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Vail Daily column: Let’s rescue summer from the indoors

Rachel Zacher
Valley Voices

Warm and sunny bluebird days have me thinking about summer and all the fun it will bring! As the summer programs coordinator at Walking Mountains Science Center, I have the wonderful role of planning our summer science camps. From booking huts to planning curriculum, I truly think about summer every day! Our dynamic team of educators work hard to provide an exceptional and interactive summer camp experience for every camper.

This summer, we have chosen a theme of “rescuing summer from the indoors.” Don’t waste the warmest months of the year inside! While we won’t be flying over the Eagle Valley in capes and jet packs, I feel passionate about our mission this summer. By providing unique experiences that immerse campers in the natural world, Walking Mountains offers a way to spend less time indoors and more opportunities for kids to explore their own backyard. Camps are already starting to sell out, so visit our website today to sign your child up for a summer of exploration and character building.

At 6 years old, I had the opportunity to attend my very first summer camp. I was lucky to attend with a friend but still felt pretty unsure about the situation. I didn’t know what to expect, but once I arrived it was truly a whirlwind of fun, exploration, new experiences, adventure and more! In just one week I gained self-confidence, tried new things, laughed a lot, and made some pretty incredible memories.

Over many years I continued to have life-changing experiences through different summer camp programs. Each experience further connected me to the natural world. I took hikes, learned about local animals, identified plants and made new friends. Walking Mountains’ Summer Science Camps aim to not only provide fun and build character, but also engage your child’s naturally curious mind with hands-on science lessons, experiments and outdoor adventures.

I will be forever grateful for these formative experiences. I certainly won’t ever forget the first time I searched for macroinvertebrates in a local river or my first backpacking trip. I now feel incredibly fulfilled to provide similar opportunities for children in my own community. I learned from personal experience that summer camps can do incredible things for a child. I became more self-confident and learned to trust in my peers. I discovered the importance of working in a team and the benefit of pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I found out that learning could be fun and that the outdoors needed to be explored. Most importantly I realized that I felt like my truest self, when spending time in nature. It is truly a pleasure to see these same values echoed in the experiences children have at Walking Mountains’ Summer Science Camps.

Our camps serve students entering first grade through 12th grades in the fall of 2016. We offer week-long day camps, single-day camps and overnights. Every camp is tailored to a specific age group allowing us to make the most of each day. We are excited to offer scholarship opportunities which can be applied for on our website that are funded through the generous support of Slifer Smith & Frampton, town of Eagle and the Eagle County Conservation District. Visit http://www.walking mountains.org/camps to rescue summer from the indoors and register your kid(s) for camp.

Rachel Zacher is the summer programs coordinator at Walking Mountains Science Center. In her free time she loves playing with puppies, building quinzees and cooking squash. She hopes you will join her in rescuing summer from the indoors. She can be contacted at rachelz@walkingmountains.org and 970-827-9725, ext. 114


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