June 25, 2015 / By Claire Heywood

Educo & No Barriers Youth collaborative Adventure Camp!

This week Educo is teaming up with No Barriers Youth to offer a transformative week of adventure camp focusing on leadership, transcending the comfort zone, creating strong community at camp and persevering through challenges.

Most of our campers chose to rise early this morning for a short and steep hike to Eagle’s Nest, a stunning overlook in Red Feather Lakes. When we arrived back at camp, we had a quick breakfast and split into three groups for an adventure session: rock wall, high ropes course and mountain boarding. 

Some of the kids on the rock wall encountered challenges to their comfort zone right away. We discussed the concept of the comfort zone and the challenge zone, and established the goal to reach beyond the comfort zone in order to grow and set exciting new goals for ourselves. While some campers struggled with fear and physical barriers (like sweaty hands on an almost 90 degree day!) others offered support for their team-members. We asked what people might do if they feel panicked during a challenging moment- campers responded that they should “take a deep breath” and “remember who they are.”

For climbers who were finding the rock wall less challenging, we told the story of Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind man ever to summit Mt. Everest and a member of the board of directors at No Barriers. We offered a chance to “add a barrier” by climbing the rock wall blindfolded, and several campers accepted the challenge with the goal to make it to the to the top. One of our counselors led five boys in a debrief after they completed the high ropes course as a team. We asked kids:

  • How would this ropes course have gone if you were alone? (“Boring!” “Scary!” “No teamwork and it would be really hard!”)
  • What would happen if we always stayed in our comfort zone? (“We might not grow.” “We might never do new things.”)
  • What’s the panic zone? What does it feel like when you’re in the panic zone? (“You can’t breathe or think straight.”)
  • What happens when we do things over and over that are in our challenge zone? (“Our panic zone gets smaller and our comfort zone gets bigger so we have to do more cool stuff to get in our challenge zone!”)

At Educo, all the campers help with meals and cleaning in order to develop an attitude of community and leadership.

After lunch, we hiked about a mile through the forest to “Narnia,” a stream where kids can wade and cool off. Along the way, we discovered some wild edible plants and collected yarrow, kinick kinick, juniper berries, sage and pine needles for tea. Some of the campers decided they are interested in plant identification, while others acted like beavers and tried to build a (temporary) dam in the creek.

Tomorrow, we’re looking forward to more teambuilding activities and challenges, including the leap of faith (an on-belay climb up a tall tree where campers can leap from a platform to grab a trapeze), Leave No Trace discussions and a night’s sleep under the stars. We’re enjoying the perfect weather this week in Red Feather Lakes and having a wonderful time watching each camper discover new interests and grow during their big week away from home.