Our History

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In 1969 Craig and Mary Colvig founded Colvig Silver Camps outside Durango, Colorado. CSC was developed from the foundation of the Silver Spruce Camp for Boys and Silver Saddle Camp for Girls, directed and owned by Forrest Groves. Having purchased the clientele list from Mr. Groves, their first camping season at the Groves’ site marked the beginning of a bright future for children’s camping in the region.

Colvig Silver Camps was founded on the principles of building self-esteem, identity and leadership in a non-competitive environment. Armed with five kayaks, two school buses, a few horses and several used backpacks, Craig and Mary set out to pursue these principles by exploring the mountains, rivers, lakes, deserts and canyons of Colorado and Utah. Since the beginning, many campers have passed through the gates of CSC, many to return as staff or supporting alumni.

During that first summer, Craig and Mary discovered the Red Creek Valley just down the road and subsequently purchased 250 acres that are now the heart of our CSC community. CSC has since expanded to its current size, which includes over 600 acres, 40 buildings, and three additional camps – Homestead, Outpost and Pathfinding. The Colvig family also expanded as members of the family joined the budding camp effort with Craig and Mary and their three sons, Clay, Cameron and Cassidy.

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For 12 years CSC flourished under Craig and Mary’s direction. As enrollment numbers grew so did the number of buses, cabins, horses and backpacks. During this time, CSC became an accredited member of the American Camping Association and a member of the Western Association of Independent Camps. Tragically, Craig Colvig and two staff members were killed in a private plane crash in 1981. Recently divorced from Mary, Craig left the CSC legacy to his three sons, and long-time Assistant Directors Tom “Frosty” Frostman and his wife Susan (Sam) took over as Directors.

Frosty and Sam carried the torch for four years and then moved on to pursue other interests. They recently relocated from Kentucky to Westcliffe, Colorado, and they continue to stay involved in many greatly appreciated ways. Upon their departure in 1985, “Uncle Jim” Colvig picked up the torch and brought CSC into the 90’s. Along with his wife, Jane, and daughter, Jacy, Jim spent 9 years pursuing the ideals of camp with continued involvement from founder, Mary Colvig-Miller, and oldest son Clay Colvig.

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In 1993, Jim retired from the Director position, but remained involved at camp as a CSC board member and Site Manager. Armed with two psychology degrees and a one hundred fifty pound St. Bernard, Cameron Colvig and his wife Nicole took over as directors, developing new programming and rekindling a relationship with the Western Association of Independent Camps. Cameron’s decision in 1998 to take on the challenge of medical school brought Clay Colvig back to camp to continue the legacy as Director. Clay had been pursuing a career as an architect, but saw the rewarding possibilities at camp and jumped at the opportunity to return to camp with his wife, Tavia. Though recently divorced Clay remains the Executive Director to this day and happily continues to advance the CSC mission.

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CSC started as and remains a family owned and operated business with historical and current involvement from two generations of Colvigs including Cassidy Colvig’s return to camp as the Site Manager in 2011. Certainly, none of CSC’s longevity would be possible without the contributions of camp families such as the Weidmanns who helped pound the first nails in CSC cabins; Barbara Hudson who gave years to CSC as the ‘Witch Doctor’; the Barkleys who also devoted many years to CSC; the Frostmans who helped direct CSC through challenging times; the Vorwalds and Reinekes who helped bring CSC into the 90’s and the contributions of a series of year-round management staff that includes Scott Kelley, Gray Berryman, Amie Podolsky, Kit Klepinger, Andrew Notbohm, Megan Weidmann, Michael Gustafson, Lindsay James, Jack Magill, Alexis Harrell, Evan Suiter, Tyler Dixon and Jamie Vorwald, and Sean Spencer.

CSC remains, as always, committed to teaching today’s youth the value of outdoor ethics and a respect for our natural world. We pride ourselves on fostering personal growth, self-esteem and leadership in a non-competitive environment through challenges in and out of the traditional camp setting.