Summit Land Conservancy launches new summer camp | ParkRecord.com

Summit Land Conservancy launches new summer camp

The weather is warming and the snow is melting from the mountains. For the Summit Land Conservancy and Park City children, that means one thing: It’s time to get outside.

Summit Land Conservancy recently announced it will launch its new Outdoor Explorers Summer Camp in July for children ages seven through 12. The five-day camp is designed to get kids out of the house and into the outdoors.

Caitlin Willard, programs coordinator for the conservancy, said the camp hopes to foster an appreciation for the outdoors. Children will be taken mountain biking, hiking, rafting, rock climbing and fly fishing throughout the week.

"Studies show that kids who play outside develop that conservation ethic at an early age," Willard said. "But these days it seems kind of tough to instill that into the youth because you’ve got to disengage them from their electronics and their busy schedules to just go outside and play in nature.

"This camp is really special because we’re really trying to connect the kids to the land and inspire them through nature. We really just want to create a new generation of land stewards — that future generation that’s going to take care of open spaces."

In Willard’s experience, she’s had no problem keeping children’s attention away from electronics in previous camps she’s run — it’s just a simple matter of getting them outside.

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"I think once they get out there, there are enough stimulating things so they’re not reverting back to their iPhones," she said. "It’s really fun because you have structured activities, then we’re also going to allow the kids to have unstructured free time, so they can just be creative and use their imaginations and do what they want."

For Willard, putting on the camp allows her to hearken back to her youth, when she was the child developing a love for the outdoors. She said it’s exciting to watch others develop it, too.

"I believe that my environmental and conservation ethics developed when I was a young kid," she said. "I was camping and fishing and riding my bike and skiing. So one of my favorite things to do is take these kids out to the outdoors and show them how special it is."

Willard said Park City is the perfect place for the camp. People in town love the outdoors and care about the environment, so she expects spaces in the class to fill up quickly.

"Everything is so easily accessible here," she said. "So it’s great for these people to get their kids out there."

The camp, which costs $300 per child, will be offered twice this summer: July 13 through July 17 and August 3 through August 7. Registration was set to begin Wednesday. For more information, contact Willard at caitlin@wesaveland.org or visit wesaveland.org.