the following songs that celebrate the theme of compassion.

You’ve Got a Friend
Hey Brother
If I Have Not Love
Man in the Mirror

The students formed small groups to create an original verse for a Tuesday School song.

Stay tuned for the new lyrics soon!

March 7, 2018

Children at Sunday School talked about many kinds of symbols.  They made bedazzled crosses as they talked about the cross as a symbol.  It reminds us that where the two pieces of the cross meet is a symbol of how we can meet God in our lives - in nature, through a friend, as well as in a kind gesture from a stranger.   It can give us hope as we remember all those possibilities for meeting the divine.

February 28, 2018

"All human beings are interconnected, one with all other elements in creation.”  Henry Reed
Exploring ways we are interconnected was the task of Tuesday School students.

They formed small groups and drew objects that they use frequently. Each group listed all the materials that were used to make the object.  Then they estimated the number of people necessary to complete the process. This group chose a jacket and decided everyone was involved in the process!
The students watched the pencil analogy from Lexie Potamkin where she looks at the “simple" pencil and all the people in various countries whose efforts were necessary to create it.  As consumers of pencils, the students could see how they too are part of the process.

February 14, 2018

Tom Crum was a welcome guest at Tuesday School.  Tom wears the many hats of personal coach, author, speaker and aikido teacher.   He spoke of turning conflicts into powerful relationships with a welcoming practice of three steps - acknowledge the other, embrace him or her, and change the pattern.  

In martial arts and in real life you move with, not against, the person to overcome conflict.
You can use three breaths as a technique- one to center and get in balance, two to gather your inner power with purpose and three to appreciate mystery and experience awe in life.

The photo shows an activity Tom uses to show the power of being grounded.  

January 31, 2017

A Look at the Tuesday School Curriculum
Older Tuesday School students are learning about Daniel J. Siegel's "Healthy Mind Platter"
He calls it "The Healthy Mind Platter for Optimal Brain Matter"
Daniel quotes, " activities you can do on a daily basis that are scientifically proven to keep your body healthy, your mind strong, and your brain continuing to grow in integrative ways throughout your life"
Students put stickers in their journals each week and identify what they have done from the Healthy Mind Platter that day and what they still need to focus on completing. 

Explanations we gave the students: 
  • The Healthy Mind Platter
  • Time- In - self-reflection of one's inner nature, mind, and body 
  • (SIFT - sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts)
  • Sleep time - 8 1/2 to 9 1/4 hours -  for optimal functioning
  • Focus time - focus intently on one thing at a time
  • Downtime - just chill
  • Playtime - laugh and have fun
  • Physical Time - move your body 
  • Connecting Time - connect with others – people  and planet

January 24, 2018

Some Tuesday School students "chill out" after learning about their "resiliency zone" and how to calm themselves down if they are in their "high" zones. They practiced grounding techniques including walking slowly and counting backward from ten, pushing against a wall, and using breathing to return to a peaceful state of being. They also drew pictures of favorite places to find tranquility and talked about using these places as resources. They experimented with visualizing these special places and watching what happened to their bodies and minds.
‘Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson

January 10, 2018

Sunday School students welcomed the New Year by creating fireworks with salt, glue, and watercolors. They talked about new beginnings with youth leader Drew Sorenson and shared some ideas of what they would like to do in the new year.  They learned about decorating a tree in the forest for the animals from The Night Tree by Eve Bunting.

Every second brings a fresh beginning
Every hour holds a new promise
Every night our dreams can bring hope
Every day is what you choose to make it.

January 4, 2018

“We always have the power within ourselves to change,”
Tuesday School is in full swing.  His Holiness the Dalai Lama inspires the theme of Exploring Compassion from the inside out. The children participate in Social, Emotional and Ethical learning as they think with their brains and their hearts.  The older students think of a daily Healthy Mind Platter where they balance their activities in a healthy way.  The younger students learn about compassion and empathy through stories, movement, and peer discussions.
Pictured below you can see the self-portraits of the 2nd graders as they share how they will add positively to the class

December 27, 2017

During the Christmas season, young children, Tuesday School Students and alumni, college students and young people of the Aspen Chapel have been involved with our services through singing, reading, ushering and lighting candles. So fun to have so many young faces among us! Thank you to all who participated.

"Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection." Winston Churchill

December 20, 2017

The Macdonald family helped to welcome Advent by lighting the 2nd advent candle.  The children in Sunday School read Jingle the Christmas Clown by Tomie dePaola and talked about giving thoughtful gifts at Christmas, gifts that are given from the heart.
“The heart that gives, gathers.”
The Tao Ta Ching

December 13, 2017

Maya McDonough and Olivia Fite, co-presidents of Aspen High School’s Aspen for Haiti Club, will host an art sale at the reception this Sunday. If you are still looking for Christmas presents, there will be beaded bracelets made by high school and middle school students with prices between $10 and $25. Other artwork from Haiti will be for sale as well. All proceeds go to the Aspen for Haiti Club to help cover travel costs for students and donations to the Haiti School Project in Villard. Come check out the great items for sale!

December 6, 2017

Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12 
The Sunday School students learned about advent and the meaning of the candles - faith, hope, love, and joy. While creating advent cards, they talked about how to be the light in the darkness.

November 28, 2017

The children attending Sunday School created turkeys and pumpkins that included the names of things for which they are grateful, “my dad’s music”, “my baby brother”, “our family”, “water and good food”.  They also created a scavenger hunt for home and community including  that things they could do to serve others and help them be grateful.

November 14, 2017

Dee Jenkins,  special guest singer and song writer, joined children one Sunday to teach them a different version of the familiar song, “Jesus Loves Me”.  “Jesus loves you, Jesus loves me,Jesus lovers everyone can’t you see.  God made the animals, God made the earth.  God made each of us, we all have worth.” You may view the whole song on Youtube.
After singing along with Dee and learning the hand motions the children decorated bags for the Lift Up food donations that were delivered to the Carbondale Senior Citizens last Sunday.  This began the Sunday School theme for November, “Service with Gratitude”

November 8, 2017

Students and families met outside City Market to collect non-perishable Thanksgiving fixings for 35 senior citizens in Carbondale.  They provided shoppers with lists of Thanksgiving items  and bought groceries themselves with money donated by the Aspen Chapel and Aspen Jewish Congregation. After the service Sunday, November 12 the congregation is invited to help assemble the bags which have been decorated by the Sunday School Class.  They will then be delivered to Carbondale.  Contributions are still welcome this week

October 24, 2017 

Drew brought the concept of Empathy to last week’s gathering of Sunday School Students.  While playing the game, “Telephone” they discovered how important effective listening can be. The beginning sentence of the game was “I will try to listen well” and the last sentence heard was “I won’t mess with purple”! They focused on the fact that Empathy is listening and what effective listening looks like.  Good listening involves the whole body; eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet, body posture, brain and heart.  We need to stay quiet, focused and open, not bouncing around.  
The group created a chart to show that 
 A Good Listener has eyes on the person, a quiet voice and a quiet body.
 A Good Listener thinks about what is being said, how the other person is feeling, the other person’s tone of voice and how to give support.
A Good Listener listens for the other person’s feelings,  vocal cues and the other person’s story.
A Good Listener does not have a side conversation, look elsewhere, have an immediate reactions, or have a dismissive attitude. 
Good lessons for all of us!  Thank you, Drew.

October 17, 2017

Students and Aspen Chapel folks enjoyed a windy, fall walk on the Rio Grande this Saturday.  They were walking for pledges to the Aspen Chapel Scholarship Fund.  Each year at graduation the Aspen Chapel presents their Spirit award to between 3 and 5 seniors from Aspen High School who have been positive models of commitment to the community.  These students may have been former members of Tuesday School or representatives of other faith communities.  Contributions to the Scholarship Fund are still welcome.

Mail a check to the Aspen Chapel with "Senoir Scholarships" in the memo: 77 Meadowood Dr. Aspen, CO 81611 

October 3, 2017

Students at Sunday School finished September’s theme of love by looking at different kinds of love, divine love, family love, the love of a friend.  They shared their own individual examples of love in their own lives, family members, sports, food and pets.  McKenna, the high school assistant, shared the book Guess How Much I Love You? by Sam McBratney.  They had fun creating the group’s recipe for love.
Ten Hearts
Fifteen Friends
Eight thousand forty kisses
Eighteen hundred finger hearts
Twenty hugs
Ten Thousand buckets of happiness

”Nobody has ever measured, even poets, how much love a heart can hold.”  Zelda Fitzgerald

September 26, 2017

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”  Joseph Campbell
In keeping with September’s theme of love the children made self portraits after reading Bear By Himself, a story of a bear who was content to live alone. The children’s discussions included the language of self forgiveness, awareness of thoughts, gratitude, common humanity and kindness toward self. You can see these reflected in the attached self portrait.

September 19, 2017 

With our 16 kids we had a great time talking about what love meant and the things that we were capable of loving; everything!  We read the story Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire Nivola. This is a story of love for the Earth and the land that raises us as well as a story of love for the people who nurture and are nurtured by that land. I then challenged the kids to create a person (traced kids were Zach, Santana, and Soren) and each time an aspect of that person was added, we discussed how we could use ourselves for love. We had great answers such as our feet could be used for dancing and our mouths could say beautiful words to others. These kids sure know love!

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. ~ Mother Teresa


September 5, 2017

"The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.”  Chief Joseph
While considering the September theme of love, Aspen Chapel Sunday School Students read the beautiful book, Whoever You Are, in which Australian author, Mem Fox, celebrates the importance of every individual.  This led to the discussion of loving ourselves, people in our community and those around the world.  Everyone talked about ways to spread love and then made cards for the children of Charlottesville, Virginia.  Members of the congregation joined us in making cards as well.

A number of youth-serving organizations of Charlottesville will distribute the cards to children.  Anyone is welcome to join this effort by sending cards or postcards to the children of Charlottesville.

We Stand with You
PO Box 814
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Aspen SEE Learning Workshop Au

August 29, 2017

Barbara, Mimi and Elaine took a 3 day class offered by instructors from Emory University at Aspen High School. The program, SEE Learning, is a training based on learning/teaching the "soft" skills of empathy, compassion, and kindness. These social emotional skills will be the basis of the lessons for Tuesday School this year. Mimi and Elaine are busy writing this Tuesday School curriculum with input from Barbara and Nicholas as well. Stay tuned to hear about the launch of Tuesday School for 2017-2018. Save the date for Tuesday, November 28th as our first day!

August 15, 2017

During the Ducky Derby Festival, students from Aspen Chapel and their friends occupied a booth to raise money for Aspen For Haiti. The group painted faces for several hours, and also sold bracelets as a fundraising project for their trip to Haiti. Thanks to this dedicated crew of high school students! 

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” 
? Martin Luther King Jr.

August 1, 2017

Here are portions of the conversation around the monthly theme of "Service."

Students said , “It makes you feel good.”  “You can make homemade gifts.” “When my mom was sick, I helped her get better.”  The ways they listed that they could provide service to their families included; bringing flowers when they are sick, providing breakfast in bed, cleaning up your room and making your bed, helping parents and grandparents do chores.  

Do you know that our brains release the “feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine in response to altruistic acts?"

July 25, 2017

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  Winston Churchill
 As part of the theme of service Sunday School students read the wonderful story of Wilfred Gordon Macdonald Partridge by Mem Fox about a boy who visits elder members in a neighboring facility.  He helps them “find” their cherished memories.  The students then created posters entitled “Take What You Need” which included tabs for love, hugs, sunshine and peace.  Look for them hanging around town and feel free to take what you need

July 18, 2017

Youth leaders, Drew, Simone and Elaine brought families to the top of Independence Pass with the Aspen Science Center for New Moon Stargazing. In addition to the magic of a sky full of stars on a cloudless night everyone saw Saturn and Jupiter up close through the Science Center’s giant telescope.  Edwin set up his own telescope before darkness set in.  Drew and Simone brewed up some hot chocolate to help keep fingers and toes warm during the nippy evening.

July 11, 2017

Three Aspen Chapel gentlemen, Beau, Edwin and Drew led the Sunday School discussion , “Puzzles and Mind Teasers.  Find out how your brain solves problems.”   The topic was the brain’s neuroplasticity and how it is just as important to exercise your brain as it is to exercise your body.  Students created mazes, challenged themselves with tangrams and solved math riddles.
Can you figure out how many triangles are in this picture?

July 3, 2017

"When people were hungry, Jesus didn’t say, “Now is that political, or social?”  He said, “I feed you.”  Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.”   Desmond Tutu

Middle School Students and adults joined Chefs Simone Franklin and Samuel Vesey to prepare a meal for the homeless members of the community.  Samuel and Simone led the crew in preparing a delicious meal which included two kinds of lasagna, homemade bread, Samuel’s favorite potato salad, green salad  and finishing with clementines dipped in chocolate.
They delivered the meal to the Homeless Day Center in the Health and Human Services Building.

June 27, 2017

“This conflict is one thing I’ve I’ve been waiting for.  I’m well and strong and young-young enough to go to the front.  If I can’t be a soldier, I’ll help soldiers.”  Clara Barton
Sunday School student, Noe, and High School student, Mckenna read, “Angel of the Battlefield” - a story about Clara Barton and the beginning of the Red Cross.  This was part of this month’s Sunday School theme of service.  Noe decorated a candle that she would light in memory of her grandfather.  She didn’t know him but heard many stories about him from her mom
Aspen Chapel Spirit Award 2

June 30, 2017

Each spring the Aspen Chapel awards scholarships to graduating Aspen High School seniors who contribute a positive spirit to the community through good citizenship and a willingness to help others.  This year the awards were presented to Lizzie Ecclestone, Johanna Vasquez and Christopher Hopkins.  Christopher is a Tuesday School Alumni and volunteered to help with Tuesday School during his senior year.  Barbara Owen is presenting those awards in the photo attached.


June 13, 2017

 . . . play is really the most important way that children learn about the world around them”  
Sean Brotherson, Ph.D
Every week nursery is available during the Sunday service at the Aspen Chapel.  Children participate
in activities which enable them to explore, learn, and create with others.  Here two preschoolers join high school student, McKenna, to play and practice the skills of cooperation, communication and problem solving.

June 6, 2017

Nicholas Vesey was the featured speaker for the annual Baccalaureate service which took place at the Aspen Chapel.  His message to students was to trust their inner voices and to heed their inner compasses.  Sarah Stevens directed a Senior Trio who provided the music.  Seniors pictured  joined to be blessed by Father Hilton from St. Mary’s Church.  Christopher Hopkins, Aspen Chapel Tuesday School graduate, read from the Tao Te Ching, verse 27.
“A good traveler has no fixed plans
and is not intent upon arriving.
A good artist lets his intuition 
lead him wherever it wants.
A good scientist has freed himself of concepts 
and keeps his mind open to what is."

May 30,  2017

For Mother's Day, we decorated pots and planted seeds as gifts for our mothers. We also talked about what makes our mothers extra special. 

Our Mothers:
What makes our moms extra special:
Margot – “She loves me.”
Vassar – “She has taught me to give more than I take.”
Katie Maeve – “She is very supportive.”
Eleanor – “She is always willing to put her children before herself.”
Alexis – “She is a passionate person.”
Noe – “She is really thoughtful and helps me live. If I died, she would die of a broken heart. I love her.”
Madeline– “She is always there.”

May 23,  2017

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

Five insightful middle and high school students joined Drew and Simone to discuss their dreams, the dreams that occur when we are in deep sleep.  They talked about how dreams affect them even after they have awakened.  This was a wonderfully open conversation where everyone shared and contributed their thoughts about the influence and meaning of dreams.  They made small dream journals to start recording dreams each morning. Now wouldn’t this have been a fascinating session to hear?

May 16,  2017

“If only we all knew
That under the ground
Isn’t just dirt
But a village, a town
A network
Does that work?
What I’m trying to say
Is dirt isn’t dirt
In just any old way.
It’s a cobweb of filaments
Like underground trees
That talk to each other
Like you talk to me.”     By Shere Coleman

The ribboned maypole graced the Aspen Chapel as did the children who danced its dance. Petals fell from above as children rewound the ribbons. The chapel community joined in  the rite of spring service while Shere Coleman shared her original poem celebrating the miracle of the earth and its capacity for growth.

May 9,  2017

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and the sharing of pleasures.”  Khalil Gibran

The Middle School students who had participated in the series  " Developing Consciousness for Kids” wanted to continue to meet which led to the planning of additional activities.  They joined Drew and Simone in an evening of dinner and bowling enjoying the continuing gifts of friendship. A good time was had by all!

May 2,  2017

All my life I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
For the people to say
That we don't wanna fight no more
There will be no more wars
And our children will play
One day...."
One Day, By Matisyahu

Aspen Chapel Students participated with students from the Aspen Jewish Congregation in a joint Holocaust Remembrance, the Yom HaShoah Service.  They offered their insights answering the question, What can you do to promote respectful conversation and connections between people? Austin- “Trying to see a situation from someone else’s eyes often allows you to empathize with the person, and have a deeper connection as a result”. And Alexis - “ . . .we can listen to other’s ideas and thoughts without interrupting.  We can let others voice their opinions.  Finding a spiritual practice can help better our listening”.
Other students contributed to the service through the interfaith choir.  This was a powerful joint community experience.

April 25, 2017

Anyone can find the dirt in someone.  Be the one who finds the Gold.  Proverbs  11:27

During the Easter Sunday Chapel service Nicholas performed a magic trick/chemistry experiment to demonstrate how something can become like new demonstrating the Easter story of resurrection.  There were activities for all ages, egg hunts, decorating bags and eggs, creating foam bunnies, reading stories.   This included a Middle School discussion of the small piece of God hidden within us and how to discover it. It was a lovely day to welcome spring and all its possibilities.

April 11, 2017

“Today you are you! That is truer than true!  There is no one alive who is you-er than you!  Dr. Suess

In honor of Dr. Suess’ March birthday his lessons became the theme for the month.  Some of his most familiar books became the focus of each lesson.  The Lorax emphasizes environmental integrity as well as some lessons of good business practice and honesty. Here you can see Louisa making a Truffula Tree after her discussion about the environment and our responsibilities.  The Butter Battle Book focuses on diversity and tolerance as well as compassion. After sharing the book students made butter for the Sunday reception.  The at in the Hat discusses friendship and all the different hats we wear through our lives.  You might enjoy re-reading some of these favorites at home and see what your children have to say.

April 4, 2017

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”    Helen Keller
Sasha, one of the Aspen Chapel Sunday School students, designs her friendship flower.  This followed the discussion about friendship led by Drew.  Their discussion which included what it means to be a good friend led to a number of projects. Aspen Chapel’s Sunday School is a good place to meet new friends.

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.

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.

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.

January 31, 2017

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.

January 24, 2017

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

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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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. 

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?".

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.

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!

August 30, 2016

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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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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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.

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."

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

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.


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.

June 21, 2016

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 if you are interested in purchasing a bracelet.

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.  

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.

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."


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.

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.  

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.