Why Aspen Camp
Countless research has proven time and time again the benefits of camp for youth. Imagine what a personalized camp does for Deaf* youth!
At camp, campers benefit by:
My child went to both winter and summer Aspen Camp for two years straight now. She felt Aspen Camp is the BEST place she has ever been to and wanted to continue as she talks about it nonstop nearly everyday. I never grew tired of listening to all of her stories. The most recent summer camp was really special because she met her best friend.
Every year Aspen Camp has proved to be such a positive opportunity for growth and independence. I always know that when he comes home he returns a stronger, more confident young man.
My child had an amazing first experience at Aspen Camp and she will definitely will be returning. I am very impressed with all the skills she gained in the short time she was there.
I cannot express enough how much Ethan benefits from Aspen camp. It is hands down the best camp he (or I) have ever been to. He is challenged and encouraged to grow to meet those challenges, he comes home happy and confident in who he is and his abilities. It over joys this momma’s heart to see her son so ready to take on the world – Aspen is worth every penny.
This is one of the best places where [my son] can be apart of a great group of friends and family. He looks forward to it every year
We understand that sometimes life gets tough. We know you’re an awesome parent, trying to do what’s best for your kid. We don’t want money to be a reason why your child will miss out on this wonderful opportunity.
We offer a variety of financial aid options that may fit your needs, preferences, and goals. What works for you will work for us.
More About Aspen Camp
Schedule A Meet & Greet
We believe that the best kind of interaction is face-to-face. We know that our location isn’t exactly convenient for this purpose. Nevertheless, we’ll love to meet with you via Zoom, a web conferencing solution.
We can host up to 9 people at a time so you can have a partner, grandparent, or the camper join in even if they are in a different place!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are you a licensed camp facility?
Yes. We are licensed by the state of Colorado. You can view our licenses at http://coloradoofficeofearlychildhood.force.com/oec.
We’ll be happy to provide more documentation (i.e copy of license, inspection reports) upon request.
Are you accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA)?
Not at this time.
The reason being is that membership is cost prohibitive and would raise the cost of camp, which we know many parents would not like. Also, the majority of materials they provide to members are not accessible. We don’t believe in paying for something we cannot use.
However we pride in ourselves in having high standards. We comply with federal and state regulations for child care. We enjoy going above and beyond with safety and commitment to quality.
How do you screen and train staff?
Because we care and know that you entrust your children with us, we have high standards for staff members. All staff are rigorously screened with a time-tested interviewing and reference check process. Once hired, they undergo intensive background checks that may include checking with sex offender registry, state records, federal records, DMV records, and drug screening.
Once they pass the checks, they then get intensive hands-on training. Training, depending on the position, may include:
- First Aid/CPR/AED
- Bloodborne pathogens
- Swimming safety
- Fire training
- Food Handler’s Permit
- Healthy boundaries & role modeling
- Cultural leadership (i.e. Deafhood, People Of Color, LGQBT, Women/Girls)
- Developmental disability (i.e. autism, blindness)
- Domestic and sexual violence
- Confidentiality & compassion
- Child development
- Identifying and addressing bullying
- Outdoor education
- Survival skills
- And more…
Yup. We take camp seriously.
What is the staff to camper ratio?
It depends on the program. Please refer to the program page for more information. Generally, it is 1:5 off campus and 1:8 on campus.
How are the camper groups determined?
After the first night, we randomly choose campers in each group. Camp staff then convene to review concerns. We try to separate bonds that could affect the experience for other campers in the group (i.e. two strong personalities are in separate groups).
If parents have concerns, they are encouraged to reach out and share them with us. We will not accommodate requests to keep ‘best friends’ together unless there is a strong medical reason to do so.
Groups rotate during the first half of the day and then everyone is reunited during the second half of the day.
What is the registration process like?
Our simple online registration process is an improvement from the days of messy paperwork, long shipping time, and missed opportunities. Registering for a program at Aspen Camp includes the following processes:
- Discuss with your child on which camp they are interested in. Make sure they feel ready and understand what homesickness means and what to do when it comes.
- Create a profile on our third-party website, if you have not already, and fill out the form to submit a registration request. A payment for the minimum of the reservation fee is required.
- Please note that registration is not automatic. A variety of factors may affect your registration request including the number of spaces left, the order requests were sent in, financial balance, and more. Please do not make arrangements for camp until you get confirmation from Aspen Camp.
- The payment will not be processed until we accept your registration request. If the request was not accepted or you were waitlisted, the payment will not be processed.
- If you plan to apply for financial aid, now is the time to do so.
- Once we accept your registration request, you will get a Welcome Packet with further information about the program and how to prepare.
- If you opted for a payment plan, we will charge the card on file per the agreement.
- Make travel arrangements as outlined in the welcome packet.
- Fill out the forms as outlined in the welcome packet by the deadline.
- This includes a physical signed by an authorized medical professional. (Note: If you have one that is less than two years old from the date of summer camp, that works!)
- This also includes a medicine administration form that is required to be signed by an authorized medical professional for any medication and supplements (including vitamins) that you plan to send with the camper to camp.
- Prepare for camp by obtaining supplies needed, packing, and having more discussions with your little camper!
- Enjoy your vacation while your camper has their own vacation!
How do I know my child is ready for camp?
There is no perfect measure to know when someone is ready for camp. Making that decision whether or not your child is ready for camp depends on your child. Your child’s unique development should be a strong indicator of when your child is ready. Have a discussion with your child about camp and encourage them to stay over with friends for longer stretches of time.
What if my child gets homesick?
There are two ways to prevent homesickness in any camper: 1) a meaningful discussion at home before camp, and 2) trained staff members ready to address homesickness.
Click here to download a homesickness packet you can use to prepare your child for camp. We believe that support from parents and a healthy discussion before arriving at camp will help reduce the chances of being homesick.
Our staff are trained in identifying and addressing homesickness with compassion. We encourage our campers to feel what they are feeling, instead of trying to distract them from their true feelings. By encouraging them to embrace their feelings and come up with innovate solutions, we help them with self-reflection and growing into an independent person.
If homesickness is so severe that it is disrupting their experiences, and perhaps others’ experiences at camp, we may contact you for help and perhaps an early release.
How does transportation work?
When your registration request is accepted, you’ll find more information about travel options in the welcome packet shared with you.
Just to give you an idea of possible options, we can:
- Pick up & drop off campers at the Denver or Aspen airport (If flying in, our staff will wait for campers at their gate to escort them back to the group. If flying out, our staff will escort campers to their gate and stay until their plane is in the air.)
- Pick up & drop off campers in Denver
- Welcome family and friends who drops off & picks up campers (with explicit parental authorization)
Note: camp tuition does not include these kind of travel arrangements. Shuttle to/from Denver is available at an additional cost.
What do you do on rainy days?
We pride in being proactive. We have at least a week’s worth of rainy day backup plans. They vary depending on the camper’s ages and interests.
Is sunscreen provided?
Yes. We do have a generic sunscreen of SPF 30. We ask campers to apply them every day.
We highly encourage parents to send their own sunscreen so campers have a sense of accountability for using their own products. This also minimizes any allergic reactions.
Campers who refuse to apply sunscreen will not be allowed to partake in outdoor activities.
Can I keep in touch with my camper while at camp?
Campers do not have access to the phone while they are at camp, however we do encourage them to write home as often as possible. We highly encourage each camper is sent to camp with a set of self-addressed, stamped envelopes and letter writing tools.
We will call you if your child is in the health center overnight, is seriously homesick, or if we have any other concerns for which we value your input.
Can I send care packages?
Absolutely! We highly encourage it. We distribute mail during social time, so it’s perfect for them to open packages that has their favorite snacks and drinks.
Can I visit my camper while at camp?
Due to research and the recommendations by the ACA, we discourage parents to visit campers at camp. Not only will it increase the risk of homesickness for the camper at camp it may also cause homesickness in other campers who see you and miss their own parents.
For this reason, we will automatically check out the camper for the duration of camp if a parent makes an appearance at camp or wherever we take campers out.
What is the food like?
We have a me-no-likey bar with bread, peanut/almond butter, jelly, deli meat, condiments along with chips they can opt for. However, to ensure a balanced diet while at camp, campers are limited on the number of times they can opt for the me-no-likey bar. This provides them with critical thinking and strategic skills to determine when to do so.
How do you handle picky eaters?
The camp provides healthy and balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. We pride in homecooked meals and not those ‘cafeteria’ meals. A menu may be shared with you a few weeks prior to camp.
We encourage parents to send campers’ favorite snacks and drinks with them or in the mail. Campers have the opportunity to enjoy these snacks during Social Time after dinner.
How do you deal with allergies?
We take allergies seriously. If your child has a severe allergy, we will do our best to clear the entire campus of the allergen (i.e. go peanut free if someone has a peanut allergy).
If it is not possible to clear the entire campus (i.e. having a pollen allergy), our staff will be specially trained in the allergen and instructed to minimize any triggers.
What do you do with campers who have birthdays while at camp?
Birthdays are special at Aspen Camp! We recognize each camper on their birthday and provide them with a cake to share with others.
How do you test and handle campers on swim days?
On the first swim day, we will host a mandatory swim test for all campers. Campers will be sorted in three groups of skills:
- Green: advanced swimmers and can be in the deep end
- Yellow: moderate swimmers and must be accompanied in the deep end
- Red: beginner swimmers and must be accompanied at all times
Several of our staff will be available to teach campers how to swim, if needed. If a camper is frightened of being in the pool, our trained staff will provide encouragement and support to help the camper challenge themselves.
Do campers have laundry time?
Yes! We actually will do laundry for campers once a week. A counselor will accompany a group of campers and teach them how to do laundry, if needed.
It is very important that all campers’ items are permanently marked with campers’ names. Sometimes, even after countless efforts to find the owner of an item, a camper will deny that it’s there to find that it is theirs after camp is over. Please help us prevent this by writing the camper’s name on every item they bring including socks, jackets, cameras, and toys.
Laundry soap pods and dryer sheets are available in the camp store if needed.
How much money should I send with my camper?
There is no real need for campers to bring money to camp. However, there are special outings where campers may wish to have their own spending money. We also have a camp store with shirts and gifts that campers may wish to buy before they leave. We suggest that campers bring at least $50.
What is the camp’s plan in cases of emergency or disaster?
We have written plans for when an emergency happens (fire on campus, dangerous animal on campus, wildfire, missing camper, etc) as well as disaster where we need to evacuate (i.e. wildfire, acts of terrorism, and so forth. This plan was written with the help of local committees and experts like firefighters and police.
Every quarter, our staff undergo certain drills to keep the information fresh in our mind and our reflexes on the right path. During camp, we host fire drills with campers and staff.
Please click here to read our emergency procedures.
We are working on updating our continuity plan. Once it’s done (forecasted by Dec 2017), we will link the document here.
- Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
- How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature by Scott Sampson
- Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela Hanscomm
- Homesick & Happy – How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow by Michael Thompson
- A Manufactured Wilderness: Summer Camps and the Shaping of American Youth, 1890–1960 by Abigal Van Slyck
- Lisa Murphy on Play: The Foundation of Children’s Learning by Lisa Murphy
- Children’s Nature: The Rise of the American Summer Camp (American History and Culture) by Leslie Paris