2016 Summer Camps

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Summer 2016 is upon us, and so are 19 summer camps, four of which are brand-new! Our week-long camps are for children ages 8-18. Each camp has a different focus, ranging from outdoor recreation and survival skills to science, engineering, art and music. During the summer of 2015, 351 summer campers enjoyed a week in the outdoors at Cal-Wood. This included 100 low-income youth who received $29,130 in scholarship assistance. Watch our Cal-Wood Summer Camps video. For the 2016 summer season we expect to grow this program by serving roughly 425 total summer campers. We plan to sustain the number of low-income youth served by providing a total of $30,000 in summer camp scholarships to 100 low-income youth. So far, we’ve raised $20,300, and have $9,700 left to raise. Do you have the means to give a financial donation that will allow low-income youth the opportunity to attend summer camp at Cal-Wood? We would love your help! Donate now to support our programs! Please like &...

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Help Us Build a New Warming Hut

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We are in need of volunteers like you to help us build a new warming hut. The warming hut will help our students keep warm during environmental education field learning days that happen at Cal-Wood in fall and winter seasons. To sign up, contact our Maintenance Manager, Jed Burnham:     Please like &...

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Growth and Change Continues at Cal-Wood this Spring

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If you read our fall update last year, you know that Cal-Wood is in the midst of a major growth period. We are experiencing increased demand for all of our programs and we are growing in response. Spring is underway. Our school program (watch the video) has been a huge success already this spring with 1,267 students having attended so far. 4,000 total students are scheduled to attend in 2016, an increase compared to the 3,775 students who attended last year. Summer is approaching. This year we have added seven new summer camps (watch the video) and four additional Latino family camps (watch the video). Along with growing our summer camps, this summer we plan to break ground on our new cabin so that we have can increase our lodging capabilities. The new cabin will be 1,188 square feet and will increase our current lodging capabilities from 80 beds to 116 beds. In memory of Dick Meckley, who helped found Cal-Wood Education Center, we will be naming our new cabin “Meckley’s Lodge.” Dick Meckley’s volunteer service on our Board of Directors, and the Pilot Trust (our parent organization) Board of Trustees, has helped us connect thousands of children to nature. Our long term goal is to increase our program capacity by 40-45% in the next five years. What this means for us in numbers is serving 2,000 more people per year! As you can see, it’s an exciting time to be involved at Cal-Wood. Join by volunteering, donating, or getting involved in another way. We’d love to hear from you! Please like &...

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What Makes Cal-Wood Unique? Filling Gaps in Environmental Education

Posted by on 10:15 am in Blog, News and Events | Comments Off on What Makes Cal-Wood Unique? Filling Gaps in Environmental Education

Thousands of children visit Cal-Wood every year through our school program (see the video). We’ve been looking at what factors make these children more or less likely to continue getting outside and appreciating nature after they leave Cal-Wood. Recent studies have identified that when a child’s family participates in outdoor recreation regularly, the child is more encouraged to continue going outdoors and more likely to grow up caring about environmental stewardship. The unfortunate news is that not all families have the resources they need to access outdoor recreation on a regular basis. Latino families living in our communities often have the least support and ability to create a weekend trip into the mountains. That’s where Cal-Wood comes in. You may have heard about our Latino Family Camp program (see the video). This program fills an important gap. The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County gave start-up funds for this program three years ago, and since then the program has grown at an outstanding rate: We held three camping weekends in the first year. This year we have already filled seven camping weekends out of nine we will be offering! We are still accepting registrations for our two open camping weekends (contact us). Our camps are facilitated in Spanish and taught by professional Latinos. Our instructors have cultural awareness and an understanding of how to relate to participating families. We have heard from the families who come to camp that they felt connected to the staff and to each other throughout the weekend, and that they didn’t have any barriers to participate in the activities. Having heard of our success, other agencies have approached us looking for guidance on how to provide effective and successful programs for the Latino Community. We are proud of this program and it’s success! Now, we have put ourselves to work to tackle another major gap. Although environmental education is emphasized in elementary school, it is often neglected or under-emphasized in middle and high school. In Colorado, we don’t have many environmental education programs serving teenagers. The adolescent and teenage years are a time when youth are making important decisions about their future direction. We want to support these students so that they have experiences in nature that support their health, and so that they have access to information and guidance that will support them in becoming environmental stewards in adulthood. Our Teen Adventure Program is a small program through which we have served about 50 youth annually for a few years. The program offers participants the opportunity to have nature-based/environmental experiences on non-school days (Saturdays, teacher conference days, holidays, and school breaks). We are ready to take this program to the next level so that we can reach even more teenagers in our community and make a larger impact on the gap in environmental education for youth of this age range. We are currently seeking funding that will allow us to grow the program. Our goal is to provide 400 day trips annually (compared to the 50 day trips currently offered). Our day trips emphasize environmental stewardship, recreational opportunities, career exploration, and community service. Activities are free of charge. We hold our all-day activities at outdoor venues in and around the Front Range and at Cal-Wood. Examples of specific activities that have occurred in the past are building strategic firebreaks...

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CO Child Care Tax Credit: Donate to Cal-Wood and Save on Your Taxes

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Did you know that making a monetary contribution to Cal-Wood may qualify you to claim an income tax credit? Cal-Wood Education Center is a licensed Colorado Child Care Provider. The Colorado Child Care Contribution Tax Credit is available to both corporations and individuals. Colorado taxpayers may claim a state income tax credit of 50% of the total contribution. This means your tax deductible donation not only receives your normal deduction, it’s also eligible for a 50% dollar for dollar tax credit with the state of Colorado. We encourage you to consult with your tax advisor to get a clearer picture of how this tax credit will affect your unique situation. This is an opportunity to make a bigger impact with your giving and donate more than you might donate otherwise. For example, if you were thinking of donating $500 to Cal-Wood, you could decide to increase your donation to $1000 and receive a $500 credit to use toward your state taxes. Donations made to support Cal-Wood’s youth programs are 100% eligible for this credit. We will use your donation to provide scholarships for low-income youth who need to experience the mountains at Cal-Wood.   Important Note Regarding Online Donations If you are donating online through the Colorado Gives website and want your donation to be eligible for this credit, be sure to direct your donation to: “Program.” Also choose “Yes” for the dropdown item that says: “I would like this donation to be considered for Enterprise Zone Tax Credit and/or Child Care Tax Cre.”   QUESTIONS? Contact your tax advisor. For specific questions that need to be directed to us, please contact our development department at 303-449-0603 x 5. Also, visit the Colorado Department of Revenue’s website:        Please like &...

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Dec. 3rd is our Annual Christmas Tree Fundraiser

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We will be having our annual Christmas Tree Fundraising event this year on Saturday, December 3rd. If you have come in the past and didn’t receive an email invitation this year, please let us know. We have a limited number of spots left so please contact us as soon as possible if you would like to sign up. Specify if you have come in the past, or if this will be your first time. If you are a first time attendee, we will put your name on a waiting list.      EVENT DETAILS   We’d Love to Have You Join Us Saturday, December 3rd, 10:00am – 1:30pm   What the Day Will be Like You’ll begin your adventure by selecting and cutting down your Christmas tree from our beautiful property. We’ll have staff on site to guide you and provide help. After cutting down your tree please park in the main parking lot and walk up to our lodge to warm up, enjoy lunch, decorate cookies and play games. This day is a special experience and we feel very fortunate to be able to share it with you.   Suggested Contribution for the Experience We request a minimum contribution of $200 for each family’s experience, including the tree and lunch. If there are more than four members in your party, we ask that you add an additional $15 per person for lunch (children 5 years old and younger eat free).   We hope that you truly consider giving an additional financial donation to Cal-Wood at this event. By giving above and beyond the suggested contribution amount, you’ll help us build our new lodge. Cal-Wood is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, so all donations are tax deductible. We have good news about how your donation can be boosted through a special tax credit! – Stay tuned for more information from us about that.   Be sure to reserve your spot by Thursday, November 24th. Spots are limited and this event is expected to fill up fast. To reserve your spot call our development department at 303-449-0603 x 5 or email us with the following information: Your name How many family members are in your party, along with the number of adults and children (please specify if any children are 5 years old or younger) What time you would like to arrive: 11:00am, 11:30am, or 12:00pm. Please give two options. We will try our best to accommodate one of your requested arrival times, but we cannot guarantee it due to the limited number of slots per hour. Specify if you have come in the past, or if this will be your first time. If you are a first time attendee, we will put your name on a waiting list.    We look forward to celebrating with you this year!   Please like &...

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Cal-Wood is Growing!

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Having recovered from the 2013 flood, we’ve experienced an increase in program growth. During 2014-15 we had great response and support from participating schools, and the Environmental Education for K-12 Schools program grew! In 2014-15 we served 3,783 students, including 1,153 low-income students. This was our best year yet! Summer of 2015 was also a successful time, with an increase in summer campers — 351 total campers participated, including 100 low-income youth. During summer our new Latino Family Camp also grew. We served increase of 58 families (268 people total)! View the Latino Family Camp video. We are glad to share that we have resumed the process of expanding our facilities. This expansion is necessary due to the increase in demand for our programs. Expanding our facilities will allow us to meet housing and dining needs during our peak seasons. We will be adding another cabin to our four existing cabins. Having already raised 85% of the funds for this cabin, we are planning to start building in the next 6 months. Thank you to our generous donors, who made this possible! Our new cabin will increase our current lodging capabilities by about 45%, allowing us to have 34 additional students on site. In the coming year, we will also be raising funds to expand our lodge dining hall area. The planned renovation to our lodge dining hall will expand our current seating by about 75%. Stay tuned for more news about the dining hall. With these changes we will be able to increase our program capacity by 40-45% in the next five years. What this means for us in numbers is serving 1,600 more students per year! Our staff has grown as well, and we are excited about our new team. Diana, our new Development Director brings 8 years of fundraising experience to Cal-Wood. She’s working on raising additonal money to bring more low-income and minority students and families to Cal-Wood. We also recently hired a new Program Director, John. John brings with him many years of experience managing successful environmental education programs, and we are excited to have him on board. About his experience so far at Cal-Wood, John says: “I really enjoy all of the different teaching areas and opportunities Cal-Wood can offer to schools. I also really enjoy seeing the passion that the staff has for teaching environmental education.” In addition to hiring a new Program Director, the program team has expanded. Our Field Instructor team has grown from 5 to 7 full-time individuals, and we also added two new positions: 1. Our Program Coordinator, Jamie Preira, is focused on improving relationships with schools and handling program logistics. 2. Our Curriculum Manager, Rachel Brooks, focuses solely on working with teachers to design customized curriculum and parent orientations. We are looking forward to another great year with our new team! Please like &...

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Donate Gently-Used Outdoor Gear to Cal-Wood

Posted by on 10:19 am in Blog, News and Events | Comments Off on Donate Gently-Used Outdoor Gear to Cal-Wood

Do you have gently-used outdoor gear that you can donate to Cal-Wood Education Center?  We have a gear closet in our lodge where we keep gear such as rain jackets, boots, and snow pants for students and families who visit Cal-Wood. This gear closet is essential to our programs. For example, sometimes students and campers who come to Cal-Wood forget to bring a rain jacket. Additionally, some families don’t have the means to purchase gear needed for outdoor learning in the mountains. Our gear closet makes it possible for low-income students and families to participate in our environmental education programs. Does your family have gently-used gear you can donate? Or perhaps you know a local business, school, or organization that would like organize a donation drive for us? List of Needed Items: Rain jackets – all sizes Kids boots, especially sizes 5 & 6 Rain and snow pants – all sizes Gloves Day hiking and multi-day backpacking packs Tents Please contact our development department at 303-449-0603 x 5. We’d love your support. Thank you!       Please like &...

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Cal-Wood Butterfly Count

Posted by on 10:33 am in Blog, Nature News | Comments Off on Cal-Wood Butterfly Count

Cal-Wood Education Center is a site for Butterfly Counts which are reported nationally. For 33 consecutive years adults and children have spent a full day on July 4 walking from Mica Mine to ‘high meadow,’ and also from Solitude Point to Geier’s Meadow — all are specific places in our 1,200 acre wilderness at Cal-Wood. This year 73 species and 2,029 individual butterflies were counted. The most amazing butterfly was a Chryxus Arctic which is biennial, coming out only during ‘even numbered’ years (2012, 2014 etc). One was photographed; a most unusual emergent butterfly. Thirty-five butterfly watchers camped overnight at the Mica Mine; another 36 joined us on July 4. We love to have the children run, net butterflies and moths and return them to leaders for stories about their life cycles and identification! We look forward to another butterfly count next summer. Check out this report that one of our Board members, Janet Chu, prepared for the Boulder County Nature Association about changes in local butterfly populations following the September 2013 flood: 2015 BCNA Report Final   Please like &...

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Mountain Summer Camp Adventures

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Mountain Summer Camp Adventures

CAMP DAILY JOURNAL Mountain Summer Camp is for the more adventurous camper, for the outdoor lover, for your kid! Today was spent expending all of the pent up energy that has been building up over the lingering school year. An early morning wake-up provided enough time to have an entire day hiking and exploring at Rocky Mountain National Park. Tomorrow could be Mountain Biking, the next day a trip to the High Ropes Challenge Course, but right now: Dinner: The part of the day that every camper looks forward to. As a community we prepare, eat, and clean-up our meals. It’s a time to reflect on the day, make a new friend and get a little silly. Objective: Make burgers, brats, beans and salad for 25. Challenges: 23/25 are tired campers; where is the mustard; we only have 30 minutes. Sparta and The Princess Lair (camp tasks are assigned by tent, campers name their tent) are on dinner prep. Things are going flawlessly, salad is done, the table is set but the brats and veggie burgers are still on the grill. Blue Panther and Chinchilla (campers also get to choose a camp “nature name”) are tending the grill, only 1 brat fell into the fire, not bad! With plenty of supervision, campers get to take responsibility for the entire meal, empowering them within our small community. Retreats and Groups Mountain Summer Camp Pictures 13 Photos Post-dinner lends itself to what could be the second most sought after event at Mountain Summer Camp: Capture the Flag. Divided into 2 factions, lines are drawn, allegiances are formed, rules are explained, senses are heightened and the Game commences. On into the dusk of a Front Range sunset any surplus of energy is lost to the Game. Tired bodies lug themselves through the motions of preparing for bedtime; brush teeth, wash hands, go to the bathroom. Boys head to Camp Dynamite, girls retire to Outlaw Camp, tent zippers mingle with the crickets, and rustling sleeping bags as another great day comes to an end at Mountain Summer Camp. Please like &...

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