We are excited and honored to be celebrating the birthday of our founder and friend, Robert W. Craig, who turned 90 years old this month. Craig, who most frequently describes himself as the “ultimate accidental tourist,” served in the U.S. Navy as an officer on an attack cargo ship (AKA 80), graduated in biology and philosophy from the University of Washington and Columbia University, was also the first Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Aspen Institute from 1953 to 1965 and co-founder of the Aspen Center for Physics. He served as President of the American Alpine Club after a long career in mountaineering, including guiding on Mt. Rainier, and as a team member and leader of several Himalayan expeditions. He was elected to the American Mountaineering Hall of Fame in 2009. When he left the Aspen Institute in 1963 he purchased and ran a cattle ranch near Aspen and then spent 10 years in the industrial design industry before coming to Keystone at the behest of his good friend Robert A. Maynard, President of Keystone Resort. Maynard asked Craig, “Do you have another Aspen in you?” Craig responded, “No, but I have an idea that may prove equally important.”
Robert W. Craig founded Keystone Science School in 1976 as a division of The Keystone Center. The Center’s overall goal was to address difficult environmental and public policy issues affecting industry, government, and the environment applying the discipline of science and bringing all the appropriate constituents to the table. At the same time, given the remarkable environment of Keystone, Craig felt it would be novel and exciting to have school children learning the spirit of science in the five ecosystems of Summit County from Loveland Pass to the Colorado River at Kremmling. The hope was, these kids, acquainted with the spirit of scientific observation, might well contribute to good policy making in the future.
After more than 38 years working toward these goals, we feel both proud and privileged to have Bob Craig’s mentorship and vision guiding so much of what we do.
Making a Difference
This past weekend on September 13th, Keystone Science School staff and volunteers came together to take part in the 16th annual Summit County Make a Difference Day. While the national Make a Difference Day isn’t until October 25th, those of us in the high country know that winter comes very early up here and October is often too late to be working outside. This is why the county-wide event organizers decided to push the event forward this year in hopes of better weather. And it proved to be the right decision. Light breezes and sunny skies made for a beautiful day to be working outdoors.
Our intrepid volunteers joined us on campus to build trails, winterize campus, and do some much-needed weed pulling in the gardens. We’re so appreciative of the help and all the community support we receive throughout the year. Projects like these take more man power and time than we often have available to us, but they are things that need to get done and that make our campus and programs better for everyone who comes to KSS.
Thank you so much to all our volunteers who make KSS such a wonderful place to be!
KSS Staff Music Video
Every year our Camp Programs staff make a music video together. It's a team-building activity and a chance to share some of their energy, enthusiasm, and unique personalities with everyone in the community. It always sets a fun tone for the entire season.
As summer ends and fall greets us with rain, golden leaves, and crisper air, we're feeling nostalgic on this grey Tuesday in Keystone. So here's some sunshine and summer fun to carry you through the week!
CATCH-ing More than Healthy Habits
School is back in session, which means Keystone Science School’s CATCH Afterschool Program is in full swing. Currently we have a total of 155 students enrolled in session 1 across all six Summit County Elementary Schools.
This year we had big crew of incoming Kindergarteners and CATCH was happy to welcome 46 to the CATCH curriculum. On the first day of Kindergarten at Summit Cove last week, there were definitely some big eyes and deer-in-the-headlights stares when CATCH got started after school. We may not all remember our first day of school, but it’s not hard to imagine how overwhelming and exhausting it must feel. While the CATCH curriculum focuses on important things like nutrition, activity, and motor skills, our program coordinators and instructors do an amazing job of teaching respect and teamwork as well.
I knew it was working last week when I saw older students self-electing to act as mentors to these lost and exhausted newcomers. Whether they knew each other before CATCH or not, the older students gently led, encouraged, and reinforced the younger ones to make sure that everyone got a turn, had a voice, and had a good time.
This is exactly the kind of community-building we hope comes out of all of our programs at KSS. No matter where we are or whether we’re teaching nutrition, health, or water ecology, at KSS we also strive to teach responsibility, accountability, and compassion. As a member of the marketing and development team I get to drop in on all of our programs throughout the year. These experiences never fail to inspire and re-energize me when I see the kids demonstrating not only the academics they've learned, but also treating each other with more openness, respect, and kindness.
So THANK YOU to all of our amazing CATCH staff who bring so many healthy influences into the lives of our Summit County kids every day.
Here's to a great school year!
It seems like we just said goodbye to the 2013-2014 School Programs staff and suddenly here we are, knee deep in training, and another school year is upon us. We have a metaphor around here to differentiate School from Camp Programs; Camp is a sprint (just ten short weeks of intensive programming) and School Programs is a marathon (commandeering campus for ten full months).
This year we have a team of eleven staff members, eight of whom will serve as our instructors and three who will take part in the apprentice program. We would not be able to run our programs without these eleven amazing educators. So, we are ecstatic to have them on staff and have enjoyed going through a week and a half of training to get them ready for the school year.
At KSS we look for educators who have the ability to adapt curricula and content for each group we work with, as each program is customized according to age, academic level, and goals. Last week we saw our first school group, 80 high school students from Aurora focusing on teambuilding while learning about wildfire management. This week we have a group of 5th through 8th graders from Broomfield, participating in one of our On the Road programs at Windy Point campground. Even as I am writing, they are doing a challenge hike up Quandary Peak.
The School Programs staff are here to learn from each other, teach the students we serve, and hone their skills as educators. With each challenge they encounter, they will also have amazing stories of how they have impacted students’ lives. Stay tuned throughout the school year for inspiring stories from our KSS School Programs staff.
Cheers to another school year and to our amazing staff. We are so happy to have you on board and will be here to support you throughout the marathon we call School Programs!