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About Coldwater


One Mission

Coldwater Foundation for Leadership and Community Development equips leaders to develop and nurture the important connections between knowing and doing; believing and behaving; love for God and love for neighbor. We want our students to understand the vitality of gospel-centered Christianity because they see and experience an authentic practice of it.

Two Experiential Learning Strategies

Adventure Education:

Adventure education is a non-formal educational discipline that promotes the cultivation of good character, the development of relationships within a group, and individual and corporate learning. Adventure education is adaptive to various settings and applications to effectively build cooperation and trust, problem solving capacities and a supportive environment for individuals to navigate new challenges involving risk. Thoughtfully designed experiences are characterized by creative problem solving, student participation and deliberate reflection. Experiences range in duration from a half day to multi-week backcountry expeditions and includes activities such as high and low ropes course elements, field initiatives, wilderness travel, map and compass, and rock climbing.


Service-learning is a unique academic discipline that uses community service projects to achieve specific learning objectives and to foster the development of social responsibility and healthy moral values. Through service-learning we have a means to mentor students in the practice of living with generosity, benevolence and understanding towards others, particularly those with a different cultural and faith heritage . Service-learning is vastly different than a traditional service project in that it is formational in the life of the student because the student is involved in all aspects of the experience from the genesis of the service-learning project to its execution, evaluation and celebration. Student learning is enhanced through processing the experience and transfer of learning to new experiences.

Three Platforms

1. The Wilderness Experience: whether a short overnight with a family focus or a 21-day wilderness trip in the Outward Bound tradition. Our goal is to offer experiences for middle school, high school and college students, young adults, college graduates and adults. This summer we will be offering Wilderness Learning Expedition (WLE), our college trip; Compass, our high school trip and Cairn, our middle school trip. Our wilderness program is the cornerstone for Coldwater Foundation leadership development.

2. Internship/Fellowship: this is a 1-4 year placement in adventure education and service-learning and represents a longer commitment to one of the partners within our network. Partners include churches, schools or development organizations. Coldwater currently works with Northwestern College (Iowa), Grand Marais Evangelical Free Church (Minnesota), Alton Reformed Church (Iowa) and New Horizons Foundation (Romania). We are intentionally growing our network and cultivating opportunities to collaborate.

3. Workshops in Adventure Education and Service-Learning. These are 90 minutes to 5 days and can be facilitated anywhere in order to help community leaders gain understanding and experience in utilizing these unique strategies to engage and develop people anywhere across the non-profit sector.

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