We have carefully selected activities to enhance the excitement of the summer, provide new and memorable experiences and compliment the spirit of our philosophy. The emphasis here is on individual, lifetime sports – activities in which campers can compete against a standard for their success, while avoiding much of the normal head to head competition of team sports. We prefer activities which cannot be done at home and reinforce the value of summer camp. In all activities skill levels progress as a camper returns so that he has a different, full filled experience, whether in his first or eighth summer.
In the heart of every young boy is a deep down desire to re-live some of the excitement of the old west…to be a cowboy.
Our goal is not only to teach how to ride, but to experience the challenges and rewards that come with true trail riding. Our campers ride along, across and even swim through the river. They ride up and back down the La Junta hills, crashing through the brush, jumping fallen logs and climbing stone bluffs. Our staff teach the boys how to sit (and stay in) their saddle in numerous conditions along various terrains. Rarely do they settle for a straight, flat, simple trail ride. Our goal over their summers a La Junta is to produce horsemen.
Instruction begins for all campers in the riding arena with direct counselor supervision and campers progress over the term to the picturesque riding trails that criss cross the La Junta hills and riverfront. Campers start out in age group classes but are regrouped by skill level as the term progresses.
La Junta’s modern stables, round pen and arena complex make the perfect home base for this traditional activity. We own our entire string of 40 camp horses, maintaining them on our own property, helping to assure not only healthy animals but a continuity which allows our riding staff the confident knowledge of which campers can handle which horses (and which horses can handle which kids).
Archery is a classic example of an activity that seems difficult to master at first, but with determination and consistent effort applied throughout the term, success at qualifying skill levels is a certainty.
Campers get individualized instruction and much practice on La Junta’s spacious and very safe archery range. Bows, arrows, and other necessary equipment are furnished by the camp and are used under the closest supervision of qualified instructors.
As the camp session progresses and skill levels improve, archers often get the opportunity for field archery, unique games and occasionally bow fishing. The most skilled archers each term are selected for a special, late night, archery hunt.
Although a recent addition to the La Junta lineup of activities, Mountain Biking has grown to become a favorite. Older campers learn to care for their equipment then master many of the same trails as the horseback riders.
An important aspect of Mountain Biking is the care and maintenance of equipment. Campers receive training and practice on the proper way to repair flats, adjust gears and replace brakes. Over the course of a summer, La Junta’s bikes are well worn, but well looked after.
While everyone knows how to ride a bike, not everyone has learned the balance to sit upright and still for a minute, jump off a 2 foot wall or ride down a set of steps. Safe operation over an exciting array of trails, skills and obstacle courses is the plan for Mountain Biking at Camp La Junta.
One of the highlights of many boys’ summers is their time on the La Junta Rifle Range. A good eye and a steady hand when combined with a natural love of shooting, produce some excellent marksmen on the safe and modern rifle range. At La Junta our emphasis at the range is on marksmanship, the safe handling of firearms and a proper respect toward these potential weapons. The range is run with military precision to ensure safety and efficient use of time. All boys, including even the youngest, fire hundreds of rounds, with single shot, bolt action, .22 caliber rifles throughout their session at camp.
Texas and hunting have long gone hand in hand. As more young boys are raised within the city limits the need for skilled instruction in proper shooting technique, hunter safety and hunting ethics has increased.
Trap and Skeet at La Junta is a combination of loads of shotgun shooting and safe hunting information. All skill levels in Hunter Safety combine shooting skills with safe hunting tests.
Our goal is to produce a boy who is both proficient at picking of clay pigeons and also knows the ins and outs of safe hunting and gun. After establishing a basic skill level, each camper receives extensive instruction and practice in the safe use of various types of hunting firearms, from shotguns to deer rifles. Campers learn new shooting positions, shoot 100 yard targets and try their hand at skeet shooting.
The goal of our shooting sports programs is to produce a boy who knows how to hunt, respect his firearm and how to use a variety of firearms safely and effectively.
Shooting the La Junta rapids is the eventual goal of everyone who sits in a canoe on the shimmering Guadalupe. On the way, you also get to enjoy picking up the basic skills and strokes, rescues and recoveries and tons of games just for fun.
The mission of the canoeing staff is to teach the safe, proficient handling of one and two man canoes. Camp La Junta has a mile of riverfront for canoeing, covering all types of water from rapids, to quiet shallows to deep water, all are ideal for the various skills needed to master the canoe. For safety sake, campers may not take part in canoeing until they’ve shown swimming proficiency in deep water.
For over seven decades, the attraction of the Crystal clear, spring-fed Guadalupe River has drawn campers and parents alike to the Hill Country.
As with other La Junta activities, class time is mixed between instruction to learn and improve strokes and skills and fun activities along the river. A typical class is split between perfecting ones backstroke and playing water volleyball in the La Junta cement pond.
What better place to learn to swim. What better time to perfect a back flip. What better way to cool off in the Texas sun than to launch into the river from the Bravery tree, Rope swing or River Slide. What more exciting ranch game than a rigorous match of water basketball. What more comfortable way to pass an evening than tubing the cypress shaded rapids?
Ever feed Cheese Whiz to a catfish while you lay on your back on the bottom of a river? Ever head down to a river bottom cave after dark with only a spotlight and your faith?
At La Junta, SCUBA Diving is not only innovative, but one of the most exciting and popular activities. Our resident Dive Master, compressor and 24 tanks allows us to expose all interested fellows to the sheer excitement of diving.
All qualified swimmers get the opportunity to begin a four year program that thoroughly leads them through snorkeling to free dives. Problem solving, rescue techniques and deep water entries are all part of the program.
The athletics and physical development programs at La Junta are also a popular option. While most activities center on individual sports and skills, athletics class is an opportunity to work on important team and physical skills. Campers are offered an opportunity to develop coordination and skills in many sports, while shying away from hometown classics. La Junta athletes will get their workouts in games and sports such as volleyball, basketball, flag football, soccer and many others. In addition, athletics class enjoys many exciting sports unique to La Junta, such as Angleball, Flickerball, Bombardment, Tennis Baseball and Human Foosball.
The competitive spirit is cultivated in each activity while at all times stressing the importance of teamwork and good sportsmanship. La Junta’s emphasis, while on independence and self-confidence, leave room for team competition for enjoyment and challenge.
When a boy reaches the age of 12 he may choose the fast-paced excitement of Go Cart racing. La Junta has its own paved quarter mile, Go Cart Track and fleet of well equipped carts. Classes include the safe handling of the vehicle at low and high speeds, as well as its maintenance and repair.
One night during the term is set aside for the La Junta Grand Prix during which drivers test their skill on a specially designed course at the La Junta racetrack.
In Camp Crafts the boys learn about important camping and outdoor skills such as orienteering, fire building, outdoor cooking and knot tying. The goal is to learn to live off the land, to navigate and to survive in the wilds of nature. Popular events include compass courses, dutch oven cooking, tracking and fire lighting.
In Nature Crafts, the boys spend unforgettable moments hiking, drawing, building, collecting rocks and fossils, learning to identify plants and insects and even seeking Indian artifacts. As with many other activities at La Junta, the emphasis here is on becoming familiar with the outdoor world, and of learning how to live cooperatively with it. Projects often include experimenting with wood working, plants, rocketry, nature trails, beadwork, candles, clay and paints.
Typically, projects are structured as a mix of doing, planning and testing. Boys can construct and decorate wooden boats before racing them down the rapids. They may engineer and paint “2 liter” rockets before pumping them full of air or vinegar and baking soda, and launching them for time and distance. A class may hike the La Junta hill collecting leaves, branches, moss and such, and then camouflaging a potato to be hidden from the program directors, are all La Junta style crafts projects!
While in Indian Lore, campers focus on learning and playing games as they would’ve been played by our Native Americans. In addition to pure energy, fun and excitement, campers have the opportunity to learn a new perspective on life and living within the environment and without electronics and other high tech equipment.
At Camp La Junta, the enjoyment and education of our traditional camp activities is supplemented and boosted by our non-traditional adventure activities. In this activity class, campers look forward to the security of a helmet, harness and experienced instructor! Adventure Sports, like life, combines exciting, challenging and important team work skills, such as leading, listening and communicating with exciting adventures and challenges which test young men’s courage and ability to overcome fear.
Adventure Sports truly gives campers an opportunity to have fun, participate in unique, exciting events and to grow closer to their camping peers.
In Adventure Sports, campers get an opportunity to “ride” our unique 600 foot zip line, communicate through numerous, arduous team challenges, progress through our curriculum of trust building events, ascend our 40 foot climbing wall, tight rope walk across multiple high ropes course elements and leap into space from our 30 foot “pole”.
Most boys arrive with the desire to compete, but not all are gifted with the athletic ability for sports. Leisure Sports is La Junta’s introduction to lifetime, outdoor games. This class is designed for campers with a spirit of competition, strategy and games. Typical activities in Leisure Sports include Putt Putt Golf, Badminton, Croquet, Horseshoes, Washers, Four Square, Frisbee Golf, Lawn Bowling and Shuffleboard. Campers compete on teams throughout the term to see who can accumulate the most wins and game points.
Another popular sport at La Junta is tennis. Not only is it a great lifetime sport, but a great way to stay fit, gain strength and skill. Our instructors each summer include collegiate players and high school state contenders. Their goal is to pass along their love of the game, as well as important skills, rules and strategies on La Junta’s courts.
Throughout the term, campers focus on serving, return of serve, net play and conditioning. Each session there is a round robin tournament so that players learn the proper way to compete and score games. For the younger guys and rainy days, Ping Pong is a fun break from the sun. Our goal is not necessarily to produce the next Open Champ, but to produce boys who enjoy playing tennis!
Virtually every boy loves the challenge of dropping a line in the Guadalupe and waiting to see what may bite at the other end. La Junta’s fishing program is designed to capture this desire and give it the foundation of skill to make it enjoyable for life.
La Junta’s fishermen take part in a multiyear program which is set up to take them through most every facet of fishing as a sport, from casting and knot tying, to selecting bait and identifying fish, to catching and cleaning the big one. Equipment and classes vary with age. Little guys start with cane poles and corn while the older, more experienced campers work their way up to fly rods and tying their own lures.
Each spring, La Junta stocks its mile of riverfront with catfish and bass. With our series of dams, we are able to feed and cultivate a number of “secret fishin’ holes”. Combined with the native perch, there are ample fish for everyone. Each term begins with casting basics and ends with a feast of the sessions larger catfish.
Sailing is an exciting addition to our waterfront lineup. Using a fleet of sunfish sailboats campers can learn many exciting new skills. They can tack into the cooling hill country breezes as well as learning the basics of boat care and rigging. Each camper is responsible for the daily rigging and de-rigging of his boat, making sure that each boat in the fleet is maintained at is highest level of operational readiness.
A highlight of many a term is the session ending regatta on the big lake. Much like the America’s Cup, Sailors pit their expertise and experience against the rest of the sailors for ranch points.
In the tradition started with canoeing, kayaking is a new La Junta favorite. Faster and more maneuverable, kayaks are that much more fun. They just invite relays, races, and skills. The terms will end with a lake wide relay finishing down the La Junta crazy river chute!
We’ve created an activity for campers who just want to go down to the river and have a blast. In addition to our intensive skills activities on the waterfront, Water Games was added in 2002 to be a break from the hard work of earning points and picking up activity award patches.
In Water Games class, a relaxing activity period without new skills to be taught, campers enjoy the thrill of our massive rope swing, tubing the rapids, jumping off the “Bravery Tree”, an invigorating, natural diving platform in a 100 year old Cypress Tree and racing down the hill country’s fastest, most exciting water slide.