Day Camp Theme Guide

Story Camps

Get inspired! Use your imagination to transform your identity and practice skills in fictional context that mirror the real world!

Discover stillness, awareness, and stealth.

Summer 2022 will include:

  • Earth Ninja: Deep Camp
  • Earth Ninja: Stealth Games
  • Earth Ninja: Intuition and Awareness
  • Advanced Earth Ninja (invitation only)

Moving silently, invisible to all creation, the Earth Ninja glides along the ridge top. She is searching for a good winter camp for her people. She must travel lightly and quickly through foreign territory and remain unseen. Returning to the village she reports to the people what dangers and opportunities lie ahead.

Being a ninja in the wilderness means living closely with the plants and animals that surround us. By understanding movement and camouflage we learn to travel unseen and unheard in any environment. Beware, there are rumors of another clan traveling in the forest. You will learn to read tracks and understand the language of birds to foretell of any approaching danger. Become the silent ninja who is the protector and provider for the village.

 

A breadth of skills and a breath of magic!

Summer 2022 will include:

  • Wizards Academy: Elemental Magic
  • Wizards Academy: Plant Spells & Potions

Discover the magic of nature as a student at Whole Earth Academy where you are inspired to learn real-world skills through fantasty play!

In Wizards Academy, we rotate between classes in crafting healing potions, conjuration of fire or water, invisibility, magical beasts, and more! Field guides are our textbooks and nature is our classroom. Pay attention in class so you can pass your CROW exam!

This camp is great for students who:

  • Love books about wizards, or writing and drawing their own stories
  • Like to use their imagination
  • Want to learn a variety of skills
  • Are interested in plants & animals
  • Like using Explorer’s Journals to write/draw
  • Want to learn useful tricks to impress friends

Meaningful work in a community that has a relationship with nature.

Summer 2022 will include:

  • Living with the Land: At Home in Nature (ages 4-6)
  • Living with the Land: Survival Island
  • Living with the Land: Hunting & Gathering
  • Living with the Land: Stewardship
  • Living with the Land: The Gratitude Feast

Settle into earth-time and a lifestyle of working with nature and each other to meet all of your needs.

In Living off the Land, we ground ourselves in nature wherever we are. Only when we know our environment intimately can it care for us and can we care for it. Food, shelter, and water are our priorities. Shedding modern conveniences can be a challenge, but as a community we will thrive! 

This camp is great for students who:

  • Watch survival shows or read survival stories
  • Like homesteading and “primitive skills” for sustenance
  • Want to learn how to use knives safely (if age 6+)
  • Care about nature
  • Want to learn how to work together to thrive

Slowing down to craft, wildcraft, and enjoy nature’s beauty.

Summer 2022 will include:

  • Elven Caravan: Archery (ages 6-12)
  • Elven Caravan: Elven Engineers (ages 4-9)
  • Elven Caravan: Fairy Foragers (ages 4-9)

Explore your creative side with clever elven travelers who craft from wild plants!

In Elven Caravan, not all those who wander are lost. Travel the land in search of the special plants that provide healing, food, or craft materials. Celebrate the gifts of nature by giving back and giving to others.

This camp is great for students who:

  • Love to study the lore of fantasy peoples and creatures
  • Like to make, collect, and trade things
  • Want to practice archery and other challenging skills but also relax in nature 
  • Are interested in whittling and quickie-bow making (ages 6+)
  • Want to learn how to help others with plant medicine

Epic hikes and lots of exploring!

Summer 2022 will include:

  • Adventures in Akasha: Journey to the Summit (Mount Pisgah Arboretum)
  • Adventures in Akasha: Treasure Maps (Clearwater Park)

Go on a quest across the land and use your wilderness skills to find that which was lost and save the day!

In Adventures in Akasha, we use the tools of navigation, mapping, and tracking to guide us on a heroic quest. We’ll also practice the foundations of wilderness self-reliance as we venture into unknown lands! Whether tracking a mythical beast or a mysterious treasure, we’ll work together.

This camp is great for students who:

  • Are inspired by adventures like in Dungeons & Dragons or video games
  • Want the skills to save the day
  • Like to explore new places
  • Want to walk and run and move!
  • Invent and/or roleplay as different characters

Challenging skills become second nature when we reimagine ourselves as the animals with natural prowess!

Summer 2022 will include:

  • Wildlife Within: An Animal A Day
  • Wildlife Within: Raised by Wolves

Reimagine your capabilities and feel alive in your body like our animal neighbors by pretending to BE them! 

In Wildlife Within, we learn about a different local animal each day and spend the day embodying that species. We use our noses for tracking like a wolf, we move through trails with quiet feet like a fox, and we learn to combine intuition and bird language to sense danger like a squirrel! 

This camp is great for students who:

  • Love animals
  • Pretend to be animals
  • Want to know more about animals’ lives than even some nature educators!
  • Want to see more animals and kinds of animals
  • Like using their bodies in all kinds of ways
  • Invent and/or roleplay as different characters

Skill Camps

Already inspired? Pursue a passion to a deeper level, with greater challenge and greater reward, and come away with confidence in your skills.

All about fishing form start to finish. Bait a hook, find a hole, cast your rod, reel in your catch.

Summer 2022 will include:

  • Fish Finders: Gifts of the River (7-10)
  • Fish Finders: Catch, Clean, Cook (10+)

Get to know real animals of our local parks as if you are their favorite neighbor. If you love field guides, this is the camp for you!

Summer 2022 will include:

  • Wildlife Encounters: Secret Life of Birds 
  • Wildlife Encounters: Tracking

Get comfortable with sharp tools so that you can be safe and make amazing products with your hands and some wood.

Summer 2022 will include:

  • Cutting Edge: Knife-making
  • Cutting Edge: Knife-making and Knapping (ages 14+)
  • Cutting Edge: Tool Skills (ages 6+)
  • Cutting Edge: Whittling

Become skilled at the crafts that can sustain a community. Make what you need and add your creative flair! 

Summer 2022 will include:

  • VillageCraft: Leatherwork
  • VillageCraft: Bow Basics
  • VillageCraft: Advanced Bowmaking 
  • VillageCraft: Wild Pigments

Social Camps

Build community in a camp that focuses on your personal growth, connection with peers, and kinship with nature.

On the other side of the Portal to Artemis is a land imbued with magic and permeated by the relics of the Lost Ones, and ancient civilization that fell after a surge in technology led to social and ecological collapse. Each girl who has passed through the portal has re-emerged in our world transformed and empowered, ready to take on life with confidence, resilience, grounding, and a strong bond with other girls. 

Now, the fantasy that permeates our life-changing overnight Camp Artemis is available to girls at day camp!

You’ll begin your adventure by creating a fantasy character to help you re-imagine who you can be and who you want to be. You’ll have an important role in your group, such as the Guardian who watches for hazards and keeps the group united, or the Ranger who keeps an eye out for critters to observe and plants to harvest. Then, you’ll go on epic quests with your adventuring party that take teamwork, imagination, and real wilderness skills. We’ll do a mix of live-action role-playing, and collaborative storytelling during meals. By the end of the week, you’ll have amazing real-life wilderness skills and cool gear to take on your future adventures!

Featuring:

– Roleplaying quests in stealth, diplomacy, and exploration
– Crafting from natural materials
– Becoming one with mud and leaves
– Songs based on the four elements

(This camp makes a great stand-alone adventure for girls during their transition to womanhood as well as an awesome introduction to Camp Artemis for girls who might join us at the overnight in the future!)

* Whole Earth Nature School is committed to providing gender-specific camps to help students learn about their gender in a mentored space, and our gender camps serve students based on their gender regardless of their assigned sex at birth, and those who are exploring their gender identity or expression. We encourage families to choose the camp appropriate to their child based on the child’s gender identity or gender expression. This position maintains our commitment to gender equality and justice and responds to modern advances in our understanding of gender identity and expression by welcoming cisgender, transgender, and non-binary kids into an environment welcoming to all.

Whole Earth Nature School staff respect a young person’s wishes to be called by a certain name and/or gender pronoun. That is why we invite all students to share their own name and preferred pronoun on the first day of the program. We recognize that youth who identify as LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) or who are exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity need to know that Whole Earth Nature School is a safe space where they can be themselves and not worry about experiencing hurtful treatment from others.

A camp for gender diverse campers where everyone is welcome to join.

Rainbow Society is the least exclusive club anywhere. Rainbow Society is designed for gender diverse campers, but anyone is welcome to join. It’s a place where diversity is celebrated and all can feel safe. In fact, diversity is what makes us resilient. It’s also what makes nature resilient. Diverse ecosystems support thriving communities of living things. In the Rainbow Society we will explore the diversity of nature and our place in it.

Along the way, you will explore and experience some awesome wilderness skills. Study the art of camouflage to blend into your surroundings. Practice the art and craft of archery. Connect with and learn about the community of plants and the ways in which they provide food, medicine, fiber and more.

* Whole Earth Nature School is committed to providing gender-specific camps to help students learn about their gender in a mentored space, and our gender camps serve students based on their gender regardless of their assigned sex at birth, and those who are exploring their gender identity or expression. We encourage families to choose the camp appropriate to their child based on the child’s gender identity or gender expression. This position maintains our commitment to gender equality and justice and responds to modern advances in our understanding of gender identity and expression by welcoming cisgender, transgender, and non-binary kids into an environment welcoming to all.

Whole Earth Nature School staff respect a young person’s wishes to be called by a certain name and/or gender pronoun. That is why we invite all students to share their own name and preferred pronoun on the first day of the program. We recognize that youth who identify as LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) or who are exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity need to know that Whole Earth Nature School is a safe space where they can be themselves and not worry about experiencing hurtful treatment from others.

Take your nature camp experience to the next level.

So, you’ve been doing the nature camp thing for a while now and you think you’re ready to take it to the next level? Join our Young Mentors: Coyote Leadership Training program and put your skills to use. During this camp you will take the time to really work on core outdoor skills from all four Learning Pathways such as plant ID, fire making, tracking and awareness. You will be challenged to work together with your peers to solve problems and collaborate on projects. Plus, we will be teaching you the inside secrets of our camp instructors on how to train others to be awesome in nature.

Young Mentors: Coyote Leadership Training is an in-depth opportunity for teens to receive training on all the skills and knowledge involved in running camp. We view this training as essential to our CIT’s success in helping our staff to lead camps the rest of the summer. Students will:

  • Practice group management skills
  • Learn to facilitate teamwork
  • Learn to moderate student conflicts through effective communication
  • Develop Coyote Mentoring skills and the art of questioning
  • Practice outdoor skills and games that can be taught to campers
  • This camp is a prerequisite to participate in the CIT (Coyote In Training) program during the rest of the summer.

A camp where each child gets to contribute to the community through fun quests for their unique role!

Your child will build a relationship with the natural world and with others through mentored open-ended play opportunities in nature, with each child learning to take on a helpful role in our village, whether they are 4 or 14! Students are guided in their growth by the Wildkin learning system and caring and knowledgeable instructors. This program is intentionally crafted to foster community by including a wide age range of students.

All of our programs follow natural learning processes, and Wildkin Village takes that to the next level by focusing on how students learn rather than what they learn. This camp has a lot in common with a Reggio Emilia educational approach in that the instructor sets up a learning environment and community and the students drive the learning.

The outdoors is the ideal place for this experiential learning because it is ripe with opportunities for exploration, discovery, and play. Students can move, build, express themselves, and observe using their five senses.

Instructors support students by sharing interesting books, stories, and activities as well as helping students have the resources to pursue their interests. Each student will choose a Wildkin community role that provides them with quests/missions for growing in how they work others. Instructors also help students set personal goals and find the resources and discipline to meet those goals. Since the instructor is working with each student individually on their goals, the breadth of ages is not a hinderance and instead a gift for the social-emotional growth of all participants.

Through hands-on real-world challenges, collaboration with a learning community beyond their own age, and integration of diverse learning styles, Wildkin Village respects each child’s curiosity and passion. In turn, the child grows and matures in their relationship to their self, their community, and the earth.

A camp designed exclusively by Whole Earth’s most notorious instructor, Terance.

If you want to learn the art of the Terance directly from the man himself then this is the camp for you. Learn a wide variety of new skills as you begin to understand the Way of the Terance.

Featuring:
– Carving projects
– Big group project
– Challenges that make you a better person
– Bonding with an amazing team of peers

Preschool Camps

5-day camps for ages 4-6, each week of the summer from 9 am – 1 pm, with aftercare available until 5:30pm. Available at Mount Pisgah Arboretum, Hendricks Park, and Clearwater Park. $249, or $224 with our Early Bird discount until February 28th.

Day Camps

5-day camps for ages 6-17 that run each week of the summer from 9 am – 3 pm, with aftercare available until 5:30pm. Available at Mount Pisgah Arboretum, Hendricks Park, and Clearwater Park. $379, or $341 with our Early Bird discount until February 28th.

Leadership Training & Experience

We run a 1-week camp called “Young Mentors” that is a prerequisite for students to become “Coyotes-in-Training” and be part of future camps in a leadership role.  We also take applications for “Junior Coyotes,” teens who take on a leadership role at our overnight camps.

Scholarships

Nature connection is for everyone. That’s why we are committed to making nature camps accessible for as many families as possible. We are proud to offer need-based scholarships for families who would like to attend our programs. Discounts are available for up to half off the program cost.

Why CHoose US?

Experienced Professionals

Some of our instructors have been teaching with us for over a decade; others have immense experience in other teaching environments. All have a passion for mentoring students outdoors, and weeks of training annually.

Hands-on Attention

Our groups have an average ratio of 6 students per an instructor. Instead of a discipline policy, we study how to engage students meaningfully,  support students with trauma, and appreciate students for who they are.

All of our nature camps are based on our teaching philosophy which includes:

  • Practicing gratitude
  • Tuning our senses to our surroundings in the present moment
  • Play as paramount to effective learning
  • Respect and stillness in nature
  • Community-building and helping each student shine with their gifts
  • Skills from our four Learning Pathways

We also have a Flow of the Day in all of our camp themes which is designed to accommodate students of diverse interests, intelligences, and energy levels. 

Our Story camps & Social camps also include the Wildkin™ Learning Framework woven throughout.

Each student is provided a Wildkin role based on their unique gifts and interests. They receive a role card that gives them quests and secret missions they can complete throughout the camp. When they complete quests, they receive rewards that give them more ways to contribute. For example:

  • After the Explorer completes a quest to identify a hazard and how to be safe around it, they earn the Superpower to be at the head and tail of the line with an instructor.
  • After the Tracker sketches some specific nature observations, they gain the Gear Reward of field guides that they can use for the week.

Wildkin roles ensure that every student is engaged in co-creating their camp experience. That’s part of the reason why no two experiences at our camp are ever the same, even if they are the same theme!