Staddle Camp

Staddle Camp offers select middle-schoolers from Big Shoulders Fund schools with a unique set of science-focused academic sessions during the school year culminating in a six-day trip to Staddle Camp at Brush Creek Ranch.
At Staddle, campers are encouraged to learn by doing, take risks, and try new things!



Staddle Camp Students

Staddle Camp is a priceless experience filled with tons of opportunities to learn by doing, explore nature, and try things you never thought you would!

Starting in January, selected students will participate in various science enrichment sessions and team-building activities at Adler Planetarium, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, The Field Museum, and North Park Nature Center. Students are also expected to engage in an ongoing assignment that provides historical and scientific context preparing them for their trip in the summer.

Each week during the summer, groups of students accompanied by an adult Chaperone from multiple schools will travel to Staddle Camp at Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming. While mostly disconnected from the internet and their cell-phones*, students are truly able to learn about and appreciate the nature around them, have fun and excitement without screens, and experience activities they’ve never tried before.

*Students will have an opportunity to call parents once groups have landed at the Denver Airport, but then Chaperones will hold on to all students’ cellphones for the duration of the trip. Families will be notified immediately by camp in the case of an emergency.



Schools and Chaperones


Schools interested in participating in Staddle Camp at Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming must meet the following criteria:
  • Schools must have an adult Chaperone that can commit to all programmatic expectations and activities, including the one-week trip to Wyoming during the summer.
  • Schools must be able to identify 6 six and/or seventh graders who can commit to all programmatic expectations and activities, including the one-week trip to Wyoming during the summer.
  • Schools must be able to communicate fully with all participating students and their families, as well as hold them accountable for meeting program expectations.

Returning schools should have their Chaperone complete the Chaperone Interest Form each year. If you are a returning school but will have a new Chaperone, please see the Chaperone criteria below.

New schools should contact Eliza Bryant to discuss the school’s readiness level for participation.

Eliza Bryant
Director, Academic Programs and Enrichment
312.544.8683 ✶


For each Staddle Camp session, teachers at Big Shoulders Fund schools are offered the opportunity to chaperone.

Teachers interested in becoming Staddle Camp Chaperones must:

  • Teach at a Big Shoulders Fund supported school
  • Have their principal’s approval to participate
  • Have an appreciation for nature and be comfortable being active outdoors (camping experience is a plus)
  • Attend all the pre-trip activities and meetings
  • Be able to commit to all the responsibilities outlined in the Chaperone Agreement
  • Complete the Chaperone Interest Form





Your child was selected to participate in the Brush Creek Ranch Science Enrichment Program at Staddle Camp representing a $2,000 commitment to your child at no cost to you.

Your child exhibits the leadership and academic potential to truly flourish in this program.

While this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we will ask much of you and your child. Your support will be vital in making this program successful.

Families are responsible for meeting the following expectations:
  • Attending two mandatory Family Orientation sessions
  • Ensuring that their child attends all Saturday science enrichment sessions
  • Ensuring their child works collaboratively with their school group to complete their ongoing assignment
  • Ensuring their child arrives on time at the airport for their summer trip to Staddle Camp

Summer Trip Weeks

Big Shoulders works with Brush Creek Ranch to set summer trip weeks, and school groups are assigned their trip week in January. Each trip week consists of 5-6 school groups totaling around 35-40 students and 5-6 Chaperones, including one Lead Teacher who oversees the entire week. Trip weeks will not be changed once they have been assigned.

Trip weeks will depart from O’Hare International Airport and fly into Denver International Airport, then ride in a reserved coach bus from Denver to Saratoga, Wyoming. Families are responsible for drop-off and pick-up at their assigned times.

Check back for upcoming 2023 dates!

Family Orientations

Family Orientations are pre-assigned based on your child’s summer trip week.

All orientation sessions will take place at participating school sites around the city from 5:30 pm-7:30 pm.

Light snacks will be provided for the first session.

Family Orientation #1

Family Orientation #2

Enrichment Sessions and Assignments

Students are expected to attend three Saturday enrichment sessions and one school-day field trip, as well as collaboratively complete an ongoing assignment along with their school group. All scheduling for sessions will be preset by Big Shoulders Fund. Unexcused absences can result in being removed from the program.

February-June (ongoing) – School group collaborative assignment

NOTE: Big Shoulders makes final ticket purchases approximately six weeks in advance of each trip week. Should a family or student decide to not attend camp after this point, the family will be responsible for repayment of the cost of the individual ticket to Big Shoulders Fund.

← Brush Creek Ranch