JPII Outdoor Lab inspires youth to an authentic relationship with Christ, themselves, others, and Creation
by the union of faith and science
through environmental science programs, outdoor expeditions, and Catholic leadership retreats.
Founded in 2008, the JPII Outdoor Lab lives within the mission of Christ by offering superior environmental science teaching, catechesis of Sacred Scripture, and by giving students the opportunity to encounter Christ through His creation and the Sacraments.
- Serving over 700 students with over 2000 camper days.
- Currently serving 22 schools in the Archdioceses of Denver and Colorado Springs.
- The only program to blend faith and science in such a harmonious and academic way!
In the beginning, there were four unblemished relationships…
- relationship between man and God
- man with himself
- man with others
- man with creation
After the fall of Adam and Eve, these relationships were broken. Even now, we can see how these four relationships are in need of healing and restoration. There is hope! At the JPII Outdoor Lab, we strive to connect youth to the heart of God and help them see that through Jesus Christ, these four relationships have been redeemed and reconciled. Through Jesus, we can reconnect with the heart of Our Father, realize the beautiful identity that God has given us, love others fully, and care for creation as God intended in the beginning.
“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.”
“It is necessary to awaken again in believers a full relationship with Christ, mankind’s only Savior. Only from a personal relationship with Jesus can an effective evangelization develop.”
– St. Augustine
Faith & Reason
Fides et Ratio, an encyclical letter written by Pope John Paul II, teaches that faith and reason work together in the journey towards God. At the JPII Outdoor Lab we use reason to study the science that God has revealed to us. With our hearts, we learn about the great love that God has for us. Through the coordination of faith and science, the JPII Outdoor Lab offers content that reveals the truth of God’s love within all of His creation. It is this love and this curriculum that enables us to soar to the heights of holiness and happiness.
“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.” – St. John Paul II
Julie brings over 20 years’ experience as a high school teacher, leader, and coach to the JPII Outdoor Lab. She also has experience with program and curriculum development, implementation, presentation, and administration. Julie has a passion for Catholicism and for leading young people closer to Jesus Christ through His church and the outdoors. She has a desire to help Catholics understand the truth and beauty of their faith. Her love of the great outdoors stems from her countless hours of triathlon training and love of sports.
Lead Field InstructorLogan grew up on a farm just outside of Wichita, KS. He graduated from Newman University with a degree in Biology in 2013 and completed his graduate studies at The Augustine Institute in 2015 where he received a Masters in Theology. Logan was previously a parish youth minister and has experience teaching within the classroom as well as outside the classroom. Logan combines his passion for ministry and evangelization with science and adventure as he leads youth at the JPII Outdoor Lab to a deeper understanding of God’s love.
Lead Field InstructorAnna grew up in Washington, DC, although she calls the mountains home. She graduated from the University of Colorado in 2013. After teaching for seven summers at Telluride Academy, an outdoors school and backcountry camp, and three years at a service and adventure program for high school students, she longed to be able to share her faith with students. Anna is thankful to unite her passion for the outdoors with her love for and the adventure with Christ.
Corinne Thomas, PhD
Dr. Thomas is originally from St. Louis, MO. She attended Edgewood College of the Sacred Heart for her undergraduate, and received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin. She has worked as a teacher, researcher, and professor of Biological Sciences for over 35 years. Corinne’s love of creation and outdoor adventure brought her to the Rocky Mountains. As a retired JPII Outdoor Lab instructor, she remains involved as a guest instructor and consultant. In her free time, Corinne volunteers with Rocky Mountain National Park, explores local trails with her poodles, and has many adventures with the Estes Park “Sometimers.”
JPII Outdoor Lab has partnered with Tomahawk Ranch in Bailey, CO to host its school camps, science programs, and leadership courses.
Backpacking expeditions, pilgrimages, and hut trips take place in a variety of areas within the Rocky Mountains.