Sunset landscape of Buffalo Mountain in the winter.

Our History


Keystone Science School’s History

Learn about the history of KSS!

Historical Blog Series

Go in-depth with our new 3-part blog series detailing our history in The Story of Keystone Science School.

Read part 1 here.

Summer Counselors on the Wapiti cabin porch in the 1980s

KSS Timeline


KSS is founded

Founded in 1976 by Robert W. Craig, Keystone Science School has taught scientific principles and leadership skills to young people, teachers, and community members through engaging hands-on field experiences. KSS was founded on the belief that leaders should approach decision-making with a healthy respect for scientific inquiry, collaboration, and civic engagement.

Campers moving their luggage into the dorms


Bighorn And Henry Dorms Constructed

Over the years our campus has changed and improved to help us carry out our mission to inspire curiosity and critical thinking through the lens of science.

Campers playing games on the sod field


KSS Becomes Independent

The School was founded as part of a larger nonprofit organization, The Keystone Policy Center, to develop critical thinking skills in future generations of leaders using science and the outdoors as a backdrop. In 2013, Keystone Science School became an independent nonprofit organization after the incredible fundraising efforts of the local community and long-time supporters of the School. A task force comprised of many who deeply believe in the School’s mission guided the organization on this journey to independence. Both nonprofit organizations are thriving today keeping Bob Craig’s original goals in mind.

A Day Camp girl looks through a magnifying glass while learning science on the trail


After School Begins

Over the decades KSS has evolved to provide increasingly diverse and accessible programs around leadership development, STEM-based education, health and nutrition, teacher professional development, and experiential learning. Some new initiatives include CATCH Afterschool (started August 2011) and Summer CATCH Camp (starting June 2015) which provide out-of-school physical activity and nutrition education for elementary-aged students in Summit County. These programs operate on a sliding fee scale with the goal of serving as many low- and moderate-income families as possible.

Our SPRI lab mentor teaching a Girls in STEM student in the laboratory


Girls In STEM

Our Girls in STEM program kicked off in early 2015 giving young women the opportunity to explore the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math through games, experiments, and group activities. Research shows that in mixed gender classrooms girls often let boys take the lead in these subjects. But when given the opportunity to work in a girls-only setting, girls speak up, develop more self-confidence, and are more likely to do well in and pursue further study or a career in these subjects.

The front of our Tieken office building on campus


Tieken Place Completed: A Place To Inspire

KSS made great strides in 2019 to invest in our future with the completion of our Capital Campaign, A Place to Inspire. Thanks to the incredible support of our partners, donors, and community, a total of 179 gifts raised $3.95M towards the project exceeding our original fundraising goal of $3.9M. We are grateful to be a part of this generous community. At the front of campus, Tieken Place serves as the center of activity and a welcoming entrance to visitors and participants while providing additional parking capacity. The program staff can now work alongside marketing and development staff, helping each team to think more broadly about the work they do. The addition of indoor teaching spaces in Tieken Place increases connectivity throughout our organization. The administrative staff is one step closer to Science. Adventure. and FUN! by looking out the windows seeing students arriving and departing campus or actively learning in the classrooms.

A group of campers and counselors paint their hands during the Discovery Deluxe Closing Ceremony


Reopening Programs

Keystone Science School reopened residential camp programs and ran regular summer programming at half capacity.


We’re Back!

KSS has bounced back from the pandemic with a full slate of programs.