Rock Bottom Ranch Camp

ACES Staff

August 1, 2013

Rock Bottom Ranch Camp

No more classrooms! No more grades! It’s summertime at Rock Bottom Ranch!

For the majority of the year, ACES educators work within Colorado’s state science standards to create programming that supports science curriculum in elementary schools. Field programs are focused, orderly, and run like clockwork in order to get students back on the bus at the pre-arranged time. Although educators love to allow students to freely explore, there is rarely time for that luxury.

When summer hits, the education game is our own. With long days, few timelines, smaller groups, and acres of ACES territory waiting to be discovered, the education programs experience a drastic shift.  Clocks become much less important. Backpacks get loaded up for entire days spent exploring off-trail, and students get much dirtier! Instead of focusing on science standards, our programs focus on natural play, inquiry, and hands-on exploration in order to facilitate an empathetic connection with nature. As David Sobel says, “If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it.”

What does this look like at ACES summer camp? As many different ways as you can imagine it! At Rock Bottom Ranch, campers trek across our pastures in search of the most elaborate fort-building location.  Single forts turn into small villages, embellished with kid-constructed bridges, gardens, garages, and mailboxes. When the afternoons heat up, campers follow the flowing irrigation ditches through ranch property, sometimes launching boats made of sticks, bark, and leaves.  For younger ages, groups search the forest for gnomes and walk the banks of the Roaring Fork River while keeping an eye out for pirates. Imaginations run wild, always pulling campers farther into the woods and closer to a deep connection with the beauty around them.
Take a look at some of our campers’ adventures from this summer:

We’re having a blast at Rock Bottom Ranch and summer’s not over yet! Click here for information and to register for our summer camps!

~ Erin Griffin, RBR Educator

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