35 Years: Growing up with Keystone Science School | SummitDaily.com

35 Years: Growing up with Keystone Science School

Ellen Reid
Special to the Daily Instructors and campers today may sport different clothes and hairstyles, but the passion is the same as those who came before (below).

When I was a kid, I always longed to be a grown up. I watched with envy as my older siblings earned privileges such as staying up past 9 p.m., or walking to a friend’s house alone, or driving. As I’ve grown up, however, I’ve learned that it isn’t those milestones of independence that bring satisfaction to one’s life. Rather, it was the experience and wisdom I gained; the complex and ultimately rewarding combination of anticipation, realization, disappointment and joy that accompanied those landmark moments.

This year, Keystone Science School celebrates its 35th anniversary. Thirty-five years of science, adventure and fun. Thirty-five years of children, community members, teachers and staff through our doors. And thirty five years of experience, wisdom and joy.

When Robert W. Craig founded the School in 1976, his idea of instilling critical thinking and science skills to foster a strong generation of public leaders was ground-breaking. Bob understood that the most effective leaders are inspired at an early age – with experience providing the groundwork for well-rounded, thoughtful members of society. As KSS has grown up, we have gone from a quiet site with a few historic buildings from Old Keystone Village to a vibrant campus featuring two dorms, a renovated dining hall, state-of-the-art observatory, a yurt, and hordes of energetic students. Over the years, as the vision and mission of the school evolved, so did the programs that provided meaningful experiences to our family of participants. We’ve held Elder Hostel programs, worked with local community groups, and hosted teacher trainings on topics relevant to the day. School groups from across the country have traveled far distances to experience the unique environment of the school. And our hallmark summer camp programs have expanded to host hundreds of kids from the ages of 5 to 17.

To be sure, Keystone Science School has not been without its own growing pains, but as anyone who makes it to middle age knows, those pains often conceal the most valuable lessons. And as we’ve pushed our students to think differently, broaden their perspectives, and become empowered to effect meaningful change, they too have guided us in the most effective ways to teach them. We have, in a sense, grown up together.

When I first began my tenure as the school director, I spent time sifting through my predecessors’ files and photos to glean what I could from their experience and history. What struck me most was how strongly passion and enthusiasm for education has been a constant theme over the years. I particularly enjoyed seeing 1970s-era photos of a staff of young instructors excited to venture into the outdoors with their young charges, and photos of those students engaged and learning. The clothes, gear, and hairstyles may have been different, but the enthusiasm on their faces is the same we see today. Our programs, knowledge and experience have advanced, but the drive to make a difference in the world has remained a steady foundation for the work we do.

I am immensely proud to be part of the team that continues to foster innovative science education with programs that inspire, teach, and delight. At the wise old age of 35, Keystone Science School has learned a lot about itself and the students we serve, and we hope you’ll join us as we move forward into what we feel is a very bright future. We plan to make this year one to remember with many ways to celebrate with us. Stay tuned!

Ellen Reid is the Director of Keystone Science School. To share your experience with Keystone Science School, give us a call (970) 468-2098 or send an e-mail to ereid@keystone.org. For more information about our programs visit the website, http://www.keystonescienceschool.org.

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