EAGLE COUNTY — With powder days in full swing on the mountain and many Vail Valley teens wanting to spend as much time on theirs skis or boards as possible, it’s hard to imagine that summer is just around the corner. However, Vail Valley Young Life staff and leaders are hoping that high school students will be excited to exchange their snow skis and snowboards for water skis and wake boards. High school students in the Vail Valley have the opportunity to attend Young Life Camp in northern Minnesota, June 21-29.
“It’s no joke when we claim Young Life camp is the trip of a lifetime,” said Ben Dodds, area director for Vail Valley Young Life. “We promise each camper ‘the best week of their life.’”
Young Life Program Growing
Vail Valley Young Life is a youth organization that is continuing to experience tremendous growth up and down the valley. On an average week, there are more than 225 middle school and high school students involved in a weekly meeting called “club.” Last year, 105 Young Life campers and leaders boarded buses to travel to Castaway Club in Minnesota. This year, Dodds hopes it will be even more.
“We are seeing an unbelievable increase in camping numbers each summer which is very exciting. We are hoping to take 150-plus high school students to Castaway Club this summer,” he said.
Castaway Club is full of activities as soon as you step foot on the property. From ziplining into the lake to water activities and parasailing to crazy camp games. One volunteer described it more as a five-star resort than a typical summer camp.
Camp registration is currently open, and campers can still get a discounted rate through today. Spots are going fast and are based on a first-come, first-served basis.
Opportunities to raise money to help cover camp costs are also available. Young Life leaders will lead campers on the annual VVYL Bike-A-Thon, where campers have the opportunity to raise funds for every mile they ride from Vail Pass to Eagle. Campers will also have the opportunity to work at the Eagle Thrifty Shoppe as yet another means to raise support for their trip this summer. Contact a local Young Life leader to learn more about how to help pay for the Young Life camp experience.
Last year, Vail Valley Young Life was given a $68,000 gift to help defray the cost of camp for high school campers going to Castaway. This year, $30,000 of that gift is being used to help lower the cost of camp for each camper this summer.
“At Castaway, I tried something new every day, met amazing people and was constantly blown away by how much fun I was having all week,” said Hope Thomson, a senior at Battle Mountain High School. “The week I spent at Young Life camp changed my life for the better.”