Of course, we know you probably have a whole lot of questions, and we want to make sure we get those answered. Follow the buttons below if you want to know more about our specific Programs, Activities, Expeditions, Dates & Rates and other important information. Please read on if you want to know more about sending a child to camp, and more specifically sending a child to Colvig Silver Camps.
You might say we’re biased, and that is probably true, but we have been observing the benefits of sending a child to camp since our first summer in 1969. Children who attend CSC, or any camp, build so many skills that will help them throughout their life. When campers return to life outside of camp and to the academic setting they will have increased social confidence, they will have increased drive to participate in activities with others or encourage others to join in with them, and they will increase their level of responsibility in the home and among their peer group. It is these skills that make camp a truly valuable experience for a child. The campers may not even realize they are building these skills as they will be having loads of fun, learning new things, and making lasting friendships with fellow campers and staff.
All of us! Your child will have one Head Counselor primarily responsible for their safety, health and happiness while at camp but we will all be involved in their summer. Most of our summer staff are college students between the ages of 21 and 25. We hire a handful of 18-20 year olds as Assistant Counselors as well. Staff members come from diverse backgrounds and have a wide variety of previous experience, but all have a passion for working with children in an outdoor setting. Many counselors are teachers or teachers in training. Many are majoring in areas such as education, outdoor/experiential education, recreation, psychology, social work and other related fields. We also look for wilderness experience and experience with outdoor programs (e.g. NOLS, Outward Bound, and other summer camps). We hire a handful of specialists to oversee specific program areas, including two wranglers to run the horse program, an arts and crafts coordinator, and a climbing coordinator.
Our staff typically finds us! We advertise on many outdoor job and summer camp job websites. Many former campers also aspire to work on staff and are frequently hired. Former staff tend to spread the word to their friends and family who often apply for positions in following seasons. Approximately 50% of our staff each summer are returning staff members and/or former CSC campers. This high return rate adds stability and continuity to our diverse summer program and still allows for new energy and ideas to come to camp.
Different from most other camps, we ask our counseling staff to do most of the in-camp program planning. At the beginning of each term, counselors are given an open schedule. Working as a team, each age group’s staff fills in the blanks by planning a wide range of exciting activities for their campers. This method of program planning gives staff a high degree of freedom and flexibility to plan activities that appeal to them and their campers. In this manner, they are able to creatively plan activities which fully utilize their personal strengths and areas of interest and/or expertise. This helps to make each term is a little different and to provide a unique experience for each and every camper.
While we have a strong core of traditional summer camp activities such as western riding, arts & crafts, target sports, climbing, swimming, fishing, and hiking, counselors are also encouraged to plan new and creative activities to add range and depth to our diverse program. Many of these planning choices are based on specific camper interests. Coupled with our choice-oriented philosophy, this gives campers an opportunity to customize their experience as opposed to their schedule being directed by a group, cabin, or overriding program requirements.
Staff applicants fill out and submit an online application which includes submitting at least 3 references, 2 of which must be written. We evaluate each application in detail, we double check references and job history, and conduct a thorough job interview. We run background checks on each staff member and check their driving record. Applicants are evaluated in areas such as responsibility, maturity, professionalism, decision-making skills, creativity and enthusiasm. We also look for formal and informal experience, in the fields of child care and outdoor education. The end product is a highly motivated, and enthusiastic summer staff!
All summer staff, both new and return, must participate in 10 days of intense pre-camp staff training. During this time we train staff members in all areas of camp operation, beginning with philosophy, mission, procedures and policies. This training also covers areas such as the specifics of camp operation, program planning, emergency procedures, discipline issues, and community building. The second half of staff training focuses specifically on our wilderness program, stressing the hard skill areas, such as decision making, safety, emergency procedures, and wilderness first aid, and also the soft skill areas, such as how to take advantage of the developmental opportunities inherent to backcountry group travel and how to instill or enhance a sense of wonder about the natural world.
Yes! We are accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA). We are also members of the Western Association of Independent Camps (WAIC).
First year campers at CSC typically do very well. We feel we have a very welcoming, friendly and inclusive camper population that is used to the idea that every summer is a new adventure with new people. The first week of camp is very intentionally and specifically directed towards inclusion and community building and return campers typically waste no time making friends with new campers and introducing them to the camp culture.
We try to minimize the amount of paperwork involved while needing to ensure that we are prepared to give your camper the best possible experience and that we are following the requirements of all governing entities. In addition to a handful of other simple forms to fill out before your camper arrives we will need a health history form and physical form following a physical within a year from the start of camp. We will also request some information about your camper to help our staff prepare for you camper .
Yes. We pride ourselves in catering to many dietary needs and restrictions. If your child has a severe food allergy or intolerance we will work to make sure they are fed properly. We have vegetarian options available at every meal for vegetarians. We will make sure children who are picky eaters are getting enough nutrients each day for their activity level in addition to consistently encouraging them to try new foods.
Laundry is collected weekly, typically the day campers return from a backpacking trip. Counselors will make sure campers have all their dirty laundry in the cabin’s laundry bag for pick up. Our laundry person does laundry the following day. It is then returned to the cabin that night. It is very important to write your camper’s name on every article of clothing to decrease the chance for it to go missing.
Enrolled campers will be able to review comprehensive lists regarding all of the necessary items to bring to camp. Most items will fit into your camper’s luggage. We highly recommend sending your child with bedding for a twin bed and their own pillow – anything they may want to make their bunk a cozy and comfortable home. Of utmost importance is a good pair of well-fitted, broken in hiking boots that are made for backpacking.
You can write letters to them via mail or email and they will be delivered. You can see what your child is up to through our photo platform of daily uploaded pictures online as well. We strongly discourage any phone contact over the 2 or 4 weeks, as phone contact often leads to heightened levels of anxiety and pulls them out of their experience.
We encourage families to send love in written form. Packages can be distracting in the cabin and often end up in the corner unused. If you feel it is necessary, please limit your packages and do NOT include food as this is a health hazard in the cabin.
No problem. We take pride in introducing campers and families alike to the wonders of traveling outside. Backpacking is the best way to access the most beautiful and remote places on our planet. It isn’t all that different from basic camping but instead of driving to a campground and setting up a tent, you put your gear and food in a backpack and carry it on your back as you walk to your destination. Many of our campers are new to backpacking, and many grow to love it and become very experienced backpackers.
The best way to prepare for our trips is to break in a sturdy pair of hiking boots long before arrival at camp. Boots need to fit right and should be fitted by a professional. Wearing brand new, unworn boots or ill-fitting boots on your first backpacking trip is likely to cause blisters and pain. A good pair of hiking socks (merino wool recommended) that fit well and broken in boots are the first step to staying comfortable and enjoying your first experience backpacking. In addition, we have a variety of different trips for different ability levels and interests so that any camper may experience our trips comfortably. Staying reasonably active prior to arrival at camp is also recommended.
All of our trip leaders are required to have, at minimum, a Wilderness First Aid and CPR certification, and are ready for just about any health or medical emergency one could have in the wilderness. We always have at least one member of administration with a Wilderness First Responder certification as well. In addition, we supply all of our trips with a variety of communication devices (e.g. SAT Phones, Cell Phones, SPOT Devices) so they can communicate with camp in any situation. We have set wilderness protocols for a variety of potential situations and our staff are trained in these protocols during staff training. We also have a great relationship with local, La Plata County Search and Rescue. We take safety very seriously, and we hope to calm your nerves as parents with every policy and procedure we have in place to protect your children as they explore the outdoors.
Our summer staff lead our trips – the Program Coordinators and Head Counselors that your campers are with all summer. This provides a consistency of mentorship that is greatly beneficial to the camper experience. We hire qualified staff with experience in the wilderness. Most of our staff have been on personal backpacking trips, completed courses at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) or Outward Bound, or are former campers that have many years of backpacking experience with CSC. It can be difficult to get a job at CSC with little to no outdoor experience. We also conduct a 10-day comprehensive staff training period, and staff are taught all the skills required to lead trips in the backcountry along with all our CSC specific protocols.
"Now I see the secret in making the best persons.
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth."
~ Walt Whitman ~