Camp Policies

Please familiarize yourself with our Camp Policies and Procedures 
Have questions call Chris at 719-471-0910 x106 or click here to contact us!

Catamount Institute works to fulfill our mission of connecting kids to the outdoors, by providing outstanding outdoor adventure and scholastic standards-based experiences for students. We provide placed-based and outdoor education for children with a variety of enrichment activities that keep kids active, in touch with their natural surroundings, and healthy both physically and mentally.

Catamount Institute’s office hours will be 8am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. See camp details for camp hours and lengths. Camp hours vary by camp

Registration for camp is opened and closed at predetermined dates that are posted and available to the public. Our registration forms include a comprehensive information packet to be filled out by a legal parent or guardian of the participant including contact info as well as a detailed medical history. This information is housed in a secure digital format. Hard copies are also carried by our staff in case of an emergency. Procedures for non-admission (example, camp registration is full or closed) will be based on a case by case basis and done in accordance with all anti-discrimination laws and American with Disabilities Act guidelines to ensure impartiality.

Our goal is for your student to have an outstanding learning adventure. Each camp is designed to meet the emotional and developmental needs of students in specific age groups. Please remember that when you make a special request for a younger or older student to be moved into a different age group, you are asking us to put them into a camp with children that may be four years their junior or senior. There is a huge difference in maturity, for example, between an 8-year-old and an 11-year-old. This is why they are in different camp age groups.

Participants will share cabins/tents with those of the same gender. No exceptions. A participant will never be left unsupervised in a tent or cabin. It is strictly not permitted for a participant to enter a cabin or tent that is not their own unless told otherwise. This is a matter of privacy and safety for all of our summer participants. If a participant wishes to switch cabins or tents or they have concerns regarding their sleeping arrangements, they need to let a summer camp staff member know. 

Per the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s COVID-19 guidance for camps released on May 25, 2020, single-night overnight excursions are permitted. Single-night overnight camps will still have the overnight. More than single-night overnight camps will be determined in the future. As information changes, we will update accordingly. During overnights, campers and staff will remain strictly cohorted.

Camp fees are based on several factors: (1) Number of participants, (2) staff pay, (3) food costs (4) lodging for any overnights, (5) cost of transportation, and (6) cost of materials per participant. Rates for Summer 2020 Camps are:

Half-day camps: $199.00
Full-day camps: $299.00
Full-day camps with 1 overnight: $399.00
Full-day camps with 3 overnights: $695.00

Any additional fees will be found during the camp registration process.

Whenever participants are traveling over land or foot they will travel with staff and volunteers in the front and back of the group. Camp staff will perform random as well as routine head counts every time the group changes the scene or area they are in.

When traveling in vehicles, students will be assigned to specific staff and vehicles so that everyone is accounted for again with regular checks before departure and at stops en route. All participants must wear their seat belts at all times, whether the vehicle is in motion or not. All vehicles will be equipped with a driver and front passenger who are camp staff or volunteers. Only staff on our insurance policy and who have gone through van training will drive. Staff or volunteers not driving the vehicle will be responsible for the supervision of the participants.

Participants will be assigned a van to travel in for the week and they will only ride in that specific van for the entirety of the week. Each van will have no more than two Catamount Institute staff members and 10 participants. Vans will be disinfected with the approved disinfectants each day after camp. 

Traveling to higher transmission areas will be limited and subject to cancellation altogether (i.e. event and conference centers, gyms, public parks, overnight cabin locations, museums, etc.).

Participants must be dropped off from their vehicles via a drive-thru lane, there will be no walking up to a check-in table. Once arrived at Catamount Institute, parents/guardians will follow the arrows in the drop off line, pulling their vehicle around where a staff member will be there to greet them and their camp participant. The staff member will sign the participant in, share any camp information via their vehicle. 

Catamount Institute staff will be taking temperatures of campers as they arrive. If a participant reports a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above (fever), then they will not be allowed to attend camp that day or the remainder of the camp week. If this is to occur, there will be a prorated refund based on the number of days attended/missed days minus the $35 processing fee. 

Participants must be picked up by a legal parent/guardian or other authorized people on their registration form with presentation of ID. Participants will only be released to authorized and confirmed persons who have been pre-approved to pick up and a camp staff member can view their ID. In emergency situations, students may be released to an adult not listed as an approved sign-out on the registration form, at staff discrimination, if and only if a listed parent or guardian can be contacted at a listed number to give a verbal confirmation to at least two camp staff.

Pick up will also be done via a drive-thru lane and at staggered times. When a parent/guardian arrives at the end of a camp day to pick up their participant, they will remain in their vehicle the whole time. A Catamount Institute staff member will come up to their vehicle, ask the name of their participant, and ask to see the parent/guardian’s ID. Once the identity is verified, the staff member will go retrieve the participant and bring them back to the vehicle along with all of the participant’s belongings. If a parent or guardian arrives to pick up their participant early, they must stay in their vehicle and contact Catamount Institute by calling 719-471-0910 x106. 

Ideally, the same parent or designated person should drop off and pick up the child every day. If possible, older people such as grandparents or those with serious underlying medical conditions should not pick up children, because they are more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

A parent has until 30 minutes after the listed conclusion time for the program to pick up their child. Staff will attempt to contact all approved adults on the registration form OK’d for student sign out and emergency contacts. If the parent or designated ride cannot be contacted or arranged within 30 minutes, local law enforcement and/or child protective services may be contacted and the child will be remanded to said agency(s). Two late pick-ups will be tolerated with warnings issued. A third late pick-up may result in student removal from camp.

If the pick-up of a camper is at a van drop-off location, we will wait no longer than 5 minutes after the arranged time for the parent or guardian to arrive. If a parent or guardian does not arrive within the time period, the camper will travel back in the van to Catamount Institute to be picked up by a parent or guardian and late pick-up policies listed above will be followed. We will not be bringing campers to any other destinations aside from the stated van drop-off/pick-up stops. We cannot make adjustments to transportation times as we are on a tight schedule to get campers to their designated stops on time.

There is a 10 minute grace period for late arrivals of participants in the morning. If Catamount Institute has no knowledge of impending tardiness, or no notice of any extenuating circumstances, the camp will carry on with its posted schedule. Any participant who arrives late and the camp has continued on its posted schedule, the parent has two options: 1) take the participant home for the day, 2) Attempt to contact camp counselors and drive the participant to the camp’s current location. Catamount will not return to the pick-up site or attempt in any way to get the late arriving participant nor will the participant be allowed to stay at the pick-up site for any duration of time.

If drop-off of a camper is at a van pick-up location, we will wait no longer than 5 minutes after the arranged time for the parent or guardian to drop off their camper. If a parent or guardian does not arrive within the time period, we will assume that the camper will not be attending camp that day. We cannot make adjustments to transportation times as we are on a tight schedule to get other campers to camp on time. We cannot do pick-up of campers at any other time or location in the day. Camp is non-refundable for any days missed.

All participants will be responsible for their personal belongings and any money that they choose to bring. Please note that it may only be in limited circumstances where a participant may need money. Catamount Institute will not be held responsible or liable for any lost, stolen, or damaged property owned by participants.

There will be no sharing of personal belongings (i.e. water bottles, foods, electronic devices, games, books, etc.) due to COVID-19 guidelines. No unnecessary personal belongings should be brought to camp. It is required for each participant to bring their personal belongings home each day and disinfect them. Catamount Institute has the right to dispose of any belongings left at camp.

Participants must provide their own food and snacks, unless otherwise specified for their specific program (i.e. overnights). At no other time will Catamount Institute provide food, unless the participant’s meal lacks the 1/3 daily nutritional value. It will be at that time when Catamount Institute will supplement food for the participant in need. Parents or guardians will be contacted if staff needs to supplement a participant’s lunch.

Please provide all food allergy information for campers in the camp registration.

Catamount Institute cannot provide water bottles to participants so please send at least one reusable water with your participant to camp each day. These bottles can be refilled at our contact-free filling station.

Before and after each meal at Catamount Institute, all camp participants will be required to wash their hands thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. This is to prevent the spread of any germs or bacteria. 

We ask that participants not bring or use cell phones or other personal electronics to our programs. If brought, participants must keep devices within their backpacks, unless directed otherwise, as to not be a distraction to other participants and interrupt their camp experience. If brought, we highly recommend putting the device in a safe, water-tight location (i.e. zip lock) as some of our camp activities involve water, dirt, and running around in the outdoors. During overnights, service and access to electricity may be limited as many programs are located in backcountry or wilderness settings. Catamount Institute will not be held responsible or liable for any lost, stolen, or damaged property owned by participants.

The emergency contact(s) provided during participant registration should be a reliable source for contacting in an emergency situation and be fully capable of picking the participant up if needed within no more than two hours of being called by Catamount Institute staff. If none of the provided emergency contacts can be reached or are incapable of picking up the participant, the participant may be required to sit out of camp activities in isolation until pick up at the end of the camp day or in an extreme situation, local law enforcement contacted.

If there is an emergency at home, and parents/guardians need to contact one of our program participants during a program session, they may call Catamount Institute Director Christopher Aaby at 719.471.0910 x106 who will pass along messages to Catamount Institute staff.

Please note that many of our programs are located in backcountry or wilderness settings, and contact may be limited. We will do our best to contact the staff by phone.

At Catamount Institute, we strive to provide a positive learning experience for all of our participants. The realities of overnight programs may include homesick students. Homesickness is normal for campers, especially if it is their first time away from home or first time camping. Our staff members will be there to help your child conquer homesickness in a way that builds their confidence and independence. Our policy is to sit down with the individual and provide support to help them reintegrate into the program.When filling out the camp registration forms, please provide any input that you think will help us support your child.

We discourage contacting parents/guardians during the camp, as it can often lead to a dissolution of group dynamics, and distress the student even further. Our staff will try their best to help our students overcome homesickness. As a last resort, we may allow students to contact their parents/guardians at staff discretion.

Due to COVID-19, no visitors will be permitted to Catamount Institute 2020 summer camps for any reason. Any visitors to the Beidleman Environmental Center building will be turned away and the local authorities may be contacted if appropriate.

No visitors will be allowed and no person will be allowed to follow, observe for an extended period of time, or participate in any Catamount activity unless they have been authorized by Catamount Institute to be present during the program. The lead guide or volunteer will deal with unauthorized persons who attempt to follow, participate, observe or engage in any program session, and may contact the local authorities if appropriate.

Students who are not following directions or who are being distracting or aggressive towards others will be dealt with in the following manner:

The student will be warned that their behavior is inappropriate and give an explanation as to why. Their behavior will be redirected.

    • If the inappropriate behavior continues, the participant will be warned and redirected again and may be asked to sit out for a portion of the activity away from group. Students sitting out portions of activities will still be in sight of staff, in a safe place, and not sit out for more than 20 minutes.
    • A staff member will talk with the student to form a plan to prevent the inappropriate behavior in the future. The student will then be allowed to return to the group.

Students who continue to misbehave may be sat out up to three times before a parent/guardian/emergency contact is requested to pick up the participant immediately at the program location. Staff will not bring the participant to the parent(s)/guardian. If a pickup cannot be arranged, the parents/guardians may get their child at the end of the regular program. Whether or not a participant will be allowed to return for the duration of the program will be left up to the program leader and discussed with the guardian who picks the camper up. 

We have a zero-tolerance policy against gross physical and verbal abuse. Any participant that engages in aggressive physical contact or word use may be removed immediately from the group without other warnings or being sat out. They may also be removed from the remainder of the camp.

We have a zero-tolerance policy against any act that endangers the health of another camp participant, even if it is claimed to be meant as a joke. This includes endangering another participant through the threat of illness (i.e. coughing on another participant, not washing one’s hands when told to, lying about not feeling well, etc.). Any participant that engages in any action that could endanger the health of another participant will be removed from camp immediately.

Respecting nature, others, and oneself are the three most important expectations of each camper. Campers will have a great amount of freedom and opportunity to have fun and enjoy themselves. We trust that campers will be respectful to themselves, to other campers, and to the surrounding environment of camp. If there is a breach of trust in terms of these expectations, summer staff will follow Catamount Institute’s policy of discipline stated above.

There are absolutely no alcohol or drugs allowed during any of our camps. We have a zero tolerance policy. If a camper is found in possession of or using drugs and/or alcohol, they will be sent home immediately and removed from the remainder of camp. This includes tobacco products, vaporizers, e-cigarettes, and any similar smoking or vaping devices. Staff will not bring the participant to the parent(s)/guardian. It is important to understand that the possession or use of drugs and/or alcohol provides a great risk to Catamount Institute as a whole and the continued operations of our summer camps.

If your camper requires medicine administration for their health and safety, read the section below.

Catamount Institute will only directly administer medicine to a participant in emergency situations.  Please reference our medical letter of intent for further clarification and see the Emergency Situations section below.

Prescription and over-the-counter medication must be handed in to Catamount Institute staff accompanied with written parental permission and with written approval from a licensed person with prescriptive authority (a licensed doctor or pharmacist).  Prescription and over-the-counter medication with required documentation will be held onto by the Catamount Staff employee with the highest level of medical certification. As ordered by the State, no medication will be administered except in emergency situations unless you adhere to these strict guidelines. 

Medication must be in the original bottle or container with the original label and include the following:

  • Child’s first and last name
  • Prescribing practitioner or Pharmacist name approving this medication, Pharmacy or Office, Telephone number
  • Date authorized
  • The expiration date of the medication
  • Name of medication and dosage
  • Time of day medication is to be given
  • Route of medication (taken orally, eye drops, in-ears?)
  • Length of time medication is to be given (3 days? As needed? Daily?)
  • Reason for the medication (unless confidential)
  • Side effects to be watched for
  • Special instructions

An emergency situation is any serious, unexpected, or dangerous event requiring immediate action to preserve the participant’s safety. Staff will deal with emergencies by providing immediate attention at the level of care for which they are trained, deferring to the most highly qualified person available. Some of our programs take place in wilderness settings where communications are unavailable or limited. Each emergency situation is unique and we look to our most highly qualified staff to make the best possible decisions for the group at the time of the emergency event.

For medical emergencies this includes calling additional emergency medical services if necessary, filling out a Patient Assessment Form, and forming and implementing a treatment plan when appropriate.

For non-medical emergencies such as severe weather, fire, or floods, staff should create an action plan to move participants to a safe area as quickly and safely as possible.

For vehicular or driving emergencies, this includes stopping the vehicle and moving it to a safe nearby location if possible, treating any medical emergencies as outlined above, and setting out road cones or flares if available.

After the immediate emergency has been dealt with, staff will call & notify Catamount Institute leadership of the emergency including what happened, treatment, and action plans.

For major illness, accidents, and injuries, parents or guardians will be contacted as soon as possible. This should also include a description of the emergency, the manner in which it was treated, and the plan for further treatment if appropriate.  Note that a letter of intent by parent(s)/guardian for emergency and non-emergency care will already have been provided as a part of camper registration. All injuries, illnesses, and accidents will be cared for within our ability and training and pursuant to the parent(s)/guardian letter of intent for care as well as our letter of intent for care.

Parents and guardians will be notified of minor illnesses, accidents, or injuries such as paper cuts, bruises, bumps, and scrapes no later than the end of each camp session. They will also be permanently recorded by Catamount Institute summer staff.

All participants will be brought into an appropriate shelter, (i.e. building at Beidleman Environmental Center) if available. If participants are on a trail or in a wilderness setting and access to buildings or vehicles are not available or pose a safety concern, campers will be moved to the safest outdoor location available under direction and instruction of camp staff.  Alternative programming and sheltering will continue until the severe weather situation changes. Regularly scheduled programming will continue at that time.

If a participant is lost or their whereabouts are unknown, the program leader will be notified immediately of the event, as well as the last known location of the participant. Participants will be put in “lockdown” (defined as a controlled, safe environment where campers are not allowed to leave the sight and control of staff) with the supervision of one or more staff. Other available staff will begin an immediate search for the lost participant. Searching staff will split up and search determined areas for a maximum of one hour. After that time, if the participant is still missing, emergency personnel will be contacted and dispatched.

Campers are not to wander off or go on hikes in the woods alone. A buddy is to always accompany a camper during activities or endeavors. During any designated solo activities, campers will be in the eye-sight of a Catamount Institute staff member.

If any staff member suspects a participant of being the victim of neglect and/or child abuse, that staff member will immediately consult with the camp director and lead counselor, and report their findings and beliefs. It will then be left to the camp director to decide the veracity of the suspicions, what, if any follow-ups will be done with the participant and/or parent(s)/guardian, and whether or not to report any findings to the appropriate agency. Catamount Institute is a mandatory reporting agency. If a report if filed, all state guidelines and laws will be followed strictly and all involved parties will be notified.

Catamount Institute provides equal opportunity for all qualified participants and does not discriminate in providing services to any individual on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identification or expression, veteran status, or any other protected status.

At Catamount Institute, we strive to create programs that are enjoyable for as many children as possible. The health and safety of campers are our top priorities in everything that we do. Due to this, there are some limitations of our program and its staff. We are not able to provide a one-on-one attendant to address a camper’s individual personal needs. We are also not able to accommodate some medical/health conditions that are beyond the scope of our staff’s medical training. Before enrolling a child with any special needs, please contact us to discuss potential accommodations. Our goal is to make camp an equal opportunity for all.

If Catamount Institute has to cancel a program or cannot serve a participant for any reason, Catamount Institute will provide advanced notification within 24 hours of the program to all teachers, parent(s)/guardians, and will do so verbally and in writing.

It is the responsibility of the parent(s)/guardian to notify Catamount Institute verbally 24 hours in advance of withdrawal from a Catamount Institute program. In accordance with our guidelines, any cancellation within fourteen (14) days of the start of the program will not be accorded any refund; in addition, any parent(s)/guardian who withdrawals a participant during the camps will also be accorded no refund. Before fourteen (14) days a full refund will be given less a $35 administrative fee.

All employed by Catamount Institute have passed background checks through the state of Colorado. They also go through the application, interview, and reference check process. All are trained in CPR and First Aid with some having higher certifications such as Wilderness First Responder. All summer employees go through extensive week-long training before campers arrive. Instructors have a very diverse professional background ranging from environmental education to outdoor recreation.

During Catamount Institute 2020 Summer Camps, all Catamount Institute Staff will be required to wear protective face coverings when they are within six feet of any camp participants or other camp staff members. This will include training of staff in proper use, removal, and washing of protective face coverings. Staff will be trained on all current executive and public health orders in Colorado and Catamount Institute will provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to all staff. Daily health screenings, including recording temperatures, will be done on staff each day prior to camp. Staff will be required to stay home if they are sick or have any signs or symptoms of illness. Catamount Institute will have substitute staff available if any camp staff is to become ill or are exposed to illness. 

Any first aid done by a Catamount Institute Staff member will be done so with the appropriate personal protective equipment (gloves & mask). At the end of the day, staff will report any first aid done on camp participants to their guardians. 

Policies and procedures for COVID-19 can be found in the above sections throughout this document. It will be of utmost importance during this summer 2020 camp session to promote healthy hygiene practices and carry out safe actions among all included in camp activities. Catamount Institute operates under the instructions and guidelines of the El Paso County Public Health, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), and the Governor. Catamount Institute will provide guidance and signs to maintain required physical distancing, respiratory etiquette, and hygiene as well as inform camp participants of any new guidelines or relevant information from federal, state, and local health agencies. Catamount Institute will provide frequent communication with all families of enrolled camper participants related to the occurrences of COVID-19 at the camp, the camp’s responses, and all issues in the public health order.

Camper participants will be educated about COVID-19 and the related protocols. Catamount Institute staff will be prepared to address any fears and/or questions. If a camper believes themselves to be ill, they are to self-report symptoms to Catamount Institute Staff. They may pull aside a staff member if they would like the conversation to be private. The Catamount Institute staff member will not relay any self-report symptoms to other camp participants. Camp participants are not required to wear face coverings but it is not prohibited if they wish to do so. 

It will be required that each camp participant’s temperature is reported every morning by a parent/guardian to Catamount Institute at camp check in. Catamount Institute has the right to screen camp participant’s temperatures and check for any signs or symptoms of illness. This will be done so through the use of a no-touch thermometer. If an illness is suspected during the camp day, Catamount Institute has the right to send the participant home for the remainder of the day or the camp session. If a participant is sent home due to illness, they will be given a prorated refund of the days remaining minus the $35 processing fee.

If a camp participant is exposed to someone who is showing symptoms of illness, the participant is prohibited from returning to camp as not to endanger other camp participants. Campers (or staff) with suspected exposures, such as ill household contacts, to be sent home with a recommendation to get tested immediately. If a participant is sent home due to being exposed to someone who is ill, they will be given a prorated refund of the days remaining minus the $35 processing fee.

Catamount Institute is not responsible if any camp participant is to become ill during their camp session. Please review Catamount Institute’s liability release waiver that you sign before sending your camp participant to their camp session. If a camp participant is to become ill or show symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or other communicable illnesses during a camp day, there will be a space available to isolate them until they can be picked up by an approved guardian. If a participant falls ill during camp and has to be sent home, they will be given a prorated refund of the days remaining minus the $35 processing fee. 

Catamount Institute is prepared for camp closures following a case or outbreak of COVID-19. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 among campers or camp staff, Catamount Institute will notify and cooperate with our local public health agency on the next steps.  

Enhanced social distancing measures will be taken throughout each camp session with no more than 25 camp participants within a group outdoors and 10 camp participants within a group indoors at any time. Activities that are not conducive to the required 6 feet of physical distancing or could pose a safety hazard when campers and staff are physical distancing will be limited.  There will be the occasional guest speaker who will also follow all enhanced social distancing measures with not coming within six feet of group participants, wearing a protective face covering and gloves, and cleaning supplies before and after each group use. 

Immediate contact is to be avoided between camp participants. This includes shaking hands, holding hands, high-fiving, hugging, and kissing. 

Catamount Institute ensures that it will have an adequate amount of health, safety, and cleaning supplies throughout the entirety of the 2020 summer camp season. This includes, but is not limited to, hand soap, EPA approved cleaners, hand sanitizer supplies and stations, hand washing supplies and stations, surface cleaning and disinfectant wipes, paper towels, tissues, cleaning spray bottles, and any other supplies or materials needed for the health and safety of Catamount Institute camp participants and staff. Catamount Institute will clean at the end of every camp day including bathrooms, all frequently touched surfaces, water systems, and features, vans, and any other supplies handled or utilized that camp day. Any materials utilized for a camp activity will be disinfected between each group use.

It is required for both Catamount Institute staff and camp participants to wash or sanitize their hands thoroughly upon arrival to camp, before eating, and at regular intervals throughout the day as well as covering coughs and sneezes. 

Anyone who wishes to file a complaint may contact Catamount Institute staff, including our Executive Director to inform us of their complaint or intent to file a complaint. We can be reached at 719-471-0910 during our business hours or at info@catamountinstitute.org. We welcome any and all feedback that you think is important or beneficial to our organization.