Student Reflections from Year 15
- Throughout my time at Link, I have become a person that relies heavily on my spirituality and connection with God. I feel a strong pull to do what is good and to lean on my spiritual intuition. This I believe comes from Link’s push to always turn to God in a situation. I believe listening to other people talk about their spiritual journeys is the best way I came to understand this part of myself better and sharing unique experiences will be the best way to support all students.
- I grew in my spirituality by deepening my relationship with God. I did not learn to understand God better, but I understand my relationship with God better. I grew with integrity by being kind and helping around campus for the benefit of the community and not just for the hope I would get recognition because of it. My spiritual self-worth has always been strong but I got to feel the effects of this confidence this year.
- I grew in a sense of spirituality when I got to watch an incredible healing and being able to be supportive in it as well. It strengthened my belief in what is possible.
- I feel like I am a better person than before, I love myself, believe in myself, and trust myself. I have a deeper connection to God.
- An example of how I grew in my spirituality was how now I turn to God immediately. When struggling I find my spiritual grounding. I have also changed in terms of integrity. While I still have strong moral compass I have relaxed and shifted towards measuring ‘should I’s by effects on people around me rather than rules. I have shifted from always asking for permission, which can create insecurity and cowardice, to asking for forgiveness, which offers me more confidence in my actions and direct care for my community.
- Before coming to Link I never had a very deep connection to my spirituality. I didn’t understand the importance of it or how big of an impact it could make on someone. During my time in Link I have gained more of a understanding of what the spiritual aspect of things can do for someone. I have seen from staff and other students how it can be used in day to day life.
- I now have a deeper sense of Christian Science and support around me. I have had the most healing here than anywhere else.
Student’s Dear Sponsor Letters:
My name is Vincent Geyer and I am a senior at the Link School. Initially, I am from Germany but the past two years, I have spent in the US at this beautiful school. When I came to the US, I was a seventeen-year-old German making his way over the big pond from Europe to arrive in the “land of freedom”. At home in Germany, I was in a safe spot, I had plenty of close friends and my family was there as well and I knew the area and language perfectly. However, my intuition and mum told me that a change had to happen and so after days and weeks of contemplating, I decided to that step into the unknown and it was the right one for sure.
Link is such a special place and I couldn´t be more grateful to have spent two years of my life at this wonderful place. For me personally, what makes Link so special is the healthy balance between academics and the outdoor things we do. The academics are awesome and especially getting to enjoy views of the snow-covered mountain tops of the Rockies or moose eating grass in the backyard is something that is probably hard to find anywhere else and is a motivation for every day. I enjoy that the classes are so small as well, because it makes you genuinely connect with your teachers on a deeper level. During this year at Link, my Spanish has rapidly improved and that is because the class is taught in the perfect way with Joel Benson as the teacher. The class has a good balance of having fun practicing Spanish and also learning a ton. My Spanish isn´t good enough yet to write this whole letter in Spanish but I have definitely seen lots of improvement and can get around pretty decently as seen through our trip to Baja California, Mexico. The academics at Link are already pretty sweet but the program stuff is what really makes it Link. Coming to Link, I had no idea about any of the activities we do here. By having so many capable individuals on the program staff , I have gained a good understanding of most of them and Link has encouraged me to want to learn more. Skiing is one activity I got to do here a lot throughout the whole winter and even the spring. I really enjoy being in the snow but in the area where I lived in Germany, there was barely any snow during the year. In the snow, I didn’t only learn how to safely get down all sorts of terrain in a ski area, I also got to do some backcountry skiing up at the Lost Wonder Hut. There, we also had an avalanche rescue course taught by James which helped me to understand the risks of the backcountry in the winter. It also gave me a better view on how to rescue someone in an avalanche. Climbing used to be an activity that I didn’t like as much in my first year. Mainly because I was scared of heights and didn´t see a purpose in it. In the second year, however, I started to really enjoy it because I decided that I should give it more of a try and it would be a good opportunity for growth. The climbing trip we did in April to Moab was a really special experience because I could feel how much progress I have made. It was a good comparison between the beginning of the year and the end because I hadn’t been able to do some of the routes in the fall but now they felt so approachable. Now, my passion for climbing is really high and I even went on a climbing trip during my senior project window where we got to climb multi-pitch in the middle of the desert in Bluff, Utah.
The things Link has taught me can´t even be all named here because there were just so many of them. Link has definitely brought me closer to nature through all the things we do in it. I had been going into nature to hike but never did activities as fun as climbing, rafting, and skiing. It created new passions for me. Link brought me closer to myself spiritually. The morning spiritual prep, gratitude meetings, or just the time outside really connected me with myself more and brought me steps closer to knowing who I am and who I want to be. It taught me to not only focus on myself but also to focus on helping others and the world. It took a sense of selfishness away from me. Through my experience here, I have become more confident in myself and being around people I don´t know well. Most importantly, Link taught me you are at home wherever you go, no matter the circumstances. I couldn’t be more grateful for all of you donors that made this incredible experience possible for me. Through your support, my life has been changed in so many ways and I am excited to help people change their lives now as well. Through all of your support, my path in life is way more clear now. Thanks so much also for being so caring and loving. It makes me so happy to see that all the people around me changed as well through your generosity. I am deeply thankful for everything you provide for us.
Much thanks, big hugs, and much love, Vincent Geyer
My name is Savannah Tully, but everyone here calls me Sav! I am a senior at Link. I grew up in Northern Indiana in a town called Bristol. I grew up as the youngest of four kids and I was the only child in my Sunday school classes. I attended Kohahna for five years and A/U ranches for two summers as I got older. I was part of the NLC class 2023B and recently graduated! I worked at AU Ranches for my internship summer for NLC where I was a CIT (counselor in training). I was a photographer and I loved every minute. Being at A/U, right next door to The Link School, is where I found out about Link. I immediately fell in love with the campus and head directors, after never hearing about Link before. This upcoming school year I plan to attend Missouri University of Science and Technology to study Biology and minor in Spanish–as well as play division II women’s soccer for them.
While at Link I was given the opportunity to try all sorts of activities including rock climbing and mountain biking. I had never outdoor rock climbed before which was very different from what I was used to as a team sports player. Rock climbing was my first challenge at Link and it started on our first trip to Penitente back in September. Now at the end of the school year I love rock climbing and forever hope to continue my journey and skills because of the support and opportunities in the outdoors on regular climbing schedules and trips. Another challenge I have grown to love would be mountain biking. I had also never ridden a mountain bike before but I joined The Link School mountain biking team. Mountain biking was a very challenging thing for me because it was at high altitude and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I have raced in my first mountain bike race, and I can now say I do enjoy mountain biking as long as it’s not at a racing pace ha-ha.
Other great activities I have been a part of are all of the trips we go on! This semester as a school we traveled to Baja, Mexico for our Spanish trip, The Lost Wonder Hut for our avalanche training, Utah for climbing, repelling, and boating. We also took a senior trip during our project window. Trips at Link have broadened my standards of travel and opened new doors to the beautiful landscapes of other countries as well as states I have never been to. Trips are one of my favorite activities because we get to learn in the outdoors where everything is tangible and bring individual learning to each journey. I also love trips because it brings all the students and staff into one place to share experiences with one another and learn so much about each other.
Being a student at Link and being given the opportunities to be one of the 15 kids here has had a huge impact on me. Before Link I had been pretty reticent with my feelings and schooling. Now I feel as if I have bloomed into a flower who always reaches for the sun. Link has taught me how captivating and empowering learning can be. How cool nature is and how powerful the forces of the outdoors can be–especially as an educator. I am forever grateful for the healings I have had here and finding myself to be the flower I am today with each petal holding a memory or someone dear to me who has given or taught me the world from Link.
Thank you for everything, Sav
My name is Brady Hirsch, I live in The Bay Area, California. This is my second year at The Link School. I graduated this year as a senior. I came to The Link School in my junior year after moving between multiple high schools during my freshman and sophomore years. I struggled in school and with other issues before I arrived at The Link School.
While at Link I have loved to rock climb, ski, kayak, and attend classes. I love the classes James teaches on Monday nights and always find myself learning more about our country and the world and becoming more passionate about things that interest me. My favorite part about Link are the trips we take during the course of the school year. In elementary school, I was part of a Spanish Immersion program where I only spoke Spanish from kindergarten all the way up to 5th grade. With this being a very impactful and key part of my childhood, I was stoked to go on the Baja, Mexico trip this year. That trip was such an incredible experience. I grew so much, not just as a Spanish speaker and student, but as a person as well.
Link has meant so much to me these past two years. Before Link, I had no clue who I wanted to be, or how I wanted to present myself, and I had no self-confidence at all. I have made tremendous strides in all three of these categories in the last two years. Link has had such an impact on my life. Link has grounded me and set me on a track for a better future. Next year I will be attending the University of Arizona and majoring in Nursing. My major could change and I’m okay with that but I also know that I want to make an impact with my life and help people who are less fortunate or in need of care. That is what Link has taught me, that change will always happen but if we stick to our ideals and put our faith in God, we will always end up in a better spot than where we started. I often reminisce on my life before Link and I always come to the same conclusion; The Link School saved my life. And that wouldn’t be possible without all the sponsors we have at Link. Thank you all for your generosity and selflessness.
Thank you, Brady
My name is Kaylah and I am currently a senior at Link School. I have spent most of my life on the West Coast with the last year in Colorado. My love lies in running, climbing, and spending time outdoors – especially in water. I am continuing to follow my love for the outdoors next year as I attend Pepperdine University in California, studying Sustainability. Before Link, I spent most of my time either in school or working – I was truly just bored with life and this is what pushed me to attend Link for my last year of high school. I am grateful that through you, I was able to come to Link and experience all the goodness it has to offer.
My most favorite part of Link is that it has introduced me to so many activities and experiences that I would not have otherwise had. My favorite of these is climbing. Climbing not only is a connection to the natural world but also a connection with a community of like-minded people. Moab, Utah is my most favorite place to climb – it is a place that means a lot to me and I am so lucky that we took so many trips there. Another experience that was truly unforgettable was our trip to Baja, Mexico; from sunsets on the beach to our incredible guides, Axel and Bernardo, this trip was life changing – allowing me space to grow and connect with a part of the world that was previously unknown to me.
But if we are not sea kayaking or climbing 50ft walls, we are back at basecamp, one of my most favorite places to be. The small moments are what truly make Link special – baking brownies, watching silly movies, and playing boot hockey are all beautiful reminders of life’s simplicity. These are the moments that make me feel the most grateful for Link and all the people here, and also what I will miss most once I leave.
Every now and again a person gets a once in a life opportunity – this is what Link was for me. As I move forward into my next chapter, I will always remember my time at Link with endless gratitude in my heart. Link pushed me to be the best version of myself; overcoming fears and striving to always put my best forward. I am thankful to you for allowing me this experience – for setting me on this beautiful journey.
As I reflect on my year, personal healings stand out; these include physical injuries, mostly running related, but also include an abundance of healings of thought. My mindset surrounding life has changed greatly. I go into things expecting good and truly believe that every day is already beautifully wonderful. This is the greatest gift Link has given me and no words could explain my gratitude for this. But suffice it to say I am a better person in having attended Link and I will carry these lessons and goodness with me through my next adventure.
With endless gratitude,
My name is Sky Henderson, but my friends at The Link School call me Cielo, Skyisimo, and Skylar. I was born in Rhode Island and spent the next sixteen years growing up on Bainbridge Island (a small island right outside of Seattle, Washington). At the age of eleven I was a committed soccer player, and continued to play for two teams in my area up until this last year. As much as I was committed to my team, living on a small island was not enough for my developing personality. This realization came to me during Covid, when my old school was experiencing the challenges with online learning. I decided to pack up my island life sophomore year and head to New Zealand alone to continue in person learning in a place where Covid was not yet affecting education. However, once I came back from that life changing abroad, it was hard to fit back into the mundane island schedule. I began surfing and skiing every weekend, and looking for new ways I could continue to entertain myself. Although I was going on new adventures almost every weekend, I began to get lonely doing these activities by myself. A good friend of mine recommended I become a rafting CIT at the Christian Science camp Adventure Unlimited Ranches, and because of this, I found The Link School!
While the last-minute decision to spend my last year before college far away from my family was difficult, it was no doubt the best choice I could have made. One of my favorite classes was practical Spanish with Joel Benson. His enthusiasm with the subject made it a very enjoyable class that pushed me out of my comfort zone. When our school traveled abroad to Baja, Mexico, I got to put my first semester skills into action, which solidified the importance and growing edge I have for learning Spanish.
During residential life on campus some of the activities I most looked forward to were boot hockey and climbing outdoors. At least once a week the school got together in our driveway, despite the weather, and played a goofy version of hockey that always resulted in laughs and smiles. And if the weather was good on Mondays, we would suit up for a day on the rocks! Learning new techniques for climbing was something I strived to learn throughout the year. I loved the feel of being graceful and intentional with nature, and climbing with the Link School never failed to meet my yearn for growth in those areas. Although the busy residential schedule took some time getting used to, I learned that exercise with others is just what I need after a hard day of academics, and seemed to rejuvenate me much more than a good afternoon nap ever could.
Although the academics and residential life kept me engaged, the highlights were definitely trips away from campus. Applying both academics and strategies from residential life to nature and new places was so important for my growth as a senior. My favorite trip was the Slick Rock biking and climbing trip we did in Utah. Biking was a challenging thing for me at the beginning of the year, but after Slick Rock, nobody could tear me away from the newfound joy I had for biking. Despite the cold, I pushed myself and lifted some previous fear of biking and climbing. I think this trip was so impactful because it allowed for an amazing mindset shift that set me up for the whole year. After this trip I was ready to jump into any activity or challenge with full faith of a good outcome, and I am so grateful I could finish the year strong because of the lessons and experiences gained from the Slick Rock trip.
On top of my newfound growth mindset, Link taught me many more physical, spiritual, and mental realities that have me feeling confident to take on the next chapter of my life. I learned important safety guidelines for climbing, backpacking, rafting, and biking that are sure to eliminate overconfidence and potential injury in the future. I also learned ways to approach these difficult activities through keeping a positive mindset and expecting good. These skill sets were easy to obtain as I was surrounded with such a loving group of individuals that seemed to want the same goals as myself. Learning, growing, and loving as much as possible. This is why the Link School will have such a lasting impact on my life. I know there are other kids and supportive adult figures that are always going to be there to learn alongside me. I learned that home is not a place, it is a feeling that is in the people and things all around me. So rather than feeling alone like I did during my adventures pre–Link School, I will always be reassured and guided by the qualities I have learned to identify and express during the year, feeling at home wherever I go.
My name is Sia Balis, I am an Aquarius, and I am from Owings Mills, Maryland. I am a senior and my last high school was an art school. I am a little bit of a city girl, and I thought that’s all I would ever be. My summers at A/U Ranches were brief dreams before I returned to reality. I decided to go to Link in the spring of my junior year after the threat of college kept continually looming and I did not at all feel ready to leave home. I knew that I was academically prepared but I didn’t feel autonomous. I knew it was a possibility, and I was sure that I couldn’t time manage properly or regulate my emotions. Link was perfect because it would push me to grow, but I would also have access to a strong community and loving support.
I am so grateful that I decided to come! We just got back from our river trip, and it was so much fun. Boating was definitely what I was most worried about coming to Link. I’ve always been averse to water and all its uncertainty. Having an overactive imagination doesn’t help. Desolation Canyon was especially daunting because we wouldn’t have access to civilization. In fact, leading up to the trip, I was mentally devising an exit. I am glad that my machinations didn’t bear fruit. I immensely enjoyed the trip. I loved spending time in the rafts, paddling, and the splashy waves. Furthermore, on the trip, I realized my trust and love for my community. I am so grateful that I got pushed out of my comfort circle and that I have a strong, prepared, and loving community to lean on. While my imagination can swirl, I cannot be swayed from my trust for my community and God.
Because of Link, I have a growth mindset. Link has driven growth in my hard skills, confidence, and soul, and deepened my relationship with God. Each morning, spiritual prep set a grounded and loving atmosphere for the day. I took ideas and applied them to what I was working with. Because of program time, I am more confident in my abilities as well as my capability to grow my abilities. For instance, I love rock climbing and I am much stronger, but now I also have the ambition to start lead climbing. Furthermore, my roommate completed a marathon that she started training for in January. I have been inspired by her growth and the multitude of activities and stories of healing. I’ve realized my own capability. I know I can grow, and that hard work creates results. I know it sounds cheesy because these are idioms repeated often, but somehow, I believed that the possibility for growth had skipped me and I simply was stuck. Because of my time at Link, I know that’s not true. I am courageous and sure of my infinite harmony and vitality with God. At Link, I have become an independent and spirited young woman. I have made friendships to last a lifetime. I am so grateful for my time here.
With love and gratitude,
Hello once again faceless stranger who helps pay for this beautiful place!”
My name is Connor Rutledge! You’ve more than likely gotten several letters from me over the years due to me being a 3rd year student. It is currently my goal to make you feel more comical emotions when you read my magnificent article of literature than previous letters, because I feel more comfortable writing these (best read with a medieval gremlin voice for that portrays me perfectly). I now hail from, technically, two states, Florida and Nevada! I’ve got the crazy and reckless abandon from both places. I’m a sculptor, prop maker, animator, and 3 modeler! I’m a jack of all trades master of 1, that being sculpting. I’ve been sculpting for about a decade now, so naturally I am good at it. There is no joke here, I am a good sculptor.
Now, Link’s outdoor activities are magnificently accepting. You’ve never touched a rock before? Well, the Link staff will help you become so passionate about touching rocks in a vertical fashion that you won’t want to stop! I’m talking about climbing. We don’t just climb either, we mountain bike, raft, go canyoneering, and go skiing during the winter! Oh, how I love strapping a plank of wood to my feet and launching myself down a snow covered mountain at 30 miles an hour! That isn’t sarcasm. I quite enjoy snowboarding. I’ve become quite comfortable partaking in these activities, and I’m glad that I have because it’s fun. Mountain biking and climbing are a technical challenge, looking at what is in front of me and trying to find the best path. It’s easier biking because there is this strange thing called a “trail” that tells me where to go, HEY, NO. KEEP READING! I’M NOT CRAZY!
As for the in-campus activities, my artistic talent goes buck wild. I’ve made so many props in the garage, whether it be a hammer, a sword, a flare gun, a bird skull that can be worn as a mask, or a demon with a chainsaw sticking out of their forehead! I have the space and time to indulge my creative urges, as well as show them off. Almost every Friday the students are playing some board game or watching some movie. I usually don’t play with them, I’ll watch and listen while sculpting something, but when I do play, OH BOY, they never stood a chance.
Academically, this is the most I’ve thrived in school. The teachers take the time to talk to the students, help them one on one, and teach quite well. Who knew that smaller class sizes would be better for a learning environment? I did, me! Each teacher has their own teaching styles, whether it’s Ari’s group style of teaching, or Woody’s more hands on and outdoors style of teaching. The homework is fair and sometimes fun to do. I’ve rarely ever felt stressed about turning work in, and when I have it was my fault. The Academics are perfect, and I’m excited for what next year brings!
Link has done so much for me. I entered Link as anti-social, quiet, and quite angry. In the first month alone (3 years ago) I had 15 blow ups, I wasn’t the prettiest flower. Over the course of me being here, that anger still lives in me, but not like that giant inferno it once was. It now rests as a smoldering campfire that’s losing fuel, just as it should be. I’m calmer now. I’ll take jokes as jokes, I’ll listen to criticism, and now I’m the one who is the rock for others to lean on. As for being quiet, I feel like there isn’t anything to say on that matter, just look at how this letter is structured, I’m more outgoing than the squirrel that tried to invade my room! Socially, I’ve improved. I’m not perfect, or the best at talking, but I have made improvements! I’ll actually talk to people and play games instead of brushing them off! That’s an improvement in my book, AND IT’S A VERY GOOD BOOK! It received 4.7 stars on amazon.
All in all, this school is perfect, and I am blessed to have come here. Thank you for your time.
My name is Quintus Weicker and I am a junior at The Link School. I am from Berlin, Germany. I lived my whole life in Berlin. When I was younger, I was in a sea kayaking club, later I played soccer in a club. I’ve been in a private school with just a few students my whole life. Last summer my mom told me about Link. At first, I said no, I felt secure and safe where I was and had a plan for my future. After a lot of thinking and reflection I realized that Link was perfect for me.
With Link I had the opportunity to climb, ski, raft, and bike. Rock climbing was the main activity, but I had never climbed before so that was a challenge, but in the second semester I feel like I improved a lot. Skiing, rafting through rapids and biking on trails was also new to me, but I had a lot of fun practicing these activities with my friends at Link and felting my progress. The residential part was at least as good as the program, with our 2 RA’s and our Residential head, we had a loving and caring team. We went a lot to town and a few times bowling. On the weekend we spent a lot of time together in the living room. The academic part was a lot of fun. Spanish was new for me, but with my funny teacher I learned a lot. I loved using my Spanish in Baja, Mexico. English class was probably the most challenging subject for me. I never had an English class like that but with my supportive and nice teacher I got a lot better.
Link was a very special chapter for me. I learned so many new things, like how to roll a raft. But much more important for me are the people I met. Everyone here is so inspiring, passionate and loving. I learned how important gratitude is, even for the smallest things. I also experienced how important the “Link” with nature is. I loved being on all those trips where we were just in nature where I felt connected. Another impactful thing is the spirituality. My family was always spiritually, but here I experience spirituality in a whole new way. I really like the mindset here, always learning from anything and everyone.
Much Gratitude, Quintus Weicker
My name is Casius Orlet, or Cash Money for short. I am from the beautiful valley of Buena Vista Colorado. I was born at Adventure Unlimited and spent the first eight years of my life playing around with the Ranch hands, climbing at the rock gym and swimming in the crystal blue Sky Valley Lake. After eight fun years of camp and A/U, my dad got a job over at The Link School. He volunteered on trips and worked with the students on improving all their outdoor knowledge. It is the perfect place to call home. Now I get to go to school three minutes away from my house with my dad being the principal and my mom being business manager. I couldn’t ask for anything better.
The activities this year were so much fun. What other school gets to leave classes early on Friday to go skiing at Monarch Mountain? It blows my mind. At the start of the year, I was a part of the mountain bike team. We would go out and practice after classes and ride through the really well-made jumps course we have right in front of school or we would go across the valley and bike at a place called Midland Trails. During the bike season we went to races all over the place like in Eagle, Snowmass, Leadville and a few more. When the season was close to the end, we had state finals. Judges would tally up our scores from all the races and see if we had enough points to make it to state. I ended up making it to state and placed 107th in my division. Rock climbing was also a huge part in The Link program. We went to a ton of different climbing places. Whether it be in Colorado or Utah the progression of climbing never ended. Throughout the year the level of climbing ability grew and grew with each student including myself. I progressed so much that I realized I didn’t have to climb the route as fast as I could. Instead, I made myself take deliberate moves which made me such a better climber and made the climbs themselves feel so good.
Link has done so much for me as a person. I have learned to do so many outdoor related things that will benefit me for the rest of my life. The bonding between the students has been a different experience. There have been so many amazing connections at Link – these people will be in my heart for the rest of my life. Link has also exposed me to some of life’s harder things like high school drama and how to work through it. I am so grateful to be able to call this place my school. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be immersed in such an educational , spiritual and expedition-based place to learn in and be in.
My name is Joseph Burr, I am 20 years old I come from Los Angeles. I was born in Colombia where I lived a poor neighborhood. I did not go to school at that time, but in 2011 I got adopted by a beautiful family in New York. Their names are Chandler Burr and Noe Gill Vale. I did not speak English at all but my dads’ taught me and my brother how to speak English. When I learned how to speak English, I was in 3rd grade, and I keep on studying it. When I finished 8th grade, I did not want to go to the high school in New Jersey. Instead, I came to Link School. I keep asking this question to myself “who am I?”. I understand now that I am a kind person, respectable person, funny, and learning when to focus and not fool around.
What I really like most about Link is how the teachers are trying to help you as much as possible and not to let me fail their classes. I like the activities here in the 2022-20223 year. We went on a lot of trips that taught me how to be a leader. Our school went on an international trip to Baja, Mexico. It taught me how to practice more Spanish, how to communicate with people and understand their situations.
Link means to me that this is your family for the school year, and you will love this community as much as you can. Understand that they push you to all the limits to be a better person from where you started to how you ended. Link gives so many opportunities and teaches you to not give up on yourself. It teaches you to surround yourself with amazing people so you can reach your goal. Link taught me to fully understand who I am and see how far I have reached this year.
Thank you, Joseph
My name is Wade Massey, and I am from the Suburbs of New York City. I decided to attend Link after working at A/U last summer, and my year here has been everything I had hoped for and more. I chose to go to Link at the very end of my time at A/U because it felt like a right idea. I wanted to learn more about myself and spend more time doing outdoor activities. I always grew up being adventurous, but I never had the outlet to pursue interests like climbing, camping, or biking. Link has turned these interests into what I hope will be lifelong pursuits and has helped me better see the beauty of life in the process. In the past, I have been a smart student but had a poor work ethic which has been a detriment to me. With more engaging classes, fewer distractions, and less time to procrastinate, Link has made me into a much more disciplined person both inside and outside of the classroom. The other day I was going through the Link outcomes in my head and realized that Link had done such a good job of instilling them in me whether it be spiritual seeking or a growing edge, they will be things that I carry for the rest of my life.
The true value of Link is in the tangible and intangible life skills you learn, like being able to cook and love everyone around you… at the same time! But seriously the two go hand in hand, like while climbing and learning how to be safe while doing so. I’m learning how to leave my comfort zone comfortably. When I find something that I’m passionate about like climbing, the support is also there to take the time to help me learn more. For most of the second semester, two other students and I took a guiding course with James twice a week where we learned about the guiding mindset, and lots of climbing-specific things like anchors, pickoffs, and cam placements. Being able to do things like that only makes me more confident in my ability, passionate about what I’m doing, and sure that I will be safe doing activities in the future. One of the other most important things I did this year was learn how to manage my time efficiently. Having what feels like complete agency over how I spend my non-program time is both refreshing and empowering in the sense that I get to choose how to invest in myself, and invest I did. I got to pursue things I never thought I would, like beginning to get my Colorado real estate license, or day trading in study hall when I had no school work to do. These activities are such a cool thing to be able to support because Link, through you, has opened up a whole new world of passion and joy for me that I may have never found.
This year has changed me for the better as a person, I better know who I am, what is important to me, and what isn’t. My values have changed since coming here, and I have a much better and more mature outlook on the world around me. Thank you so much for making this growth possible, and I know I speak for everyone when I say how incredibly grateful, we are for the incredible staff and donors that allow us to ski and have a Spanish test on the same day.
Thank you, Wade
My name is Maya Welch and I am a sophomore here at Link. I am from the wonderfully small town of Buena Vista, Colorado, and have lived here my whole life. BV is known for the immense amount of outdoor activities that are available to all outdoor enthusiasts including: rafting, climbing, hiking, skiing, and more. Being raised in BV, I learned to love and admire the outdoors at a very young age. My family constantly took us outside to just enjoy ourselves. I consider myself a very academic person, but the thought of spending five days a week inside a classroom for six to eight hours was always a terrible thought. I went to a small Christian school that’s in town that incorporates outdoor activities into its program which I immediately fell in love with. Knowing that my high school experience wouldn’t end up like that devastated me. When I found out about Link and that I had an opportunity to go there for my freshman year, I immediately said yes to it, knowing it was the right decision for me. Ever since I have not regretted my decision.
There is an abundance of things that we get to do at Link, which is why it is such an incredibly unique school. In the classroom, we do all sorts of projects and hands-on learning. When we were finishing up our biology unit on the Web of Life, we went to my family farm to go see the animals and learn how unique each animal is and the different necessities they would need to live. We also in that class, took care of a greenhouse and planted plants and watched them grow and mature. Our science teacher is very passionate about it and because of his passion, we were able to learn so much with a matched enthusiasm. But not all our classes are in a classroom or on campus for that matter. Almost every month is a new trip to do some activity. While we are on these trips, we have class time and learn just as much outside as we would in a classroom. In March we had our spring break canyoneering trip. Half of that trip it was rainy and really bad weather, so we couldn’t climb like we wanted to. One of the days, we decided to go to a dinosaur museum that was right outside of Moab. There, while it was raining, we walked around outside looking at the life size sculptures of dinos, learning about their habitats, when they lived, and truly how big or small they were. It was an incredible experience that I would not have gotten if I didn’t attend this school.
Of course, here at this school the academics and the outdoor activities are amazing and enough to make any teen want to go to high school here. But after being here, I’ve learned that those aren’t even the best parts of this school. The best part isn’t something that is advertised by almost any school and even for Link it isn’t that advertised. Because how can you? The best part about this school is the close knit community of students and staff. The community this year has been impeccable. We all love, support, laugh, and care for each other. It’s like having a second family. The amount of memories that I have created with this community is way too many to count. Every single day brings something new, and whether it is good or bad, this community tackles it and makes the day ours. That’s why I love them so much. Never once has there been a day that threw all of us off track. Even when our Peru trip was canceled last minute and moved to Baja, we took it with grace and quickly adjusted. We had just as much fun down there, if not more, than we would’ve had in Peru. One of our community principles this year was Ubuntu. Ubuntu means, “I am because we are.” I think that is the most perfect word for this community. Each of us has grown, changed, and become the person we want to be because of this amazingly unique community. I don’t think anyone could ask for much more than that.
I want to thank you for donating to this school for giving me and the rest of us this once in a lifetime experience. If it weren’t for your generosity, I would be sitting in a classroom right now doing school work, instead of sitting here typing this to show my infinite gratitude to someone who changed my life without truly knowing it. So, thank you for your donations so that this school can continue to teach, create, and inspire more students to come.
My name is Kailey Shepard, and I joined Link at the end of the first semester. I am from Wisconsin and have lived there almost my entire life, but I have gone to around ten schools. At the beginning of this year, I started attending a different boarding school in Colorado, but soon after left to go to treatment. Only a few weeks after leaving treatment, I switched to Link. The beginning of the year and this transitional period were a tough patch in my life. Before coming to Link, I had been passionate about lacrosse and volleyball. I have always been a city girl and have never had experiences with the outdoors until Link.
Coming to Link has opened so many doors to things I never thought about doing in my life. Skiing was something I knew more about than anything else, but I was never an avid skier. As far as climbing goes, I had only ever climbed indoors, and I knew nothing about climbing in general. Every activity Link offered was highly new to me, and I was terrified. After attending Link for the rest of the year now, I have gotten more acquainted with each of the activities and immersed myself in the new skills. The things we experience at Link were never on my mind; it is a whole new skill set and pathway. While almost everything we have done at Link has been out of my comfort zone, the new experiences are things I have grown to appreciate, even the ones that still make me nervous. Going into these things knowing nothing about it is very intimidating, but there are so many supportive people around in the process. Whether I was getting a helping hand from students or staff, there was always a supportive helping hand. Not only in activities but academics and day-to-day as well. Link has a different schedule than most school’s and that was an adjustment, but through the transition, the staff was very patient and willing to guide me through the transition. Since Link is such a small community, there is a closeness that, in all aspects, is essential. In classes, for instance, so much more learning is done with a smaller class, and it also makes it easier to engage and feel comparable in classes. The support and love in the community through all of this is so present.
Coming to Link was very hard for me and not something I ever anticipated, but I have grown to learn so much in my time at Link. I see the world with different eyes, I have a new sense of how grateful I am for the small thing that is often overlooked. Link is a beautiful community that has had so much laughter and love in it. I have experienced many schools, and none of them have been like Link. It is a whole new world and experience and one I will forever hold with me and think back to. The energy at Link is just immaculate because everyone truly wants to be here for this experience and to learn and grow with each other. We share so much love in this community. Any average high school does not create connections like the ones Link does. I have never laughed so much with my own teachers before. The personal level that I feel with the staff here is so unique, and I wish every school had that closeness. Even through stressful, scary experiences, with everyone’s support, anything can be enjoyable here at Link.