Archive for October, 2012

Adventure: Summer Camp

Friday, October 19th, 2012

A REAL Adventure

La Plata, Ouray, Huron, Democrat, Massive, Elbert, Oxford, Belford, Princeton, Antero, Sherman, Silver Heels, Quandary, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Buffalo Peaks, Pikes Peak, Shavano, Tabaguache. Campers from across the country and the world climbed these 13,000 and 14,000 foot peaks when they came to camp looking for adventure last summer. Boys and girls age 8-16 stood on top of the world; saw a landscape covered in a sea of snow and rock; and relished an achievement that was uniquely their own and one that will change the trajectory of their lives.

Climbing a mountain is a real accomplishment and an exciting adventure. To crawl out of a warm sleeping bag before dawn and face the brisk morning temperatures is an act of courage in itself. The long climb upward, step-by-step, requires perseverance, commitment, and teamwork. With each step, a child asks himself, “Can I do this?” Perhaps there is deep doubt, but he keeps going. He keeps going because, somewhere, deep down, he WANTS to climb a mountain. He climbs not only because “it is there” but because he innately seeks experiences which help him grow and learn.

The Alpine tundra is beautiful, dotted by tiny forget-me-nots and other flowers. Often we are fortunate enough to spot marmots, ptarmigans and other mountain wildlife. The best moment of all, though, is stepping onto the summit and catching a first glimpse of the spectacular vistas. Climbers always gain a well-deserved feeling of pride, and the self-confidence that comes from “making it to the top”.

Overcoming Fear, Building True Self-Confidence

The best part of this self-confidence? It is completely self-generated. Sure, the counselors and trip leaders encouraged you and the rest of the group…but no one carried you up that mountain…you did it yourself. You overcame your fear, your doubt, and your insecurities—and you climbed a REAL mountain! As a 2012 parent said about her son, “He has learned to live and survive on his own and learned to “figure it out” vs. waiting for someone to do it for him. As a result, he’s much more worldly, self-sufficient, and confident in everything he does.”

Climbing a mountain provides so many benefits for young people. Youth development research tells us that young people need challenging and engaging activities and learning experiences in order to grow into confident, happy adults. Reaching the summit requires hard work, determination and a lot of self-discipline. Mountain climbing stretches perspectives as well as legs, and it takes place in some of the most stunningly beautiful places on Earth.

Unforgettable triumph!

There were many additional adventures and challenges in camp over the summer, and other groups reached their own summits by spending four or five days in the saddle on long horse trips; still others backpacked for four-days in the stunning Tarryall Mountains or traversed ridge after ridge on both the Colorado Trail and Wheeler Trails. Some stretched themselves by camping out, by saddling a horse, or by rock scrambling to the top of a high crag.

We are looking forward to another summer of adventure, challenge, success and growth. We hope you will join us.

October News Update

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Follow the Yellow-leafed Road

We are enjoying spectacular Indian Summer days here at camp.  The golden Aspen are almost at their peak and are stunning against the bright blue sky.  We’ve been spying on the herd of elk at Potts Spring and have also seen deer, porcupines, wild turkeys, bobcats, and, of course, the fat black Abert squirrels.  Many of our summer birds have headed south and the year-round bird residents are beginning to show up at our feeders more regularly.

Our High Trails Outdoor Education Center program with sixth graders from District 20 in Colorado Springs has been underway since mid-September. We also hosted a “No Child Left Inside” open house last Saturday and were very happy to have many local families join us for a day of hikes and nature-based activities led by our staff.   We are very committed to doing everything we can to help young people connect with the natural world.  The benefits are enormous—as Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder” says:  “Children who have a personal connection with nature are happier, healthier, and smarter.”

On October 12-14, we are looking forward to hosting “Stalking Education in the Wild”, our outdoor education workshop for teachers, camp staff, naturalists and others who work with young people.  The workshop includes sessions on everything from geology and outdoor teaching techniques to creative writing and international folk dance.

At The Nature Place, Rob Jolly and his staff are busy working with the University of Denver on a team-building and leadership development program for DU’s MBA students.  We have collaborated with DU on this program, where every MBA student spends a long weekend at The Nature Place, for over a decade.  The groups rock climb, participate in an orienteering course, and work through many team building scenarios, all of which teach values-based leadership.

The horses are grazing happily in Olin Gulch and High Tor, where late summer rains helped to produce some tasty green grass.  Soon, they will head out to winter pasture at Fishcreek.

We are most excited about opening enrollment for another season of camp.  The summer of 2013 will be our 65th and we are looking forward to sharing adventures, friendships and lots of fun.  We have already begun enrollment, and additional enrollment information will be going out throughout the month of October.  If you know of interested families, we’ll be happy to send our brochure and DVD.  They can also request information from our website.  We hope you are enjoying the photos from the summer of 2012 which are appearing each month on our website.

We hope you are having a fantastic Autumn!