Summer’s here, and kids are clamoring to get their adventures started. Now they have something to cheer about. Even though COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in summer plans, many day camps and sports camps in Colorado will be allowed to operate with restrictions and precautionary health measures.
Effective June 1, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment guidelines clarify safety measures for camps, including group size limits of 10 campers indoors and 25 outdoors. Physical distancing and hand washing are priorities, and masks are required whenever possible for both campers and counselors. Residential overnight camps must remain closed through June, and the state will provide an update for the rest of the summer midway through June.
To accommodate these changes, some camps are running regular programs in smaller groups, others are offering virtual camps, and some are doing variations of both. Whatever the format, local camps hope to remain a cornerstone of community, exploration and belonging for children.
For Nathan Halvorson, associate director of performing arts at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, camp as a kid provided space for expression not normally available in school or at home. That has made continuing the Fine Arts Center Theatre camps paramount this summer. “Summer camp becomes really important to students like that who are looking for like-minded students to create and collaborate with,” Halvorson says.
Halvorson notes too that losing these camps would disrupt a community that has been loyal to the Fine Arts Center programs for 27 years. “I think it’d be a huge loss, to not reach out to these families and these students and create content that will help illuminate their summers,” he says.
Whether it’s rock climbing, the arts, outer space, mountain biking, animal care or more, Colorado Springs kids will still have the chance to grow, discover and just have fun through a camp experience. Here are a few of the camp opportunities available in and around Colorado Springs this summer.
AeroSpace Adventure Camp
Got a future astronaut in your household? The Challenger Learning Center is offering virtual adventure camps this summer. Kids will track down aliens in the Astroagents camp or learn to build their own moonbase in Lunar Trek. A portion of supplies will be provided by Challenger Colorado, and daily instruction will help kickoff campers for the day’s activities.
Avid 4 Adventure
Avid 4 Adventure has replaced its typical resident and day camps with three innovative options. The Camp at Home program brings a full-time counselor to your backyard and neighborhood parks for a week. Up to four campers can learn outdoor cooking, navigation and more close to home. Expedition groups of four to five campers in the Small Group Adventure program get out with an instructor to climb, SUP, kayak, or mountain bike for a day. And Online Camps includes morning and afternoon online sessions via Zoom, where instructors guide campers in yoga, outdoor skills and outdoor games.
Camp Whiskers and Wags
The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region will provide free, half-hour virtual camp sessions streamed at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Each week has a theme that helps campers learn about the proper ways to care for animals, and each day of the week focuses on specific creatures. Learn about dogs, cats, reptiles and more! Registration is required, but kids can attend for a day or all week.
Kids can still climb the walls at CityRock this summer. While the gym is running on a very limited basis for members so far, weekly camps are available to the public in morning and afternoon sessions. Cleaning will take place between camp sessions, and campers will have their own designated space in the gym for climbing, obstacle course and workout pleasure. Groups of eight children per session are split into four per instructor.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
The zoo is following a phased reopening, and camp will go on. Day camp at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo means kids will get to interact with animals, learn from zoo keepers and more. Camps are offered by grade from kindergarten to 9th with day and weekly options. For more social distancing, parents can opt for Summer Camp in a Box. The zoo will ship specialized camp activities to do in your own backyard.
Colorado Springs Conservatory
Calling all musicians! The Colorado Springs Conservatory is offering in-person sessions of eight to 10 students for performers of every taste. Recording Arts Camp, DJ Camp, and Young Performers camps are just some of the options. Private lessons are also still available this summer for a more tailored experience if your kiddo plays a specific instrument.
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College
The FAC Theatre Company is offering a wide range of virtual opportunities to keep kids imagining and creating. Camp programs range from Budding Thespians camp, ages 5-7, to a more advanced track in Youth Rep Ensemble, a five-week intensive training program for ages 14-18. Many of the programs include Imagination Packs that will be delivered to the student’s home and include necessary materials when working with instructors virtually. Parents in the mood to perform should also check out adult dance and acting classes offered over Zoom.
Looking for a traditional camp experience, the kind with the likes of archery, arts and crafts, swimming and ropes course adventure? Golden Bell, a Christian onsite camp in Divide, is still providing its Day Camp for students ages 5-15. Before- and after-care are available if parent work schedules conflict with drop-off and pickup, and pricing is week by week to allow for ample flexibility. Like other Colorado camps, Golden Bell is waiting to see if its overnight camps can run in July and August.
Kids on Bikes
Kids on Bikes wants to give kids of all ages the opportunity to learn to ride and enjoy the freedom and confidence of bicycling. Skill camps include basic riding techniques, an urban trails camp, and several mountain biking levels, including an all-girls camp. Kids won’t wear masks while riding, which could be hazardous, but will wear masks when off the bike.
YMCA Day Camps
The YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region will still be offering its classic summer day camps with fun themes to keep campers on their toes. Themed weeks include Race Through Space, Spies in Disguise, All-American Road Trip, Ocean Commotion and more. Swimming and field trips are cancelled for the month of June to ensure camper safety.