Budding environmentalists who attend Avid4 Adventure's overnight Colorado Mountain Camp at Windy Peak, near Bailey, will add the Leave No Trace principles to their outdoor skills as they hike, rock-climb, kayak, mountain-bike, raft and learn about …
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Budding environmentalists who attend Avid4 Adventure's overnight Colorado Mountain Camp at Windy Peak, near Bailey, will add the Leave No Trace principles to their outdoor skills as they hike, rock-climb, kayak, mountain-bike, raft and learn about nature and wildlife.
A pilot program called Nature Keepers, based on Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics' principles, is funded by North Face, which produces outdoor clothing and equipment. It will be added to the day-to-day experiences of children at the camp and for many, will become a lifelong commitment. It's hoped that the program will expand nationally.
The camp near Wellington Lake is described as “a 100-year-old B&B” by camp director Ian Roberts. It has 100-year-old cabins of various sizes on 240 acres, and during the school year it is one of Jefferson County Schools' outdoor labs. (The other Jeffco outdoor lab at Evergreen will become a summer camp in 2017, Roberts said.)
Unlike other programs that stress outdoor fun above all else, the Nature Keepers program shows kids how to get the most fun out of nature while leaving the least amount of impact, based on Leave No Trace's seven principles: Plan ahead and prepare; travel and camp on durable surfaces; dispose of waste properly; leave what you find; minimize campfire impact; respect wildlife; be considerate of other visitors.
Roberts said they have developed five to 10 games to emphasize respecting wildlife and will bring in birds of prey and perhaps wolves from the wolf sanctuary.
He said they have a mix of campers — “they were 100 percent Front Range at the start, now a mix of kids from those haven't spent time outdoors, to kids of professional athletes and some international campers. We push for diversity.” In a given week the heaviest load would be 135 kids.
The youngest ones attend for one week and older ones may stay two or more. The cost is consistent with other higher-end camps: $585 a week to $2,200 for a longer stay.
Counselors and staff are mostly 21 and older, with some teen apprentices. The average age is 24 and there are about 42 on staff, including the nurse and kitchen help — a 6-to-1 ratio. Many return. “We had 100 applications for 20 positions: from teachers, nurses, seasonal employees …
Avid4 Adventure runs a number of day camps in the metro area as well, including camps in Highlands Ranch and Castle Rock. They are organized by age, offer a variety of activities and offer day care at the beginning and end of the day for those who need it. See the website for information about overnight camp and day camps: Avid4Adventure.com.
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