Parents, you can plug your ears or try to entertain them with pipe-cleaner crafts, but if you want to get your kids out of your hair (um, I mean, if you want to provide them with some wonderful enrichment activities), sign 'em up now for summer camp. You'll get a breather or a chance to get some work done, and they'll learn new skills, make friends and have experiences that they'll remember for a lifetime.
In fact, if you let your mind drift back to "the olden days" (as my daughter so kindly refers to my childhood), you may dredge up a few summer camp memories yourself. I know it was at camp that I learned to catch a frog, put on a play, build a campfire, ride a horse, make a clay ashtray (hey, it was the '70s), turn a cartwheel, clean a latrine, and (thanks to some delightfully twisted camp counselors) tell ghost stories that'll keep kids in their sleeping bags all night long.
To get you started, the Indy's Edie Adelstein and Rhiannon Conley have compiled a list of many of the most well-established camps along the Front Range, with an emphasis on the Pikes Peak region. There's also a sampling of lesser-known overnight and day camps. (If you hear of a camp that you think should be included, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.) And as summer draws closer, if you ask around at local schools, churches and arts and sports organizations, you're bound to discover additional options.
No matter how you find those camps, remember: Summer may be short, but memories are long ...
AAVE runs multiple adventure camps throughout the country, including in Colorado, as well as in Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Campers must be ages 12 to 18. Scholarships are available.
Academy of Children's Theatre
Offering multiple summer camps that include acting, musical theater and film for ages 6 to 19. Youth learn theatrical skills, character development, movement, voice, improvisation and more.
All Star Adventures Skateboard Camps
Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch and Longmont
Professionally trained and certified instructors lead small groups of young people in warm-ups, stretches and safety demos, followed by new skateboard skills and tricks, fun skate games and more.
The theater group offers creative and educational music theater workshops and classes for ages 9 to 16. Workshops include High School Musical, Grease, Mamma Mia!, and The Sound of Music, and classes feature vocal and auditioning skills, playwriting and stage make-up.
Arts Alive Camps
Arts Alive at the Fountain Arts Center offers sessions for ages 3 to 14. Programs include dance, drama and craft sessions. Performance opportunities also are available.
Artsports Gym Camp and Trampoline Camp
Artsports offers full-day and half-day camps for ages 5 to 12. Activities include trampoline and tumbling. Discounts are available.
Bear Creek Nature Center Camps
The Bear Creek Nature Center offers day camps for grades 1 to 5. Camps include naturalist-led hikes, puppet shows, storytelling, crafts, guest speakers, a T-shirt and camp photo, plus much more. Discounts and scholarships are available.
Bemis Day Camp at La Foret
495-2743 (La Foret), 475-2444 (FAC), laforet.org
La Foret and Bemis School of Art offer a camp for ages 6 to 11. Campers will spend two hours on art and two hours on acting daily, with nature hikes and swimming.
Blue Mountain Ranch
Blue Mountain Ranch is a camp for boys and girls ages 7 to 16. Activities include horseback riding, hiking, fishing, drama, riflery and more.
Brazilian Capoeira Studio
Kids 4 and up can learn this Brazilian art form that combines martial arts with fluid dance movements. Now also offering adult camps.
Near Georgetown (30 miles west of Denver)
This unique bereavement camp is a way for children ages 6 to 12 to explore feelings of grief and share memories of loved ones through activities led by licensed social workers. Of course, the camp also offers swimming, horseback riding, fishing and arts and crafts. Scholarships are available.
A Christian Bible camp for
students going into grades 3-12. Offering a mixture of activities, including swimming, archery, hiking, nature studies and handcrafts, along with spiritual instruction.
Science Day Camp
Camp Invention focuses on "brain-powered" activities and projects that enhance creativity, teamwork and inventive thinking. The week-long day camps for children entering grades 1 to 6 include modules promoting science, math, history and the arts through activities like creating superheroes, searching for lost treasure and creating the next great land vehicle.
Camp M! at Mizel Museum
The Mizel Museum offers various programs for all children ages 4 to 12. Campers can learn about art, geography, the Wild West and the world's cultures. Financial aid is available.
Camp Timberline Sports and Mountain Adventure
Tahosa Valley (south of Estes Park)
Camp Timberline is a Christian camp, with sessions for boys and girls ages 7 to 18. Sports and activities include basketball, dance, football, lacrosse and water skiing, as well as hiking, zip-lining and rock climbing.
The Catamount Institute offers ecologically friendly week-long camps for ages 4 to 16 including "Creepy Crawly Safari" for younger campers, and "Wild About Wilderness" and for older kids and teens.
Challenger Learning Center
The center offers a space-oriented educational environment where kids learn about space and rocketry and fly simulated space missions. Six programs available for grades 1 to 12.
Cheley Colorado Camps
Cheley offers overnight camping sessions for girls and boys ages 9 to 17. Activities include hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, outcamping, rock climbing, mountain biking, crafts, sports and whitewater rafting.
Chess Camp of
Offering beginning, intermediate and advanced instruction and mini tournaments for ages 6 to 18.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
633-9925 ext. 127, cmzoo.org
The zoo runs camps for ages 4 to 15. Learn about the wonders of wildlife and wild places. Campers meet animals up-close, explore the outdoors, interact with zookeepers, make treats for the animals, design cool crafts and more.
Child Nursery Centers
632-1754 ext. 28, cscnc.org
Offering summer programs for children ages 6 weeks to 14 years at locations across the city. Activities include arts and crafts, field trips and more. The camps welcome children from families with limited incomes.
The school offers a summer enrichment program with classes such as dance, language, theater, art and more for kids through adults.
Colorado Lions Camp
Colorado Lions Camp offers 10 one-week sessions for campers with all types of disabilities (except for those using wheelchairs). Activities include astronomy, swimming, fishing, horseback riding, camping and hiking. Sponsorships are available through the Lions Club of Colorado.
Colorado Springs Conservatory
The conservatory is holding a summer camp for performing arts students ages 8 to 13, including musical theater, drama, vocal art, dance and piano. Musicianship and performance classes for children ages 14 to 19 are offered in collaboration with the Central City Opera Association. The auditioned program includes drama, musical theater and opera.
Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Camps
385-6005 (day camps), 385-6001 (sports camps), springsgov.com
The city's Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Department offers a variety of summer camps for ages 3 to 15 that feature many different sports and activities.
Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Community Centers
The city's community centers present programs and day camps for various age ranges. Reduced fees are available at most locations.
Deerfield Hills Community Center, 385-5996
Hillside Community Center, 385-7900
Meadows Park Community Center, 385-7940
Sand Creek Family Center, 579-4946
West Center for Intergenerational Learning, 385-7920
The Colorado Springs School Summer Programs
CSS offers summer camps for ages 4 to 18. Activities include athletics, college test prep, language classes, music camps, culinary arts and an acting intensive.
Colorado Youth Program Mountain Summer Camp
Held in the mountains of western Boulder County, Colorado Youth Program's 10-day coed camps are for boys and girls ages 11 to 17. Enjoy whitewater rafting, banding birds, fishing, volunteering to help the environment and more. Scholarships are available.
Lauren Stuart, Ph.D., offers two-day cooking day camps for young people ages 10 to 14. This year's camps include "From the Garden to the Table" and "Healthy Eating Basics," which cover topics like menu planning, nutrition and preparing well-balanced meals.
This young child's cultural center, located less than a mile from downtown, offers arts, science and nature studies, dance and movement, tumbling, puppet making and storytelling for ages 2 to 10.
Deer Hill Expeditions
Colorado and other locations
Deer Hill Expeditions organizes wilderness and service programs in the southwest United States, Colorado and Costa Rica, for teens in grades 7 to 12. Programs cover wilderness skills, backpacking, camping, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing and mountain biking. Partial scholarships are available.
Eagle Lake Camps
This Christian Bible camp runs a variety of summer programs for ages 8 to 18, focused on Christ-centered love and commitment, through counselor relationships and outdoor experiences.
Eagle's Nest Day Camps
This camp at Glen Eyrie for kids ages 7 to 12 offers outdoor activities, field trips along the Front Range, sports, games, arts and crafts, plus Bible lessons and more.
Earth Mountain Education Farm
Weston (25 miles west of Trinidad)
Offering three- to five-day camps for ages 8 and up on a working, sustainable, off-grid farm. Promoting self-empowerment, social consciousness and stewardship. Children will live in tipi lodges, play environmental education games, and be part of daily farm activities from cooking on the wood stove to natural building projects.
East United Methodist Church
The "Love Club" is a preschool program for toddlers ages 2 to 5 that offers a semi-structured Christian program that focuses on forming relationships with other children.
Colorado Rocky Mountain Village
Empire (40 miles west of Denver)
This residential camp serves people ages 6 and up who have physical and develop-
mental disabilities. Camp activities include horseback riding, swimming, arts and crafts, music, drama, sports, fishing and riding the zip-line. Scholarships are available.
Explorers Club Sunshine Learning Center
Explorers Club offers activities such as swimming, field trips and educational activities for children ages 6 to 12.
Falcon Sports Camps
Held at the Air Force Academy, Falcon Sports Camps welcome athletes ages 8 to 18 in training for baseball, basketball, cheerleading, diving, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey and more. Boys and girls can commute to the Academy or stay on the grounds if they are 12 or older.
First Presbyterian Church: Ascent Camps
First Presbyterian Church hosts many camps for grades K-8. Programs include a music and drama camp, a primary day camp for grades K-2 as well as overnight out-of-town camps for grades 3 to 8. Scholarships available.
Fountain Creek & Fox Run Nature Camps
Fountain, Black Forest
Fountain Creek Nature Center and Fox Run Park offer summer day camps for grades 1-6. Camps include naturalist-led hikes, discovery time in the woods, hands-on activities, crafts, T-shirts, camp photo, special guests, games and more. Special "Rites of Passage" activities for 6th graders. Discounts and scholarships are available.
FunQuest Summer Day Camp at Colorado College
FunQuest offers nine week-long day camps for children ages 6 to 12. Field trips, swimming, skating, meals, games, sports, arts and crafts and more are included. Register online.
Gifted and Talented
Program at Colorado College
As part of this program, children in grades 1 to 6 participate in courses and activities that challenge their intellectual and creative talents. 2009 registration is closed; 2010 registration begins in mid-January.
Girl Scouts of Colorado
Woodland Park, Red Feather Lakes (west of Ft. Collins) and Bailey (west of Denver)
597-8603 or 866/827-7033 girlscoutsofcolorado.org
Offering day and overnight camps for ages 6 to 17 with activities like hiking, crafts, cook outs, nature experiences, singing and a petting zoo. There are also programs for horse lovers, night owls and canoeing enthusiasts. There are lots of options whether you're looking for the ultimate backpacking experience or a race down a zip-line.
Girls' Wilderness Program
These wilderness-based courses for girls and teens ages 8 to 18 include activities like rock climbing, backpacking, outdoor skills and expressive arts in a "girl-positive" program designed to build leadership skills, confidence and friendships. Four- to 12-day courses available as well as a day camp for girls ages 9 to 11.
The Goddard School
This private preschool near Powers Boulevard and Research Parkway offers summer camps for small children. Programs feature storytellers, magicians, musicians, special guests and more.
Golden Bell Camp and Conference Center
A Christian camp and retreat center that offers a variety of overnight, coed camping experiences for kids. Camps are 3 to 5 days and include climbing, rappelling, hiking, whitewater rafting, swimming, zip-line, disc golf, archery, challenge course, high-ropes course, basketball, volleyball, fishing, "funyaks," horseback riding, putt-putt golf and more.
Graner offers piano labs, beginners' rock band classes, jazz and improv classes. Ages will vary based on ability.
Great Starts Sports Camps
Great Starts offers a variety of sports camps for boys and girls ages 4 to 15. Sports include basketball, cheerleading, football, dance team, tennis, soccer, cup stacking, dodgeball and more.
Handprints Early Education Centers
This Christian day camp offers advanced education programs, Bible studies and elementary preparatory activities for children between 2 and 11 years old. Multiple locations around town, with varying age limitations.
HillSprings Learning Center
HillSprings Learning Center offers multi-sensory instruction in reading, written language, study skills and math classes for grades 1 to 8 during a five-week program.
Hope Montessori Academy
Colorado Springs, 388-8818 and 573-5300
These schools hold year-round programs with summer camp activities for ages 12 and under in Colorado Springs and 14 and under in Monument. Summer camps include field trips, sports clinics and daily activities with arts and crafts.
Horizon Adventures is a camp for ages 13 to 18, focusing on personal growth through an outdoor-based education. The camps provide technical know-how and training in climbing, rafting, rock climbing, hiking, biking, backpacking and general wilderness safety. Financial aid is available.
iD Tech Camps at Colorado College
iD Tech Camp provides various summer technology camps for beginners to advanced learners, ages 7 to 18. Campers create video games, design Web sites, produce digital movies, build robots, learn programming and more. Limited tuition assistance available.
Imagination Celebration Camps
Imagination Celebration offers summer day camps for grades 1-8 featuring a different theme each session. Activities include art, drama, photography, science and lots more.
Joe Machnik's No. 1 Soccer Camps
This camp holds sessions from 4 to 12 days and includes goalkeeper camps, striker camps and even college-prep camps.
Junior Academy Children's Centers
The children's centers hold day camps for ages 5 to 15 with activities including taekwondo, swimming lessons, ice skating, bowling, mini-golf, plus day trips to places like the North Pole, Sky Sox games and Water World.
Junior Farmhands Program at Venetucci Farm
389-1251 ext. 112, venetuccifarm.org
Venetucci Farm offers week-long day camps for boys and girls entering grades 3 to 5 filled with farm experiences like collecting eggs, feeding chickens, grooming a horse, slopping pigs, exploring wetlands, planting seeds, watering and weeding gardens, and maybe even harvesting tasty snacks.
KinderCare Learning Centers
KinderCare offers a week-long program for school-aged children, with a theme this year of "Global Adventures," where kids can learn about the global community and its geography, celebrations, language, sports and food.
The Little Gym
This private gym offers three-hour camps for children ages 3 to 8 that combine physical fitness, special events and arts and crafts.
Manitou Art Theatre
MAT features camps where kids entering grades 1-6 can create costumes and masks, write and enact skits, learn clowning and more. Young people ages 10 to 17 can discover the excitement of Shakespeare and present a production in the park. All camps are taught by Birgitta De Pree and Jim Jackson.
Manitou Springs Aquatics
Learn to swim or perfect your stroke at the Manitou Pool. Both private and public summer swimming lessons will be offered for ages 3 and up.
Manitou Springs Arts Academy
These integrated arts camps provide programs for students entering grades K-8. Activities include drumming, cooking, hip-hop and belly dancing, drama, music, visual arts and more. Sibling discounts are available.
Beulah (west of Pueblo)
The park offers camps for kids and teens entering grades 3 to 9 including Adventure Day Camp, Survival Camp, Mission: Wolf Camp, Backpack Camp and more.
Operation Purple Camp
This program of the National Military Family Association offers a free, one-week camp for children (ages 7 to 17) of deployed, uniformed service members.
Performance: Ultimate Outdoor Adventure Camp
Larkspur, Littleton and Denver
These adventure-based camps are designed for youth ages 6 to 15. Activities include rock climbing, rappelling, rafting, zip-lining, rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding and more.
Outpost Wilderness Adventure
512/731-7596, 719/748-3080, owa.com
These camps for ages 9 to 18, offer activities such as rock climbing, mountain biking, fly fishing and backpacking expeditions.
Golden and nationwide
Outward Bound Wilderness, part of the international Outward Bound nonprofit organization, offers more than 500 adventure-based wilderness courses in the United States for ages 12 and up. Sessions range in length from four days to three months, and include rock climbing, sea kayaking, backpacking, mountaineering, sailing and canoeing. See the Web site for scholarship information.
Sponsored by the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, Peace Camp is a day camp with a Friday night campout for ages 6 to 9 and 10 to 12. Goals include teaching children to use nonviolent solutions, community building, environmental awareness and multiculturalism through arts, activities and games. Scholarships are available.
Pikes Peak Library District
531-6333 ext. 1403 or 2403, ppld.org
The local libraries offer various programs for infants to 18-year-olds. Activities include a summer reading program, a variety of clubs and workshops, teen center activities, games and more.
These private schools offer summer day camps for toddlers through kindergarteners, and a summer camp preview during spring break.
For incoming college freshmen, Quantum U at Colorado College focuses on how to achieve success in higher education through activities like personal development workshops and outdoors adventures.
The Rock Climbing Center
The Rock offers indoor and outdoor climbing and adventure camps for ages 6 to 16.
Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp
This Mennonite overnight camp is open to those in grades 3 to 12. Family camps also are available. Activities include nature study, arts and crafts, hiking and volleyball, to be enjoyed while encouraging holistic Christian growth. Scholarships are available.
Sanborn Western Camps
Since 1948, Sanborn Western Camps has emphasized personal growth and adventure in the high peaks of Colorado. Dates run from June through August, in 15-day camps for children in grades 1 to 4, or month-long camps for those in grades 3 to 10.
School District 11 Summer School
520-2715 or 520-2720, d11.org
During the summer, D-11 offers K-8 reading and math classes and credit-recovery courses for high school students.
Sky High Hope
Bellvue (8 miles northwest of Fort Collins)
Sky High is a free camp for kids with cancer, ages 8 to 18, and their siblings, if space is available. Activities include all kinds of fun outdoor activities
like canoeing, fishing, rock climbing and more.
Sky Ranch at Ute Trail
Powderhorn (between Lake City and Gunnison)
This Christian adventure camp runs week-long outdoor camps for families in the Rocky Mountains.
Spring Break Madness Art Camp
The Sangre de Cristo Arts Center offers half-day and full-day art camps during spring break for children in grades 1 to 6. Activities include theater, dance, music, cooking, storytelling, a movie and more.
St. Luke's Children's Center
St. Luke's features themed activities for ages up to 10, including sports, vacation Bible school, field trips, cooking classes and more.
Star Gymnastics Summer Day Camp
This center leads camps for kids ages 5 to 12 featuring gymnastics and tumbling plus field trips, swimming, games and arts and crafts projects.
The Sunshine House Summer Camp
For infants through 12-year-olds, this is a summer day camp that includes field trips, arts and crafts, and more.
Held at Colorado College, SuperCamp is a coed, residential, academic summer camp for young people in grades 9 to 12. Campers will acquire test-taking, multi-tasking and organizational skills, as well as life skills like communication, creative thinking and goal-setting.
Team Spirit Cheerleading
Team Spirit offers an inexpensive cheerleading camp for all ages. Campers will learn cheer, pom dance, and tumbling skills and routines.
Urban League Summer Camp
The Urban League offers "Fun in the Sun" day camps for area children that feature field trips and tons of fun activities.
Village Seven Presbyterian Church Camp
Village Seven offers day camps for children ages 3 to 12. Programs include soccer and basketball camps, story time camp and workshops.
Whiz Bang Science Program at Colorado College
Featuring hands-on activities in science, the Whiz Bang Science Program gives kids in grades 1 to 6 the chance to develop science process skills through a variety of guided scientific investigations. This year focuses on inventions and discoveries of famous scientists.
Wizard Camp at Theatre of Dreams
Professional magicians will teach level one and level two programs focusing on staging, the art of performance, creativity and timing. Young people ages 7 and up will increase their self-confidence and stage presence while having fun. The camp ends with an on-stage recital.
Xtreeme Fitness Bootcamps
Kids ages 10 to 15 can enjoy the outdoors and get in shape at these challenging but enjoyable fitness bootcamps held in Bear Creek and Fox Run parks.
YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region Summer Day Camps
The YMCA offers week-long day camps featuring various themes for children ages preschool to 12. Visit the Web site or contact locations for more information. Financial aid is available.
Briargate YMCA, 4025 Family Place, 282-9622
Downtown YMCA, 207 N. Nevada Ave., 473-9622
Fountain Valley YMCA, 301 E. Iowa Ave., Fountain, 382-1561
Garden Ranch YMCA, 2380 Montebello Drive West, 593-9622
Southeast YMCA, 2190 Jet Wing Drive, 622-9622
Tri-Lakes YMCA, 1832 Woodmoor Drive, #201, Monument, 481-8728
YMCA: Camp Jackson
Camp Jackson is a YMCA camp that focuses helping campers build strong relationships through outdoor leadership skills. Some activities include shooting sports, horsemanship, canoeing, rock climbing and creative arts. Base Camp is for ages 7 to 12 and Extreme and Leadership Camps for ages 12 to 17.
YMCA: Camp Shady Brook
Camp Shady Brook, west of Colorado Springs, provides overnight camps for boys and girls ages 6 to 17. Campers can enjoy a variety of activities such as horseback riding, art camp, archery and swimming. Scholarships are available.
YMCA of the Rockies: Camp Chief Ouray
Granby (northwest of Denver)
970/887-2152 ext. 4172, ymcarockies.org
Camp Chief Ouray offers traditional camping experiences for young people ages 7 to 17. Activities available to campers include horseback riding, canoeing, arts and crafts, swimming, camp-outs, archery and ropes courses. Teen wilderness adventure programs include outdoor challenges like backpacking, whitewater rafting and mountain biking.