Located near Centura Health in Avon right off of I-70. An innovative natural science learning campus for residents and visitors of the Eagle Valley. Free and open to the public.

318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon, CO 81620

Located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola on Vail Mountain out of Lionshead Village, Vail. All visitors must have a pass to ride the gondola. Free and open to the public with valid gondola pass.
Nestled along Gore Creek near the Betty Ford Alpine Garden and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail Village.
601 Vail Valley Drive, Vail, CO 81657

Walking Mountains Blog

Not Your Typical Camp Counselor

Posted by Walking Mountains on Jun 6, 2023 6:09:05 AM
Walking Mountains

When it comes to summer science camp, the Walking Mountains team are more than camp counselors. They are graduate fellows, passionate educators, and enthusiastic environmental stewards. Our new graduate cohort has arrived, and is undergoing summer training. Learn about the entire team by checking out our Walking Mountains summer science camp page!

Summer camp at Walking Mountains Science Center is not just an average camp experience. Walking Mountains Summer Science Camps are taught by highly qualified graduate students who are pursuing a masters degree in Natural Science Education through the Foley Graduate Fellowship at Walking Mountains. Fellows spend two years and three months living, working, and going to school at Walking Mountain’s Avon Tang campus, spending three consecutive summers building relationships with campers and becoming skilled instructors. Camps at Walking Mountains are enhanced by the fellows’ professionalism, program development, and their passion for connecting youth with nature. 

Each year, the youth programs team gets together to carefully select a new cohort of Foley Graduate Fellows based on the applicant’s prior experience working with youth, their understanding of scientific concepts, and their personal connection to nature. In addition, fellows need to have completed an 80 hour training to become a certified Wilderness First Responder and have their CPR and AED certifications. Throughout their fellowship at Walking Mountains, fellows receive training in Youth Mental Health First Aid and other professional development opportunities. They are able to apply these professional development opportunities to their teaching in the field. Fellows are observed by their supervisors at least four different times throughout each year to help coach them and to ensure that they are continuing to develop their teaching strategies. Fellows are highly dedicated, amazing individuals who are so passionate about natural science education that they are pursuing it as their career path. 

Going to school and working in the same place allows fellows to implement knowledge from their classes and apply it to their field instruction. Some of their classes include K-12 Science Inquiry, Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners, and Program Design and Planning in Environmental Education. Each year, in their program design course, new fellows create a brand new summer camp program. Fellows work with their graduate professor and with the Summer Programs Manager to develop these curriculums while meeting the programmatic goals of Summer Science Camps. During the school year (when fellows aren’t outside teaching programs), they work on updating the existing summer curriculum to ensure that Walking Mountains offers the best camps possible.

Having updated and relevant curriculum each year keeps Walking Mountains summer camps fresh and engaging, but what really makes the camps shine are the fellows themselves! Their passion for working with youth and the talented skill sets they bring to the fellowship are what makes Walking Mountains camps so special. They are full of back-pocket games, team building exercises, group management strategies, and they all understand the importance of engaging campers in outdoor play. Often, the campers don’t even realize that they’re learning science concepts because they are so engaged in the game, story, or exploration the instructor is facilitating. The fellows are the ones who bring the magic and wonder to summer camp and create inspiring, impactful experiences for campers.  

While having a set cohort of 12 graduate fellows each summer places some limits on the amount of camps Walking Mountains can run, the quality of the camp programming and the curated graduate experience are invaluable. We are so excited to welcome in our new cohort of graduate fellows to join the existing cohorts this summer. The incoming cohort will start their classes and go through two weeks of summer training before teaching summer science camps alongside the current graduate fellows on June 12th! When you drop your child off at a Walking Mountains camp this summer, be sure to thank the fellows for their dedication to providing these opportunities and ask them how their schoolwork is going.

Written by Cassy Jo Brown. Cassy Jo is the Summer Programs Manager and oversees Walking Mountains’s Summer Science Camps. She loves creating art, grooving to live music, and spending time outside. 

Topics: Environmental Education, School Programs, Staff Spotlight

Walking Mountains

Written by Walking Mountains

Our mission is to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through natural science education.