Posts Tagged With: backpacking

TREK by Kathie Cozart and a few other awesome TREKkers…

I can say that the Trek program at Coppercreek has been a life changer for me, again and again, over the past 8 years. I first did Trek as a 15 year old high school student. I returned to the program in the summer of 2012 and the summer of 2015 will be my fourth year directing the program. It’s hard to put into words exactly what this program is and why it is so great for adolescents, so I will start with some basics.

trek5The Trek program lasts two weeks, and we get started right when our Trekkers arrive. The first night the entire group spends time going over the itinerary for the next two weeks, some outdoor survival and comfort basics, and generally getting to know one another and our diverse backgrounds. The following day is committed entirely to prepping for our first adventure to the Lava Beds for caving. We play team building games, learn about backcountry cooking and create meal plans, and gather and pack equipment. We spend the next couple of days caving, swimming and rope jumping at a hidden water hole, and checking out waterfalls. Trekkers return to camp for the dance on Friday night and quickly turnaround and leave the next morning. We spend four days backpacking, hiking, and swimming in alpine lakes and creeks. Once out of the backcountry, we embark on a quick two days of whitewater rafting to relax and wrap up our adventuring.

trek1The Catacombs cave, an infamously long cave that Trekkers spend anywhere from 4 to 6 hours in, is an experience that solidifies the group and creates a family. Being in spaces that small, dark, and cold for that amount of time brings a new realness to any group or individual.

raftingWhen we backpack, the whole team must depend on one another to carry supplies for the group. Without even one person being a good team player, the group falls apart and efficiency drops. Trekkers learn what it means to truly be needed as part of a team.

trek3Although I try and make Trek sound like all fun and butterflies, there are daily (sometimes hourly) challenges that these teens face. When they keep running into dead ends in the caves, or the food won’t all fit into the bear bag, or even when a teammate is struggling physically or mentally, Trekkers have work to together to solve problems and be successful. Although counselors are always there to help and supervise, we try and leave as much responsibility as safely possible on our Trekkers.

Trekkers leave the program with a new family of friends, a newfound confidence in themselves and an ability to be sufficient in both a group and individually. Trekkers learn that they can survive without their videogames, iPhones, and even daily (or weekly!) showering. Evenings are spent playing games with the entire group, telling jokes, and learning outdoor skills, not in front of the TV or on Facebook messenger.trek4

Written by Kathie Cozart, TREK co-leader for Coppercreek Camp

A few other words from TREKkers:

Taylor Krug: Trek was an amazing experience for me. It was so much fun, even if it was challenging at times. It let me explore my love for the outdoors, while making lasting friendships and living those one of a kind stories I’ll probably still tell when I’m eighty. Those eleven or so other people that you acquaint yourself with on the first day immediately become your family. Even if you already knew them, a new kind of closeness develops as you have only them to lean on throughout all of the trekking adventures. Friendships form between people, who, if they all came from the same place, probably would have hardly even crossed paths. Trek shows you how to act in frustrating situations, and how all of your trek-mates do, too. One of the most epochal moments for me in Trek was overcoming my claustrophobia. I came into Trek knowingly afraid of going caving underground, and when we entered the cave, I definitely remember wanting to do nothing but turn and leave for the first half hour. But, everyone is there alongside you and they will help you through it, and by the end of the caves I would have gladly done it again. I will never forget the people and adventures of Trek.

Emma Goodman: Trek has completely changed the way I have seen myself. It has made me into a stronger more independent person. You truly find your true self and the others around you because this program is all about working with people and seeing your true personality not judging by looks.

Casey Astiz: Trek was an amazing experience, one that is very hard to describe. To someone that hasn’t gone on Coppercreek’s Trek program, it seems like your typical outdoor backpacking trip when in reality it’s so much more. Although we had counselors, in a sense we had to learn to fend for ourselves; we had to learn to plan out weekly meals and supplies and also lead each other through new places. For me, it was one of the most empowering experiences I have ever had. Plus, not many people can say they’ve been in a cave for over five hours. Trek is hard, but all the work you put into it you get tenfold out of the experience.

Matt Stenovec: I loved leading trips and I loved being a trekker. I went in two month long treks and a two week bike trek as a camper. Then I lead trek for three or four years, can’t remember.

However, the point of this background is that trek played a huge part in my growing up and introduced me to mentors I still talk to today. Leading trek inspired me to go into education, and I’ve been teaching for the last five years and hopefully building the same growth relationships with my students.

Trek is great because it empowers the participants to take an active role in leadership and decision making, and also pushes kids out of their comfort zone and into a safe place for mistakes and identity building.trekTo sign up for TREK for the summer of 2015, visit

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Throwback Thursday! …2007? TREK


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Throwback Thursday to Trek in 2012!

TREK 023

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“The Best Gift My Parents Ever Gave Me Was Camp!” An Interview With Emma.



Hillsborough, CA (Bay Area)


How many years have you been at CCC?

Coming for my eighth year.

What are your favorites activities?

Some of my favorite activities are horses, Name Ball and Deck Fun.


Describe a counselor/s that impacted you in a positive way.

The counselor that has impacted me the most was my TREK counselors, Kathie and Jon. Both of them were fun, caring and I could go to them for anything. They made TREK the best experience of my life.


What is your favorite memory of camp? 

My favorite memory of camp is the last nights of camp, everyone sleeps on the floor together and reflects on the time we have had together. This is also a sad time but you realize that you have made life long friends.


What is your favorite campfire song?

My favorite camp fire song is “Lean on Me” because the song brings the whole camp together.


What advice can you give to a camper coming for their first time?

Be yourself, no one else is you and everyone will love you for who you are.


Anything else? 

The best gift my parents ever gave me was camp!

Categories: Activities, Camp Songs, Friendship, Horses of course, Trek, Welcome to camp, What I like about camp | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Throwback Thursday- Four Week TREK 2007


Categories: Activities, Alumni, Team Work, Throwback Thursday, Trek, Uncategorized, What I like about camp | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Coppercreek Chronicle- July 1992, part 1



Categories: Activities, Alumni, The good ole days, Uncategorized, Welcome to camp, What I like about camp | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get ready for the Mettler blitz! Meet Devin!



I thought I had a great life; fancy college degree, cool job, lots of snowboarding, backpacking, rafting, mountain biking, BBQing, loads of cool friends, a house with a fire place and stairs, a ‘station-jeep-wagon’, long term love affairs… everything anybody ever wanted. Then I was introduced to Copper Creek Camp and what turned out to be my empty shell of a life changed forever.

Devin and Trek- back in the day.

Devin and Trek- back in the day.

My camp experience began in the summer of 2000. That first summer I learned more about myself than I had in the 20 years prior. Encouraged to tap deep into my quintessential self I was afforded opportunities to climb trees, capsize canoes and sleep on the ground, force-feeding the expansion of my talents and comfort zones in more ways than I can list. I was even allowed to help mold and shape young minds, develop future leaders, and share my love for the outdoors.



I must’ve done a good enough job because they kept giving me more and more to do, and kept letting me come back for the next several years until something unforeseen happened that would again change my life forever. One day in late spring, while I was innocently returning from the pool to help feed horses in the afternoon (I really liked driving the little tractor and, I suppose I like being helpful in general) I was introduced to a gorgeous, porcelain skinned, blue-eyed riding instructor with an outrageous foreign accent. We were married 5 years later. That’s right, I met my wife at Copper Creek Camp and I have Lauren, Becky and Craig to thank for bringing her into my life. You’ll have to ask her yourself what brought her to camp to begin with (everyone has their reasons), but I affectionately refer to it as ‘Operation Green Card’.

Devin and Sinead

Devin and Sinead

This year I am returning to the scene of the crime with brood in tow. I am so excited to be able to spend another summer with my Copper Creek Family, and am ecstatic to be able to share my favorite people with the campers and staff that have been so influential in my life.

The Mettler boys

The Mettler boys

So, that’s about enough of the ‘Meadow Meeting’…

This summer I hope to be found in some of the more interesting areas of camp, for instance, I am hoping that Craig will let me drive the backhoe, move some serious dirt around, and practice my “Redneck” skills.

Looking forward to meeting everyone shortly,


Categories: Alumni, The good ole days, The Staff House, Trek, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet Kathie!

Marissa and Kathie-  Dress Up Your Counselor

Marissa and Kathie- Dress Up Your Counselor

Kathie as a camper at camp.

Kathie as a camper at camp.

Hello fellow, past, or future Coppercreekers! My name is Kathie and this will be my second year on staff, but my TENTH summer at Coppercreek Camp! I have bopped around the west coast all of my 21 years of life, but have been residing in Arizona’s beautiful Valley of the Sun for the past 8 years.

Mesa Fire Volunteers

Mesa Fire Volunteers

I recently finished up my undergraduate degree in Family and Human Development at Arizona State University and have moved on to working on my Master’s in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Adventure-Based Psychotherapy at Prescott College. I am a full time student currently, but I do volunteer for my local fire department every week assisting with social services.

Trek in the Trinity Alps

Trek in the Trinity Alps

At Coppercreek, I have the privilege of leading the TREK program! I did TREK when I was 15 years old and that experience has completely shaped my life and career goals. I continued going on outdoor adventure trips after my camper time at Coppercreek, gaining experience and getting my Wilderness EMT. I had always dreamed of coming back to Coppercreek and leading TREK, and last summer I was so grateful to be given that opportunity.

CPR and First Aid Training during Staff Week

CPR and First Aid Training during Staff Week

When not leading TREK, I absolutely enjoy doing anything and everything that is high adventure in camp. You may find me on the Mountain Bike Outpost, kayaking at the pool, or belaying the high ropes course.

Cooling off before kayaking with Ahmad

Cooling off before kayaking with Ahmad

Coppercreek has always been a very special place for me. During my childhood, I did a lot of growing up at Coppercreek and have made friends there whom will undoubtedly be lifelong.

Kathie and her cabin group for 4th of July

Kathie and her cabin group for 4th of July



Categories: Alumni, The Staff House, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TREK- by Kate Isenberg: singer/songwriter, artist, animation graduate student, cool person.

Trek 1989

Trek 1989

Their faces peer out at me from my scrapbook. Lugging huge backpacks up a steep trail, performing feats even an ant would envy. Perched on the top of an outcropping of rock against the sunset.

Trek (1991) in the Trinity Alps

Trek (1991) in the Trinity Alps

Ceremoniously dumping water on each others’ heads. These are the faces of a group of people who have been a special part of my summers. We like to call ourselves Trekkies, but lately we have been confused with the Star Trek: Next Generations fans. That’s all right; we could just as easily be called something else: Galactic Grapes. Zoo Animals. We come from very different backgrounds, but all share the responsibility of watching out for each other and for ourselves. The program is called TREK: High Adventure Leadership Camp, an outgrowth of my beloved Coppercreek Camp, my summer haven. Four weeks of rockclimbing, caving, backpacking, and whitewater rafting.

Trek finishing up the rafting trip on the Trinity River.

Trek finishing up the rafting trip on the Trinity River.

It is an intensive lesson in tolerance and a development of physical and mental strength. Four weeks of living together, eating together, making no-bake cheesecake together. The demands are great, but the rewards are worth it. And the people are some of the most hilarious ones I have ever met. There’s Brian, who wears a plastic Gumby-doll, nicknamed Guacaman, around his neck and likes to stick his toes in my ear. Barbara, with whom I stayed up late into the wee hours waiting for the Cockroach People to come and get us. D.J., whom we almost killed for telling us that awful joke about the pink ping-pong balls.

I think about them often, now that I am too old to do the TREK program. Oh, the times we had! We waded through the snowfields to the peak of Sawtooth Ridge in the Trinity Alps and look down at the shimmering blue lakes encased in their rocky basins and the green meadows stretching away to join the trees. We inched through tiny lava tubes under the ground and prayed we were not lost.

Trek entering Labyrinth Cave in Lava Beds National Monument.

Trek entering Labyrinth Cave in Lava Beds National Monument.

We dared to challenge Hell’s Hole on the Trinity River and came out alive, even if we came out backwards. We graced the Weaverville supermarket with our Presence, wearing pillows on our heads to entertain the locals. We suddenly became possessed with an Inspiration to spit watermelon seeds at each other. Oh, the times we had!

Trek after a water fight at Captain Jack's Stonghold in Lava Beds National Monument.

Trek after a water fight at Captain Jack’s Stonghold in Lava Beds National Monument.

Among faces in my scrapbook, I can see myself–younger, but obviously me, with the same grin, same freckles, same old hiking boots. Here I am indulging my passion for fruit punch Crystal Light, reading The Little Prince on the trail, learning to see the humor in everyday occurrences while discovering the serious side in me.

Katie in the Trinity Alps.

Katie in the Trinity Alps.

What is the profound amidst the not-so profound? Taking the cooking gear well away from the lake to wash? Picking up that piece of litter? Not teasing Tim about his hair, which is always sticking up? Always remembering that you can make it up to the top of that rock, even if your arms are shaking like a sewing machine. These lessons of respect for the natural environment, tolerance for other people’s space and feelings, and a strong belief in the power of ME are the legacies of TREK. More than that, I find rare moments of complete peace with myself and my future while surrounded by the people, the beauty, the golden freedom of summer.

-Katie Isenberg

Trek 1989, 1990, 1991

Kate is also an accomplished musician. Please go to her Facebook page and enjoy her beautiful music:

Categories: Alumni, The good ole days, Trek, What I like about camp | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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