Kids Summer Camps
Due to the challenges we have faced during the pandemic, we do not have the resources to run our camps in 2022, but will return in full in 2023. Thank you for your support during this challenging time. We look forward to bringing back our awesome camp programs.
Why send your child to an “ancestral skills” themed summer camp?
It’s like Nature Camp + Art Camp + Archaeology Camp, all in one… It’s awesome!
We believe that environmental education is important for creating a sustainable future. Humans are tool-making animals. We craft the things we need from the natural world. This is how we have participated in nature for 2.5 million years since the beginning of stone tool technology. For the majority of human history, we have created the things we need for our survival from our neighbors: the sand and mud from the beaches, the stones of the mountains, the sticks from the trees, the bones and skins of animals. Using regenerative methods of harvesting, we lived sustainably for a very long time. If we want to teach sustainability we need to participate in nature again, so that we no longer see the separation between “nature” and “humans.” At our camps children re-integrate the human component of participating in nature by making the things we need to live and survive from the elements of the natural world.
At our camps we integrate three focus areas of nature-based education:
Through observation we teach children about the ecology of a place: how to identify wildlife, which direction the sun rises, where and why certain plants like to grow where they do, etc.
Through participation, we connect the children in a fundamentally human way through creating things with our hands out of the natural elements that surround us; cord from plant fiber, knives from stone, containers from animal skin, etc.
Through stewardship, we learn how to go about participating in a way that is regenerative to the things that we take out of the ecosystem for human use; selective harvesting, removal of invasive species, planting seeds, etc.
Our curriculum for these three focus points of nature education comes in the form of:
Nature Based Themes
Our camps have nature-based themes: sand & mud, sticks & stones, skin & bones, flint & steel. These themes in and of themselves help to guide the atmosphere of the camp. The theme creates the context of experience. We want the children to experience these elements with human culture in mind, learning about history, prehistory, and archaeology all at the same time. The themes are our way of doing this.
Self-directed play means that children create the kinds of play and the story lines for themselves. In other words, aside from the nature-based themes being a catalyst to direct their play and imagination, we do not make them stick to a certain story or tell them how to play. We let the students do the creating.
Age and Ability-Specific Activities
With some of the activities that go along with the themes, we make sure they are age-specific to child development. We recognize that there is a wide range of this, so our age guidelines are not strict, but fall in the general category for child development.
Reflection and Story
Through reflection and questioning we draw out the experiences that our students have throughout the week. This helps to solidify the experience and lessons they have learned by interacting with nature in this way. Full integration through reflection is paramount to making sure their experiences “stick” in their hearts and minds. We really want our students to feel the impact of the week, and having them share their thoughts and stories really help with this.
Due to the pandemic, safety protocols are in place. We are following the regulations put forth by the State of Oregon, listed on their website here: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19#statewideGuidance. Here is a list of the most pertinent policy for Nature Immersion (which is based on the Summer Camp protocols for Phase 1 in Multnomah County). The protocols are subject to change with state regulations. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated.
- Face masks will be optional, not mandatory. Mask mandates were lifted on June 30th. We encourage children to keep physical distance of 3-6 feet.
- The entire program takes place outdoors–aside from when children use the bathroom by themselves, which is the only indoor facility.
- Families are required to notify Rewild staff if anyone in the household is experiencing symptoms of illness, and children must stay at home until the symptoms are no longer present. We trust that families are monitoring themselves and will alert us of symptoms (We will not be taking temperatures for example).
- Our attendance records will serve as a form of contact tracing should a student or family members become ill. This is in compliance with state regulations.
- In the event of a “stay at home order” we will follow the guidelines put forth by the State and continue to offer camp (if allowed) by breaking up the size of our larger group into smaller groups that stay physically distanced from one another, and have one lead staff–generally groups of under 8 people (6-7 students and 1 teacher). If the stay at home order has no gathering allowed at all, we will temporarily suspend Nature Immersion until the stay at home order is lifted.
- Our camps are capped at 20 students, 3 teachers, and an assistant. We will never exceed more than 24 humans.
If you have further questions, please let us know. Understand that no matter the safety procedures that we have in place, there is always a risk. This goes for all of our activities playing outdoors, not just with Covid. We are confident that by following the state regulations we will minimize that risk as much as possible within the current understanding of the virus.
If you think this sounds like it’s a match for your family, check out our themes below and pick the one that suits you best. Don’t hesitate to call and ask us questions! Please share this with any other friends or families who you think would love to have their children participate in our programs. Note: Siblings close in age may attend the same camp together even if they are not in the age groups, however please contact us first to discuss. [CONTACT] Learn more about our educational philosophy [here].
2023 Camp Themes
Sand and Mud (Ages 5-6*) || TBA 2023
Monday through Friday, 9am to 3pm. At the Sand and Mud camp, young children get to explore natures softer side and begin to feel comfortable in the outdoors. We get dirty, build sand castles, and feel the water of a river on our toes. This is the first step in being comfortable outdoors: getting dirty. Beyond simply getting dirty, we make a game of it! Location: Kelley Point Park, N Portland OR. Cost: $325 for the week.
Sticks and Stones (Ages 7-9*) || TBA 2023
Monday through Friday, 9am to 3pm. At the sticks and stones camp, children will make digging sticks, discoidal flake stone “knives”, throw rabbit sticks in a rabbit stick range, build a stick shelter similar to a wikiup, and other random play with stick and stones. Location: Kelley Point Park, N Portland OR. Cost: $325 for the week.
Skin and Bones (Ages 8-10*) || Returning in 2023
Monday through Friday, 9am to 3pm. At the Skin and Bones camp, children will make bone awls and needles and then stitch together a leather possibilities pouch. Throughout the week we will play with bones and skulls. We may make bone jewelry, stew delicious bone broth, play music with a deerskin drum, make glue from a rawhide, spin rope from a tanned skin, or many of the amazing things you can do with skin and bones. Location: Kelley Point Park, N Portland OR. Cost: $325 for the week.
Warp & Weft (Ages 9-11*) || Returning in 2023
Monday through Friday, 9am to 3pm. At our Warp and Weft camp, children will learn the various ways that humans have woven together baskets and other kinds of weaving for gathering berries, building forts, and trapping fish. We will craft basket from the materials available to us in the forest: invasive species. We will learn knife safety and basic wood carving techniques. Location: Kelley Point Park, N Portland OR. Cost: $325 for the week.