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Go West Camps is the culmination owners/directors Andrew and Arianne VanDerWege's of a lifelong passion for education and summer camp. - COURTESY GO WEST CAMPS
  • Courtesy Go West Camps
  • Go West Camps is the culmination owners/directors Andrew and Arianne VanDerWege's of a lifelong passion for education and summer camp.
For directors and owners Andrew and Arianne VanDerWege, starting and growing Go West Camps has been the culmination of a lifelong passion and career in the summer camp industry. With over thirty years of professional experience between them, and their family background in education and camp, they have taken their very best ideas and incorporated them into a dynamic outdoor summer experience for kids from around the Pikes Peak region. Now in their fourth year, Go West Camps has established itself as an innovative summer program inspiring kids to embrace outdoor adventure and healthy living in a welcoming community.

The kids at Go West attend three-week-long sessions throughout the summer. According to Andrew VanDerWege “the longer session length is really the key to building our sense of community at camp. It gives kids just enough time to make some lasting friendships, and our staff really gets to know our campers and their families.”

VanDerWege knows the importance of the time it takes to build these kinds of relationships first-hand. As the son of camp directors he spent nearly every summer of his childhood at camp, mostly month-long sessions at overnight camp. VanDerWege credits that time as the most formative in his life, where he created meaningful friendships and a fostered a love for the outdoors.

Kids attending Go West spend nearly all their time outdoors, often in engaging adventures like paddleboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking, as well as activities like gardening, cooking, making music and creating art.

Go West campers spend nearly all their time outdoors in engaging adventures like rock climbing, and more. - COURTESY GO WEST CAMPS
  • Courtesy Go West Camps
  • Go West campers spend nearly all their time outdoors in engaging adventures like rock climbing, and more.
“Looking back at all of our experiences — we’ve directed day camp, overnight camp and outdoor education in both Colorado and Hawaii — we wanted to take the best ideas and use them at Go West,” says Arianne VanDerWege. “We knew that a longer session length was important so that kids had time to build skills in our activities and we wanted to make sure that our program was staffed well.”

Go West campers are split into small groups with one counselor for every six campers. The extra staff support allows kids to build skills and self-confidence, and create close relationships with their counselors. And the intentional programming has campers participating in progressive activities meant to build leadership and communication skills, independence, and to encourage self-direction.

The camp directors credit their involvement with the American Camp Association (ACA) with much of their success. “ACA allows us to network with other camp professionals and learn from the best in the industry” Andrew VanDerWege explains. “It’s important to us that we continue development as camp professionals, and that we constantly strive to provide the best possible experience for kids.”

"Looking back on all our experiences, we wanted to take the best ideas and use them at Go West,” says Arianne VanDerWege. - COURTESY GO WEST CAMPS
  • Courtesy Go West Camps
  • "Looking back on all our experiences, we wanted to take the best ideas and use them at Go West,” says Arianne VanDerWege.
One of the state’s three American Camp Association accredited day camps, Go West Camps undergoes regular evaluations of its operations by the ACA. The process includes over 300 standards, ranging from health and safety to program development.

Go West Camps sets itself apart from other summer offerings as they offer local families a truly unique, quality summer camp experience. From spending time in the outdoors and learning new skills, to making friends and having positive mentors, Go West Camps creates a meaningful and unforgettable experience for both kids and families.

— Arianne VanDerWege, Go West Camps


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