Youth Camp Planning Information
Get ready for an incredible summer at camp! How to prepare, what to bring and ways to get here.
This camp planning guide will assist you in getting ready for camp. It will answer questions about what to pack (and to leave at home), transportation, laundry, mail, store accounts and lots more. After reading through the planning guide, if you have additional questions, please call us at 719.395.2468 or Email.
A Big Picture Look at Camp
To provide inspiring recreational adventure, leadership, service, education, and community activities which create an environment for spiritual growth and healing, where Christian Science is lived.
Opening Windows to God:
The A/U Ranches, located in Buena Vista, Colorado, are a cornerstone of Adventure Unlimited’s programming. Adventure Unlimited is an inclusive organization serving the broader Christian Science community, and in that spirit, our programs serve each individual as a child of God and support his or her spiritual growth and healing. This supportive, inclusive and inspiring atmosphere cultivates confidence and develops moral courage for Christian Science youth, adults and families. Activities are offered year-round, including our community outreach program, 100 Elk Outdoor Center, which serves those of all backgrounds.
Why of Camp
From Cap Andrews in Opening Windows to God: I thought to myself, “It would be wonderful someday to have a camp where I could live and work with boys (it all started with boys), to help them appreciate God, and to be willing to turn to Him in prayer.” p. 3
“Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
Science & Health 303:25–26
God, without the image and likeness of Himself,
would be a nonentity, or Mind unexpressed.
Let there be peace on earth,
and let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth,
the peace that was meant to be.
With God our creator, we are family.
Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me;
let this be the moment now.
With every step I take,
let this be my solemn vow:
To take each moment and live each moment
in peace eternally!
Let there be peace on earth,
and let it begin with me.
We have four goals for each camper and staff this summer.
- To deepen their relationship with God and be willing to turn to him in prayer.
- To feel loved and valued during their time at camp.
- To learn and develop adventure activity skills.
- To develop meaningful connections and life-long friendships.
Preparing for Camp
Please log into your CampInTouch account and complete these additional items:
- Transportation Information
- Camp Store Account Setup
- Medical Exempt or Immunization Forms
- Health Form (no physical needed)
In preparation for camp, we encourage you to study the Bible Lesson as a family and to talk with your child about what they want to focus on spiritually while at camp. If your child has concerns about camp, include them as you prayerfully address the concerns, including working with a practitioner. We are happy to connect you with the camp practitioner for their session. Thoughtful preparation will open the door to a deeply meaningful camp experience full of fun and adventure. We ask you to join us daily in nurturing the wholeness and holiness of your camper while they are here.
*Note: all campers will be required to take a swim test.
Healthcare While at the A/U Ranches
- Every incident with a camper is responded to immediately with prayer and care.
- Campers must be prepared for responding with prayer by having exposure to Christian Science and an understanding of what turning to God in prayer means.
- Camp staff provide basic first aid for campers.
- Camp does not administer any type of medication, prescription or over-the counter, to any camper. Campers should not bring any medications with them.
- Christian Science practitioners provide specific Christian Science treatment to campers to find healing.
- Campers should know what a Christian Science practitioner is and what s/he does and be willing to work with a Christian Science practitioner at camp. Having worked with a Christian Science practitioner in the past is not required.
- Campers who require extended care or specific Christian Science nursing care are taken to the care facility, Highview. The Christian Science nurse provides immediate care.
- A phone call is made to parents to alert them to the camper need, include them in the prayerful work being done, update them on practical care being given (e.g. cleaning of wounds, rest, etc.) and discuss appropriate next steps for care.
- Communication with the parents continues until the situation is resolved.
- If care beyond the Christian Science nurse is desired, the parents and Ranch Director will make necessary arrangements.
- Campers may continue to be at camp and continue to seek healing, as long as no medication is required.
- If a situation arises in which a parent would like to pursue an extended medical solution to a problem, the parents will work with the Ranch Director to determine appropriate steps for caring for the child outside camp.
- In a life-threatening emergency, emergency medical care is provided (as required by the state of Colorado).
What happens if someone is showing symptoms of Covid-19 at camp?
- The person showing symptoms (vaccinated or unvaccinated) is moved to a separate location for prayer and healing.
- If symptoms continue, they will be moved to an area for isolation for 5 days.
- The local Health Department will be contacted and we will work with their guidance on next steps.
- Anyone in the person’s contact trace will be given the option to take a covid test. If the test comes back negative, that person can re-join camp. If the test comes back positive, they would go into isolation for 5 days.
- If someone in the person’s contact trace is not vaccinated and chooses not to take a test, they would be required to quarantine for 5 days.
- Regardless of test results, any vaccinated or unvaccinated close contacts will be required to wear a mask indoors for 10 days.
- If the original person showing symptoms opts to take a test and it comes back negative, the person can rejoin their group and all resume camp as normal.
- If the original person showing symptoms opts to take a test and it comes back positive, the person remains in isolation.
- Campers / staff in isolation or quarantine will be permitted to leave camp in a private vehicle.
Will campers or staff be required to take a test if they are showing symptoms?
- We will not require campers or staff to take a test.
- We will discuss the option of testing with staff or parents, if the situation arises.
- We will accommodate any request from a camper family or staff member to take a test.
Communication to Parents
We strive to be in contact with you so that you are as up-to-date as possible on your child’s experience at camp. Please call the Ranch Office if you have questions at any time about your child’s experience. Here are the ways we will be in touch:
Your child will call you when they arrive at the airport to notify you of their arrival and in between sessions if they’re staying over.
Your child will write two letters home through your CampInTouch account (the account you registered your child for camp with.) You will receive an email with the link to CampInTouch when the letter has been uploaded into your account. Then all you need to do is sign into your account, hit forms, then click on “print” on the right side of the Letter Home icon. It will then download and you can click on the download and read it, save it to your computer, or print it.
We are really excited about this new way we can send letters as you will get them the same day your child writes them and not have to wait a week, or receive the second one after they get home! Sending envelopes and stamps with your child is now optional for additional letters to family and friends.
Photos: We update our online photo gallery with a picture of each bunkhouse and program after the first full day of camp, and then with photos of camp in action throughout the session. Check back regularly.
This address, auranches.org/2022photos will take you directly to this summer’s photos. It also works very well on a mobile device browser.
Calendars: Daily Calendars per session with activities and meals are posted on our website.
Counselor Intros: We will post letters from our Counselors introducing themselves. This is a great way for parents and campers to “meet” the staff and reconnect with staff they already know.
Communication to Campers at Camp
Camper’s Name, 2036
Ranch SVR, RUR or NLC Class
18325 County Rd. 366
PO Box 2036
Buena Vista, CO 81211-2036
Our address must be written in this order, with both road and PO Box, to ensure delivery with any carrier. Mail to and from Buena Vista takes one week. Please keep this in mind when sending your mail to camp before your camper’s departure day and alert friends and family who may be sending mail.
Each camper may receive a maximum of one care package while at camp. Please coordinate among your family members who will be sending the care package. Note: care packages cannot contain food due to wildlife concerns. The A/U Ranches website has a special camp care package service for your convenience.
Feel free to email your camper with our free email service. This service has no special features, so please don’t include any attachments or images. Emails will be printed in black and white once a day, in the afternoon, and put in their mailbox. Please let your child know that they will have a mailbox and to check it daily (we will also let them know). This email is one-way communication. Campers will not be able to answer your email.
Send emails to: [email protected] and the subject line MUST include: Camper’s first and last name, Session and Camp (RUR, SVR or NLC class) they are attending.
If your camper is flying and/or staying between sessions, be certain to send them with a mobile phone. Upon their arrival at the airport, your child will call you to let you know they are with camp staff. Campers staying for more than one session will also call home between sessions. Phones will be kept with the Camp Directors during camp and returned on departure day.
If there is a situation that can’t wait until after camp that you feel warrants communication with your child, please call the Ranch office to set up a time to talk with your child. As always, we will contact you if there is a situation that warrants your attention (such as an illness or injury).
First and foremost, we invite you and your family to join us in praying to know that the belief of homesickness is no more real than any other belief of sickness. Campers and families don’t need to be sad during camp. We are all moving, thinking, and acting in harmony with our Father-Mother God; there can never be any separation between God and Her idea; and there is no greater joy than being about “our Father’s business”. When this belief shows up at camp, cabin and program staff, camp directors, and camp practitioner address this belief with a prayerful approach.
From a practical standpoint, we have observed over the years that campers struggling with homesickness who receive daily emails, letters, and care packages-reminders of home-have a more difficult time being present at camp and enjoying all of the good that is going on around them.
Additionally, notes that emphasize all of the fun experiences happening at home or draw attention to just how much a camper is missed tends to magnify any feelings of homesickness. Before camp, it can be helpful to talk about how you plan to be in touch. Some campers benefit from knowing how often you plan to communicate. For example, it may help to explain that you won’t be emailing them daily because you hope they’ll embrace their camp experience.
At camp if a camper has a strong desire to connect with a family member over the phone, a preliminary phone call between camp director and family will happen first. The camp director and family will talk through the situation and decide if the camper should call home.
Planning What to Bring
Becoming familiar with our Pastor and learning about our books is a wonderful opportunity at camp. We ask each camper to bring a set of books: Bible and Science & Health to camp so we can help teach campers about their books and having a relationship with their Pastor. Books will be referenced and explored during Lesson Study and Sunday school. If your child does not have a set of books, you can check with local Reading Rooms and Sunday Schools to borrow books.
Campers will read the Bible Lesson from a set of marked books in the cabin. Campers are encouraged to bring, along with their books, a full-text version of the Bible Lesson or Lesson print outs to use as an aid during Lesson Study and to keep with them in their backpacks and take on their trips.
All clothing worn at the A/U Ranches, from swimsuits to dance outfits, needs to be modest in style and cut. Campers will be asked to change if their clothing is inappropriate or impractical for camp. Modesty in dress plays a part in having an environment where friendship and spiritual qualities, more than physical attributes and romantic relationships, are the focus.
We strive to uphold a standard of dress that expresses modesty in presentation and respect for others. We recognize that clothes fit everyone very differently. We ask parents and campers to be thoughtful about clothing items like tank tops, spaghetti straps, v-neck shirts, shorts, skirts, yoga pants, saggy pants. Please ensure clothes are appropriate for camp and not a distraction for others.
We do have a few clear guidelines: Shorts must be a length that is at least to your knuckles of a closed fist with your arms at your sides. Skirts and dresses must be at least to the ends of your fingers with an open hand. No cleavage. No bare bellies (except if swimming). Campers will be asked to change if their clothing is a distraction to others.
Bathing Suit Policy
Girls/Women: Appropriate swimwear is board shorts or swimsuit shorts and a jog bra/athletic-type or tankini top, or a one-piece swimsuit. No bikini bottoms and string bikini/bra-type tops may be worn while at camp. This has to do with a desire for modesty in our camp setting and the athletic nature of our program activities.
Boys/Men: Board shorts or trunks (no Speedos).
If you have any questions about this policy, please feel free to call.
It’s All in the Layers
When gearing up for being in the back country, it’s best to understand the importance of the clothing “layering” principle. Simply put, dressing in several light layers rather than one heavy layer allows more flexibility as the weather and activity change. Wool, polar fleece, polypropylene, and Capilene insulate when wet. Cotton does not. Synthetics are more comfortable than wool next to the skin. Some of you live where you won’t use these layers at home, but every item really is necessary at camp.
Do not feel that you must buy all your child’s gear at camping stores. Thrift shops, Goodwill, and Army/Navy surplus stores can be excellent sources for many of the items on the list. Please call us with any questions you have regarding gear.
Please label all personal items. The A/U Ranches is not responsible for any lost or damaged items. Campers may want to bring a list of items they have brought to camp to help them when they re-pack for home. Taping this list inside the top of your child’s suitcase or attaching it to their bag will help ensure it does not get lost while at camp. Even though the A/U Ranches can’t be responsible for lost items, we will help ensure you recover items left or misplaced at camp.
In order to simplify our lost and found process, and to better reflect the actual cost of returning items left at camp, we will charge a flat fee of $15 for any item(s) you request to be returned. This rate includes the shipping and handling cost. Please email Joy Strickland ([email protected]) as soon as you know you are missing items. We respond as soon as possible within the constraints of camp. Many lost items don’t appear until the end of the summer. We do take requests for items thru September. In October all remaining items will be donated to the local charity. Due to the tremendous amount of items left, we will not be able to contact you regarding found items, even if they are labeled.
Please visit www.thenamestamp.com as an example of how to put names in clothes.
Laundry for campers is done mid-session by a private laundry service. The fee is an additional charge, and will automatically apply to your account when you register your camper. Each camper’s wash is done as one load, not sorted by colors and whites. All items are put in the dryer on high heat. Keep this in mind while choosing what to pack. Additionally, campers staying for more than one session will do their own laundry in town, supervised by staff, between sessions. Please be sure to send a laundry bag with draw-string closure, clearly labeled on the outside with the camper’s name. Please, no mesh bags.
NOTE: At Sky Valley, laundry goes out on the 7th day of camp and comes back on the 8th day, (right before trips). At Round-Up, laundry goes out on the 8th day of camp (right after trips) and comes back on the 9th day.
- Sleeping Bags: $10/session
- Backpacks: $10/session
- Sleeping Pad: no charge
If your child arrives at camp without the required clothing on the packing list, s/he may need to rent those items from Outcamp. Items may not be available. Campers will be charged for unreturned items. Campers will need camp store credit for rental items.
The average camper spends approximately $75 in the Camp Store per session. Sky Valley and Round-Up have separate Camp Stores which sell A/U souvenirs, clothing, cameras, sunscreen, stamps and other personal items. When you set up a charge account, you should set limits (we suggest $75 minimum) per session, per camper. ALL campers at Sky Valley and Round-Up will need to set up a store charge account. This is how they will pay for rented outcamp items (sleeping bag and backpack) and buy items at the store. Please set up your child’s store account in your online CampInTouch account: AURanches.org/campintouch
When you set up your camper’s store account, your credit card will be charged the amount you set their account for, which means they will start with a credit of that amount in the store account. As they purchase items they will draw from that credit. You will be able to go into your CampInTouch record and see what their balance is, as well as see what they are purchasing. You can also replenish their account, if needed, from your CampInTouch record. If there are funds left from the store account we will apply the credit towards any unpaid tuition on your account. If your account is paid in full, we will credit it back to your credit card account.
Please make sure your camper has packed all the items from the Required Items section, and for their specific major.
If your child is flying and reserving a space on the shuttle, the shuttle fee is not refundable should you decide on another option. We rent buses and vans according to the number of people using them. It is a flat rate that is nonrefundable to us should the numbers change. Thanks for your understanding. We ask that you fill out the form, EVEN IF YOU ARE DRIVING. We need to account for every camper’s arrival and departure.
Airport Arrival Instructions
Please have your camper wear an A/U Ranches t-shirt or sweatshirt, if they have one. If your child is flying as an “unaccompanied minor,” use the name of Kris Proctor (at the A/U Ranches address) as the pick-up contact on the airline’s form. Please pay the unaccompanied minor fee for both trips when you buy your ticket or at the ticket counter when you check your child in. When arranging flights for your child on an airline that charges for checked luggage, please prepay for return flight(s) as well.
All Sky Valley Campers, regardless of age, will be met at the gate by an A/U staff member unless they are traveling with a Round-Up camper and we have your permission for them to proceed to the escalator to meet our staff. A/U staff will be wearing A/U shirts. Ask your child to approach and identify themselves to the staff member when they walk off the plane. If, for some reason, they do not see the staff at the gate, instruct them to stay at the gate and sit in the gate area facing the hallway–someone will be there to meet them.
Round-Up Campers will not be picked up at their gate unless a specific request is made or they are traveling with younger campers Please have your teen carry a cellphone, and list their cellphone number on the transportation form located in your online CampInTouch account.
Round-Up Camper Instructions upon Arrival: After exiting the plane, follow signs to Baggage Claim/Main Terminal. Take an escalator down to the underground train. Take the train to the last stop – “Baggage Claim/Main Terminal”. After exiting the train, go up the escalator to the Main Terminal and look for an Adventure Unlimited staff member. Once you have checked in with our staff and collected your luggage, the group will congregate near baggage carousel #19 in the northwest corner of the main terminal.
Departing flights should be scheduled to depart between 12:30pm and 4pm on the last day of the camp session. Because of the travel time necessary to get to the airports and negotiate security check-in procedures, we are unable to make flights scheduled earlier. If you book a flight that departs after 4pm, you will be charged an additional $100 fee. (Our staff has a long drive back to the A/U Ranches and they don’t leave the airport until every Sky Valley camper is on their plane.)
Departing Flights for 1-Week Sessions: If you are picking up your child and driving home, please pick them up by 9am. If you arrive early, you are welcome to have breakfast.
Departures for Sky Valley Campers: A staff member will take your child to the gate, board your child, then wait until the plane has left the tarmac before leaving the gate. Should there be any delays the staff member will be in contact with you and we will remain at the airport with your child until their flight departs. If the flight is rescheduled for late in the evening we will have one of our full time staff members from our Denver office assist your child in getting on the flight so our staff can come back to the Ranches.
Departure for Round-Up Campers: our staff will check campers in, and take them to Security, at which point they will go to the terminal and gate. Teens will be given a list of staff phone numbers for help, if needed, and are asked to call the staff when they have arrived at their gate. Denver staff will be available to help campers if flights are significantly delayed or canceled. If your teens are not comfortable going to the gate alone, we can have a staff member take them. Please call the camp office before booking your tickets if the flight times present a problem for you.
If there is an airport mask mandate, we will require masks on the shuttle bus. If not, then we won’t.
The cost of the shuttle for flights booked within the Flight Times are as follows (higher prices due to running buses at half capacity.): • $75 for a one-way trip • $140 for a round-trip
Driving to the A/U Ranches
Please plan to arrive between 2pm and 5pm on the first day of the camp session (the entrance gate will be locked before 2pm). You will be greeted at the Hay Barn and directed to cabins where staff will be ready to welcome your campers. We invite parents to drop their kids at the cabins, meet the counselors and see where their kids are living. Then camp starts and the counselors help the campers move in. We learned last year that it is really helpful for the counselors to be the ones helping campers unpack and settle into cabins. Full-time staff will be available at the Hub to answer any questions.
Drive-away departures should be between 7am and 8am on the last day of the camp session. If you are picking up your child from a 1-Week Session, please pick them up by 9am If you arrive early you are welcome to have breakfast. If your child will be departing by car with a family that is not his/her own, please email a permission slip with your (the child’s parent/guardian) name and signature.
If you have extra time on either day, enjoy some of the many points of interest near the A/U Ranches. In downtown Buena Vista there is the River Park, South Main, and many gift shops and restaurants, as well as hiking trails along the river. Leadville, a historic mining town 40 miles north of A/U, has many fun activities suitable for all ages. Salida, a town about 40 miles south of A/U, is a thriving artist community with galleries, good restaurants, and a state park. Call the Colorado Tourism Board at 800.433.2656 or the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce at 719.395.6612 for more information.
As family and friends of a camper, you are invited to be our guest for the final day of camp to enjoy a full day of activities. On the final day of a 2 week session of camp we hold culminating activities to highlight the skills development and growth of campers within their majors.
The corral campers participate in our traditional Rodeo as their culmination activity for the session. The Sky Valley mountain and water campers participate in Mountain Madness, highlighting their skills running, swimming, climbing and canoeing. It’s also a time for you to meet your child’s counselors and friends and attend a luncheon with Gina Lindquist Bailey, the Executive Director of Adventure Unlimited, as well as attend the final banquet and awards night.
The final day for third session will be slightly different, with an All Camp Carnival and BBQ lunch in the morning at the arena in conjunction with the Rodeo, and Mountain Madness in the afternoon.
Session 1: July 6 | Session 2: July 22 | Session 3: August 7
Bring water and dress in layers so that you will be comfortable. We look forward to meeting you and spending this special day together.
If you plan to stay the night, we recommend making reservations early as accommodations can fill by mid-spring for the summer season. We’re sorry there are no accommodations available at the A/U Ranches for overnight lodging after the banquet, but there are hotels, AIRBnBs and VRBOs in the area.
This is our current best thinking, but if there is a health concern during camp, we may have to re-assess indoor events.
- Exit the Airport on Pena Blvd
- Take I-70 West
- Exit on to C470 (towards 285)
- Exist onto 285 (towards Fairplay)
- Turn right after Johnson Village at 285/24 intersection towards Buena Vista
- Go through Buena Vista to County Rd 384 and turn left (at Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy)
- Then go to the first (and only) stop (CR361) and turn right. A/U is the very next left. You will see the cross bar over the drive to the Ranches.
Drive up the road and look for the staff at the Welcome Home sign to greet you. If no staff are present, follow signs to the Hub/Ranch Office.
Driving Maps to the A/U Ranches:
Surf Hotel – 719.966.7048
Best Western Vista Inn – 800.809.3495 / 719.395.8009
Super 8 Motel – 719.395.8888
Pinon Court Motel – 719.395.2433
Thunder Lodge – 719.395.2245
Bed & Breakfasts
Forest Creek Cabins – 719.395.4819
Liar’s Lodge – 719.395.3444
A Bed on the Arkansas – 719.395.2528
Hahns Haven – 719.395.8432
Buffalo Peaks B&B – 719.395.3313
There are many more hotels, AIRBnBs and VRBOs in Salida, about 40 minutes to our south, and Leadville, about 40 minutes to our north. You can call the Chaffee County Lodging Association (covers Buena Vista and Salida) at 719.539.8822 for more information and suggestions.