By Beth Buehler
Take gatherings with a spiritual or religious focus to higher realms when meeting in Colorado, literally. It’s amazing what mountains, peaceful places, friendly towns and fantastic facilities can do to energize groups seeking to grow and share faith. I’ve been fortunate to visit many of these places, talk with staff and converse with planners who have hosted spiritual or religious retreats, events and meetings in the state.
All in One Place
Frontier Ranch near Buena Vista has all groups needs on several acres situated in a private, forested setting, including meeting and event space, lodging, delicious food and activities galore like a zipline, game room, outdoor arena, hot springs pool, hiking trails and more. Erase the thought of rustic from your mind, as Frontier Ranch does it right with top-notch facilities and has a Western/mountain feel. Owned by Young Life, the organization rents its facilities when not in use for its own camps and gatherings.
YMCA of the Rockies owns and operates Estes Park Center YMCA and Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby. Like Frontier Ranch, everything a group needs, from entertaining activities and function space for all sizes of groups to a helpful staff and a variety of lodging options like cabins, lodge rooms, yurts and campsites, is right there. An added blessing is proximity to great Colorado towns like Estes Park and Winter Park.
Back to School
CRU (previously known as Crusade for Christ) has held its biannual summer meeting for approximately 5,000 attendees, and the training workshops and meetings held in the weeks leading up to the event, in Fort Collins since the 1970s. CRU17, like events prior, will be based on the Colorado State University campus and utilize nearby schools, churches and a wide range of lodging throughout the community in addition to CSU dormitories. The operations manager of the event notes that Visit Fort Collins and the conference services staff at CSU treat CRU like family and CRU staff measure how many months or years of their life that they have “lived” in Fort Collins, as some stay up to five or six weeks per summer.
Colorado has many other great universities and colleges, such as University of Denver, that have the most availability during summer months (especially if lodging is needed), but rent venue space throughout the year.
Hotel & Ranch Convenience
If a full-service hotel is more amenable to what your group is looking for, there is a wide range of price points, property sizes and surroundings, from mountains and foothills to cities and plains. If youth and families are along for the trip, book a property with a pool, game room and places to roam like Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center and Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Destination Colorado has several hotel and ranch members from Denver to Grand Junction ready to assist spiritual and religious meeting and event planners.
Don’t forget to tap into the destination where the gathering is held. While at Frontier Ranch for example, stop by downtown Buena Vista to see the renaissance going on there with new shops, restaurants and more and book a rafting trip with local outfitters. Colorado Springs is the headquarters location for well-known religious entities such as Focus on the Family, Young Life, The Navigators and more and is well versed at hosting spiritual and religious gatherings. Properties like Hotel Eleganté Conference & Event Center, The Broadmoor, Cheyenne Mountain Resort and The Antlers, A Wyndham Hotel can help deliver a memorable gathering, and the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitor Bureau is well-versed in options available. Don’t miss seeing the beautiful chapel at the Air Force Academy while there.
Peaceful and invigorating places are Colorado’s specialty, perfect for all sizes and types of spiritual and religious retreats and gatherings.
Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado in all seasons.