Camps and programs for every kid.
There’s just something about summer camp. Whether it’s a cozy day of arts and crafts, or a fun-filled week of outdoor adventure, camp provides a platform for excitement, new friendships, laughter and learning.
With day camps, week-long sessions and overnight trips, the Vail Valley has a variety of summer camps that will keep kids smiling all season.
Vail Recreation District
The Vail Recreation District youth summer camps feature hands-on learning about the natural environment, adventure-packed days including rafting and caving, arts and crafts, plus active sports of all kinds.
“The VRD offers numerous day camps for kids of all ages that recognize the recreational desires of youth and how to provide adventure for children with little legs and big spirits,” says Chad Young, VRD Director of Youth Services. “Our low camper-to-counselor ratio ensures each child will receive individualized attention while enjoying a day full of excitement and education.”
VRD’s new Camp Eco Fun Campouts offer an overnight adventure at Sweetwater Lake or Gore Creek Campground for kids ages 6 to 12. Science and eco-focused camps provide children with fun-filled exploration and games, and sports camps cover the gamut of activities from baseball, basketball, volleyball, skateboarding, lacrosse, flag football, soccer, hockey, tennis, gymnastics and golf. All camps fill on a first-come, first-served basis and early registration is encouraged through the new online registration system. vailrec.com
Town of Avon Recreation Camps
Hosted through the Town of Avon Recreation Department, children ages 5 to 12 can learn new skills while making new friends, with adventures that include horseback riding, sailing, rock climbing and zip lining with Avon Mountain Adventure Camp.
“Our goal is to send your children home healthy, smiling and exhausted from a day full of adventure and laughter,” says Jamie Taylor, guest services coordinator. “Our outstanding staff members, structured day plans, competitive pricing and unbelievable field trip lineup is what sets our camp apart from the rest of the valley.”
Avon also offers a summer camp for kindergarten through second graders, ages 5 to 8. Summer camp hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and campers can come whichever days work best for family schedules. avonrec.org
Beaver Creek Kids’ Day Camp
“Summer days are spent in endless ways — swimming at hot springs, river rafting, taking golf lessons, kayaking, rock climbing, horseback riding, paddleboat, chairlift rides, stand-up paddle boarding, Jeep tours, paintball, mini-golf, bungee trampoline, ceramics, face painting, park play, go karting, tennis and pony rides — just to name a few,” shares Patty Wall, director of the Beaver Creek Kids’ Day Camp. “Beaver Creek Kids’ Day Camp is a great way for kids to get a true Colorado outdoor experience.”
The camp offers three programs: Discovery Camp for ages 5 to 7 years old, Adventure Camp for ages 8 to 13 years old, and Five Star Camp for ages 5 to 13 years old — an option that gives siblings the chance to stay together. Each program has its own daily calendar, ensuring every day is different.
With flexible registration, kids can go for one day, one week or all summer long. Drop-off is from 9 to 9:30 a.m. and pick-up is from 4:30 to 5 p.m. beavercreek.com/family/summer/kids-day-camp-summer
Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District hosts its Summer Rec Kids Day Camp Program at three locations throughout the valley — the Gypsum Recreation Center, the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink and the Edwards Fieldhouse. The program is offered Monday through Friday for kids ages 5 to 12.
Activities include swimming, tennis, rock climbing, group sports, games, biking, hiking, gymnastics and arts and crafts. Each week follows a theme, like “Fun & Fitness,” “Christmas in July,” “Nature Lovers,” or “Party in the USA.” Campers can also attend special field trips to local recreation hot spots.
Sports camps are available for kids ages 5 and up, including BMX and mountain biking, lacrosse, baseball, golf, soccer and gymnastics. wecmrd.org
As a non-profit for at-risk youth, SOS Outreach leads various types of wilderness trips based on the age and experience of SOS students. Its programs teach adventure skills, along with local wildlife and ecology, as well as a value-based leadership curriculum.
The entry-level front country day program is the 4-Day Backyard Adventure, where a new outdoor sports is introduced every day. Activities include day hiking, rock climbing, service learning, and paddle boarding, while older, more experienced students can participate in basecamp adventure sports and backpacking trips.
“Our backpacking explores some of the most beautiful areas of the Holy Cross Wilderness and Flat Tops Wilderness within the White River National Forest,” says Scott Partan, SOS Outreach program manager in Eagle County. “Students will travel through montane and subalpine forests, through flower-filled, high alpine meadows and over rocky ridge lines — traveling between 3 to 8 miles per day and carrying all necessary camping gear and food.” sosoutreach.org/program-resources/regional-information/eagle-county
Camp Deep End
At Camp Deep End, kids start the day with a reading and math enhancement exercise. All academics are game-based, not from worksheets. In the second half of the day, kids can get out and enjoy time in local parks.
“I wanted to create a summer program that would not only exercise the kids’ minds and creativity, but also keep their bodies active during the freedom of the summer months,” shares Joey Peplinski, director of Camp Deep End, who started the program after being a teacher for nine years.
Camp Deep End is located at the Eagle County Charter Academy in Edwards. It runs Monday through Friday, from June 6 through July 29 (no camp on July 1 or July 4). campdeepend.com
Cordillera Day Camp
Also known as “Cordy Camp,” Cordillera Day Camp is held at the Trailhead Clubhouse and Pool every summer from June through August. Campers age 5 to 12 can enjoy swimming, tennis, golf, fishing, arts and crafts, games and more up in Cordillera. cordilleraliving.com/recreation-and-amenities/the-cordillera-day-camp
Beaver Creek Children’s Theatre Company
“This summer we are celebrating our 30th birthday of Beaver Creek Children’s Theatre Company,” says director Brian Hall. “It’s amazing that it has been 30 years since I and three actors started our shows, and how we have grown.”
The group plans special shows all summer long, and this year they will have a big celebration with a big show and birthday cake. beavercreekkids.com/the-beaver-creek-childrens-theatre-company/
Spanish Immersion Day Camp
H&M Spanish Programs at Homestake Peak School offers Spanish Immersion Day Camps for English-speaking students who want to learn and fully experience the Spanish language. Students engage in Spanish through storytelling, acting and movie-making, real-life reenactments, sports, music, arts and crafts and vocabulary-building games. The day camp is meant for kids entering 1st to 5th grade, and it’s held from July 18th through July 22. hmspanishprograms.com
Bravo! Vail’s Education Programs
Children can experience real orchestral instruments at the Instrument Petting Zoos presented by Bravo! Vail. Kids and adults can enjoy free and informative performances at the Vail Library with Little Listeners, which also includes a musical activity or mini instrument petting zoo for kids.
“Bravo! Vail’s Education programs throughout the summer provide children of all ages with the opportunity to experience classical music in a fun and approachable way,” says Keelin Davis, education and community engagement coordinator for Bravo!. “Through hands-on Instrument Petting Zoo events, as well as the multitude of kid-friendly professional performances presented at local libraries, like Little Listeners at the Library, children and families have the chance to get up close and personal with Bravo’s world-class musicians.” bravovail.org
Alpine Arts Center
Themed art sessions for kids are held from the end of May through the end of August.
“Summer is our busiest time of year, and we are excitedly planning lessons to go along with our new camp themes,” explains Lauren Merrill, owner of Alpine Arts Center.
The teaching team has been busy collecting items like Legos, toilet paper rolls, white sheets for batik tapestries and tie-dye.
For children ages 3 to 6 and 7 to 12, classes like”Adventures at the Circus,” “Yummy Art,” and “Parade Float Extravaganza”” give them the opportunity to explore a variety of mediums, including painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture and printmaking.
New this year is the option for tweens, kids ages 10 and up, who excel at art to join any of Alpine Arts Center’s teen camp sessions. These session require a full week registration for ongoing projects, and camps meet from 1-4 p.m. throughout the week.
Teen and tween sessions include “Drawing & Illustration,” “Teen Clay Camp,” “Mosaics,” and “Silkscreening & Batik.” alpineartscenter.org
Vail Mountain Bike Camp
Morning sessions of bike instruction and riding offered through Vail Mountain Bike Camp are for kids at least 7 years old who are very strong riding on pavement, as they will be riding on dirt. They must be comfortable shifting gears and completing six or more miles at a time. The camps are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 9-11:30 a.m.
Kids must bring their own tuned up mountain bike with gears, helmet, camelback or water bottle on their bike, snack for each day to carry, gloves and bike shorts.
After kids’ camps each day, adventure camps are offered until 2:30 p.m. Kids bring their own lunch for this session. vailmountainbikecamps.com
Vail Stables Summer Camps
Vail Stables has a small camp for kids ages 3 to 12, where kids learn how to care for and ride horses and ponies. They learn the names and types of brushes that are used during the grooming process, as well as the names and parts of a saddle while they work with snaps, straps, buckles and hooks.
”It’s a fun, playful atmosphere, with kind instructors that focus on safety, anticipation and prevention of problems, and awareness of one’s surroundings,” explains owner Kym Luck.
Parents can register children for a flexible amount days. The Horse Camp for kids 6 to 12 is always a full-day, and includes trail rides, games on horseback and lunch at a scenic spot in the mountains. Some programs are half-day, and may be combined to create a full-day experience. Pony Camp and Cowboy Camp have an additional feature that allows children to attend on an hourly basis, while parents can enjoy a spectacular, scenic horseback ride. vailstables.com
Walking Mountains Science Center
Summer science camps through Walking Mountain Science Center are for kids ages 6 months to 18 years. The group’s tagline for the summer is: Let’s rescue summer from the indoors! A worthy endeavor indeed. Camps such as “Nature Tykes,” “Winged Wonders,” “Mysteries of the Night,” “Tracks and Trails,” and “Backpacking Basics” help children to experience nature and investigate scientific concepts within it.
Single-day programs are offered, as well as the week long day camps and overnight camps. walkingmountains.org/project/vail-summer-science-camps/
»by kim fuller
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If the coronavirus sparks migration, what will that mean for places like Eagle County, which local economic development officials say is well-positioned to offer people the recreation and lifestyle opportunities they may be seeking?