EXPLORERS have an introduction and a chance to practice in ALL the Camp Activity categories during the course of each week. The week is jam-packed with variety.
MOUNTAINEERS experience more in-depth introductions and skill practice in their activities. There is a focus on Archery, experiences in Nature, and Outdoor Living Skills & Crafts. Each week features an out-camp excursion to nearby natural features such as streams, lakes, the larger mountains nearby, or high-country wilderness hiking. They can also choose to try a few of the other camp activities.
WESTERN RIDERS spend most of their time with the animals - riding horses and working with them from the ground up. They can also choose to try a few of the other camp activities.
COUNSELORS-IN-TRAINING learn to assist their group counselor mentor, the activity instructors, and guide the younger campers as they participate in activities right along with their group.
Longer-Term Campers continue practicing and building on their skills week to week. Choose or combine weeks however you like. Instruction is always individualized for each camper at their interest and skill level.
Team-Building Games & Sports
Fun Team-Building Games and Experiences on our Challenge Ropes Course are the foundation for all Camp programs. Campers build team skills while expanding their comfort levels as they open to accepting and supporting others, just as they themselves are accepted and supported. Games may strengthen and test balance, confidence, trust, communication, and problem-solving skills. Campers accept and support each other's strengths and weaknesses in a truly fun, meaningful way!
Our amazing Colorado Mountain Ranch horses and horse programs contribute hugely to the iconic status of CMR. The authentic relationships built with horses by all people of all ages are some of the most special connections ever made.
Western Riding Horseback riding in all programs is the perfect way to start out with horses. Our horses are gentle and responsive, and they take care of first-time and less-experienced riders. Ride time includes group and individualized instruction and a trail ride through the meadows and forests of the Ranch property. Campers model the wranglers to learn how to be kind to the horses, pay attention to how a horse communicates, and build a foundation for a trusting partnership with the horse.
CMR Horse Philosophy To learn more about our philosophy and value of Horses in the Colorado Mountain Ranch children programs, read about the Western Riders Program. Participation as a Western Rider often becomes the goal of many children who are introduced to horses in our other programs.
Horse and Animal Care Western Riders, Explorers, and Mountaineers participate in “At-Home-with-Horses” to reduce fear and grow respect for large animals. Animal Care provides hands-on experience with grooming, health care, and daily maintenance of horses, goats, and baby kid goats.
Equus (Latin for "horse") Campers learn more about horses, including different horse breeds, history, and riding styles.
Roping and Western Art Roping "cattle" (horse troughs with horns) with names like Bertha and Tofu, as well as drawing and painting horses is also on the agenda offered by the wranglers.
Nature, Hiking & Exploring
Campers become aware of natural wonders through games and exercises focused on increasing multi-sensory awareness. We offer less-structured outdoor explorations that delight campers while some lead the way, noticing and sharing different items of interest and intrigue, such as a birdsong or the trail of a wandering squirrel or insect. The mountain pines, aspen forests, and wildflower meadows are rich in flora, fauna, geology, and weather systems. Our incredible location at the northwest corner of the Four-mile Fire Burn area gives children the chance to experience first-hand the ecological changes brought on by wildfire. Immersion in nature is basic to all other camp experiences. Highlights for the Mountaineers are their weekly excursions to nearby natural features such as streams, lakes, or optional high-country wilderness hikes.
Outdoor Living Skills & Crafts
As an extension of the Nature program, Outdoor Living finds the fun in building a sustainable future. These programs prepare campers for exploring, hiking, and camping in the Indian Peaks wilderness with their families or at Camp in the future. Fun games and projects promote appreciation of the life systems and their elements - air, water, sun, and earth. Campers learn firsthand the value and skills of maintaining ecosystems, living outdoors, primitive crafts, and being "light on the land" as they prepare for wilderness experiences while having fun. A favorite part of learning about survival and shelter is working on the shared Camp Community Fort in the nearby woods.
Young archers practice safely instructed and supervised 10-step target shooting with bows and arrows to improve their hand-eye coordination. At the Archery Range, there are five lanes for five archers to work on their aim at the same time. Wrist guards and bows for various pull strengths allow for comfort and success. Those waiting their turn play quiet games, work on crafts, or just visit while the others are shooting.
Imagine snowboarding on wheels down gentle dirt slopes and trails through the woods. Navigate over jumps to get some air. Learn to "power-slide" to a safe stop. Mountainboarding on the terrain park in the north forest of the Ranch is a thrill for all. Some campers even become masters after just a few times on the hill, and everyone has a lot of fun! The beginning of the 18-hole Disc Golf Course is located at the bottom of the Mountainboarding Course, so throwing discs through the forest to try to land in the baskets adds to the fun!
Children explore their own strength and balance through the use of a variety of gymnastics apparatus. Sessions always begin with fun warm-up games, light stretching exercises, and spotting practice. Campers practice various tricks on the mats, mini-tramp, balance beam, and trampoline as demonstrated and supervised by the gymnastics instructors.
Whether a camper is the theatrical type or not, everyone will be laughing harder than ever before! The safe environment created at dramatics allows campers to explore their imagination, creative expression, and on-the-spot acting skills.
Arts & Crafts, Indian Lore and Leatherwork
Outside of the Creative Cabin, a wide variety of art materials is always available for individual and group projects. Typical activities include sketching, painting, forming clay, and constructing sculptures with paper, glue, various color mediums, and natural materials. Campers make meaningful creations using recycled materials and those found on nature walks. Outside the adjoining Leather Shop, mallets and stamping tools adorn leather creations. Campers also discover first-hand the history and culture of mountain and plains Indian tribes. Games, legends, songs, dance, and crafts such as beading, braiding, and pictographs bring to life the ways of the local Arapaho Indians and other tribes.
Experiences in sustainable living are essential to caring for the Earth. Ever heard the expression, "You are what you eat"? Campers gather wild foods, grow hardy herbs and vegetables at altitude, and tend our friendly goats and their kids. They organically grow and enjoy eating salads, using compost to feed the soil and techniques such as companion planting to combat pests. They design beds for the efficient use of sun and water and use a cold frame to protect seedlings and extend the growing season. Children’s Yoga surprises campers as they discover the fun of stretching into animal poses and quietly reflecting at the Harmony Hut, a beautiful open-air spot set at the edge of a wildflower meadow where a trickling stream emerges from the idyllic, birdsong-filled forest.
Our area on the ridge west of Gold Hill features abundant natural and cultural heritage. Since Boulder originally began as a supply town for the mining activities in the local mountains, the Gold Hill area is full of reminders of this mining era. In the forest just below the Archery Range, campers explore the grounds around the old Happy Thought Mine where they still shout 'Eureka!' when they dig in the dirt and find bits of fool's gold (iron pyrite).
"My parents moved to Boulder when I was 9 1/2. They put me in your camp for the first month I lived here, and I just fell in love. It definitely impacted and shaped my life as whole. I fell in love with horses, crafts and the environment."
- Dani Frisbie, Camper Alumna and Camper Parent