In the advent of a new year, we often reflect back on years past, wondering what exactly has brought us to the current place we occupy in time and space. Looking back I can recall the day my 9-year-old self stepped onto Keystone Science School campus for the first time. Now, 13 years later, I get to call this place home and revel in the chance to share life-changing experiences with the students who visit us.
Growing up we spent summers at my family’s cabin in Silverthorne and our neighbor at the time had worked at Keystone Science School and encouraged my parents to send me to Camp. Little did I know how much that first KSS summer experience would fundamentally change the way I viewed the natural world and affect my direction in life.
I vividly recall making dream catchers one afternoon during Camper Choice. Our counselor told us that anytime we picked a flower, we had to pick a piece of hair and give it back to the earth. This strangely interesting exchange may not have struck a chord with me at the time, but now hits home with the clear representation of our need to give back to nature, though we take so much more than we give.
Fast forward to 2013. As a 20-year-old college student I was looking for a summer job after studying abroad. Thinking back to the summers I spent in Colorado and my summer at KSS I reflected on the deep-seated love for nature I had developed over the years and wanted to share that same experience with others.
To that end I earned my Wilderness EMT, gained some outdoor leadership experience, and worked hard to get the job as Keystone Mountain Adventures Lead Instructor. I was excited to be at KSS again, not realizing how impactful it would be to make the transition from student to teacher and share my own experience with other young people. After a summer of leading trips, I knew that I had to continue to be part of all that Keystone Science School has to offer and returned in the summer of 2014 as a Crossover Counselor and stayed on this winter as a School Programs Apprentice.
Coming full circle from camper to KMA Instructor to Crossover Counselor to School Programs Apprentice has taught me more than I could possibly imagine. I can say with confidence that we truly make an impact on children’s lives because I’ve experienced it firsthand in my own life. The community created here allows for children of all ages to feel at home in the outdoor environment, gain a better understanding of human impact on the environment, and build a lifelong bond with nature. In addition, by instilling a passion for science and nature at a young age, Keystone Science School will undoubtedly continue to create a more engaged and educated community for years to come, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been a part of that in so many ways.