Two day camp boys look at a vial of test water from the stream

The Intentionality of KSS Activities


Keystone Science School Summer Camp programs are full of fun games and activities but every activity is full of meaning and purpose towards a larger objective of helping youth develop more independence and confidence. Some of our most “campy” traditions are viewed by campers as simply fun activities but to our staff and parents these traditions are important aspects of the curriculum and social emotional learning that happens during each camp session. Please read about just a few of the summer camp activities to learn how each are intentionally designed to engage campers for long-term outcomes.


Nothing builds a stronger sense of community at camp than a campfire. At KSS, we use campfires as an opportunity to be silly and create friendships through a shared experience. Camp can be exciting and scary at the same time. We utilize our opening campfire to eliminate homesickness by forming friendships and bonds that will continue throughout camp and beyond. Read our blogpost about the purpose behind a campfire.

Candle Chat

For our overnight campers, we conduct a candle chat each night of camp. The intention of this activity is to reflect on the day and give each camper the opportunity to express their goals, fears and accomplishments. This helps form the bonds of friendships that are such an important part of the camp experience while simultaneously addressing any lingering fears they might be experiencing. You can find more about what a candle chat looks like in our blogpost Candle Chat: Sharing our goals and fears.

Challenge Hikes

This activity is exactly what it sounds like; a hike that is meant to be challenging to the individual camper. But we don’t just do this to make hiking unappealing to campers, we challenge campers to have them step out of their comfort zones, gain independence, and learn about what they can accomplish. You can read our blogpost about the three elements that are crucial for a challenge hike with KSS.

1st Person Account of Camper Experience

You might think that the effects of these activities are just for the duration of camp. There, you would be wrong. KSS builds the foundations to a lifetime of building independence and confidence within your camper. Don’t believe us? Read the blogpost written by Sanjali De Silva, a former camper, about how Keystone Science School gave them purpose.

Day Camp Overnights

For a lot of campers and parents, the idea of spending the night away from home for the first time can be nerve wracking. How do you take this first step? You send your kids to a wonderful overnight sleepover experience with trained childcare professionals in a fun and safe environment! We intentionally structure the flow of our overnight experience to keep our campers engaged in activities that keep them from feeling homesick, and strengthen the bonds of friendships they have formed during the day. Read more about our day camp overnight here.

Whether your camper is coming for just one week or year over year to complete the full KSS progression, our intentionally designed activities will leave your camper with the tools and foundations for long lasting confidence, independence, and friendships.