I don’t know if your kids are anything like mine, but they begin asking in September about which summer camp they can go to and when. In fact, our daughter has already packed, unpacked, and repacked her backpack for her first upcoming day camp experience.
As a family, we’re not much for buying lots of stuff. The toys our children do get tend to have a short shelf life and begin to gather dust as attention spans and interests turn to other activities. Besides, when it comes to happiness, the researchers at San Francisco State University support what I think many of us intuitively know: it is the experiences we invest in, not the things, that make us happier long term. For my kids, one of their favorite experiences each year comes in the form of summer camps at Catamount Institute. For our eldest, this will be his sixth season of being a camper, while our middle son has been a camper for three years. Our daughter will go for the first time this year—after counting down since she was three. I guess you could say it’s a tradition for us..
The camps are filled with all of the adventures of summer camp, but they also pack in tons of hands-on science which I appreciate. Our kids come home with stories of adventures they’ve had and things they’ve learned about or learned how to do. They come home brimming with excitement and eager to share their accomplishments and their familiarity with new places and outdoor skills. They come home with new friends and more confidence and a deeper understanding of the environment around them, and it spills over into all the other aspects of their lives—even school, scouts, and family outings.
My kids have learned so much science in a real, hands on way from the camp staff who are professional and well-trained environmental educators and outdoor enthusiasts. Their love of nature is contagious, and has impacted our kids and their understanding of science concepts. And the best part is that the camps grow with our kids over the years. They have each started out with Creepy Crawly Safari and grown into Outdoor Explorers and Dirt Camp. This year will be our first foray into full residential with Adventure Camp for my oldest. I’m thrilled knowing that all three of my kids will get the opportunity to participate in Catamount Institute summer camps this year. I know they’ll come home a little tired, a little stinky, exhilarated, and looking forward to next year’s camp. I’d highly recommend all moms check out Catamount Institute’s summer camps and give their kids an experience that will stay with them forever. By: Elizabeth Hudgens
Catamount Institute provides award winning, science-based environmental education programs, outdoor recreational activities, and leadership training to youth in the Pikes Peak region. These programs bring the wonder of the outdoors and a fascination for science to young participants; they also move under-served youth away from sedentary lifestyles and to outdoor classrooms, improving their physical, mental and emotional health. Most of the schools we serve have a high proportion of students from lower income families, some with poverty rates above 87%. We offer scholarships to 30-40% of our student participants. Our programs provide our youth with a safe, healthy, and educational place to go after school, during the Summer and over Spring Break.