Aspen Camp

For over 50+ years, Aspen Camp has served thousands of deaf and hard of hearing children and youth across the country at its modest camp 17-acre riparian environment nestled along the Snowmass Creek near Aspen, Colorado.

Our Beginnings

Aspen Camp is 15+ acre riparian forest nestled along the Snowmass Creek situated  7,582′ above elevation in the Roaring Fork Valley, Colorado. With six programming facilities, Aspen Camp is the only year-round camp serving the hearing loss population and the sign language community.

Founded in 1967 by Reed Harris, Tom Sardy, and Lt. General William Martin along with support from the Pabst family and the Aspen Rotary Club. Aspen Camp continued to prosper, hosting well over 25,000 campers and families on its modest campground. 

In 1974, the first Deaf Camp picnic was hosted, which John Denver and Jimmy Buffet frequently headlined.

Although Aspen Camp was met with a series of unfortunate events leading it to temporarily close its doors. It has since then overhauled the entire leadership team and completely revitalized itself.

Today, with the unwavering commitment from its board members, our  neighbors, the Roaring Fork Valley, and the deaf and hard of hearing community, Aspen Camp is proud to welcome everyone back and offer our renown outdoor experiential and educational programs.

Every child needs nature. Not just the ones whose parents appreciate nature. Not only those of a certain economic class or culture or set of abilities. Every child.

— -Richard Louv —

Mission Statement

Aspen Camp provides diverse experiential, educational, outdoor, and recreational experiences for deaf and hard of hearing individuals to connect with nature, others in the signing community, and with themselves.

 

Board

Karen Immerso

Eric Kaika

Zeph Williams

Gunnison, Colorado
Facilitator/Instructor
Washington, D.C
Consultant, father of CODA
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
RFV Resident, Construction Manager

A Board member since 2017 who lives in Gunnison, Colorado, Karen is a guide and facilitator who has worked with groups in outdoor/ experiential programs throughout her career.  She brings strength, humor, caring, strong relational skills, listening skills and organizational skills: all assets to her role on the Board.  She has a Masters in Education and has worked with many different populations with a dedication to growth and life-long learning.

A native Washingtonian, graduate of Gallaudet University and lifelong community advocate for deaf and hard of hearing people, Kaika is a seasoned executive and successful entrepreneur with over 15 years of nonprofit leadership.

Zeph grew up in Western Colorado enjoying the outdoors lifestyle. He loves backpacking, rafting,
snowboarding, skateboarding with his dog, and hiking with his family. After high school Zeph began a rewarding construction career in the Roaring Fork Valley. His daughter’s passion for ASL led him to discover the Aspen Camp. 

Stefan Vest

Greg Bland

Ana Daku

Santa Fe, New Mexico
HS educator, father of deaf child
Boulder, Colorado
Entrepreneur
Vail, Colorado
Community Change Agent, Multicultural Development Strategist

Stefan joined the board in the fall of 2022.  He has a Masters in Educational Leadership and experience as both a teacher and a school administrator.  Currently a Transition Teacher at the New Mexico School for the Deaf, Stefan brings experience in experiential education and program development to the team.

Greg Bland, MPA is an angel investor and a veteran social entrepreneur who has led multiple companies from seed funding to mature organizations.  An animated public speaker, he regularly presents on how culture affects productivity in organizations.  In his spare time, he loves cozying up with his pets and a good book by the fireplace.  He also loves a good joke: if you have one, you just made a new friend.

Chicago, the city in which Ana grew up, delivered dimensional perspectives from multicultural communities to expand her experiences as a community change agent. As a first-generation Chicana, she continues to carry her ancestors’ love for nature, especially nopal from Mexico. She wants to share those seeds at Aspen Camp for anyone that seeks ancestral connections as part of their cultural identity & personal development. She commits to a role as a Multicultural Development Strategist. The Camp acknowledges that our property was historically Ute land. Ana is committed to it being a place that offers a sense of belonging, for inclusion, celebration, and wellbeing where everyone can feel, be touched, be connected and be supported.

Our Timeline

1967

Aspen Summer Camp founded by Reed Harris, with help of Tom Hardy and Lt. Gen. William Martin. Becomes the 2nd nonprofit in the Roaring Fork Valley.

1971

Shorty and Patty Pabst lease one acre in Old Snowmass. Main Lodge built. Rotary Club of Aspen founded as source of funding and community support for Camp.

1972

Renamed: Aspen Camp School for the Deaf.

1974

Camper Cabins constructed.

1976

John Denver begins starring the Deaf Camp Picnic, our most well-known annual fundraiser.

1977

The Pabsts donate an additional 13 acres. Aspen Camp starts hosting winter program.

1978

Camp expands facilities, adding: Art Center, Bathhouse / Hole in the Wall, and Nature Center.

1983

Snowmass Village Mayor Jefferson Tippett proclaims the week of June 26 to July 3 as Aspen Camp School for the Deaf Week and July 3 as Snowmass Deaf Camp Day.

1985

BJ Brubaker Blocker selected as first full-time Executive Director.

1991

Wildcat Ranch deeds an additional 3 acres, bringing the total to 17 acres, making it our present day campus.

2003

Renamed Aspen Camp of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, expands its program offerings into winter.

2005

BJ Brubaker Blocker ends 20 years of service as Executive Director. A series of ED successions: Judith Cross (2005-2008), Sandi Johnston (2008-2010), Lesa Thomas (2010-2018)

2019

Camp revitalizes itself, partners with Town of Snowmass for its Thursday Night Concert Series

2021

Camp reignites its programming activities. Major fundraising efforts, Expansion of the Board & cadre of volunteers.

Our Donors and Volunteers

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!