Confession: I was absolutely thrilled to send both my kids to overnight camp at YMCA of the Rockies’ Camp Chief Ouray this week…until I woke up in a funk the morning after dropping them off. While they were having the time of their lives, I literally stayed in my bathrobe all day and worked from my bed. My husband brought me breakfast, lunch and we ordered in for dinner.
It’s gonna be ugly when they leave for college.
Fortunately, I had an outing scheduled the next day with Vela Adventures’ Camp Vela which catapulted me out of my gloom into a world of sunshine, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), lakeside yoga, gourmet food and new friendships! Why should children get to have all the fun?
Last summer, Vela Adventures’ co-founder Heather Fleck registered her kids for Avid4Adventure’s camps. “They were going rock climbing, mountain biking and kayaking,” said Heather. “I was happy for them but I wanted to go, too!”
Thus Vela Adventures was borne. Heather teamed up with Kelly Kocher and together they run these all-inclusive Denver- and Boulder-area adventures that empower women to try new things by getting out of their comfort zone. The adventures are planned between 9 a.m.-2 p.m.ish–perfect for moms while their kids are at summer camp or during the school year.
Every adventure makes you feel like a VIP and for once, you don’t need to do a stitch of the planning. From a horseback riding and spa party to whitewater rafting and wine tasting, Heather and Kelly make sure every detail is perfect.
I signed up for the stand-up paddleboard, yoga and beach party. A few days before the event, I was emailed a form where I submitted my juice/coffee choices for breakfast and lunch options. Upon arriving at Chatfield State Park, they had already paid for everyone’s entrance fees and we met with our certified SUP professional Effie who showed us the ropes. Or rather, the boards, paddles and strokes.
It was my fourth time on a SUP but the first time I’d received actual instruction. Buoyed up with confidence, I sailed across the lake as I drafted off the sultry breeze. With the light wind came the rhythmic wash of white caps, which had caused panic in the past but I quickly learned to smoothly navigate these luminous blooms. All the ladies quickly bonded in the supportive, non-competitive setting and when we eventually paddled back to shore, we were greeted with healthy snacks, cold drinks, towels and sunscreen.
Next it was onto a relaxing Hatha Yoga session. Full disclosure: I do not like yoga, nor do I find it relaxing. But between our soothing instructor Bonnie, the staggering mountain backdrop and our lakeside setting under a cottonwood tree that traced lacy patterns in the sky, I didn’t think of dying even once. For a previous yoga hater, that my friends, is progress. I even echoed her “Namaste” at the end and almost believed it.
Perhaps what I appreciated the most about my Camp Vela experience was their attention to details. The water bottles and fresh towels on our yoga mats. The gourmet boxed lunches from Whole Foods, the fresh flower centerpieces and the logo-monogrammed linen napkins and tablecloth. The champagne toast and thank-you cards as we were leaving. And not to be forgotten was our very own ice cream truck with out-of-this-world flavors from Coaches Scoop Frozen Dessert.
Vela Adventures ain’t your children’s summer camp. Nor would you want it to be.