Outdoor Exploration Camp - Summer Adventures for Kids
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
By Meghan Wilcock
Growing up, my summers were packed with fun because my mom is a teacher and has summers off. She refused to let us lounge around watching tv while our summers wasted away. She always had activities or little trips for my brother and me, as well as a bunch of our friends. I was lucky, but many kids are not as fortunate—what do you do when both of your parents work most days? Well, if you’re around here, you can come to Outdoor Exploration Camp!
OEC is a more organized version of my childhood summers. Counselors (with teaching backgrounds) lead groups of kids sorted by age through activities and adventures on the mountain and around the Mount Snow Valley. OEC Kids’ Camp is fully-licensed by the state of Vermont as a childcare facility for 5–12-year-olds. Last summer Tim Shannon, who I would describe as a kid trapped in an adult’s body, took over and amped up the adventure. In the winter, Tim supervises Mountain Camp and Mountain Riders—the program for 7–14-year-olds in Ski and Snowboard School— allowing him to teach kids how to enjoy Mount Snow year-round. OEC takes kids on chairlift rides, hikes, bike rides, pond and stream exploration, swimming, and even to the Mount Snow Golf Course. The highlight of 2014’s camp was the-event-formerly-known-as Mini Mudder, now called the Mini Mountain Challenge. Last July, Tim and the kids created the course themselves with sawhorse obstacles, a “laser” maze, an uphill run, tunnels, a soap and chocolate syrup-coated slip and slide to climb, a pond swim, and of course, mud! The event was a huge hit, as shown in the brilliant video by Dylan Demers, and the campers and counselors are already excited for this year’s Mini Mountain Challenge.
New this summer, OEC is offering a Teen Camp! The 13–15-year-olds who may have been excited at the prospect of being allowed to stay home alone will quickly realize that carpal tunnel and neck soreness from spending hours on their phones are not as fun as exploring the outdoors with fellow teens and creative counselors. Teen Camp is led by my friend Brennan Cofiell. If you’re concerned that your teen is not the best listener, have no fear. Brennan’s volume and enthusiasm has the teens tuned in to whatever adventure he offers. Brennan spends his winters supervising the Burton Riglet program of Ski and Snowboard School, where he takes timid 3–6-year-olds and teaches them how to shred on snowboards. He has been known to assist with ski lessons while simultaneously teaching 3-year-olds toeside turns. He is a ball of energy and I can only imagine the thrilling summer these teens will have.
Teen Camp takes the activities of Kids’ Camp and elevates them to a more challenging and thrilling level.Biking is a huge part of OEC, and in addition to cross country trails, teens have the opportunity to go downhill mountain biking with Mount Snow Bike Park. At the golf course, teens graduate from the practicing at the driving range to playing a few holes. Teen Camp has already been taking bike rides to Wilmington with fun stops along the way. Brennan is also planning local field trips, wilderness and water exploration, team sports, camping, and other special events.