Camp Colton, FUSD’s immersive outdoor education center, offers students a memorable shared community experience. The program was created in 1971 to introduce children to their “home environment” and increase their understanding of science and the environment through direct experiences with nature.


Friends of Camp Colton (FCC) supports Camp Colton’s lasting sustainability and success. FCC makes Camp more accessible for all local students, develops innovative programs, organizes community support and funding for infrastructure, and spearheads long-range planning. Education is the most powerful way to change the world and, through our strategic support, we ensure that Camp Colton remains a transformative and meaningful learning experience. Camp helps students engage in self-discovery, develop positive relationships with their peers and teachers, and appreciate and understand their natural environment. FCC is committed to the ongoing success of this unique Flagstaff resource.


Expanded student access:

  • The FCC Scholarship Program gives students from non-FUSD public, charter, and private schools the opportunity to attend Camp Colton. Our scholarships are for low-income students from throughout Northern Arizona. Since our program began 3 years ago, we have provided scholarships for 212 students from 7 different schools. These scholarships have also leveraged the participation of an additional 221 students from these 7 schools.

  • FCC has gained community support through the Northern Arizona Volunteer Medical Corps to fund a full-time (overnight) nurse position at Camp Colton so that this experience is more accessible to all students.

  • Camp Colton serves around 750 students each year, 650 from FUSD and 100 from other local schools (non-FUSD). For many 6th grade students, this is the first time they go camping and sleep away from home.

Innovative programs:

  • Through a grant secured by FCC, educators implemented a new curriculum in the fall of 2016 focused around the concepts of climate science with STEM integration and increased scientific rigor. Traditional survival skills and orienteering lessons remain a part of the curriculum as well.

Infrastructure and long-range planning:

  • Most recently, we have successfully fundraised to build two handicap-accessible cabin through the tremendous support of the Kahtoola Uphill Race and individual donors to FCC.

  • Currently, FCC is leading the process of creating and realizing a master plan for the 33-acre site along with FUSD staff and teachers and community members.


Annually, Camp Colton is in session between August–October and May–June and serves approximately 750 sixth grade children. Camp Colton is staffed by a full-time Director and a seasonal team of environmental educators, night counselors, cook, and a 24/hr Registered Nurse. Since the program began, FUSD students have attended Camp Colton at no cost as an integrated part of their classroom science studies (program expense offset by FUSD, tax credit donations and funds raised by the Friends of Camp Colton). Non-FUSD students also attend Camp Colton and pay a $350 per student tuition fee.  The Friends of Camp Colton Scholarship Fund, through a grant application process, offers full scholarships to low income non-FUSD 6th graders. Accompanied by their classroom teachers and taught by the Camp’s team of experienced environmental educators, students spend three-nights and four-days at Camp Colton learning about and connecting with the natural environment.


While at Camp, students rotate through Camp’s engaging schedule of environmental education classes (wildlife, botany, aquatics, climate science, history, geology, environmental stewardship, orienteering and geocaching, outdoor skills and astronomy). Expeditions to Viet Springs and the Lava Tubes are also a part of the curriculum. Camp Colton’s STEM curriculum is aligned with Arizona science standards and integrates physical/health education and character development objectives. Classes also introduce students to outdoor and environmental science careers. Because the curriculum is investigative and inquiry-based, students develop critical thinking skills, practice problem solving and learn the benefits of teamwork.


Though considerable time is devoted to science investigations, students also enjoy recreational activities, free time in the out-of-doors and traditional camp experiences; including: hikes, campfires, square dancing, journaling, games, storytelling, arts, and of course, the adventures associated with camping out (a first experience for some participants). At Camp Colton, students form a deeper appreciation for the natural environment, expand scientific understanding, make new friends, and create lasting memories.