Category Archives: Director’s Corner

Updates and articles from the directors of Altogether Outdoors.

Summer 2014! Registration Open!

In the days leading up to registration opening, I took some time to update our website. Doing so presented the opportunity to go through all the pictures from last summer. It was like watching your favorite movie; I laughed, I cried, I told stories about it, and when I was done, I couldn’t wait to share it!

By sharing it of course, I mean opening registration, and sharing the AO love of camp! 2013 was certainly an exciting summer. Campers had great experiences in our Denver and Boulder day camps, as well as our backpacking program, and, for the first time, we ran Sleep Away Camp at our own camp property!

For 2014, our day camps are back in Denver and Boulder for six weeks (6/9-7/18), our backpacking camps in Boulder for four weeks (6/9-7/11, no trip 6/30), and our sleep away camp has been expended to four weeks! In addition to adding weeks to sleep away camp, we have added tons of exciting new programming for campers to enjoy (sailing, arts and crafts, and expanded backpacking and hiking just to name a few).

Can’t wait to see you in 2014!

Register Early!
Early Bird Registration – Save $50 (use promo code ‘earlybird’)
Pre-Camp is FREE when registered for it by 12/31/13
Refer a family! and save $25 for both referring and referred families!

Parenting Safe Children

Join us on April 18 from 5:30-9pm at the Stapleton MCA Community Room with Feather Berkower!


Children are better able to reject unwanted touch and uncomfortable situations when you teach them body-safety skills and actively promote a home and community that is off limits to child sexual abuse. Just as you have empowered your children to stay safe when bicycling, swimming, cooking, or driving, you can also teach your children how to protect themselves in difficult situations. But, the prevention plan starts with YOU.

When you attend the Parenting Safe Children workshop, you will learn very specific tools you can use in your home, school, place of faith, youth organizations, and community to protect children from sexual abuse. Specifically, you will learn how to talk about personal body-safety and boundaries in an age-appropriate, non-threatening way so you can empower children to keep their bodies safe. I use a three-part prevention model developed over two decades in the field. Prevention works!

For more information about, or to register for this event, please contact us at 720-249-2997 or go here.

Summer Planning Tips & Summer Camp Preview

Learn tips and tricks for planning your child’s summer activities, what to ask camps about safety, and how to find the best fit for your child’s success. Directors from Altogether Outdoors Summer Camps will be on hand to answer questions about all camps and assist with summer camp registration. Contact Tommy Feldman at 720-249-2997.

  • Wednesday, 1/18, 7pm to 8pm at the Stapleton MCA Community Room 2823 Roslyn St  Denver, CO 80238
  • Wednesday, 1/25,  7pm to 8pm at Whittier Elementary, 2008 Pine St Boulder, CO 80302
  • More dates TBD in Denver and Boulder in February and March!

We love to connect with our camp families. Please call us at 720-249-2997 if you have questions about this event or about our summer day camps in DenverBoulder, for ages 4.5 to 14, and our resident camp for ages 7 to 16 in the Colorado mountains!



Taking Camp Skills Back to School

It’s back to school season for many campers — what skills did they learn at camp that they can use in school? In this video, Peg Smith discusses the “Three Cs” learned at camp — Confidence, Curiosity, and Character — that parents can help keep alive in their children during the school year.

My Big Mistake Today: Not Putting Myself In A Camp Parent’s Shoes

(Note: Most of the blog entries from “Director Tommy” are just staff using the main account. This one is actually from me, Tommy.)

I did my job badly today. I had a parent desperately trying to get my attention, to see her experience with us through her eyes, to convey what it was like to be a justifiably unhappy camp parent – and it took me a while to get it.

The quick story is that we ended up, in ways that haven’t really happened before, with just one very young camper on the bus at our first early bus stop this morning. And the mom described to me the ‘pit in her stomach feeling’ while putting her girl on the bus with only our driver and no one else. I know and trust our drivers, but  to her, that was scary. And it shouldn’t be, and that just shouldn’t happen. So, operational, we’ve made the fix to prevent that situation from ever happening again.

But that’s only the ‘camp operations’ part of the mistake. I just handled it wrong when I got the call. I didn’t listen, I got defensive, and I acted like I knew better than the parent. Those are all big BIG mistakes I made. And since this mom finally got me to see it from her eyes, I’ve been devastated. I work all year to plan for and provide a great experience for children AND parents and I did it all wrong today.

At camp conferences and meetings with other camp professionals we talk about this stuff in theory. But until you really screw up, it’s hard to gain a new awareness, gain sensitivity, and grow. Camp is not a perfect place and anyone who tells you otherwise  isn’t at camp and hasn’t worked with imperfect people. But it’s a pretty good place to get better at things. Make sense? To this parent and all of our camp parents I hope it does.

We really are having a great summer with a great staff and wonderful campers. And I’m sad there’s only a couple of weeks left! I know I’ll make more mistakes in the future, but I think I’m on the road to being better at putting myself in our camp parent’s shoes, even in the thick of summer, a little bit quicker and with more understanding.


May 2011 News!

It Wont Be Long Now!
In Colorado, summer no longer waits for June to get it’s start. Our camp season opens May 31st! We’ll be singing “On Top Of Spaghetti” at the end of each day before you know it.  Our staff is hired, our program is set, and now we just work day and night to get everything set up and ready for the campers!

Summer Staff Profiles
These are just a few of the amazing people who will be leading your campers this summer!

Lindsey Welsh, a proud Colorado seminative, is a high school English teacher 275 days out of the year. However, to keep busy
during the summer, she has taken to the camp life. After graduating from Col orado State University in 2009, Lindsey spent a
summer as a counselor in Edwards, CO and is now more than pumped to join the AO community as a counselor.  When she isn’t shaping the minds of America’s future, Lindsey enjoys long distance running, hiking, and rock climbing. Her favorite workout buddy is her Siberian Husky.

Peter Lazard grew up in Cleveland, Ohio going to camp and playing many sports. His love for the outdoors led him to Bowling
Green State University, where he received a bachelors degree in Outdoor Recreation.  This is Peteʼs first year working with AO, and heʼs excited to bring his guitar and musical talents to camp. He loves teaching kids new songs and playing games. Youʼll frequently find Pete juggling a soccer ball, climbing on rocks or walking his dog. His backpack is always ready for a hike, and he canʼt wait to meet new friends this summer at camp!

What We’re Reading Now
Have you read Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand? You must! Tommy just finished reading it and loved it.  Tommyʼs new book (not that he has much time to read until late summer) is The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick.
Definitely a different kind of “thought provoking” than Unbroken.

Save $10 More!
Just for reading this newsletter, put in the code “newsletter3” when you register for camp and youʼll save $10!
One coupon per family, please.web site for details)

Save the Date for Feather!
June 30th at 5:30pm – AO is sponsoring and hosting Feather Berkower, LCSW, as she presents her workshop: Parenting Safe Children. Feather uses a three-part prevention model developed over two decades in the field.   You will learn very specific tools you can use in your home, school, place of faith, youth organizations, and community to protect children from sexual abuse.

Why are we hosting this? I (Tommy) have been receiving more and more calls from parents asking good questions about how we, as youth care providers, do our best to keep kids safe from sexual abuse. I know we do a good job screening and training staff and developing policies, but I want us to be great. So I picked up the phone and called Feather. She and I had a great discussion

and I followed up by attending one of her workshops. I decided then that I wanted to provide this opportunity for our camp parents. Please join us on Thursday, June 30th for this important workshop. Normally $50/person, AO is sponsoring so it is only $35/person.

Boulder Base Camp Update
Our Junior Program and Base Camp are on the move again. We are thrilled to partner with Boulder Valley School Districtʼs Whittier Elementary on the corner of 20th & Pine. The on-site outdoor spaces are perfect for afternoons when Junior campers are finished with hikes and for before- and after-camp activities. As a result, we are tweaking our transportation spotsweb site for details)

Unlimited Referral Discounts!
Camp is awesome! But I donʼt need to tell you that – youʼve already signed up! Do you have any  friends and co-workers who donʼt know about AO Camps? Tell them that you are giving your kids an authentic outdoor camp experience this summer and that they should, too. If they sign up and mention your name, you both save! Referrals are the single best way for us to grow the AO Camp community. Please tell your friends through email, facebook, or in person so they can join us for a great summer. Thank you!

For more information about our summer programs, for campers ages 4 to 15 in the Denver and Boulder area, please visit our website at!

B2B Discount Program

AO Camps is excited to offer employees of the following companies a $40 family discount to our authentic day and sleep away camps that help create connections with friends, counselors and nature!

Our camps provide convenient transportation options and operate for the full-day with before- and after-camp options available.

As camp professionals, we understand the value of the camp experience and how it enriches a child throughout the summer, and promotes success the rest of the year.

Once you decide on the camps you want, look for your company listed in the camp application’s ‘how you heard about camp’ menu.

  • Amgen
  • Ball
  • Covidien
  • CU
  • Digital Globe
  • Crispin Porter + Bogusky
  • IBM
  • google
  • Oracle
  • Whole Foods
  • White Wave Foods

These are the companies we are working with this summer, we would love to add more to this list, contact us if you have 5 or more employees and would like to participate!