Meet the Summer Camp Staff
Our day camp staff spends each day of every week ensuring campers get the opportunity to learn, experience, and grow through a summer of Science, Adventure, and Fun! Each week has a unique theme whether it’s centered around a scientific concept or adventure activity. The theme-based weeks allow campers to go in depth with a subject for the entire week.
The members of our day camp staff are dedicated to engaging with campers around the academic challenges of the week, approaching each activity and supercharged adventure with energy and silliness, and helping campers develop swimming, rock climbing, and hiking skills as they explore Summit County.
Our classic overnight camp program includes everything one would hope to have at a summer camp from campfires, wilderness camping, and tie-dy to songs, skits, hot pink gorilla sightings, archery, and more! Campers learn about the themes of the week from space and water to mountains and flora and fauna all while participating in adventures every week like hiking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and horseback riding!
Our overnight camp staff and crossover instructors are champions of their camp counseling craft. They’re energetic professionals who are prepared to handle everything from bouts of homesickness to potential fears about trying new things on adventure trips. Their main goal is to ensure our campers have an amazing summer. Campers who attend any of our overnight camps are sure to return feeling accomplished, tired, and excited to share all of the skills they learned with you.
Growing up Keystone Science School Camp Director Seth Oglesby couldn’t have imagined himself working for a camp. His first experience with camp as a child wasn’t a great experience and left a sort of sour taste in his mouth. Now, 13 years later, he couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Seth fell in love with camp in 2006. He moved to Colorado and became a counselor with a friend at a camp in Copper which was really the first time he’d been involved in working at any type of camp. One of his first days on the job was getting kids up a 14,000-foot mountain.
“There was one little girl, Kylie, who was having the toughest time. She started crying about 20 minutes into the hike. We had about 3 more hours to go,” Seth said. The day served as a valuable learning experience. Seth realized he had the patience, confidence, and the ability to help people achieve their goals. Seeing how proud Kylie was of reaching the goal she set for herself that day is something Seth still remembers to this day.
Before camp, Seth spent two years as a preschool teacher which really helped shape his classroom management and his ability to help kids achieve the social and emotional skills they need.
“Yes, we’re a science camp, but we’re way more than that. We want to be able to offer kids the ability to learn how to make their own friends, make lifelong friends, figure themselves out and give them the confidence to be who they want to be and who they are,” Seth said.
It was 2008 when Seth finally found his home at Keystone Science School. He worked as a counselor for three years and became the Assistant Director in 2011. Two years later he became the Camp Director and has been embodying Science, Adventure, and Fun ever since.
“When I’m planning all I think about is science, adventure, fun. It’s a mix of everything that we do. If you look at our week we have a little bit of science, we have adventures going on, and we’re having fun all week long,” Seth said. He believes one of the reasons camp is so successful is because he balances science, adventure, and fun in the people he hires, too.
“This is the best camp ever. Every year I tell staff they’re going to have the best summer of their life, and it always is. The people they meet will most likely stay in their life forever, and they will always be able to call Keystone Science School home.”
Our Camp Programs Coordinator, Andre Gianfrancesco, has been involved with Keystone Science School for TWELVE years! He has a plethora of experience as a camp counselor and has had the opportunity to shadow our Camp Director, Seth, for the entire spring in preparation for his new role.
With this role most excited about “embracing change!” Andre truly believes Keystone Science School is a way of life. “Science, Adventure, and FUN are the holy trinity of camp existence.”
Wisconsin native and crossover instructor, Carly Winner, has been a lifeguard and swim instructor for 5 years and an assistant preschool teacher for 2! So clearly the campers are the real winners here! Carly’s experience working with youth spans a range of age and skill levels in both formal and informal settings.
“My experience has set me up well to teach in different ways and bring energy to the table,” Carly said. Carly has always spent her summers working with youth, but the environmental studies and elementary education student was looking for a better opportunity to combine her skills and passion. Enter: Keystone Science School – “the perfect combination” that allows Carly to bring her passion for outdoor education to life.
Carly is very excited about letting kids experience the outdoors and learn through place-based education. She believes one of the best forms of education is through discovery, and not looking for answers.
“Science isn’t always about knowing and education is all about making learning fun! By going outside and investigating our scientific ideas, we are able to engage in adventures for a lifetime! These outdoor experiences are what makes us all love the environment.”
For Dedicated Discovery Instructor, Rachel Brennan, Keystone Science School is like a second home. Rachel graduated from CU Boulder with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. During her college career she helped teach peers Nutrition, Evolution, and General Biology. It’s no wonder Biology is what she’s most excited to teach our campers about! Keystone Science School has brought Rachel lifelong connections filled with love and care. “I’m surrounded by like-minded, awesome people who made this job more than a summer job.”
For crossover instructor Emma Tunks, Keystone Science School is a home away from home!
In addition to biology and ecology courses in college, Emma has attended KSS as a part of our Counselor Assistance Program and made the leap last year to crossover instructor! She’s excited to share her love of science and nature with kids and give them an amazing camp experience for her second year as an instructor.
“I don’t think I could find another job as personally fulfilling as this one,” Emma said. “I couldn’t ask for a better location or a better group of people to spend my summer with.”
Emma is looking forward to showing campers the beauty of the mountains and teaching them the importance of maintaining and protecting nature. She believes Science, Adventure, FUN is truly the embodiment of camp.
“It emphasizes that learning about the world around you can be an adventure and, above all, it can be fun!”
Zach Klingner has been with KSS since he was old enough to be a camper!
“I have so many amazing memories from when I was a camper so I would like nothing more than to contribute to be a part of the KSS experience,” Zach said.
This year as a crossover instructor he’s bringing with him a history of involvement in sports, after-school programs, peer mentoring clubs, babysitting, and lifeguarding. He’s extremely excited to teach campers about how to enjoy and take care of the outdoors as well as science topics like biology, ecology, and basic chemistry.
To him science, adventure, fun means learning to question your surroundings and things that one doesn’t usually question while exploring, stretching your comfort zone, and enjoying the things that make you happy!
Summer CATCH Camp intern Erika Castillo joined KSS because of the passion the staff and school have to educate the youth on physical activity, a healthy lifestyle, learning new experiences, and growth and development through engaging group activities, educational lessons, and field trips to local facilities in the community.
She believes her experience being an active individual and working with children at her other job have prepared her to help educate the young individuals of Summit County. “It’s great to see them figure out new skills and life lessons and I like knowing I’m a part of that,” Erika said. She’s very excited to help our campers learn, grow, and build on the skill
s they already have. She defines science as knowledge and understanding in all aspects. “It doesn’t matter what age you are. There are items and events to grow from,” Erika said. Adventure, to Erika, is exploring your surroundings whether it be the place you live or the places you want to go. Fun is enjoying the moments and chances you are given. “Learning can be fun to everyone,” Erika said.
Head Nova Counselor, Maddi Catchpole, chose to join Keystone Science School after visiting the campus and meeting some of the staff. “Everyone I met was incredibly friendly and welcoming. I immediately felt like I belonged and I knew I needed to work there,” Maddi said.
After bringing her experience as a babysitter and now having been a counselor for several years and having gone through several years of staff training Maddi feels totally prepared for educating campers as soon as camp begins. She loves everything about outdoor education, but her favorite week is astronomy week. She believes science, adventure, and FUN are the ultimate camp priorities and a way of life at KSS.
Park Cawley, Discovery Programs Lead Instructor, chose to work for Keystone Science School because he wants to help shape young minds in a way that allows them to take in the world and pursue whatever course interests them.
“I want to give them the tools to accomplish their goals,” Park said. Park has been with the Keystone Science School since 2016! Prior to becoming a counselor Park spent three years mentoring a middle schooler and supported him through a rather difficult time in his life concentrating on helping him in both academic pursuits and personal growth.
“Everyone deserves to have someone who can give them the support that they need and I was happy to be that person for my buddy. I’m excited to continue doing so this summer,” Park said.
The thing Park is most excited about is teaching flora and fauna! He grew into being a tree person and wants others to be able to look at forests and have a sense of awe and respect for what nature is able to do on its own. In terms of science, adventure, fun! Park believes science is a way of thinking that encourages critical thinking of the natural world and the place of humans in that world. Adventure is the innate desire to do whatever our heart tells us to do, and fun is enjoying whatever life throws your way!
Steph Schneider will be a Crossover Instructor at the Keystone Science School, bringing with her 12 years of teaching experience!
She chose Keystone Science School because it is a place where she can be her goofy, enthusiastic self while getting to be outdoors and work with students. She’s most excited to teach the campers about how the area was formed and how life can exist even under the harshest of conditions.
In terms of science, adventure, FUN Steph believes it’s the ability to have new, exciting, engaging experiences packed with silliness and a willingness to be yourself.
Sarah Angold Stephens
This will be Lead Discovery Camp Instructor, Sara Angold Stephen’s, third summer with Keystone Science School! “The past two summers have been full of so much fun and learning. How could I not come back for another summer full of making new friends, having fun, and watching kids grown and learn about the world around them?” Sarah said.
The experience she feels has most prepared her for educating campers throughout the summer is her previous experience at a sailing camp in Canada where she helped teach campers how to sail. “That week was the stormiest, wettest, and coldest week of the entire summer,” Sarah said.
“Many of the kids were afraid to be out sailing on such choppy waters which meant I had to teach them sailing while trying to make a less than ideal situation fun and safe.” Sarah is most excited to teach our campers about physics and engineering during space week!
They’re topics she’s really interested in and she loves sharing them with the kids. Sarah thinks Science, Adventure, FUN all goes together! “An adventure is trying something new and going to an unknown area. Science is a tool we use to help understand that unknown portion of an adventure, and I think we can have FUN doing both things,” Sarah said.
Day Programs Instructor Payton Weinman grew up in Summit County and always looked forward to her summers at the Keystone Science School.
“I feel like my childhood belongs to camp, and I want other kids to know how lucky they are to be able to go to this camp,” Payton said. “I want to be just like all the counselors I always looked up to for other kids.”
Payton can’t wait to be a leader and pass on what she was taught when she went to camp.
“I’m very excited to teach them all about being outside and how to respect nature. I think they will learn very quickly how special Keystone, Colorado is. I can’t wait to get them as excited about nature as I am,” Payton said.
In terms of Science, Adventure, FUN Payton loves all three.
“Science is the study of the natural world, how everything functions, and why things are the way they are. Adventure is finding yourself in new places you’ve never been before that might make you uncomfortable, but ultimately loving it and wanting to keep doing it. Fun is being happy. It’s meeting new people, being outside, learning new things, being your genuine self, and watching everyone else learning to do the same,” Payton said.
Discovery Programs Instructor Lacy O’Sullivan came to Keystone Science School because it combines a lot of what she’s passionate about – education, science, outdoor adventures, care for the environment, and having fun along the way!
“I’m excited to combine what I’ve learned as an environmental studies major, my experience working with students in schools, and my love for the outdoors at KSS this summer!” Lacy said.
Lacy has been working with students for nearly 10 years at various summer camps, after school programs, tutoring programs, sports clinics, and internships. Recently she’s spent the past four years helping kindergartners and third-graders develop their reading and math skills in classrooms.
Lacy is most excited to help campers experience the great outdoors and make scientific discoveries that they might not be able to experience in a classroom, and believes science, adventure, FUN is all about discovering new ideas, being yourself, and stepping outside your comfort zone!
Please welcome our new Curriculum Manager, Jill Abrell! Jill has worked at the Keystone Science School as a Program Instructor since August. After spending a year teaching she’s ready to easily transition into her summer role of Curriculum Manager.
“I enjoy working with kids and have always held a passion for the environment, so working at the Science School seemed like a great way to combine those two things in a meaningful way,” Jill said. “Since working here I’ve been able to become a part of the community, learn the culture and really live the mission of Keystone Science School.”
Jill is most excited to teach our campers about Astronomy! She worked at a Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama for almost two years teaching about science, astronomy and space exploration to participants ranging from pre-K to adulthood.
When asked how she defines Science, Adventure, Fun, Jill said “science is really fun, but the best way to teach it is through a fun and engaging manner for kids to become interested in the topic that you’re trying to teach them. I think anything can be an adventure if you want it to be, and sometimes you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone to have those adventures, but they’re always worth it. Fun is always part of the journey and laughing makes everything better.”
Crossover Instructor, Ryan Southard, chose Keystone Science School because he was looking for a way to combine his wildlife background with engaging and impacting young people.
“Keystone Science School seemed like a wonderful conduit for this; a place where lasting experiences can be created. An experience that would go beyond what I might be able to teach in a week and serve as an intimate connection with the outdoor world and our precious natural resource,” Ryan said.
Ryan believes his adaptability is one of the most important skills he’s learned leading up to educating campers at KSS.
“Whether it was dealing with spot fires on a burn, a lack of resources in the field, or wrangling second graders while trying to also learn and teach a lesson simultaneously as a substitute teacher adaptability is important. Especially working in outdoor education where conditions can change in an instant,” Ryan said.
In terms of Science, Adventure, FUN! Ryan defines them all a little differently.
“Science is what we do every day. We observe the interactions around us, make assumptions, and then finally act on those observations and assumptions. Adventure is one way we can experience and interact with our natural world, and FUN is how we recreate lasting, memorable experiences that we will hold dear to ourselves for years to come,” Ryan said.
Matthew King, Crossover Instructor, chose Keystone Science School because he loves working with kid sand working outdoors!
He brings experience working as head attendant at a nursery during which time he took on many roles and responsibilities that allowed him to work with kids in many areas. He feels that experience is what most prepared him for educating campers throughout the summer.
He’s most excited to teach campers how to enjoy and engage in learning. In terms of Science, Adventure, FUN! Matthew believes science is finding out how the world works, adventure is discovering new and exciting things in ways you haven’t thought of before, and FUN is enjoying what you are doing in the moment!