Educo Leadership Adventures Fort Collins, CO
Sept. 18th, 2013
It was clear upon our arrival that Brian Sense, Educo’s executive director, is a force to be reckoned with. We met up with Brian at his office/ gear shed in Fort Collins, where he showed us how he had transformed some storage space of an abandoned grocery store into the Lost Boys Tree House of office spaces. Complete with a spiral stair case, climbing wall and zombie bunker, the office also serves as the pack out and storage for all of the trips that Educo sends off. As Brian showed us around we first got a glimpse into the sweat, sleepless nights, and hard work that went into turning Educo from Brian’s brain child into the awesome reality that it is. Everything from the stunning brand and marketing material that Educo has, to every last nail hammered at their camp was created by Brian. Jack and I got to spend about 45 minutes driving out to the mountains just beyond Fort Collins in Brian’s pick up. We were fascinated by Brian’s stories and could not stop asking questions about the path that brought him to Educo. Brian has worked at YMCA summer camps including times as a director at the mammoth Frost Valley. He also spend a good number of years as a wilderness therapy trip leader and has worked in a myriad of detention and treatment facilities for at risk youth, or as he calls them youth with limited resources because all youth are at risk. Brian believes that kids rule and any way to promote their youth development is a cause that Brian will fight for. We learned quickly by walking through his camp that Brian refuses to be told no. He found away around the Heath Departments many restrictions and met all of their seemingly extravagant requests. The charm of Educo’s facilities are in their rustic imaginative nature. The kids who stay at main camp live in platform tents; we totally geeked out at the site of their bathrooms and outdoor shower house. The whole place is off the grid. They cook out doors, actually the kids do the cooking, just another intentional and perfectly thought out part of Educo’s programing. What really sums up camp, is the high ropes course. It is a perfect example of Brian’s will finding a way, his pure imagination and his larger than life attitude. Starting off a hill so the participants can build up to being higher up and including a variety of low ropes team building style elements like team skis and mohawk walk, and ending in a well earned zip line. More than any other high ropes course we have seen Brian has found a way to make high ropes a team building experience not simply a thrill.
After a tour of camp Brian invited us into his home where we talked camp, youth development, life, ect with Brian and his fiancé, Jaime until 2:30 in the morning. Spending time at Educo and Brian left us believing anything is possible, to not be bogged down by red tape, and to constantly challenge the status quo. Always asking why.
-Laura and Jack