Skit concerns community

Use of fake gun frightens Steamboat Christian Center youth group


— A church skit involving a fake gun went awry Wednesday night at Steamboat Christian Center leading youth and adults to duck under chairs and call 911.

Steamboat Springs police Capt. Det. Bob Del Valle said officers began receiving calls around 9 p.m. Wednesday from people who had witnessed or heard about the incident.

"Apparently the youth group was putting on a skit using an actor with a fake gun," he said. "Somehow the skit was overdone and the kids began hiding under chairs thinking the situation was real."

Del Valle said the gun that was used during the skit was a fake pistol, but that it looked real because of its color and shape. The tip of the gun was orange indicating it was not real, he said.

Jake Hothem, a youth pastor with the Steamboat Christian Church, said Wednesday's skit, which was designed to deliver a message about overcoming fear, got out of control and should have been stopped immediately.

"We would never desire to cause trauma to a teen ever," he said. "I sincerely apologize to anyone who felt traumatized by this."

Hothem said Steamboat Christian Center has a reputation for using "creative ministry" to reach its teens, and that the skit was one way to illustrate Wednesday's message.

The fake gun that was used during the skit was not supposed to be used as prominently as it was, he said.

"I really hope these people can forgive us," he said. "We feel so bad and will do whatever we can to make it better."

Del Valle said officers responded to the Steamboat Christian Center at 821 Doug-herty Road to mediate the situation.

"I think the concern was, 'what if a person in the audience or a police officer had walked in and didn't realize the (skit) was fake?'" he said. "It could have been tragic."

Del Valle said church officials told officers they were "very sorry about what happened," and that they had used "bad judgment."

-To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail


Camo181 10 years, 1 month ago

Our teen was there--a real learning experience it was. Although really shaken up--not traumatized--we talked about our teen's feelngs/other teen's reactions, etc. Thank God it was a "drill", a learning experience, not the real thing, and no one was hurt!!!!! We really feel Jake, et al. were trying to deliver a message the teens would remember...perhaps a little more planning would have been appropriate...but the kids in the Bailey, CO shooting incident and other incidents across the country, were not afforded any advance planning or warning. Unfortunately, "real" incidents like this can happen anywhere...even in a Steamboat Springs church. Again, thank God it was a drill.


candylane 10 years, 1 month ago

Our teens were also there. They were not traumalized by this either. They both felt like it was about what the youth group was focasing on, fear, and they both walked away with more knowledge of how to respond to such a situation. This was not the first time Jake involved a real life issue as a teaching tool and then later "came clean" that it was not real, and that didn't affect them either but taught them. The adult leaders had informed the Steamboat Springs Police Department about what was going to happen before youth group started, which is a good thing since no one responded. My teen who was not hiding, did not see one policeman present. In the past, schools have done mass casulty simulations and did not get such bad press. The only difference is wanting the "real" effects he did not inform the children. I agree with Camo, I hope this is the closest these children come to a "gunman" appearing at their school, church or any where else. Steamboat Christian Center, Jake and everyone else involved, you are doing a great job! Keep up the good work. And I also thank God that it was a drill.


countrygirl 10 years, 1 month ago

I didn't have any children at this event. And I'm glad that it sounds like some kids learned from what happened. But, I can't help be sad that this is the world that we live in that this sort of drill even has a place :(. I hope no child ever has to be in a situation that is like the one re-enacted at the church. But I know from watching the nightly news that this is indeed the world we live in.


Camo181 10 years, 1 month ago

I was one of the many teens there that night. It was a learning experience for those of us who didn't know it was a re-enactment. That night we dealt with such a real thing that we realized how much we loved God and how much we loved the earth... to live. It opened our eyes I view things differently now and so do may of my friends. I never thought it would happen but, it did that night even though it was not real. God is not a safe haven he runs the world we live in and if we choose to we can make our lives hell, or heaven and personally I choose heaven. Now, that may not be your choice. The church may be the safe haven. However, if you remember right (you may not), hostage situations can happen anywhere. They have happend in schools and in churches. Jake was just teaching that fear can happen anywhere, anytime, and to anyone. My original fear turned to an incredible peacefulness once I forgot fear, left it behind and remembered there was squat I could do and God was with me. Even tough I am a teenager and it wasn't real I witnessed some things that happend to the Bailey School District, and the Columbine School District when the greatest fear... death hit them. Come I invite you to our youth group meetings and experience the positive energy there. We meet every Wednesday at the Christian Center at 6:30 pm. P.S. I have my parents' permission to post this--not only do I believe in communicating with God, we as a family also keep the lines of communication open between us.


cheesehead 10 years, 1 month ago

Maybe the city should start doing the same kind of "drills" at the post office. We could all walk away thankful and praise God.


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