Meet Your Merchant: Ajax Adventure Camp
I grew up backpacking, fishing, climbing, biking, hiking, and exploring the mountains surrounding Aspen. After attending and later being a counselor and director at various summer camps, it has been a lifelong goal to start a summer camp in Aspen and allow today’s kids to enjoy what I was so fortunate to experience as a youth. After a full year of preparation, Ajax Adventure Camp is ready to blast out of the starting gates this summer; thus enabling kids and teens to explore, learn, and recreate in not only a spectacular natural environment, but an environment free of pressure, full of positive influence, and filled with learning experiences leading to the greatest summer of their lives.
Ajax Adventure Camp is based out of the Aspen Middle School and offers kids and teens exciting day camp activities (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and optional overnight excursions. Activities include horseback riding, rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, arts and crafts, adventure photography, backpacking, 14’er expeditions, fishing campouts, iron chef campouts, scavenger hunt campouts, mountain biking trips to Moab and Fruita, and ‘crazy Ajax activities’ such as mud mucking, rotten fruit golf, yelling at stuff, poking things with sticks, fort building, giant sling-shots, mud hats, stick breaking (helmets and goggles provided), horse-poo baseball, cardboard box sliding, vegetable carving, whiffle ball slip & slide, Frisbee-soccer, and many more. All activities are optional, and each camper is allowed to choose what he/she wants to do each morning and afternoon. Punch pass and week-long signup options are available.
The two other directors were chosen very carefully based upon their individual strengths and subsequently our collective leadership prowess. All counselor applicants go through a multi-round application process where they are judged upon their expertise and enthusiasm in dealing with children and the outdoor adventures they will be leading. Successful candidates submit their applications, go through an interview process, references are contacted, they then must be cleared by the state of Colorado childcare department, and finally if they have attained all the required certifications including: CPR/AED, first aid, wilderness first aid, and lifeguarding, they will be a member of the Ajax Adventure Camp Staff. All counselors will participate in an intensive week-long training session prior to the start of camp. We will have at least 10 staff members this summer and three of those accepted thus far are Ivy League graduates.
Although we want to create a sustainable business, our goal is to create the greatest summer of campers’ lives. We aim to encourage campers to increase their skills determination for certain activities by granting them acceptance into various Ajax Adventure Camp clubs. With entrance into these clubs campers are presented with a custom hoodie designating their achievement. There are 8 clubs ranging from the Polar Bear Club, where you have to jump into four high alpine lakes, to the 14’er club, which is awarded after you summit a 14’er.
Ajax Adventure Camp has partnered with several expert local companies: Capital Peak Outfitters, Blazing Adventures, and Aspen Alpine Guides to help the camp provide three of its activities. Aspen High School 11th and 12th graders are encouraged to apply to be junior counselors. We are ever so excited to see the smiling faces this summer and I cannot wait to see each camper high five a counselor as he/she catches a fish, climbs a tough route, trots for the first time, conquers a singletrack, perfects a S’more, sets up a tent before a rainstorm, gets covered in mud, joins the polar bear club, or simply cannot wait to start again the next day.
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