All posts filed under: Donor Development

“SMC had a baby!” An interview with Kristen and John about having a baby at SMC

By Whitney Trotta // It was a lovely summer afternoon in the mountains at SMC. The rain had passed through earlier, and with the sun back out, it was only a little wet sitting down on the bench beneath some Ponderosa Pines. Kristen and John graciously agreed to be interviewed the week before they were due. I was curious about how they felt about raising a child at Shambhala Mountain Center—and what got them here in the first place! Whether you know John and Kristen personally or not, you’ll enjoy getting to know them here. Whitney: Tell me about your first time at SMC! John: It was a weekend in July 2000. Noel, myself and another friend were on an exodus trip from Madison, Wisconsin to Northern California. We had a friend volunteering here (at SMC) for the summer and stopped in just to visit him. We stayed a couple of days—it was great! We continued on our way, and as the summer panned out, California did not pan out. So my buddy said “Hey, …

SMC Garden Alchemy: The Life & Times of Zukes & Cukes

By Arli Brundage // Gardening is a meditative practice. The process of preparing garden beds, planting seeds, watering and harvesting is much like the art of mindful living. Gardening reminds us to be intentional. We’re perpetually planting seeds through our actions, though it takes dedication and discipline to cultivate our ideas and actually see the fruit of our labor. Often, we visualize abundant ambitions, though lack the necessary steps to see growth. “Faith, like a mustard seed, moves mountains” is an applicable idiom. It is amazing, edging on miraculous, to place tiny seeds in fertile soil and with the nourishment of sun and water, see them fulfill their destiny. Consider what type of seeds you are planting in your life. Contemplate what daily steps are necessary to see those dreams come to life. Our geodesic dome greenhouse presently houses 4 koi fish, tomato plants in abundance, numerous newly planted cukes and zukes, and hundreds of seedlings, eagerly awaiting to be transplanted into the spaciousness of the garden, after the last frost. The cucumbers and zucchini …

How Sydney Bridges became SMC’s Tent Master Extraordinaire

By Whitney Trotta // We all have a unique story—a path that led us to where we are today. This is the story of how Sydney Bridges, the man from England who is a self-taught engineer, with a PhD in Chemistry and Master’s degrees in Computer Science and Public Health, became the Tent Master Extraordinaire at Shambhala Mountain Center. It was a wintry May afternoon (gotta love “spring in the Rockies!”), when I sat down with Syd. I was ready for a long conversation, prepared with a cup of tea (English breakfast, of course), and a pen and paper in hand, ready to record Syd’s story. With a resume like Syd’s, it’s clear he has accomplished a lot. And so I had to ask, What brought a British man with a PhD and engineering experience to SMC? He began the story this way: In 1996, I first became a US resident when I came to work in New Jersey. My job in England had finished, and there was a similar project in New Jersey, and …

Land Stewardship

A Conversation about Caring for the Land

Mac McGoldrick and Laura Booth talk about helping the land heal after a year of construction and forestry projects.  Mac is SMC’s Senior Director of Master Planning and Project Management, and Laura joined his team this spring as the new Land Steward. First of all, welcome to SMC, Laura! Would you mind sharing what made you want to live and work here? Laura: I feel all the work I’ve been doing up until now has led me to this point. It’s really exciting to have a vision and do such important work towards our goals! It’s thrilling to be a part of something that has so much potential.  How did it feel for you both the first time you stepped foot onto the land here at SMC? Laura: Several years ago I came to SMC just for the day to see the Stupa. It was shocking to see such a massive and incredible Stupa hidden away in the middle of the mountains, not that far from Fort Collins. Being at the Stupa was so uplifting. …

Relief and Restoration: SMC, A Surprising Salve

By David Schreier, Member of SMC’s Governing Council // It’s been a tough couple of years. Both my temporal and spiritual worlds have been shaken to the core. First, my temporal world was turned upside down by the new political administration in Washington, D.C. And while it would normally have been a reliable refuge from conventional misery, my spiritual world was then rocked by allegations of clerical misconduct and abuse of power. It’s been hard for me to find much to feel good about in either of these realms these days. I’ve experienced a quality of depression and groundlessness that I’ve never felt before; I’ve felt like a leaf blowing and drifting with nowhere to land. Watching the news has become too much to bear, and it’s been nearly impossible to find my practice mind. It was in this context of sadness that I traveled to Shambhala Mountain Center in early April 2019. The land was transitioning from winter to spring – muddy trails, patches of snow, running streams, and meadows coming back to life. …