As Students Head for the Backcountry, WCC Launches Annual “Spring Break Campaign”

MATCH UPDATE (4/14/24): Thank you!! When we set the goal for our annual Spring Break Flash Match campaign at $35,000, we knew that it was an ambitious one. But as the week rolled along and the gifts arrived, we found ourselves not just approaching but surpassing our original goal. So we decided to aim higher and set ourselves a secondary goal of $50,000, instead of the original $35,000. Today, as we were wrapping up the last few hours of the campaign, a dear friend of the College reached out to our Advancement team to say that he and his wife wanted to bridge the gap between what we’d been able to raise so far and our even more ambitious stretch goal of $50,000! God bless them for their generosity, and God bless all of you who helped us get here!

Let’s not forget that—thanks to the Board member who made the original challenge gift and to a number of the College’s other supporters who added challenges of their own—this $50,000 is actually being matched, dollar-for-dollar. And that means this year’s campaign has raised $100,000 in support of our extraordinary students.

In celebration, we’ve put together the above short video. It highlights some of our favorite clips from the week and is set to the music of Bach, performed by WCC alumna Alena Carter and featured in her “Chiaroscuro” album. Enjoy, and thank you once again for making this year’s campaign such a success!

Outdoor Weeks are scheduled for each semester of the year, and are seasonally spaced. During an Outdoor Week, which runs from Saturday through Saturday, there are no academic classes and no large papers or projects assigned. This pause permits students to immerse themselves completely in the outdoor experience, allowing them to take full advantage of all the learning that occurs in the wilderness setting. The majority of these trips are led by upperclassmen who have been trained in peer leadership, though for trips involving specific technical skills, the College will sometimes use a professional instructor.

It’s Spring Break Week here at Wyoming Catholic College, but our observance of this (often infamous) event is as unique as our educational vision. For our students, this week’s break from their usual, demanding academic schedule will not feature raucous partying in some distant beach town. Instead, they will head once more into the backcountry of the Mountain West, immersing themselves in the beauty and reality of Creation, “God’s First Book.” Lander can be a bit wintry in early April—we had flurries of snow this Saturday!—so most of this semester’s trips are taking place in Utah, where the weather tends to be more cooperative.

Over 85% of the student body will be taking part in the outdoor weeks this time around, with fifteen groups focusing on various outdoor activities: pack-rafting, mountain biking, climbing (and advanced climbing), desert backpacking, horse training and farriering, canyoneering (and advanced canyoneering), and several others. In addition to the usual outdoor adventures, there are a number of “mission/voyage” groups, as well; one will travel to Christ and the City, one will spend a week in the desert on retreat, one will rehearse a Shakespeare play in preparation for performing it once they return to Lander, and one group of students will be canoeing down the Green River, speaking only in Latin. (As with each of our outdoor trips, the group of students are accompanied by a head lead, a co-leader, a designated Wilderness First Responder, and in those cases where the trip requires particular technical skills and guidance, a professional instructor.)

Even as our students take part in this Spring Break tradition, we’re taking part in a tradition of our own: the Spring Break Flash Match Campaign, where the College’s Board of Directors make challenge gifts to help raise awareness and support for this unique institution. Last year’s campaign was a resounding success. We sprinted past our initial goal of $25,000, set ourselves a secondary goal more than double our first, and thanks to the support of the College’s friends, met that goal, as well.

So this year, we’re setting our sights a bit higher. Thanks to the ongoing generosity of a member of our Board who was particularly pleased at the success of last year’s campaign, we have been given a $35,000 matching challenge to meet by the end of Spring Break 2024.

This challenge means that anything you are able to donate today will be doubled, up to $35,000 in all! With your help, we are confident that we can match this board member’s generous gift over the course of the coming week. Please consider joining this year’s Spring Break match by making a gift in support of our extraordinary young men and women.

Just like last time, our Advancement team will be sending out a series of emails and social media posts each day, highlighting a different one of this year’s Spring Break trips and explaining how our Experiential Leadership Program (ELP) makes use of that particular trip to foster leadership and enhance our students’ experiences. We’ve sent “embedded reporters” along with several of the groups this year, and we’re looking forward to telling the stories of our students’ experiences and sharing their first-hand accounts of their adventures as they happen. (You will find these daily highlights at our Campaign website, which will also track our progress towards our $35,000 goal.)

Please help share these stories, so that we can continue to spread the word about this educational revolution that’s taking place in the beautiful backcountry of the Mountain West. And please consider joining this campaign yourself, providing vital support to these extraordinary students and their life-changing adventures in “God’s First Book.”

Gifts made through the form HERE will be automatically assigned to the Match Campaign, and will appear in the Goal Meter at the top of the Campaign website as it is updated each day. If you would prefer to make a gift over the phone, via check, or through another philanthropic vehicle (such as a gift of stock or a mutual fund transfer), please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at or by phone at (877) 332-2930, and the Advancement team will ensure your gift is assigned to the match.

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