Camp gives SLV youth a pass to the outdoors


SOUTH FORK — Sometimes it seems like children don’t get outside as much these days. That’s not true for the 51 kids and 11 youth counselors who attended the 2017 Youth Conservation Camp at Beaver Creek in South Fork on June 20-22.

With presenters from numerous organizations as well as community members from around the Valley who came to share their passion for natural resources, the kids played and learned outdoors from sun up to sun down. Activity tracks included Forestry, Wildlife, Soil and Water Conservation, and Rangeland Science, with some students participating in a specialized Hunters’ Safety track to gain their certificates by the end of the camp.

Youth counselors ages 14-18 serve as small group leaders and gain valuable experience working with the professional presenters. The camp is coordinated by the Rio Grande Watershed Conservation & Education Initiative (RGWCEI), a local nonprofit that works with schools in the San Luis Valley to facilitate awareness of and connection with natural resource management and conservation for kids in grades K-12. RGWCEI partners with the Rio Grande Association of Conservation Districts to sponsor the camp, providing a unique outdoors experience for kids ages 8-13.

Special thanks to all the presenters who represented agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, the US Forest Service, Trout Unlimited, Sol Mountain Farm, VEGI, Bureau of Land Management, Adams State Adventure Program, Miller-Coors, USDA, Colorado Division of Water Resources, Willow Creek Reclamation Committee, and Mosca-Hooper Conservation District. The camp was made possible by generous contributions from area businesses like Del Norte Bank, Southern Colorado Farms, Mountain Valley Agribusiness, Ecodynamics, Wenta Nip & Sanitizing, Monte Vista Co-op, Jack’s Market, SLV Garden Center and Agro Engineering. Camp staffers are grateful to have such a strong and varied amount of partnerships invested in getting kids outdoors and learning.

For more information about RGWCEI programs or participating in next year’s camp, contact director Bethany Howell at [email protected] or call 719-480-4864.