KIDS DAY CAMP on Survival, Herbology, Animal Tracking and Pioneer Arts

Our day camp serving Pierce, Thurston and King County runs the week of August 2-6, Monday-Friday from 9:30-3:30 (with drop-off at the park between 9:15-9:30, pick-up at the park between 3:30-3:45, plus the option of riding in our vanpools for an additional $25 for the week (except Friday afternoon) plus a very important family session on Friday from 3:30-5:00. Our day camps are designed for ages 6-11, with 5 year olds accepted if good in classroom situations, and 12-13 year olds accepted if good with younger children. Tuition: The cost per week is $250 if you register by June 10th, 2010, or $275 thereafter if space remains available. $100 per participant deposit is required to hold your spot. Cumulative discounts of $25 are given per additional family member, $25 cumulative discounts for additional camp weeks, and $25 off for referring any new family who registers someone for camp, with the minimum price per week bottoming out at $200. There is also an additional $25 per week charge for utilizing our vanpool transportation.
Camp Themes Future Survivors Fun: Re-create a primitive way of life with us, honoring the gifts of wood, stone, fire and water. We'll follow the critical order of survival, practicing emergency response scenarios, building warm shelter, purifying drinking water, making safe fires with all natural materials, and collecting the top 5 most important plants for survival. Campers will also learn aidless navigation for lostproofing, witness primitive firemaking, craft tools of stone, weave grass mats, practice archery, make rabbit sticks and more. After this camp week, the children will feel like they achieved many successes within an atmosphere of challenge, wonder, and captivating fun. For more details on the skills introduced during this introduction to wilderness survival, read the description of our
Survivors Side of the Mountain Overnight Camp. Wild Chefs & Herbology Extravaganza: Explore the fields, forests, streams, ponds, bogs, seashores, and backyards of our beautiful region to discover wild foods and medicines growing all around. We wish parents could watch the unfolding of this camp week, because the journey for these little wild chefs and healers is amazing. From discovering a wild food or medicine, to investigating its properties, to fully utilizing its gifts, and finally being able to tell its true story - this involves more detective work than you might imagine. The kids will learn to start and use a fire safely, cook with ancient and modern tools, make natural rope, blend oils and creams, purify drinking water, and heal many common ailments with their new skills. For more details on the skills introduced during this introduction to wild edible and medicinal plants, read the description of our
Wild Cooking & Herbology Overnight Camp. Serious Wildlife Tracking & Birding Games: Tracking means knowing absolutely everything about the maker of tracks, discovering what it’s really like to be a bird or other animal, and being able to find a person who’s gotten lost. Campers learn the language of the birds, make plaster casts of favorite animals, carve tracking sticks, safely navigate through the woods, and investigate trails, lays, and and larders. This camp is full of exciting, interactive, challenging and cooperative games, such as working with your tribe to complete coyote’s challenge: decoding mysteries, following maps to hidden treasures, and navigating obstacle courses. Campers will work together to develop skills of leadership, cooperation, patience, orienteering, dexterity, and fun. For more details on skills introduced this week, read about our
Secrets of the Ancient Scout and
Wisdom of the Wilderness overnight camps. Peaceful Pioneers Arts, Crafts & Music: Re-create pioneer life through art, music and storytelling. Designed for both the artistically trained and the artistic novice, this camp is a celebration of gifts from nature, as we will utilize what we find to craft instruments, poetry and songs. Make a native style drum, then paint it with crushed rocks and hide glue. Make a primitive flute from knotweed and a whistle made of willow. Craft a beaded necklace and other jewelry using string that you "reverse wrap". Learn to parflech like the pioineers did - working with raw hide to make containers, rope and more. We'll also endeavor to memorize and perform one song each day. Campers will receive some musical training in music theory and improvisation, plus naturalist sketching that works wonders for the most gifted and artistically challenged children. For more details on skills introduced during this camp, read descriptions of our
Peaceful Nature Cooperative Arts & Music,
Stone Age Artisans, and
Old School Pioneers overnight camps.
Van Transportation serving Olympia, Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Issaquah and Hwy. 18 ($25 for the Week) driven by lead instructors averaging 35 years old, accompanied by assistant instructors averaging 21 years old, picking up and dropping off at these locations: (except Friday afternoon - please see below for Friday presentations) Route A - Hwys. 18 & 167 South King County: Issaquah / Cedar Grove departing at 8:30 and returning at 4:30 (Tiger Mountain Country Store at the corner of Issaquah-Hobart Rd SE and Cedar Grove Rd SE) Maple Valley / Covington departing at 8:45 and returning at 4:15 (Hwy 18 and Hwy 516 at Petco) Auburn departing at 9:00 and returning at 4:00 (Hwy 18 off Hwy 167 at the Auburn Sound Transit Center) Route B - Tacoma Narrows to Puyallup: Gig Harbor departing at 8:30 and returning at 4:30 (Hwy 16 - Exit 10 Olympic Drive NW in front of Pets & Pals in the Fred Meyer parking lot) University Place departing at 8:45 and returning at 4:15 (Hwy 16 Exit 3 at Tacoma Boys Grocery) Tacoma/Fife departing at 9:00 and returning at 4:00 (Interstate 5 Exit 187 at the Fife Swimming Pool) Route C - Olympia East on I-5: Olympia departing at 8:30 and returning at 4:30 (Interstate 5 - Exit 105 off E Bay Dr. NE at the Carriage Inn) Lacey/Nisqually departing at 8:40 and returning at 4:20 (Interstate 5 - Exit 111 to Hwy 510 at Forza Coffee) Fort Lewis departing at 8:55 and returning at 4:05 (Interstate 5 - Madigan Exit 122 at the 7 Eleven) Lakewood departing at 9:05 and returning at 3:55 (Interstate 5 - Exit 127 - Hwy 512 at the MacDonald's)

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  • Kim C.

    What an exceptional group of campers! It was great to see them making friends with each other and having fun during this great week. We had three groups: the survivalists, the trackers, and the herbalists. On Monday morning, everyone stayed together to hear the epic tale of Teegweetseed (a tale by Patrick using a name similar to a reverent way of saying "thank you" in the local Southern Lushutseed language of the Puyallup Indians).

    September 2, 2010

  • Kim C.

    Teegweetseed introduced the importance of learning to hear like a deer, walk like a fox, and see like an owl in order to find the cougar he was looking for – and what we've come to know as 'awareness skills' through all the games and projects we worked on. After lunch, we challenged the campers to dunk in mighty Clark's Creek, which they discovered is fed by countless artisan springs bubbling out of the ground, keeping the creek nice and cold.

    September 2, 2010

  • Kim C.

    On Monday afternoon, we went over to the Wolf House where the survivalists worked to make fire naturally, the trackers set out "track-traps" of sand where they hoped wild animals would visit, and the herbalists discovered how much food can be gathered from one yard, including pine needles for tea, blueberries and apples for fruit salad, plus herbs to nibble on for good health.

    September 2, 2010

  • Kim C.

    On Tuesday, we heard how Teegweetseed had to find Medicine Bear to learn about plants of the forest before he could track animals well. Then the survivalists and the herbalists joined forces to gather a selection of wild edibles out in the state-owned land behind Clark's Creek Park. Stinging Nettle was the primary faire, as it is one of the Top 5 most important plants to learn, giving us rich nutrients, medicines, and utilitarian gifts, including our strongest natural plant fiber in coastal NW.

    September 2, 2010

  • Kim C.

    The trackers had fun "scouting" the survivalists and herbalists, following them without being detected, and learning to "scissor walk" like long-legged animals in order to stay silent, as the terrain demanded this "animal form." Animal forms are also the best way to understand tracks, as it shows exactly how animals leave prints as a result, so we also practiced "pacing" like raccoons, "bounding" like weasels, and "galloping" like rodents.

    September 2, 2010

  • Kim C.

    In the afternoon Tuesday, we traveled a few blocks to Silver Creek, a greenway in the neighborhood which includes excellent tracks of raccoon, coyote and rodents in mud. The greenway includes a big cattail pond: cattails being another of our Top 5 most important plants. Unfortunately, we could only harvest a couple cattails, as cattails are used in bioswales to remove toxins from water, so we assumed that any in populated areas,

    September 2, 2010

  • Kim C.

    or downstream from domestic animals, would be too polluted to have more than one bite even after cooking off any potentially harmful bacteria in the water.

    We brought our cattails back to the Wolf House along with the Nettles and other wild edibles we collected, where everyone sampled the sauteed cattail shoots, cattail pollen flour, hairy-cats-ear flower (related to dandelion), and of course, nettles, which loose their sting once cooked or processed in other ways. Everyone loved the tastes!

    September 2, 2010

  • Kim C.

    The trackers also found cat, raccoon and rodent tracks in their track-traps while reviewing all the plant families from Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest by David Moskowitz.

    On Wednesday, the three groups started the day like all the rest, exercising together with games and stretches, but then they all split up to work on specific projects. The survivalists researched a location to make safe emergency shelter, and they built a "debris hut" up on the hill above the park.

    September 2, 2010

  • Kim C.

    The trackers learned the "language of the birds" and discovered that birds communicate everything that goes on in nature: singing to mark territory, alarming when predators are near, and more. The trackers also learned 'caterpillar form', a method for moving through the woods as a single unit. This was designed to improve our teamwork, specifically our communication, which is a huge part of tracking.

    September 2, 2010

  • Kim C.

    The herbalists began making their concoctions today, and they also started to create beautiful journals full of recipes and drawings. The journals have become their own person herb books. The groups also played various blindfold games to experience nature at deeper levels, including Bear Nose to identify plants by touch and smell, and the Drum Stalk to learn to move through the forest by feel.

    September 2, 2010

  • Kim C.

    Thursday was a fun day with the trackers collecting insects, stalking up on geese who taught them the secret goose "peace treaty" upon greeting, and learning to camouflage before "scouting" the survivalists again up at their completed debris hut. Everyone joined forces for games including the popular Eagle Eye, where an "eagle" tries to spot campers hidden in the forest. Probably the most popular group activity today was eating chocolate-covered insects!.

    September 2, 2010

  • Kim C.

    The survivalists also learned many methods of water purification today, including filtering, rock-boiling, and seep/spring digging. The herbalists harvested plantain for salves to use on bug bites, scratches and lips. They also made herbal cough syrup with honey and a glycerite tincture with lemon balm, chamomile and catnip. They also harvested some western hemlock tree needles (not to be confused with the poison hemlock plant in the carrot family) and other wild greens for a vinegar extraction.

    September 2, 2010

  • Kim C.

    Friday will also be herbal spa day for the herbalists. They will make a face scrub with oats, white clay, lavender, mint, yarrow and honey, then do a mint foot soak as well. We will use a simple tooth powder and herbal shampoo we put together earlier in the week. We will return to Clark's Creek Park after lunch, and prepare for parent presentations which we hope will become a worthwhile workshop for all those who attend. Thanks for having your wonderful children in camp with us!

    September 2, 2010

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  • Kim C.
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