How long has Camp Wojtyla been running?
Camp Wojtyla began our first pilot program in 2007. It has been quite an adventure since! This 2015 summer will be our ninth summer.
How many campers do you typically serve?
We serve around 300 people each summer.
Why is Camp Wojtyla different than other camps?
Camp Wojtyla is designed to integrate amazing outdoor adventures with Catholic teaching. We do not separate the adventure from the lesson—the Adventure IS the lesson. For instance, what better way to learn about how we are brothers and sisters in Christ—depending on each other--than working together to reach an intense summit or guiding a raft all together through class III whitewater? We believe that these unique experiences can teach young people about the goodness of God and the life He has for them.
Do you fill up?
Yes, we do. Not only have we filled up in the past, but we are also so new that every year more and more people hear about us and send their kids from all over the country. The only way to guarantee your child a spot for this summer is to enroll right away.
Are you Catholic?
YES! We are Catholic and adhere to every teaching of the Church and remain true to the magisterium. Everything we teach and do at Camp Wojtyla reflects our Catholic identity and faith in Jesus Christ and His Church.
What are your methods?
At Camp Wojtyla we teach through the adventure. We do not have adventure during the days and then talk about the faith at night. No, the adventure is the first part of that discussion as it is usually the catalyst for understanding the ways of our Lord. For instance, rock climbing requires trust of your belayer, rope and anchor. How is that like your faith? Do you trust God as much you did your belayer? What does the rope represent in your life? What are your anchors? The students begin to make their own connections between rock climbing and the Catholic Faith and their lives back home. They often see that God is in EVERYTHING and that their faith life is their daily life, there is no distinction.
What does the camper fee cover?
The camper fees charged at registration cover about 45% of the actual cost of Camp Wojtyla. From the rising costs of food to the inherently costly reality of land leases and incredible opportunities in the wilderness, Camp Wojtyla is a labor of love and exists only because of the prayers and support of many generous individuals and families who faithfully support this mission.
Why are camps all one gender?
We believe that males and females are wonderfully and wildly different. Similarly, each age also requires such specific programming to his or her life stage that we are delighted to offer single gendered camps for middle school and high school students. We are blessed with the ability to serve our campers in such a tremendous and uniquely tailored way.
Is the deposit refundable?
Where do you find your staff?
Every year, we receive around 400 initial applications for our 30 available staff positions. People hear about us through friends, internet searches, Catholic publications and other sources as well. Most of college students hear about us through our partnership with FOCUS the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. Every year we attend their leadership conference. We work closely with many missionaries around the country to help spread the word to well formed Catholic leaders that are looking to grow deeper in their faith and who are wanting to spend their summer in service.
Does your staff undergo a background check?
All of our staff go through a fingerprinting and background check process through the FBI. We are required by the state to do fingerprinting for our Colorado residents, but we go above and beyond the the law to ensure the highest level of safety and excellence possible.
Are your staff certified in the Virtus, Protecting God’s Children, program?
Every staff member at Camp Wojtyla has attended the Virtus, Protecting God’s Children, training session. Our staff are highly trained through this program and other components of our staff training to see the physical and emotional safety our campers as our highest priority.
What is the level of training for physical and spiritual formation?
At Camp Wojtyla we train our staff for a total of three weeks-- far beyond the industry average of one to two week staff training periods. In addition to the three weeks of training during the summer, a large number of our staff also choose to attend an additional 10 day certification course to become Wilderness First Responders (WFR). All our staff undergo extensive training in: risk management procedures and judgment in the field-- how to mitigate risk and avoid needless dangerous situations altogether through proper planning and foresight; the Processing Pinnacle; how to extract powerful meaning and connections from every experience at Camp Wojtyla; how to teach Archery and High Line safety and procedures; teamwork and team communication; conflict resolution; the New Evangelization; how to teach the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church; Salvation History and the Gospels; high-alpine terrain travel; Rock Climbing safety practices; the conscious use of metaphor; map reading and how to teach topographic maps to campers.
Are you staff paid?
No, our college aged staff counselors are not paid. They come to serve for the summer as volunteers. They spend their summer giving tirelessly for the Gospel. As a result, they give all of who they are to hundreds of children every summer in hopes that the campers they serve can grow closer in their relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.
What is the ratio of campers to staff?
Every week of programming has a maximum of 60 campers. Our staff consists of 30 well formed, highly trained individuals ready to serve as role models and mentors. That’s a 2:1 ratio!
Within each small group there are 2-3 counselors for every 8-10 campers. We believe in the power of discipleship, investing in the life of another, sharing not only Christ but our very lives as well (2 Thess 2:2).
Standards and Safety
Are you licensed by the state?
Yes, Camp Wojtyla falls under the state’s Child Care Licensing umbrella with the Department of Human Services. We undergo inspections by the state and we adhere to their rules and regulations. Often our protocols go above and beyond what is required of us by the state.
How do you provide excellent rock climbing and white water rafting?
We believe that Camp Wojtyla should provide the best of everything. That most certainly includes our climbing company and white water rafting company. Our climbing company, KMAC has been serving the Estes Park area for over 25 years with an incredible reputation of service, safety and experience! Our white water rafting company, The Adventure Company came to us after MUCH research. We chose them because of their unheard of policy of NO FIRST YEAR RAFT GUIDES. Experience is a wise teacher and the The Adventure Company only hires raft guides with four plus years of experience. Both companies allow us to guide the conversations and teachings within each element while they provide the safest experience possible.
What does your safety training look like?
Our staff study the human and environmental components of risks and learn how to mitigate these possible risks through proper planning and sound decision making. We take the through classroom analysis of these topics, studying topics like lightning, weather, high alpine terrain, wildlife, medical scenarios, group dynamics and sound leadership as well as in action through long, rigorous high alpine summits, rock climbing at 10,000 feet for upwards of ten hours and hours of practicing wilderness scenarios.