Promoting Literacy and Love of the Outdoors
BookTrails is a non-profit organization that promotes a love of literacy in all people. Our programs create new ways to experience the joys of reading and writing. With BookTrails, our students are able to experience and feel as though they are the main character in the favorite story—whether it is building a survival shelter, running through a stream bed, or sketching in a meadow. By focusing on the use of reading and writing to teach environmental principals, our students are given a unique perspective to view both literature and the natural world.
BookTrails’ mission is to foster literacy in all people and promote access to literacy programs for all children. BookTrails aims to design programs that create new ways to experience the joys of reading and writing through experiential learning.
Camp Pick-up and Drop-off are held at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, 68 9th Street, Steamboat Springs, CO.
BookTrails’ premiere summer camp aims to foster both a love of literature and the outdoors. Our camps are held at the Reading Ranch located in North Routt County, giving students a unique experience to learn about western heritage and Colorado natural lands. Our campers have access to over 400 acres of beautiful land to explore while nurturing their literacy skills. Each camp introduces a collection of stories, writing activities, and art projects focused around a common book or theme. Our students also learn basic outdoor skills, facts about Colorado wildlife, and how to live off-the-grid.
Our weeklong sleep away camps are held at the Reading Ranch. The two acre site is situated in the middle of upper Fetcher Ranch, nestled between groves of old growth pine and aspen with a bustling creek as a border. It is completely off-the-grid and we work with sustainability specialists to help create the best innovations in water treatment, solar power, and other exciting projects with which our students will have the opportunity to learn and participate. Students live in raised platform tents and learn in outdoor classrooms surrounded by hundreds of acres of hiking trails and pristine wilderness. We are a short drive or walk from Steamboat Lake State Park.
BookTrails is licensed Child Care Provider under the State of Colorado Department of Human Services and therefore adheres to all policies and procedures set forth by the State.
Emily Krall Osterman (Executive Director), founded BookTrails in December of 2011 with the goal of starting a camp that combined reading and outdoor experiences. Emily met many families during her time working as a bookseller for her parents’ independent bookstore, Off the Beaten Path. She spoke with many parents who expressed their desire for summer programs that would provide an educational experience for their children. Emily responded to this need by launching BookTrails Camp in 2012 and the scholarship program to serve children from low-income families. The program continued to grow, eventually serving over 120 children in the summer of 2014. The scholarship program doubled and it became clear that BookTrails would thrive best as a non-profit entity. An informal board of advisors transformed into a formal Board of Directors and in January of 2015, BookTrails earned their own 501(c)(3) status. In 2016, BookTrails started work on a permanent home for their programs, The Reading Ranch. This off-the-grid site will allow BookTrails to grow our overnight camp and provide an unforgettable experience for our future campers. BookTrails employees 12 part time and 2 full time staff members per year.