About BookTrails

Promoting Literacy and Love of the Outdoors

Welcome to BookTrails, where we cultivate a love for literacy in all individuals. Something we like to call “Reading-love.” Through our innovative programs, we provide unique outdoor experiences that immerse students in the world of reading and writing. At BookTrails, students become the protagonists of their favorite stories, whether they’re building survival shelters, exploring stream beds, or sketching in alpine meadows. By integrating environmental principles into our curriculum, we offer a distinct perspective on both literature and the natural world.

OUR MISSION

BookTrails mission is to inspire children of varied backgrounds to develop a life-long love of reading, a passion for the outdoors and respect for the natural environment by participating in fun, outdoor-based experiential reading programs at our Reading Ranch in Clark, CO.

 

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ABOUT CAMP

Our premier summer camp is located at the Reading Ranch, a two-acre site on Upper Fetcher Ranch in North Routt County, just a short drive from Steamboat Lake State Park. Here, campers delve into literature while immersing themselves in Colorado’s rich natural landscape and heritage. With over 400 acres of land to explore, campers engage in storytelling, writing activities, and art projects centered around a common book or week-long camp theme. They also learn essential outdoor skills, discover facts about Colorado wildlife, and experience off-the-grid living in raised platform tents surrounded by hiking trails and pristine wilderness. Nestled amidst old growth pine and aspen, the Reading Ranch offers a sustainable learning environment where students can learn about off-grid water treatment and solar power and thrive in our outdoor classroom.

OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Reading-love: We bring books to life by introducing our students to the magical world of literature in new and exciting ways that help to form a positive, lifelong love for reading.

Safety: Safety is our top priority. We have policies to ensure that we provide a safe physical and emotional environment for all of our campers.

Inclusivity: We are committed to building a leadership team and serving children of all backgrounds, cultures and orientations. We aim to create an environment for campers that is welcoming to all and that promotes an appreciation and respect for the differences among us.

Fun: We make reading fun. Everything that we do at the Reading Ranch combines reading with outdoor exploration, imagination, and creative freedom.

Environmental Stewardship: We are committed to sustainably operating the Reading Ranch and to use the ranch as a learning opportunity for campers to understand the principles of responsible resource consumption.

Collaboration: We value the many partnerships we have in our community and consistently seek input to help develop a more enriched experience for our campers.

Continual Improvement: We actively seek feedback from our campers, parents, staff, and community partners to challenge ourselves to improve the overall end-to-end experience for our campers and their parents.

HISTORY

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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.

BookTrails is a non-profit organization (EIN: 47-2838786) and a licensed Child Care Provider under the State of Colorado Department of Human Services, ensuring
compliance with all state policies and procedures.