Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 Christmas Letter

The Colglazier Times
2013 Christmas Edition

We hope this finds you well and that you have had a good year.  2013 has been another good year for our family.  Christian became our first high school graduate and has just completed his first semester at Wake Technical Community College working toward a Computer Science degree from North Carolina State University.  He enjoyed his final season of FIRST Robotics Competition and is now a mentor for the team.  Carl is a junior and has enjoyed becoming part of a mock trial team.  He attended the 2013 National Scout Jamboree as a staff member and was selected to unveil a statue in front of everyone there at the opening arena show.  Bethany is a sophomore and has really enjoyed being involved with her Venturing Crew.  She backpacked 80+ miles this summer at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico with her crew.  Miriam is in the 7th grade and has increased her involvement in dance by joining the company of her dance studio.  She was selected as a soldier in the Carolina Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker and is performing with them in Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh.  Leslie-Jean keeps busy with homeschooling and getting everyone to where they need to be.  Dan continues to work for IBM and worked hard this year preparing for Philmont.

Robotics by Christian

This year Carl, Bethany, and I competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition with our robotics team, The Hitchhikers. We had 6 weeks to build a robot that could shoot frisbees and climb a tower. The higher the robot climbed the more points the robot would score. We built a small and speedy robot we named Trillian after a character in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. At both regionals we were first round picks for alliance selection. At the North Carolina Regional, Trillian was one of the best robots there. We ended up making it to finals losing to a team that would go on to finals at the World Championship in St. Louis. In all it was the best year yet for us and robotics.

2013 National Scout Jamboree by Carl

This year, I attended the 2013 National Scout Jamboree held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, West Virginia. I had previously been to the 2010 National Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill as a youth participant; however, this time I worked on the videography staff covering various areas throughout the event. It was very rewarding to see a new perspective on the event by working on the staff.

Philmont by Bethany

On July 3rd, my Dad and I headed over to the airport and joined our Venturing Crew to go to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. The excitement was high as we boarded our flight and flew to Denver, Colorado. Once we arrived, we rushed out and got picked up by a couple of other members who had flown out earlier and got the vans. We then drove over to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and ate lunch while watching a yoga concert that was taking place. We spent some time exploring the place before driving off to our next destination: the Air Force Academy. The chapel was beautiful and other worship areas were neat to visit. After visiting for a little while, we drove off to the Peterson Air force Base, where we were staying. We missed the dinner time at the base, so we ate dinner at a Waffle House and then went for a short visit at the Garden of the Gods. The following day, we took the Cog Railway up Pikes Peak and had the neat experience of riding bikes down. In the afternoon, we went back to the Garden of the Gods for a few hours and climbed all over the rocks. Later in the evening, the two crews elected their officers and I was elected Chaplain’s Aide for my crew. We ended the day watching fireworks for the 4th of July. The next morning, we were up bright and early and drove down to Philmont. We got checked in, met our ranger, and spent the rest of the day in training. On day 4, I went out carrying a 42 pound pack and we hiked 2 miles to our first camp. Along the way, we got to see a T-Rex track. On day 5, we hiked to Indian Writings to throw atl-atls and go on a petroglyph tour, which was really cool. The next day, we hiked longer than the previous days, going 14 miles. At the end of the day, we met up with one of our advisor’s daughter, who worked at Philmont. She brought us bacon and Dr. Pepper to enjoy. On day 7, we did our conservation project and went mountain biking. Right before dinner, we spotted a large rattlesnake near our camp. On day 8, we hiked 16 miles and I got to cook dinner for the crew out in the pouring rain. Day 9 was one of the toughest days we had as we gained 3000 feet in elevation, however our crew did really well and we made it to camp just before it started hailing on us. We were able to crowd into a red roof inn for shelter. Once the storm passed, we hiked down to French Henry to do blacksmithing and go on a mine tour. That evening, it rained again and of course, I was the cook! On day 10, we took our day packs and hiked up Baldy Mountain, which is over 12,000 feet up and the highest point in Philmont. We stayed up there for a couple hours then hiked down to Baldy Town where we could take showers. The next day, we hiked to Pueblano and got to go spar pole climbing. In the evening, we went to the campfire and enjoyed the songs and stories. On day 12, we were at Ponil, where we went horseback riding, enjoyed cold root beer, shot a pistol, ate a delicious, non-freeze dried beef stew meal, and watched the Cantina Show. The next morning, we stayed at Ponil to dry some equipment out since it had been pouring all night and everything was soaked. After lunch, we trudged up to the ridge line in the mud and eventually made the 7 mile hike to Dean Cow. That night was one of my favorite nights of the whole trip as we got to do the traverse wall, play volleyball, and end the night with a real campfire! On day 14, we set out early and hiked the last 5 miles of our trek to Turkey Creek Turnaround. We arrived back at Base Camp, took showers, got a tour of the Villa Philmonte and then visited Rayado where we got to throw tomahawks. Our very last day, we drove back to Colorado and went to shoot shotguns for a couple hours. After 15 days and carrying 40 pounds for over 82 miles, we arrived home and our adventure of a lifetime at Philmont came to an end.

The Nutcracker by Miriam

This year I auditioned and got in the Nutcracker. Playing the part of a soldier in the Battle Scene is a lot more fun than it sounds. We get to wear decorative coats, fancy hats and get to carry guns. One of my favorite parts in the Battle Scene is watching the Nutcracker and the Mouse King fight. It is really incredible to see the professional dancers and to see what happens behind the scenes!

Christmas Message by Dan

In 2011 I went to Philmont Scout Ranch with both of my sons.  This past summer I returned there with Bethany.  I got to visit some familiar places I had been to before and also new places I had not.   I thoroughly enjoyed both.  Christmas for me is similar.  I enjoy a mix of the old and the new.  I enjoy the traditions we try to do every year such as our tree, decorations and traditional carols.  I also enjoy the new things each year like the presents (at least most of them) and new contemporary songs.  One thing that is both old and new for me each year is the Christmas story itself.  The historical events are always the same: God became man, was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, was heralded by angels, and visited by shepherds.  I am thankful for the reason for Christmas and enjoy being reminded each year.  I also try to learn something new each year about Christmas, maybe by really listening to the words of a song or wondering why things happened the way they did.  The Christmas story raises a lot of why questions: Why did God become man?  Why was He born of a virgin?  Why in Bethlehem?  Why shepherds?  Exploring questions like these gives new insights into Christmas and a renewed appreciation for what God did for us through his birth.  Of course that was only the beginning.  Jesus was the Messiah who would go on to become the sacrifice for our sins by dying for them upon the cross and then overcoming death through His resurrection to provide His followers with eternal life with Him in heaven for eternity.  This year let us both remember the familiar story of Christmas while also looking something new about it.  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23