Camp Age Groups: "Adventure Groups"
During the summer, campers are divided into five Adventure Groups based on both age and experience at the ranch. Adventure Groups were created to arrange campers together according to their age and experience. Several cabins generally make up each Adventure Group. For returning campers, each summer builds on the previous summer's experience, providing new challenges and adventures every year. Many campers return for up to five summers.
With this format for camper advancement, socialization becomes a great aspect of camp life. Living together in an environment of sharing and growing, a TVRC camper not only builds skills, but learns to participate and contribute to a group, to be a 'team player,' and to be both a leader and a follower at the appropriate times. In short, our campers gain confidence in their own abilities and an understanding of how to work together.
Yearlings - First year campers and 11 years old
Rough Riders - Returning Yearlings or first year campers 12+
Top Hands - Returning Rough Riders
Wranglers - Returning Top Hand
Trailblazers - Returning Wranglers
Below you will find descriptions of all of the adventure groups at Teton Valley Ranch Camp.
The youngest adventure group at TVRC is the Yearling group. All Yearlings are first year campers and are 11 years of age, or entering into the 6th grade. Typically there are two cabins of Yearlings, living in either Paintbrush or Moran, both located nearby the Camp Green as well as the office, infirmary and dining hall.
Campers in this adventure group will have the opportunity to see Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park, learn to saddle, bridle, and ride horses with help from our barn staff, hike amongst the Tetons, backpack in the Wyoming wilderness, and sleep under the stars on a four day, western, horse-and-mule pack trip. Yearling year is an incredible opportunity for children ready to get their first glimpse of northwestern Wyoming and all that Teton Valley Ranch Camp has to offer.
The Rough Rider adventure group is the largest and most historical at Teton Valley Ranch Camp. While some Rough Riders are returning campers from their Yearling year, most are first year campers anywhere from 11-14 years old.
Throughout the summer, campers are exposed to everything TVRC has to offer, from three to four day backpacks and pack trips, to all activities offered while in camp. Boys and girls will learn the basics of horsemanship, hiking and backcountry ethics, fly-fishing and much more over the course of their four weeks. Counselors and staff members work together to establish confidence in all camp activities and among the TVRC community. Campers in this adventure group have the opportunity to participate in Teton Valley Ranch Camp’s oldest camp tradition at the end of the session - the Rough Ride.
The Top Hand adventure group consists of 2nd and 3rd year campers, ranging from 12-14 years old. These boys and girls have the opportunity to specialize in one of three programs at camp - riding, fishing or hiking. With a year or two of camp experience under their belts, this year provides the perfect opportunity for campers to focus on their interests and build their knowledge and skill sets.
Riding Specialists have the opportunity to work hand in hand with the barn staff and Wrangler adventure group to develop their riding and horse handling skills. As a Fishing Specialist, Top Hands are taught more advanced fishing techniques and fly-tying procedures which are tested on day trips, backpacks and pack trips. Hiking Specialists work with trip leaders to further their skills in orienteering and mountaineering, and, in addition, build on their knowledge of the many national parks and forests surrounding TVRC.
While each specialization group works together throughout the summer, the entire Top Hand adventure group learns what it means to be an individual who is also a part of a team. Top Hands work together to share knowledge from their specialties and complete their Top Hand Service project, typically a day-long project dedicated to assisting the National Park/Forest Service.
As campers in the Wrangler adventure group, boys and girls have the opportunity to become much more involved in the barn and riding program at TVRC. Campers work with the barn staff and their counselors to learn about proper handling and care of horses, as well as practice more advanced riding techniques. One of the more exciting opportunities for this group is the chance to aid in wrangling the horses each morning from the pastures into the corrals. There are few moments where one feels more like a cowboy or cowgirl than camper on those early morning rides.
In addition to the increased exposure to riding, Wranglers are able to go on some of the camp’s most prominent backpacking trips in the Tetons. During this year, campers continue to build on their backpacking and pack trip skills through increased responsibility and team building opportunities. On their pack trips, counselors and outfitters help guide campers on how to pack gear on mules using the diamond hitch. The Wrangler adventure group consists mostly of third and fourth year campers that are usually ages 13-15.
The eldest adventure group at TVRC is the Trailblazer group. Trailblazer year focuses on out-of-camp backpacks and pack trips. Campers in this group work together with their counselors and trip leaders in taking a more active role in trip planning and organization. From food and route preparation, to gear and transportation organization, Trailblazers develop the skills necessary to run a safe and smooth trip in the backcountry.
Through these experiences, campers learn the importance of teamwork and communication when planning extended trips for a large group. This year is extremely rewarding for boys and girls, and serves as a launching point for future wilderness discovery. Most Trailblazers are fourth or fifth year campers.