Our Mission

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 eight years ago, 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 1,000 students in the 2015/2016 school year with 3,474 days at camp.
  • Currently serving 22 schools in the Archdiocese of Denver and within the Diocese of 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…

  • relationships 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 look around us and see how these four relationships are broken. But 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 have the great ability to reconnect with the heart of Our Father, to realize the beautiful identity that God has given to us, to love others fully, and for us to care for God’s creation as He 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.” – St. Augustine

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 is Latin for Faith and Reason. Fides et Ratio is an encyclical, a letter to the people of the world, written by St. John Paul II. In this letter, he teaches that faith and reason work together in the journey towards God. At the JPII Outdoor Lab we use our reason to study the science that God has revealed to us and using our hearts, we learn about the great love that God has for us. With 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

Our People

Sandy Harem

Sandy Harem

Program Director

Sandy brings practical and real world knowledge into the JPII Outdoor Lab curriculum with her experience of 16 years as a Civil Engineer in Water Resources and Environmental Science.  In addition, Sandy provides her love of teaching and faith formation for young people through her degree in secondary Science Education, 8 years of teaching science and math, her experience teaching Expeditionary Learning and Outward Bound, and her 6 years in youth ministry.

Logan Winter

Logan Winter

Youth Leader

Logan 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.

Anna Steuart

Anna Steuart

Media & Design

Anna 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.

Bridget Webster

Bridget Webster

Youth Leader

Bridget has worked as a volunteer and staff member with JPII Outdoor Lab since it was founded.  After receiving a degree from the University of Portland, Bridget has pursued careers in Catholic ministry.  She brings her experience in youth ministry, work with youth and adults with disabilities, social services, and non-profit office administration to the team. She now lives in New Mexico, working with the author of the “Beginning Apologetics” series, but continues to work as a member
Corinne Thomas, PhD

Corinne Thomas, PhD

Curriculum Developer

Dr. Thomas is originally from St. Louis, MO and 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 of years. After retirement, Corinne’s love of creation and outdoor adventure brought her to the Rocky Mountains. Corinne dedicates her time to JPII Outdoor Lab as our resident curriculum developer and teacher. On 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”.

Locations

JPII Outdoor Lab hosts its backpacking expeditions, pilgrimages, and hut trips in a variety of areas within the Rocky Mountains

For its camps, science programs, and leadership courses, JPII Outdoor Lab has partnered with Camp Santa Maria and Buckhorn Camp for the use of their camp property to conduct our programs. All of the properties that JPII Outdoor Lab uses to conduct its programs allow for many opportunities to encounter God and to learn much from the customized curriculum that JPII Outdoor Lab provides.

Camp Santa Maria

Camp Santa Maria

Buckhorn Camp

Buckhorn Camp