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Tom Bergstad, 15, Ranchester, WY, Bauen '05

The Bauen Camp is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational corporation founded in 2000 on the belief that art and personal creativity are keys to building aware, socially responsible young people who can be constructive leaders in their communities.

Bauen seeks to provide a beautiful and safe place for young people from around the world to grow their art and life skills for the purpose of building stronger communities and a better world. We have served 197 13-18 year old youth from 107 towns and cities since 2000, while building a network of more than 80 alliances in the US and in 7 foreign countries, including the Crow Nation in MT, the Zuni Nation in NM, Japan, Australia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the Netherlands, Mexico and India. These alliances help us build the wonderful diversity of our camp community by selecting and supporting outstanding youth from their communities. In our outreach project areas of New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver and Wyoming, representatives of these alliances also provide mentoring to Bauen students during the school year. 

The Bauen Camp began as one person's vision to bring young people together to show them they can use the arts to have a voice and make a difference in the world, to connect them to nature and to each other. Located  in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains 15 miles from Parkman, WY, the Bauen Camp was founded in 1999 by Jessica Holt and incorporated in 2000 as a 501 (c)(3).  The campsite is surrounded by working cattle ranches, the Kerns Wildlife Habitat, and the Big Horn National Forest. It is comprised of 70 acres of rolling hayfields, intermittent creek, a pond, aspen and cottonwood trees, a large pole barn and decks and tents for camp programs and dining, log and screened sleeping cabins with built-in bunk beds, a bath house with hot water, a new commercial camp kitchen, a log home for social events, and four resident dogs.  The camp is run by an Executive Director and Administrative Assistant and supported by a 15-member Board of Directors, volunteers, and a summer staff of professional artists, outreach facilitators and education interns. 

Each camp session is staffed by professional artists and arts educators in a variety of disciplines.  Each session has a special focus; however, all sessions provide educational experiences in community-building, leadership training, natural and environmental   education, career development and skill building in creative writing, visual art, and performance. Over the camp session, youth will be immersed in practical problem solving, critical thinking, appreciation of diversity, and celebrating the power of shared vision.  Each session concludes with a major public youth-led project, in which campers plan, create and produce a project based on the interests and talents of the campers, articulating and celebrating the group's creative vision.  Groups are small and intimate; up to 32 young people take part in each session.

We believe future leaders must have the skills and opportunities for reflective critical thinking in order to address the complex issues which face us.  Bauen sets the stage for this kind of thinking, making it possible for students to address issues important to them and to express those issues through their projects.  Bauen campers learn that if they can imagine 'other ways of seeing' then through their actions they can make a positive difference.  This makes kids feel powerful and they have fun doing it.

The unique environment of the Bauen Camp - its natural beauty, small size, adherence to play and service as integral parts of learning, its carefully selected professional staff and small camper to staff ratio, its diverse camper population, faith in the spirit of young people, and belief in providing campers with 'other ways of seeing' provides a perfect setting for the learning we know is possible.  Bauen is a big space, with big skies, big dogs and big ideas.  Come join with us in the fun!

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