Dear Sponsor Letters- December 2023
Please enjoy these heartfelt letters of gratitude from our Year 16 students.
My name is Maya Welch from Buena Vista, CO, I am 17 years old. This is my third year here at Link. I’ve lived here in BV my whole life. I come from a very outdoorsy family, one who took me camping long before I could walk. Throughout my life, I’ve gone climbing, rafting, biking, and snowboarding. When I was in 8th grade, I was trying to find a high school to go to that wasn’t a public high school. Being from a really small town, public school seemed to be the only option. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks before I started my freshman year that I heard about The Link School. A small community, outdoor, experiential education school on a mountain campus? I immediately applied without a second thought.
There are many things that are valuable here at Link. Amazing trips, great education, loving community, thoughtful spiritual guidance, what more can you ask for? Most people spend a lifetime getting these experiences whereas I’ve only had to spend a couple years. Here at Link, you get once in a lifetime opportunity that seem unbelievable. Such as Swiftwater rescue class, bike-packing, swimming with sea lions, having fun conversations in Spanish with your teacher, seeing how science applies to the real world and so so much more. The best part about all that though? The fact that you get to do it with the most loving, supporting, humorous, and unique group that I’ve ever come across. Everyone always brings themselves to what we are doing, making it diverse, interesting, and so much more fun. We share laughs, insights, knowledge, or just plain old fun facts with each other. It truly makes those experiences a hundred times better.
I could go on and on about what Link has done for me. Of course, I won’t because my hands may truly fall off from cramping. But I will share the most useful and meaningful thing Link has done for me. Link has taught me to be a leader. However, not a leader who is bossing people around, telling them what to do and how to do it, or just being in charge of everything, but a quiet leader. A leader who is there to support others, offer advice and help, to lead others in the right direction, and to not make everyone else do the work, but help out in every hard or easy area possible. Link has taught me that you don’t have to be a loud voice that everyone should hear. But rather, a quiet one in the background ready to catch you if ever you should fall. I believe this is the type of leadership that we need more of in this world, and I am so incredibly grateful Link has shown me this way of leadership.
Thank you so much for supporting our school. So many of us, including myself, would not be here if you weren’t. Link is an amazing opportunity to anyone who comes here, and I am so incredibly grateful that I get to come to school here and share these experiences with so many wonderful people.
With much gratitude,
My name is Sage Fleener, I am an 18-year-old senior here at Link School. I am an avid fisherman, herpetologist, and musician. I play drums and piano, I rap and I sing a little. I am currently a boarding student, but I live in California near San Francisco. I am a hardcore Golden State Warriors basketball team fan, and I love playing basketball and other sports such as soccer, football, and baseball.
I have been attending Link for this whole first semester, and one of the many things that is particularly valuable to me is the friendships I have built both with the students and staff. These are some of the deepest friendships I’ve ever had, and my friends are the kind of friends that I know I can lean on for support, advice, and comfort. When I first started attending Link, I had come from a big public high school with 1200 students. Link School was a huge change from that. Now I have a small family community that cares about me. And that is something I find very valuable.
Link School has caused me to become more physically active than ever. Every single day, there’s some kind of physical activity whether it be biking, skiing, rock climbing, running or a group game, Link school has caused me to get active and learn new skills that are likely going to be very useful later in my life. Back home in California, there’s no snow to ski in and before I started attending Link school, I hadn’t done much rock climbing, and I was scared to ride a 2 wheel bike after a fall 10 years ago. Now, I’m learning new skills, and I’m enjoying life more.
Once again, thank you so much for donating money to this wonderful school experience.
I want to start this letter off by sharing with you my immense gratitude for you. Without your support, I never would’ve been able to attend The Link School. My name is Sonya Stewart, I’m from Durango Colorado. This is my second year here at The Link School. I went here as a freshman and now I am a junior. This year, gratitude has been such a huge theme of my life and I’m so happy I get to share my thanks with you! I cherish the opportunity to be here at Link more than anything.
Here at Link, I find great value in all of the things we do. I love the program activities. Every day I am constantly growing and stepping out of my comfort zone. One of my favorite experiences here was our thirteen-day October trip. We biked on the Kokopelli trail for three days, took a Swiftwater Rescue class for five days and rock climbed for four days. It was such a unique experience to spend all that time in the desert with my friends, and our wonderful staff who truly made the trip so peaceful. Another aspect of Link I wouldn’t trade for anything, is the spiritual growth we are encouraged to partake in. Everyday at Link there are new opportunities to connect with God and expand our understanding of Him. Residential life at Link is such a unique experience, getting to have roommates, as well as spending time with the rest of the community builds such great social skills.
The friends I have made here at Link, both my first year and this current year, are truly lifelong. The people who come to Link are some very special people, and the staff here are truly one of a kind. Everyone here has their own unique traits and attributes that make them who they are. Link allows everyone to express themselves and uniquely, and encourages us to develop a deeper understanding of who we are. This allows us to gain a better sense of self. Link has taught me so many valuable life lessons and has made me into the person I am today. Every part of this school is meaningful and will hold a special place in my heart forever. All the people I have met, everyone I have interacted with, all the challenges and the victories. I truly am so grateful for my experience here at The Link School.
Earlier in this letter I spoke about gratitude. Link teaches us to be grateful for even the smallest things, the early morning sunsets, getting to laugh with your friends while huddled around a campfire, eating dinner together while reminiscing about memories from trips. My favorite memories in my life, come from Link, and the people who I have met here and the experiences I have gained. I am so truly grateful for everyone here, and for this school. I am also so grateful for you, because you made this possible. Thanks to you, I have grown so much in my spiritual understanding, in my sense of self, and I have developed lifelong friends and skills. My heart is so full of thankfulness for your selflessness and for making this school a possibility for me. I am forever grateful.
My name is Connor Rutledge. You have been receiving letters from me for the past 3 years. This is my 7th letter, and I’m still excited to write it. I hail from both Nevada and Florida, having lived with my Nana up until two years ago. I enjoy sculpting, prop making, longboarding, and petting my cat for religious amounts of time.
It is possible to put everything I find value in with Link into this letter, but then it would become 50 pages and crash your computer. For now, I am going to list only 3. The connection to spirituality everyone has here is astounding, and how much it’s actually integrated into the school is spectacular. Every morning there is a 20-minute-long spiritual prep, whether it’s reading this week’s lesson, listening to a lecture, guided meditation, or just journaling. It’s a consistent start to the day that I have learned to respect. When it comes to schooling however, I have literally never gone to a better school. The teachers actually care about what they are teaching, the class sizes are smaller so the teachers can focus on individual students, and the homework is manageable. I find myself most days looking forward to going to class, the teachers make it interesting. The afternoon activities are some of my favorite parts of the day. Tuesday and Thursday there is project time where we get to work on a project for the entire year. At the end of the year, we present what we worked on and show our progress. It is genuinely my favorite part of the week. I get to go wild with my creative desires and make what I want for an entire year, and then people have to watch me talk about it! It’s perfect for my minor narcissism.
What this school has done for me cannot be understated. I entered this school in my freshman year as an antisocial, volatile, unhygienic atheist who trusted no one. I hated water, mountain biking was a chore, climbing was dumb. I was a wreck of a human. As I have attended, slowly my antisocial nature has dwindled. I enjoy talking and being around people, seeking it out most of the time. I’ve learned how to talk through emotions and de-escalate a situation before reacting.
Link has taught me to trust the people around me, to understand that not everyone wants to hurt me. I’ve learned to open up to people and in turn, they open up back to me. Am I fully vulnerable? Heavens no, but I’m learning. My childhood wasn’t the greatest. Over time, I’ve slowly found my way back to Christian Science, in no small part thanks to Link. There now isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t thank God for putting me here. Link has changed my life for the better and I cannot be more grateful. Thank you for believing in this school enough to financially support it, I would not be where I am today without Link.
With best wishes,
My name is Brianna, everyone here calls me Bri, and I’m from San Diego, California. I loved everything about my life in San Diego, but I was itching for something more. This is my first year at Link, I’m a senior, I joined mid-semester, kind of out of the blue, and I’m so grateful I did.
I find everything that we do here so valuable. Whether it’s boot hockey in the snow or kayaking down the Green River, I cherish it all. Some of my highlights so far are rock climbing in Moab, Swiftwater training on the Green River and the small class sizes. Before I came to Link, I didn’t really climb, though I always wanted to. Having the opportunity to climb every week since I’ve been here, and then being able to go to a super famous climbing spot has been absolutely incredible. On that same trip, we did Swiftwater training where I got to learn valuable water safety and put it into practice. These are things I never would have been able to do if I didn’t come here. These, along with much more, are activities and knowledge that I want to keep with me throughout my life. Another aspect of Link life that I find super cool is the small class sizes. Coming from a big high school, I never got one-on-one time with my teachers, and I was able to coast by without getting too involved in class. Here, I get to actively participate and have my voice heard all while getting to know my teachers on a more personable level. I have always been a good student, but I get to thrive here and grow more than I ever could have imagined.
Despite all of these cool things, what drew me to come here was spiritual seeking. This summer I got inspired at a CS camp and was compelled to learn more, and I was searching for ways to do it and luckily, I found Link at the perfect time. I have been able to do this by taking advantage of our daily Spiritual Prep, our access to a Practitioner of the Month and small discussions with staff members when I have a question. Even though my spiritual seeking was my main reason for coming here, Link has given me so much more in addition. I love the people I have met and the community here. There’s never a time when we’re not joking around (unless it’s a safety talk) and I feel comfortable to be myself. I have also already made friendships that I know will last a lifetime. Not only have I made lasting relationships with other people, but I also feel more solid about who I am as a person. I know what I want to study, what I hope to do in life, and how I want to impact others.
The people, program, academics, and spiritual seeking have all impacted me greatly, and for that I am eternally grateful.
My name is Casius Orlet. I am the son of the almighty James Orlet, the director of The Link School. This is my 2nd year here at Link and I am a sophomore. I am from Colorful Colorado and the one and only, Buena Vista. I was born in staff housing over at Adventure Unlimited and spent the first 8 years of my life riding horses and playing in the mud with my yellow dump trucks. Soon after I turned eight years old, my dad decided to take an official job over at The Link School. I have lived here with my brother Heath and mom and dad Jessie and James since I was in second grade. We have two cats, Menace and Barney. We have a dog named Bruce and two horses named Disco and Mini. I could not ask for a better life.
The activities this year have been phenomenal. Towards the end of the summer, I got the climbing fever. I live, breathe and move rock climbing. There is nothing I would rather be doing than climbing. I am usually a very fast paced kind of person. I love doing fast sports, but climbing instantly hooked me. Being deliberate is what I really like. Having flow while you glide across the rock surface, there is nothing like it. This October we went on an amazing 2 week climbing, biking and boating trip. It was stunning. We started biking a trail called the Kokopelli. The trail in total is 142 miles long and we went about 60 or so miles on it. We got to stay at beautiful campsites and sleep under the craziest night sky I had ever seen. Next, we went boating. We did a Swiftwater training course for about 3 days. The rest was spent boating in inflatable kayaks or regular plastic kayaks. We practiced keeping our balance and navigating white water. The final few days were spent swinging off of an arch formation called Looking Glass Arch and climbing on some of the most famous climbing routes in the world, Wall street. Since then, winter weather set in so now we have had to climb indoors in the Adventure Unlimited rock gym. Which is not what I prefer but still love.
Link has done so much for me as a learner. I think it’s the greatest thing in the world that I get to go to a school that explores my interests every single day. Link has done so much for me as a student as well. Back in middle school I would barely get by. Back then a C+ was good. But now I have A’s in all my classes and am having so much fun learning all the subjects. Link has also done so much for me when it comes to Christian Science. I have grown so much through this practice and will continue to turn to it for the rest of my life. Christian Science has helped me through so much. I have learned to not let pain get to me or fear. I used to be so scared of heights but now I want to go climb EL Capitan, the world’s greatest big wall. Towering a whooping 3,000 feet above the valley floor. I have learned to be able to adapt when it comes to friends. This year we have a bunch of different personalities and I have gotten better at adapting to them and trying and make more connections with people. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to come back to this jaw dropping school and explore my limitlessness.
Hello! My name is Bridger Hinchman, and I’m a junior at The Link School. I was originally born in Charlevoix Michigan, and now live in Elsah, Illinois. Well, when I’m not at The Link School, that is.
A little fun fact is that I came to Link at the start of this school year, application only and no visit. I was coming in blind to a place I had only heard about. But the moment I got here, I knew it was the right fit. When all of the current students and staff came out to meet all of the new students, including myself, it was amazing getting to see the welcoming community that I was about to spend the next school year with. One of the older returning students came out to greet me and showed me around campus. After he showed me around the school, we went upstairs into the lodge and instantly got into some community bonding time with everyone. After he had shown me around and we hung out with the group a bit more, I’m pretty sure I said, “I think I’m gonna like this place”. The thing that I instantly loved after that first night, was the community. Everyone was having an amazing time, making jokes, and connecting with each other. After dinner, I got to get to know my roommate a bit, and we were able to set up the space to our liking. Everyone that night was amazing, and getting to know them all was awesome.
After my time spent here at Link, there are a number of things that I’ve gotten to experience that not everyone gets to. For starters, our first trip of the school year was all 3 things we get to do in the outdoors combined! Rock climbing, rafting, and mountain biking! The skills that were taught to us on that first trip was just a teaser of what was to come down the line. And now that I have received even more instruction and improved on my skills in all areas, I feel confident that everything that I have learned will for sure benefit my life for the long run. Growing up, I’ve usually been someone who doesn’t always love the outdoors. Thanks to my parents, and Link, that has been entirely flipped around! I get to do outdoor activities, while still getting a great education, both at school, and in the field! Our trips have allowed me to view the outdoors in a different way than it just being there for us to take advantage of. I’ve been able to now see it as an outlook on life. Something to expand my thought with and take in the environment around me.
Sponsor, thank you once again for making this school possible for us to come to! Your gracious support to our school does not go unnoticed!