Granby " YMCA of the Rockies’ Camp Chief Ouray a good summer option for children, teens |

Granby " YMCA of the Rockies’ Camp Chief Ouray a good summer option for children, teens

With summer fast approaching, the question many parents are asking themselves is, “What do we do with the kids now that school is out for three months?”

One answer is send them to camp. And camp doesn’t have to be hundreds of miles away, but can be found right here in Grand County at Camp Chief Ouray (CCO). The camp is offered every summer at Snow Mountain Ranch-YMCA of the Rockies near Granby.

“Over the years, we’ve only had a handful of local kids attend our camp,” said Marty Ferguson, CCO’s director. “I think many people in Grand County don’t know what we have to offer.”

Celebrating its 100th anniversary this summer, CCO offers a wide variety of camping experiences for children ages 7 to 17. All the campers are under the supervision of well-trained counselors during their stay.

One of CCO’s most popular offerings is “Traditional Camp,” which is a Sunday-through-Friday program. Campers are organized into groups of children of similar ages and abilities who camp together and go through a series of planned activities.

Depending upon the age of the campers, some of the types of activities they can participate includes: swimming, archery, riflery, camp craft skills, canoeing, hiking, climbing wall, low challenge course, arts and crafts. They also take part in all sorts of games and sports.

“Traditional Camp is very popular, and we almost have all nine of its sessions filled for this summer,” Ferguson said. “We actually start registering for it in January, but we still have spaces available.”

Traditional Camp participants can also choose to take part in three additional fee-based activities for a single day. These are horseback trail ride, river rafting and Challenge Course.

For those children wanting to make horseback riding the main focus of their camping experience, CCO offers its Western Horse Camp. It has five levels of riding instruction as well as a couple of leadership training programs.

CCO’s Sherpa Wilderness Adventures are camps designed for teenagers who want to explore Colorado’s backcountry by foot, raft, mountain bike or horse. These camps start with two days of teambuilding and trip preparations, followed by a four-day adventure trip.

Another offering for teens is CCO’s Leadership Training Programs in which participants develop their leadership skills under the guidance of counselors. These two-week programs include: Wilderness Leadership (age 16-18), Wrangler-in-Training (ninth grade and up) and Counselor Wrangler-in-Training (ninth grade and up).

For younger children who have never been to camp before, CCO also has a three-day Mini-Camp to introduce them to what a summer camp has to offer.

Mini-Camp is designed for ages 7-10.

“Mini-Camp is great for the younger kids,” Ferguson said. “It gives them a taste for what camp is like and helps them get ready for our longer camps.”

Most first-year campers attend three-day Mini-Camps and weeklong Traditional Camps, but CCO also has camping options that last as long as four weeks.

“Going to camp can be the experience of a lifetime for many children,” Ferguson said. “At CCO, we focus on character building, social skills and offering a place where kids can meet other kids from around Colorado, the nation and even the world. Many of our campers become lifelong friends.”

For more information about Camp Chief Ouray, call Ferguson at 887-2648.

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