Here are a few things you should know up front – I love summer and summer vacation. I would like to do nothing more than spend every single day from Memorial Day to Labor Day hiking, swimming, cycling and picnicking along the river with my boys. But the next thing you should know is this – I am a working mom, and as much as I’d love to lie by the pool all day without my phone and laptop, I still need to bring home the bacon (and fry it up in a pan for BLT sandwiches). But what to do with the kids when school is out and I’ve turned the XBox off? And this, my friends, is why the Powers That Be invented summer camps.
For as long as I’ve had children, I’ve relied on summer camps to keep my kids outdoors and having fun while I work. Teetering on the precipice of manhood, my rising high schooler really doesn’t want to participate in anything structured anymore, but at the same time, I don’t want him playing Mario Kart on his phone for 80 hours a week, or worse, playing with his soon-to-be-middle school brother, who most definitely still needs to be entertained and guided for the next three months when I can’t be there.
Sure, I get up early and try to work before they wake, and stay up late finishing projects after they go to bed so I can get those precious moments in between, but the reality is that some weeks, I just need extended help. Fortunately, the Roaring Fork Valley is chock-full of camps from sports to arts and everything in between.
This summer with my kids I’ll be returning to some tried and true camps including:
The Art Base: An amazing lineup of art classes for kids this summer includes those inspired by “Star Wars” architecture and fashion. But perhaps the most impactful class they offer this summer is called “The Story of the Forest.” Created for children ages 11 to 14, according to the Art Base, the weeklong camp focuses on “the ecological regeneration of the ecosystems that were burned. Participants spend time walking around burn zones, collecting footage and communicating these stories through a digital story.” An important way to process the wildfire devastation Mid-Valley kids experienced last summer.
Camp Smashbox: Select weeks in June, July and August get kids outside with a full day schedule at Camp Smashbox, a throwback, all fun day camp at the Snowmass Chapel. According to Smashbox, “A typical day may include some combination of challenges, team-building, crafts, adventures, obstacle courses, cardboard creations and heavy doses of nature and wet or messy play.” This is a camp that measures success on how mud soaked the kids are, and boy do we need more of that in this world.
Roaring Fork Cycling: After a successful afterschool program at Basalt Middle School this spring, my boys are excited to take part in Roaring Fork Cycling’s summer camps for boys and girls in grades 1-6, its Jr. Development Team and SHEredders for 7th and 8th graders, and Freeride Team for high schoolers, all of which are organized out of the Snowmass Recreation Center.
Rock Bottom Ranch: For most Mid-Valley moms, Rock Bottom Ranch is a tentpole in the summer camp schedule for her kids. This summer, in partnership with the Roaring Fork Conservancy, Rock Bottom Ranch is offering “Angling Adventures,” a weeklong camp for kids ages 8 to 12 focused on fly fishing. “Discover aquatic insects that fish eat, learn how to fly fish and tie your own flies, explore the health of our rivers, and even catch a few fish for an up close investigation!”
SOL Theater: This Carbondale-based kids theater that runs year-round programs also has great camps for novice actors and actresses up to the more seasoned professional. Camps to improve your audition, act, sing and dance all lead up to its summer youth production of Peter Pan on Wednesday, July 3.
Of course, if these camps don’t work, there is always a plethora of day options and activities offered through both Basalt Recreation, Carbondale Recreation and Crown Mountain Recreation. We will surely be at a few of them. See you at the park!