June 2024 LINK: ALC Edition

The Future of Outdoor Experiences

The Alpinis Leadership Center (ALC) has offered a variety of outdoor and spiritual experiences, going back to the days of the Alpinis Villa. With the opening of the new building a year ago, the programs have had the opportunity to grow and flourish. Backpacking, skiing, camping, and team-building games are just a few of the ways a person can enjoy the outdoors in this location. Now, with a year of operations behind them, the Outdoors Program team, Sebi Solomon and Cosmin Ban, has been envisioning potential future expansions. Some of their ideas have already come to fruition this past year, including a new zipline, rock climbing wall, hammock hub, and sports field, all made possible through Ends of Earth Cycling. During my recent visit to the ALC in May, I had the amazing opportunity of sitting down with Sebi and Cosmin to discuss their many ideas. Their passion and love for the ALC was evident. Their enthusiasm was contagious, making me excited to see their ideas come to life.

Dreaming of new activities on the property, one of the visions for the future of the ALC is to introduce new outdoor activities for people of all ages. The new sports field, for example, opens a wide range of possibilities, including soccer competitions, guided games, and team-building exercises. Additionally, there are thoughts of adding paintball, archery tag, and disc golf on other parts of the property. To make the ALC more family-friendly, especially for the many youngsters who visit, there are hopes of building a playground. There are also dreams of creating walking trails that would provide avenues of meditation, as well as providing guests with an outdoor experience, even if they are not typically accustomed to outdoor activities. One particularly interesting idea is the creation of an Orientation program. This program would teach fundamental outdoor skills such as pitching a tent, practicing leave-no-trace rules, packing supplies, and basic first aid. This would help keep individuals safe and comfortable in the outdoors, whether they are beginners or simply looking to strengthen their skills. Maybe a family is looking to do something together. They potentially could come to the ALC for family camp, where they could connect with the outdoors while bonding as a family while doing activities with a purpose.

While not all of these ideas may come to fruition, it is exciting to consider the potential future of outdoor programs at the ALC. Nestled in a strikingly beautiful location surrounded by mountains, Sebi and Cosmin aim to provide ways for people to enjoy nature and encounter Christ. From the laughter of the girls at Deborah House playing games during a week of camp at Alpinis, and the chatter of friends gathered around a campfire, they have seen God working in the lives of the many visitors. These beautiful memories strengthen their passions, as they look forward to seeing what else can be done through the outdoor programs.

Ski Camp at Alpinis

Cosmin Ban

The ski camps at Alpinis are designed to teach children how to ski while also offering quality family time and gospel centered programs. At Alpinis, we offer “adventure with a purpose” where you want to bring your friends to enjoy the lodge and the nearby slopes. At the ski camp, skiing is a priority for everyone. We start with the first steps in skiing, the ski kindergarten as we call it, and up to the ski school, where we teach skiing lessons with accredited instructors for the older ones. The atmosphere at the lodge is dynamic, and we are all eager to be there. Parents are happy with their children’s successes, and the children are excited to return to the slopes where they spend most of the day, between meals. Parents get to breathe a sigh of relief, after the 15-20 minutes of equipping the children with ski equipment in the hallway at Alpinis, knowing they have 2 hours of peace and relaxation. Until the little skiers return to the lodge for unequipping, happy with the new skills they’ve acquired in skiing. All camps include Bible stories for children, worship songs and the clear presentation of the gospel through activities, stories, and the processing of ski and outdoor activities.

There are also various creative sessions, from crafts, daily storytelling workshops for young children, plus other activities and games played together with new or lifelong friends. Besides skiing, families enjoy snowy “fairytale-like” paths where we race with sleds or have snowball fights. At the end of the day, we light the campfire, accompanied by the acoustic guitar and joyful voices, under the starry night. Evening activities are full of buzzing kids excited about the day that has just passed. Family stories, talent shows, board games, and much more. On the last evening, we gather in the large conference room and share memorable experiences and camp highlights. For many of our guests, this was their second edition of Ski Camp at the new ALC and are eagerly awaiting the third! We are all looking forward to the next camp, God willing!

Meet Cosmin Ban

Trained Ski Monitor/Instructor

My role at the Alpinis Leadership Center is creating and facilitating outdoor programs, camps, and other activities, as well as hosting guests at ALC. My first visit to Alpinis was 20 years ago. In 2008, I began volunteering regularly with camps. It has been a privilege to work with all the people at MLI. Interacting with guests of MLI programs through mountain outings and activities at the lodge is very special. The transition from volunteer to staff has been long, but I am now here and full of enthusiasm. Currently, my job is preparing the activities that will take place in the summer camps, as well as new camps that have different goals and focus. It is a new beginning that I hope will be a blessing for me, my family, my colleagues, and the beneficiaries of the programs. My desire for Alpiniș is to offer purposeful adventures that will lead people and children to God. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” – Psalm 19:1

Paltinis Leadership Institute

We are pleased to tell you about another successful gathering at ALC under the leadership of Ionica and his wife Sorina through the work of the Paltinis Leadership Institute/PLI. Over the course of an enriching weekend (March 29-31), a team of PLI trainers and certified coaches (Professional Certified Coach/PCC) engaged fifty-five entrepreneurs and business managers. Participants came from a variety of businesses and corporations from all over Romania.

The training equipped managers with motivational skills and knowledge, building their capacity to manage employees within a healthy and empowering work environment—that is, as adults coaching and cultivating peer adults rather than as “parents” chiding children. Participants were provided with skill-building disciplines in several areas critical to effective leadership in the marketplace—to name a few: the art of open-ended questioning, delegation of authority, and task accountability. As well, on the final night of the gathering, an invitation to hear a story of work-life integration and Christian faith around a campfire on the hillside at Alpinis was a highlight.

Participant feedback during the intensive weekend was very complimentary. Across the board, high marks were given for the quality of accommodations, meals, and the relevance of the program to their work and lives. Here’s a quick sample of impressions from among a handful of participants:

In all aspects the team was very knowledgeable.”

“This was an eye-opening experience. I feel very refreshed.”

“It was a great experience, something different.”


Especially encouraging was getting feedback from organizational leaders who sponsored employees’ participation in the conference. That they saw constructive changes in their colleagues two months after the conference is an outcome we very much wish to replicate. Here’s some impressions we received months later from a Human Resource director (who did not even attend the conference!):

1. Among those who attended the PLI weekend, our colleagues show a deeper understanding of the communication process and appear more present in discussions and are more oriented to understand the reasons behind conflicts.

2. At a company level a common language has been installed around feedback and coaching processes.

3. Team members tell us that they feel more like leaders now because they received (these tools) and this structure and can apply it constantly, or whenever situations require.

We are learning a lot right now about both the needs and the opportunities that exist in our context. Thank you for empowering us in so many ways as you have. Please continue to pray for the PLI team as we continue to follow up with those who attended the March 2024 gathering and as we recruit for a 2nd intensive this November. Through these efforts—and countless conversations with business interests in workplaces across Romania—our hope is that we’ll have sufficient interest to launch our first ALC Leading Self-Others-Organizations cohort spring or fall 2025! Thank you for your belief in this new initiative, and for the support and encouragement provided.

Ionica Zaharie

Paltinis Leadership Institute Director

From the Desk of Lori Erbatu

2023 was a year of constructive challenges and a rich time for me to learn even more about what it means to work with many other people as we officially opened the ALC, bringing us all intense joy and satisfaction. To see a variety of groups, campers, and teams coming to the ALC and to observe how they enjoyed everything was like Alpinis came to life! This was proof to me that the ALC is fulfilling the purpose that we long ago dreamed for and have been working towards.

I think the most challenging part of 2023 was making the ALC function not only as a spectacular location, but also provide the needed elements of food and accommodations for our guests.

There are many departments within the ALC family that must plan and organize together, requiring extra attention to ensure a smooth operation and experience for our varied guests. Through hard work and flexibility, each ALC team member succeeded in meeting the immense challenges of learning new roles and performing new tasks in the ALC’s inaugural year.

Going forward in 2024, our goal is to offer an even more meaningful experience to the many people who come to the ALC, providing more programs and activities, both indoor and outdoor. We hope that our past experience will help us attract more groups and streamline the time they spend at the ALC, making the most of the days they spend with us.

What I like the most at the ALC is to see how people find their place here. They find peace in the middle of nature and get to think more about God than they do when they are at home. As I said before, the ALC is about people and relationships—relationship with God but also relationship person to person. The ALC helps cultivate this focus in relationship in extraordinary ways.

Please pray for us to continue to do everything for the glory of God. We are humans and we need God’s protection, health, and strength to fulfill our responsibilities and the mission before us. Please join us in praying that the ALC’s ministry will continue to be an instrument that helps people find and experience God in fresh and new ways.

Lori Erbatu with his wife Ella, and son Thomas

A Word from MI Knoxville

It has been a joy for me to gather these stories in person during my trip to the Alpinis Leadership Center in May. When hearing our friends speak about the ALC, you can hear in their voices and see on their faces that they are passionate for the ALC and the work being done through it. Between those who manage the ALC, those who lead/create programs, and those who volunteer, God has placed the management of the ALC in good hands, and I am excited to see God continuing to work through them. I hope you enjoyed these stories, and got a feel for the different programs after a year at the ALC.

Ashley West

MI Knoxville