Youth Programs (Grades K-5)

Youth Science classes are full for 2021. We look forward to running larger programs in 2022. Thank you!

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RMBL Youth Programs for Grades K-5th  

Register now through the link at the bottom of the page!  

 Contact youthscience@rmbl.org with any questions.  

Our purpose is to train the next generation of scientists while cultivating respect and wonder for the natural world. RMBL’s nature and science camps take place at our field research station located in Gothic, Colorado and on surrounding public lands. In a beautiful outdoor setting and in the company of career scientists, we provide hands-on investigations of nature. Our programs introduce young people to the practices and processes of science through a variety of fun and interdisciplinary activities. Curiosity and discovery drive the learning adventures that take place each day with RMBL. We hope you’ll join us this summer!

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In order to keep students, scientists, and staff healthy in light of COVID-19, for Summer 2021, we plan to offer programs with the following guidelines:

  • Student group size will be limited to 10 people.
  • Groups will operate as cohorts (the same students in each group per session)
  • Students will be transported in a RMBL passenger van driven by RMBL staff. (Mountain Express, the public bus, has canceled its route to Gothic).
  • Programs will be mostly based outside.
  • Students, staff, and scientists will be required to wear masks.
  • Proper sanitation practices and social distancing practices will be in place.

Summer 2021 Programs:

Nature Camp

Nature Camp (Grades K-2): RMBL’s nature camp is designed for children entering kindergarten, first and second grades in the fall of 2021. Programs will be based out of the Youth Nature & Science Center in Gothic, CO and in surrounding outdoor areas that students will access by hiking.  Nature Camp cultivates a multidisciplinary and playful approach to immersing students in the natural world and field science through hands-on activities such as experiments, nature inspired art and games.  Due to COVID precautions, camps are being offered in weekly, Monday-Thursday, daily sessions.   The same group of students will be with one another for the entire week, and program topics are the same for all the weeks in Session One, and then the topic will change and be that new topic for all the weeks in Session Two.   This enables students to attend up to two weeks of nature camp this summer.

Nature Camp Session 1 – Time Travelers If you could travel through time, what era would you visit? Would you want to go into the past to the time of the dinosaurs? Would you want to go into the future when humans could live on other planets? Scientists have discovered changes over time in landscapes and life forms that have existed in this region by reading clues found hidden in the earth. Become a time traveler by learning the tools of science. We will discover that sea creatures, dinosaurs, woolly mammoths, wolves, silver miners and scientists have all roamed through Gothic, Colorado at different times.

Details – Nature Camp Session 1 – Time Travelers: Students entering grades K-2, $400 per student, Mondays-Thursdays, 9am to 3pm (Gothic) or 8:30am to 3:30pm (4way stop in Crested Butte) – Choose one group per session – Group A June 21-24 (Group A is full. Please email youthscience@rmbl.org to be placed on a waitlist); Group B June 28-July 1 (Group B is full. Please email youthscience@rmbl.org to be placed on a waitlist); Group C July 5-8 (Group C is full. Please email youthscience@rmbl.org to be placed on a waitlist); Group D July 12-15 (Group D is full. Please email youthscience@rmbl.org to be placed on a waitlist).

Nature Camp Session 2 – Planet Protectors – Standing beneath jagged snow-capped peaks, listening to the rush of crystal clear streams, and taking a deep breath of mountain air, we know that we live in a special place. Earth is an incredible planet. Scientists study how air, water, soil and the sun’s energy support many life cycles on Earth. Stewards work to protect this life. Let’s become scientists and stewards by investigating our world and practicing ways that we can take good care of our planet.

Details – Nature Camp Session 2 – Planet Protectors: Students entering grades k-2, $400 per student, Monday-Thursday, 9am to 3pm (Gothic) or 8:30am to 3:30pm (4way stop in Crested Butte) – Choose one group per session – Group E July 19-22(Group E is full. Please email youthscience@rmbl.org to be placed on a waitlist); Group F July 26-29(Group F is full. Please email youthscience@rmbl.org to be placed on a waitlist); Group G August 2-5 (Group G is full. Please email youthscience@rmbl.org to be placed on a waitlist); Group H August 9-12(Group H is full. Please email youthscience@rmbl.org to be placed on a waitlist).

Science Camp

Science Camp (Grades 3-5): Science Camp is designed for students entering third, fourth and fifth grades in the fall of 2021. Science Camp is an entirely outdoor-based program that will travel to various research sites of RMBL field scientists who are working within this region.  Programs includes outdoor exploration with an emphasis on the practices and process of science, as well as the application of varied technologies used in field science. Students in Science Camp spend more time hiking and participating in field research activities connected to RMBL scientists than do the younger students in Nature Camp.  Due to COVID precautions, camps are being offered in weekly, Monday-Thursday, daily sessions.  The same group of students will be with one another for the entire week, and the program is the same for all the weeks offered in 2021 so students can come to one week of science camp this summer.

Science Camp – Survivors: Snowy winters and short summers can make life challenging in the Rocky Mountains, and yet, while hiking around RMBL we see life bustling: mountain goats thrive on the steep slopes of Gothic Mountain, trout leap in the East River catching recently hatched mayflies, and bumble bees buzz from flower to flower collecting food while it is available. At RMBL, scientists venture daily into the backcountry to study living organisms and their survival adaptations. Humans have special adaptations for survival too! Join us on a journey to investigate natural survival systems and solve human survival problems using the most powerful tool we have, our brains. Well, opposable thumbs are helpful too.

Schedule – Science Camp – Survivors: Students entering grades 3-5, $400 per student, Mondays-Thursdays, 9am to 3pm (Gothic) or 8:30am to 3:30pm (4way stop in Crested Butte) – Choose one group – Group J June 28-July 1(Group J is full. Please email youthscience@rmbl.org to be placed on a waitlist); Group K July 5-8(Group K is full. Please email youthscience@rmbl.org to be placed on a waitlist); Group L July 26-29 (Group L is full. Please email youthscience@rmbl.org to be placed on a waitlist); Group M August 2-5 (Group M is full. Please email youthscience@rmbl.org to be placed on a waitlist).

Youth Programs FAQs

Nature & Science Camp Registration Information: Please register through our on-line form located through the link at the bottom of this page.  Registration opens December 1, 2020 for Intro to Field Biology and Project Eco-STEM and March 1, 2021 for the rest of our camp programs. Through this registration portal, you will be able to specify the programs your child will attend as well as share information about your children so that we can ensure they have a safe and happy camp experience. An automatic registration confirmation will be emailed to you after you complete the registration form and pay via credit card or e-check. If you have registration questions, please email youthscience@rmbl.org.

Required Paperwork to Attend Camp: After completing the on-line registration form, we will send you specific forms required by the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Early Childhood Licensing for you to complete and return in order to finalize your enrollment in youth programs.  The required paperwork includes the following: Emergency Authorizations, Sunscreen Bug Spray Permissions, Health History, and the RMBL Waiver and Van Travel Permission.

Payment Due Dates: When you complete the on-line registration form, you can choose to pay with a credit card or by e-check. Payment is due on-line at the time of registration unless you have special circumstances and would like to pay through an alternative payment plan.  Specialized payment plans can be arranged with our Youth Programs Manager by emailing youthscience@rmbl.org.

Cancellation and Refund Policy:  If you need to cancel your registration, please contact our Youth Programs Manager at youthscience@rmbl.org. You will receive a refund via a check from RMBL according to these guidelines for Pre-K-5th Grade Programs (see MS & HS registration pages for refund guidelines for those programs):

  • A 90% Refund of tuition is given if we receive notice of a participant’s cancellation prior to June 1, 2021.
  • A 50% Refund of tuition is given if we receive notice of a participant’s cancellation after June 1, 2021, as long as we receive notice at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Refunds requested prior to June 1, 2021 will be processed and mailed to you in June.  Refunds requested between June and August will be mailed by RMBL’s accounting office by the end of September.

Full Programs and Waiting Lists:  We keep this website up-to-date with information regarding when programs fill. For each full program, we create a first-come-first-serve style waitlist, and when we receive a cancellation, we will contact you to see if your child would still like to attend the program.  Please do not register for full programs which are listed above with the schedule.  Thank you!  Email youthscience@rmbl.org if you would like to be put on the waitlist.

Youth Instructor to Student Ratios and Learning Groups:  At the beginning of each program day, students are divided into appropriate age groups (grades k-2, grades 3-5, grades 6-9, and grades 10-12+) with assigned instructors.  Our Instructor to Student Ratio is 1:6 for k-2 and 1:8 for 3rd+.  This summer due to COVID restrictions, all groups will include 10 students with 2 instructors.

Scholarships:  A limited supply of scholarship funds are available. If you need financial assistance, please complete the Scholarship Application and return it to youthscience@rmbl.org or to RMBL Youth Programs, P.O. Box 519, Crested Butte, CO 81224 by May 1, 2021. You will be notified whether you receive a scholarship by May 15, 2021.

Where do I drop off and pick up my child?  Drop off and pick up for RMBL youth programs will take place at the 4 Way Bus Stop in Crested Butte, at the bus stop in Mountaineer Square in Mount Crested Butte, at the Snodgrass Trailhead or in the townsite of Gothic. For Nature & Science Camp, you will be required to sign your child in and out of camp each day, either in Gothic or at the bus stops.

At the bus stops, RMBL youth program instructors will pick students up in the RMBL van.  Mountain Express, the public bus, is no longer offering a route to Gothic.  The RMBL van will leave the 4 Way Stop in Crested Butte at 8:30am and Mountaineer Square in Mount Crested Butte at 8:40am daily and returns to Mount Crested Butte at 3:15pm and the 4 Way Stop in Crested Butte at 3:30pm (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays).  Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to van departure times in order to keep the bus on schedule.

For those living in or near Gothic, please sign your child(ren) in at the Youth Nature & Science Center/Weese Laboratory located west of the Gothic Research Center at 9am each day, and pick up at 3pm (M, T, W, Th). The Youth Nature & Science Center will not open until 9am so that staff can set up materials. Parking for Youth Program pick up and drop off is allowed in Gothic along County Road 317 in the vicinity of the Visitor Center.  To get to the Youth Nature & Science Center, walk east on the path just north of the Visitor Center.  It is a brown log building with white trim and a green roof, and it is visible from the road.  No day parking is allowed in Gothic (the closest public parking area where you can park all day is at the Judd Falls Trailhead located north of Gothic).

What does my child need to bring to RMBL programs?

  • Full Water Bottle
  • Big Lunch
  • Three Snacks!
  • Sun Hat
  • Sun Glasses
  • Sun Screen
  • Sturdy Walking/Hiking Shoes
  • Warm Layers
  • Rain Gear (Remember we are outside all day!!!)
  • Long Pants and Long Sleeves (to put on when the bugs are bad; bug spray is an option too)
  • Curiosity!

How do I communicate with RMBL Staff prior to or during programs?  Before and after camp hours, you can reach Ann Colbert, Youth Programs Manager, through the youth programs mobile 970-901-1395 or youthscience@rmbl.org. If you need to reach us during the day when we are with children in Gothic, please use the main RMBL phone number 970-349-7231 (mobile coverage is spotty in Gothic).  Youth Program Instructors all carry radios so that the office can contact us in the field with the students.  

You will also have an opportunity to check in with staff prior to and after the program during pick up and drop off times. If your child is going to be picked up by someone other than you, we will require you to document who is allowed to pick up your child that day.

Who are the youth program staff?  We hire enthusiastic science educators who love working with youth in the outdoors! Each staff person must pass a background check as well as have First Aid and CPR certifications. Our youth program team is trained not only in safely managing groups in the outdoors, but in how to engage children in both fun and meaningful field science learning experiences. Staff are typically hired after already having experience as teachers and guides for youth in a variety of camps, schools or non-profit organizations.

Program Information for Middle School Students – Project Eco-STEM, FULL – email to be put on waitlist.

Program Information for High School Students – Introduction to Field Biology, July 26-August 6, 2021

Note – Seedling Scientists, our family program for preschool students and their families is canceled in 2021 due to COVID restrictions. 

We are excited about this summer, and we look forward to seeing you soon!

For additional information please contact Ann Colbert, Youth Programs Manager, at youthscience@rmbl.org.

RMBL is an equal opportunity service provider and employer and operates under permit from the USDA Forest Service, Gunnison National Forest.

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