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Camp Colley Blog

Camp Colley News, Events, and Updates Highlighting Our Community Impact

2021 Camp Colley Season Ends Due To Mandated Forest Closure

This year’s fire season has been incredibly devastating for Arizona. Beginning with the Backbone Fire still burning at over 40,000 acres, and now five more in the Coconino National Forest that erupted just days after Backbone began, tens of thousands of acres of fires have caused a Stage 3 closure of the national forest. Dangerous levels of air quality, state road closures limiting access to Camp Colley, and no additional available firefighting resources have culminated in a very fraught camp season. Camp Colley, nestled squarely within the national forest, has been directed by National Forest Service experts not to host children at camp until the Stage 3 closure is lifted, currently scheduled for September 1, 2021. With this information top-of-mind, we made the grueling decision to cancel the remainder of the Camp Colley 2021 season. There will be no further sessions of camp this summer. For the past two weeks we closely followed the AZ Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Transportation, and Coconino National Forest updates in order to make the most informed decisions about regarding Camp Colley and the safety of our campers. We had hoped that it would be possible to resume our season, but after being directed not to bring children to camp by the national forest service, we were left with no other choice. We are heartbroken. We have notified parents and program partners about this season’s cancellation. All registration fees will be refunded to the parents or caregivers of this summer’s campers in the coming days. Additionally, all campers have been referred to low cost or free day camp programs operating in Phoenix to mitigate... read more

Camp Colley 2021 Session 5 Cancelled

Monday officials with the Coconino National Forest declared a Stage 3 closure to the forest to the public and individuals there will need to vacate by Wednesday morning. Camp Colley, private property owned by the City of Phoenix, will remain accessible only to staff with permits issues by the National Forest. Because of this, Session 5 (June 28 – July 2, 2021) of our season will be cancelled.

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Camp Colley’s Backbone Fire Response

It is with great disappointment that we are postponing the June 21 – June 25 Camp Colley session scheduled to begin Monday due to the Backbone Fire, which is encroaching on Strawberry, Arizona about 30 miles southwest of camp. We have been following the AZ Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Transportation, and Coconino National Forest updates and together with our City of Phoenix partners and onsite staff, have determined that poor air quality and limited road access to Camp Colley due to the Backbone Fire prevents us from providing a safe and enjoyable week at camp.   Weather projections show wind pushing smoke North/Northeast from the fire, currently uncontained at 17,000 acres as of June 19, 2021. This puts Camp Colley on the direct path or where the smoke is most likely to go in the coming days.   The good news is there is currently no threat of fire on camp property. We know how much our children were looking forward to camp and we are inviting them to attend either session 5 (June 28 – July 2) or session 6 (July 5 – July 9), as long as conditions permit these sessions to take place.   We have notified parents and program partners and will ensure this news is handled with care and concern for the disruption it will likely cause families.   We will continue to share more information about the Backbone Fire’s impact on Camp Colley as more information becomes available.... read more

Children Need Camp Now More Than Ever!

We know that children learn and grow at Camp Colley in ways that are unique to the camp experience. This development in our children only happens through actively participating at camp, and we believe opportunity gaps deepen when children do not have the means to participate. That is why Camp Colley is so proud of its efforts to provide camp scholarships to more than 450 Phoenix children each year. Camp helps children bridge societal divides that often keep them in silos. Geographic location, socio-economic status, culture, race and other factors limit children from building friendships with kids and adults from other walks of life. Camp Colley’s  campers come from all over Phoenix and our staff come from all over the United States. The only requirement to be a camper is a desire to explore the wonder and magic of nature. Camp provides an environment where unstructured learning occurs. Now more than ever, kids need to step away from screens and explore the outdoors and learn from the environment they are immersed in at camp. Camp Colley helps develop the whole child—emotionally, educationally, and physically. With over 58 hours of programs and activities crammed into a week at Camp Colley, participants don’t stop moving until they board their bus back to Phoenix.     Camp Colley integrates standards of learning from the Arizona Department of Education in our program curriculum to ensure we offer an experiential environment that helps kids learn in ways that are best for them. Hands-on activities allows kids to try new things, overcome their fears, and develop critical-thinking skills. Camp Colley helps bridge summer learning loss... read more

Camp Colley Featured in Arizona Highways Magazine

We are excited to share that Camp Colley Foundation was featured in January’s issue of Arizona Highways Magazine. Our goal is to provide access to nature to underserved Phoenix children for learning and growth. The article captures the essence of our work and we are honored to be featured by such a time-honored publication within our community. Click this link to read the article now! AZ Highways Article The article  by Kelly Vaughn of Arizona Highways Magazine reads: For so many American children, a pilgrimage to summer camp is a rite of passage. The smell of the campfire; the gooey, sticky sweetness of roasted marshmallows; and making new friends under a blanket of stars, far removed from screens, school and the stresses of everyday kid-dom. But not every child has that opportunity. And that’s something Camp Colley hopes to change. Established in 1999 and operating continually ever since, the camp — named for James Colley, the longtime leader of Phoenix’s parks and recreation programs, and located near Happy Jack on the Mogollon Rim — enables children from underserved communities in the Phoenix area to experience the beauty and mysteries of nature and wilderness, often for the first time in their lives. “We see so much change happen when these kids step off the bus and sit in a circle out in the wilderness for the first time,” says Richard Berg, executive direc- tor of the Camp Colley Foundation, which oversees the funding and operation of the camp. “Initially, there’s a genuine discomfort, but by the end of the week, the kids are rolling around in the grass. It’s a wonderful thing — to... read more
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