SOUTH FORK — Matt and Tammy Dorsett are the new owners of the historical Spruce Lodge in South Fork and plan to bring more than just lodging to the small mountain town. With their new ventures, they hope to benefit the South fork community in several ways.
“When I was a child, my aunt and uncle had a cabin just west of Creede so I would come up with them to spend the summers. I loved it and I have great memories. When my husband and I got married, I thought it would be so cool if someday we could have that same opportunity for our children,” said Tammy Dorsett.
It wasn’t long before their dream came true. They purchased land on one of their wedding anniversaries and a whole new generation of children got the opportunity to experience the joy of summers in the mountains just like Tammy hoped.
“We built a vacation home in Beaver Mountain Estates. Since then, we have been coming here a lot. Our children were young enough at the time to be able to bring them and create those memories and for them to love it," Tammy said.
Dorsett and her husband purchased the Spruce Lodge property intending to keep the current reservations for the coming year and to work to revitalize the property in preparation for their next venture, one that will offer an opportunity to what is termed “New Adults” the chance to step into the real world and not only learn about themselves but to learn about what they want to do in the future. They are calling their new business Sawmill Meadow, a tribute to the lodge’s history.
“Depending on the remodel schedule, we may open it up for additional reservations as well. Our goal though is to eventually get to the point to launch our Gap Year program. We are a non-profit operating under an umbrella 501-C3. The program is not a half-way home program. This is not a recovery program. It is a discovery program,” explained Tammy.
As a mother of a 16-, 23-, and 25-year-old, Tammy continued to explain what this generation is encountering in high school and what they want to do next can be very overwhelming.
“In families, we also talk about when you go to college, it was never if. There was never any other option. Sometimes these new adults need time to grow up before they jump into things like marriage or college or a career for that matter and that is what this program offers,” she said.
Tammy talked about the basis of The Gap at Sawmill Meadow and how they go about looking for the perfect candidates who would be interested in a mentorship-based experience that allows 18- to 25-year-olds a chance to get to know themselves before making life-changing decisions.
“We seek out new adults in youth-based programs that have religious backgrounds. They don’t have to have gone to church every day and they don’t have to be of the Christian faith specifically. We look for new adults that want to learn about themselves for the chance to be successful not only in faith but in life,” Tammy said.
The Gap at Sawmill Meadow is a 9-month gap experience for new adults offering Christian discipleship and mentorship while living together in a renovated lodge in southern Colorado. Designed for those new adults who grew up knowing Jesus and currently feel trapped by expectations of what “should” come next, their vision is to cultivate wholeness for the mind, soul, body, and heart that leads to transformed, confident, and abundant life to be a thriving adult in the world.
New adults participating in the program would be introduced into the workforce, learn to cook healthy meals, serve their communities through local organizations and churches as well as discover who they are through the countless outdoor recreational opportunities available in the South Fork area and the San Luis Valley.
The Dorsetts will be taking their time to learn about the needs of the South Fork community and the local workforce to be sure that The Gap at Sawmill Meadows is the right fit for all involved. They are working on their website that will include additional information about the program and will be working with the South Fork Chamber of Commerce to reach out to businesses to see if there is interest in having the participants of the program work for the 9 months.
The lodge will be opening on time for the coming summer season and will remain open during the renovation process. Dorsett and her family are eager to meet the community and become involved.