What if my child is almost old enough?
Your child must turn the minimum age for the camp within 30 days of the start of the program. No exceptions.
What does a typical day at a Day Camp look like?
As everyone is arriving, we have active group games available on the field, as well as quieter options of hands-on inquiry into curious nature objects such as feathers, track casts, and more with field guides.
Shortly after 9 a.m., the entire camp gathers for morning circle which includes an animated and engaging thematic story told each day by a different staff member, and potentially songs or animal forms where campers learn to use their bodies creatively and understand how animals live.
By 10 a.m. campers join their “clans” (groups) which are sorted by age and experience for a morning and early afternoon of adventure, games, and nature skills. Groups usually eat a snack at about 10:30 AM and lunch around noon.
At 2:45, the clans are back at our starting spot. They have their final circles in which they are able to tell their favorite stories of the day, maybe get in a final game, and are ready to leave by 3 p.m.
How are your camp staff members selected, and what are their qualifications?
Our staff are a mix of salaried, seasoned, year-round field instructors with years of experience with youth and adults, as well as seasonal staff who have completed intensive training in our curriculum and our philosophy of education. Many instructors have completed our rigorous one-year Anake Outdoor School, as well as a second year of apprenticeship as a youth instructor.
When choosing the staff members to take part in a camp experience for children, we look for people who have a deep respect and love of children, experience in the outdoors, and a deep knowledge of the natural world and a passion to pass on their wonder and enthusiasm to others.
All staff are required to be Wilderness First Aid and CPR certified. Personal reference checks and background checks are done for all employees and volunteers.
Are campers divided into age groups?
Yes. Each of our Day Camp sessions has a maximum enrollment of 44 kids, ages 6-12. The campers are then divided by age into four groups of up to 11. So for example, if you were to enroll a 6 year-old child, they would probably be in a group with other 6 and 7 year-olds (the exact breakdown of age groups depends on how many children of what age enroll for that camp session). Each group of 11 has one lead instructor and a volunteer assistant instructor. All the campers and staff meet together for a story or other community activity once in a while, but most of the experience is within a smaller same-age group of kids, with instructors who really get to know each camper individually.
Can my child request to be grouped with his/her friends?
Yes. At the time of registration, you can request your child be grouped with a friend, provided they are enrolling in the same camp session. However, while we will do our best to accommodate these requests, we can not guarantee that this will occur. Note: campers are divided into age groups (see previous question), so only friends of very similar ages are likely to be grouped together.
What happens in case of an animal sighting?
Most of the animals we encounter are not threatening in any way. Part of each week is an introduction for all students in Cougar and Bear Awareness, and proper response to encounters. Most animal sightings are very rare and generally not hazardous. Seeing animals is fun!
What food will students eat while at Overnight Camps or Expeditions?
The meals we offer are designed to be healthy, nutritious, and delicious. For example, we provide mostly organic food at our Overnight Camps and Expeditions. Since tastes and preferences vary, we have a variety of nutritious food available at each meal including a vegetarian option. For special requirements, please contact us prior to your camp session.
What emergency procedures does Wilderness Awareness School have in case of an accident or illness at camp?
The staff at Wilderness Awareness School’s camps are all trained in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. Expedition staff are certified at the higher level of Wilderness First Responder. We follow an established medical policy and emergency procedure guide. Instructors carry first aid kits at all times and a full first aid kit is on site for more serious injuries. If further medical assistance is required we will call the parent as soon as possible. If necessary, we can take the student to the nearest clinic or hospital from the camp. Our on site camp directors always have the ability to call 911 or the school office for additional support or assistance.
How will my child get his or her medications at camp?
Our registration includes a medical history with list of medications that is shared with all instructors. If your child has an epi pen for allergic reactions or inhaler for asthma, we ask that the child carry it in his or her pack and let the instructor know where it is in case of emergency.
At day camps, we do not generally supervise medications. At overnight camps, the camp director will hold medications for your child in a secure location and help remind them when it is time to take the next medication. We ask parents to bring medications in the original container in a sturdy zip lock bag with the child’s name on it and clear instructions for the medications so we can assist them. Discussion with the camp director at check in is required.
Is scholarship funding available?
Yes! As a not-for-profit organization, Wilderness Awareness School is thankful to our donors that allow us to grant scholarships to families in need of assistance . For more information: Click here. To Apply online: Youth scholarship application form.
Can my child attend camp if they have a serious anaphylactic allergy (Nut, Gluten, bees etc)?
Yes, and anaphylactic allergies are a very serious risk factor. Our staff take this risk very seriously and are trained in industry best practices. It is important that your child understand their allergy and be able to take an appropriate level of responsibility for protecting themselves. This includes:
1.) Maintaining awareness of the risk and not assuming everything is safe. We are not a nut, gluten or bee free place. We will take extra precautions on weeks when we have campers who have a serious allergy to minimize the risks of exposure and we need campers to pay attention.
2.) Carry their own Epipen and benadryl (diphenhydramine) at all times and show the staff where they keep it. We recommend parents give an extra Epipen to the Camp Director at overnight camps. Our staff carry benadryl but we can not carry Epipens since they are prescription medication.
3.) Communicate with staff and be willing to ask questions of the cook if they are uncertain about food ingredients at overnight camps.
If my child can't attend, can I give their registration to a friend or sibling?
No. Registrations are specific for individual campers. They are NOT transferrable to a friend or sibling. Our programs are in high demand and we want to do our best to offer equal access to openings to all campers. We offer any openings to the official wait list based on our Registration Policy. Deposits/tuition are still non-refundable as per our cancellation/refund policy, even if the space is filled from our wait list.
Do you provide before or aftercare at your day camps?
Unfortunately, we are unable to offer supervision before or after the set times of any of our camps. Though we realize that might be helpful, we've chosen to focus our limited staff capacity on quality programming for the duration of our nature-based camps and not stretch ourselves thin with additional day care programming.
Do kids ever repeat the same camp within the same summer or over multiple years?
Yes! Our camps are never the same experience twice. We work with what nature provides, which is always changing, and each week brings together a unique group of campers and instructors who bring their own passions to the experience. Your child will go on different adventures, learn new things, as well as hone skills introduced in the first camp experience.
Do you provide bus or shuttle service to your camps?
Unfortunately, we are not able to offer transportation to or from any of our day camps or Duvall-area overnight camps. Teen and Adult expeditions are typically the only exception, as they will include transportation from an agreed-upon meeting place. There is an airport shuttle pickup and drop off option for these programs. There is no public transportation to our camp locations.