InterVarsity’s Bear Trap Ranch, in the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs, has been a favorite destination for Carol Galambos since her first visit as a Wisconsin college student in 1958. She came for a month-long leadership camp and met her future husband as part of the experience.
Her chapter at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was pretty small, yet it played an important role in her spiritual development. “I came from a narrow Baptist background,” she said. “Simply being with Presbyterians and other denominations, and understanding their heart for the Lord, was very important in opening up my mind.”
The leadership camp at Bear Trap Ranch offered additional opportunities for growth. There Carol developed the Bible study skills that have grounded and nurtured her Christian faith ever since. “I could feed myself spiritually, I didn’t have to be spoon-fed,” she said.
When she met Bill Galambos, he was an engineering student at the University of North Dakota. Bill switched career paths to teaching math because the job prospects were better. His teaching credentials also meant that they could choose to live wherever they wanted after they both graduated and got married. It wasn’t a hard choice.
“We had fallen in love with Bear Trap Ranch,” she said. “We knew they always needed volunteer staff, so we figured the commute would be a lot easier from Colorado than from North Dakota.”
They settled in Colorado Springs in 1962 and became regular volunteers at the ranch. “Summers, weekends, school holidays, it was automatic for the first 15 years we were in Colorado,” she said. Their two sons spent their early years exploring every corner of the camp.
Bill regularly volunteered at Bear Trap, working as a wrangler and at many other jobs, right up until he died in 2007. Carol often came with him and she could often be found working in the kitchen at Bear Trap. The living room of their small home frequently hosted the regular InterVarsity/Bear Trap prayer meeting that’s been going on for over 60 years.
“They’re the kind of people you’d love to have as in-laws,” said Jeff Yockey, who was Bear Trap Ranch director for seven years. He always tried to encourage students to get to know Bill and Carol, because they were good role models. “They modeled lives dedicated to the Lord, living out what they had learned as InterVarsity students.”
Because of their InterVarsity training, they also invested a lot of volunteer time in their church, First Presbyterian. Bill taught a Sunday School class for many years, and Carol was on the missions committee, chairing the committee at one time. “I really attribute a lot of that to the basic skills of being able to do Bible study, learning to lead small groups, and having a heart for God’s kingdom world-wide,” Carol said.
Carol and Bill always tithed to their church, and devoted a second ten percent of their giving to ministries such as InterVarsity. When they set up their will they used the concept of a child called Charity. In other words, one third went to each of their two sons and the third portion went to the ministries that were important to them.
“I so believe in InterVarsity because of how solid and basic we insist on being,” Carol said. “It’s still prayer, Bible study and missions.”