About KSS FAQs

Are you a 501 (c)(3)?

Keystone Science School became an independent organization in March 2013 when it separated from the Keystone Center and received its federal non-profit designation as a 501(c)(3) organization on August 9, 2013. For reference, our tax ID # is 46-1735364.

Other than Summer Camp, what else does KSS do?

KSS offers year-round programming.

School Programs— Through partnerships with public and private schools, School Programs brings science alive for K-12 students by engaging them in informal investigations and research projects that incorporate innovative teaching methods and hands-on activities.

Camp Programs—Camp Programs offer a range of summer programs for youth aged 5-17 providing just the right balance of hands-on science education, true Colorado adventure, and traditional camp-style fun. Options include day camp, multi-day residential sessions, and leadership programs for teens.

Educator Programs— Designed for teachers seeking a fresh approach to teaching STEM principles, these professional development programs feature interdisciplinary, hands-on, inquiry-based curricula on a variety of issues relevant to today’s communities.

Community Programs— These customizable programs are designed specifically for the community-at-large and provide residents and visitors the opportunity to engage more fully with the spectacular mountain environment.

How many youth and adults do you serve?

In 2017, KSS served 7,820 youth and adults. Adults primarily participate through our Educator Programs and Community Programs.

What are your biggest successes?

Serving over 7,500 youth and adults annually; becoming an independent nonprofit in 2013; being financially responsible and sustainable; improving campus infrastructure; building a high-quality, dedicated team; engaging donors and strengthening the board.

Is KSS on a sound financial footing?

Yes.  We have ended the last five years with small surpluses and have reinvested in reserve accounts to support long-term needs, short term emergencies, staff and program development, and ongoing capital repairs and maintenance.

How does KSS serve the local youth in the community?

  • KSS’s CATCH Afterschool and Summer Camp provides out-of-school programming for elementary-aged children in Summit County.
  • The CATCH Afterschool program serves 255 unique participants with an average of 170 students daily during the 12-week session. This program is designed around the CATCH curriculum, which stands for Coordinated Approach to Children’s Health. The program serves the needs of working Summit County families with elementary-aged children. 
  • We provide Camperships to local youth to participate in our Summer Camp programs. Our Day Camp programs see a large majority of participants from Summit County.
  • Our School Programs partners with the local school district to help 5th graders transition to 6th grade. We provide Mountain Ecology programming for all 3rd graders in the district via a grant from Vail EpicPromise. We also offer programs for 7th and 8th graders and always encourage local schools to come to our campus programming.

How long has KSS been around?

Since 1976, Keystone Science School has taught scientific principles and leadership skills to young people, teachers, and community members through engaging hands-on field experiences. KSS was founded on the belief that leaders should approach decision-making with a healthy respect for scientific inquiry, collaboration, and civic engagement. In 2013, KSS became an independent nonprofit.

The 23-acre KSS campus is built on the site of the Old Keystone Village, a former railroad and sawmill site, which supported silver and gold mining. Today, majestic mountain ranges provide a dynamic setting for learning about the rich natural and cultural history of Summit County. Over the decades KSS has evolved to provide increasingly diverse and accessible programs around leadership development, professional development, STEM-based education, and experiential/expeditionary learning.

How is KSS different from any other Summer Camp?

We incorporate non-biased science education into the adventure and fun of Summer Camp. Each week has a science theme and concepts are imbedded in all that we do.

How much has KSS grown?

In 2006, KSS served 2,800 youth and adults. In 2016, KSS served 7,092 youth and adults. In 2006, KSS’s annual budget unrestricted revenue was $780,000. In 2016, it was $2,777,756. In 2006, KSS had 34 staff members. In 2016, KSS had 111 staff members.

Where does your funding come from?

Roughly half of our funding is via philanthropic giving and the other half is via fee for service.