Summer Camping Programs for Wilderness Kids Students
Summer gives us extra time
to really immerse ourselves in the natural world.
Let's do this!
In 2023, Wilderness Kids is excited to offer the following three types of program:
Five 1-Day Outings: Similar to our Weekend Outings, in and around natural areas very close to home. Open to all registered students. (More information will be available soon about these outings - we expect to venture out on June 25 and July 6, 10, 27 and 31)
Four 3-Day Adventures: For students ready to spend the night away from home and under the stars, we offer these short camping experiences.
Two 7-Day Expeditions: These longer expeditions offer adventure and an experience of independence for students who are ready to be away from home for a longer time.
Click on any either of the links above to go straight to that topic, or just scroll down to see them all.
We are delighted to offer four 3-day adventures in Summer 2023. Each adventure has a particular focus--rock-climbing, river-paddling, backpacking, or sea kayaking--even as students are given a chance to try many new things. On all trips, students sleep in tents in modern campgrounds (except for one night on our backpacking trip, when they will be at a backcountry campsite). These trips are open to all registered students who have participated in at least 3 Weekend Outings or Summer One-Day Outings.
3 Day Adventures
June 28 to 30
Camping and Climbing
Wilderness Kids is headed to beautiful Sherando Lake in Virginia's George Washington National Forest for swimming, climbing and more. We will venture on day hikes, devote a big chunk of day two to rock-climbing, and enjoy the fun waters of beautiful Sherando Lake in our campground. We will sleep in tents in a “front-country” campsite (with bathroom facilities and near other campers).
July 12 to 14
Above & Below:
Camping, Paddling & Cave Exploring
Wilderness Kids is venturing to extraordinary Shenandoah National Park. On Day 2, we will get in kayaks and paddle the mighty Shenandoah River. Other stops will include a hike to fun waterfalls in White Oak Canyon and a visit to Luray Caverns. At night, we will sleep in tents in a “front-country” campsite (with bathroom facilities and near other campers).
August 2 to 4
Into the Woods:
Camping and Backpacking
Wilderness Kids will leave our vehicle behind, hoist our backpacks on and venture into the wilderness for one night of this Adventure. We will summit the Big Schloss (the Big Castle), offering beautiful views into two states and camp in the "backcountry" (without access to modern facilities). On Day Two, we will return to the road and head off for more adventures to include swimming, fishing and hiking. We will sleep that night at a front-country campground (with bathroom facilities and near other campers).
August 16 to 18
Camping and Sea Kayaking
Wilderness Kids newest 3-Day Adventure takes us to serene Assateague State Park, where we will camp by the beach, have the opportunity to see wild ponies, and go sea kayaking in the Bay. We will sleep in tents in a “front-country” campsite (with bathroom facilities and near other campers). Then we will head home, just in time for Back-to-School. What a summer it's been!
We are delighted to offer all new 7-day expeditions in Summer 2023. Each expedition will engage students in a variety of activities in particular geographic areas--either the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia or the Alleghenies of Pennsylvania and New York. On all trips, students sleep in tents in modern campgrounds and may also venture out on backpacking trips, where they will sleep at backcountry campsites). These trips are open to all registered students who have completed at least one 3-day Adventure with Wilderness Kids in 2022 or 2023, or who have prior approval from Wilderness Kids Staff.
July 18 to 24
Bird's Eye View:
Camping, Backpacking, Biking & Ponies
Wilderness Kids will venture to southwestern Virginia's beautiful Grayson Highlands, home to wild ponies. Will discover and swim in beautiful waterfalls and then venture on a two-night backpacking trip. And, of course, we will enjoy the biking the famous 17 mile (all downhill!) Virginia Creeper Trail.
August 7 to 13
Camping, Rafting, Fishing & Niagara Falls
Wilderness Kids will set off to explore the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and New York, where we will enjoy mountains, lakes and streams and even have a hand at fishing. Before arriving to the Allegheny's however, we will stop to go whitewater rafting on the Youghigheny River. And we will wind up our trip at the majestic and famous Niagara Falls before returning home to Alexandria.
(Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: What is the cost to attend?
A: All Wilderness Kids programs are completely free of charge. We provide all transportation, food and drink, and camping gear. Students bring appropriate clothes for the trip and a positive attitude, ready to try new things and contribute to a team.
Q: Where will students sleep on the program?
A: Students will sleep in single-gender tents. Adult Trip Leaders will sleep in tents separate from but nearby the students. Wilderness Kids provides tents, sleeping bags and sleeping pads to go under each sleeping bag.
Q: What do students do during the trips?
A: Every trip includes camping and hiking. Beyond that, each trip has particular activities that it emphasizes, such as rock-climbing, river paddling, backpacking, or sea-kayaking. Our longer trips may incorporate more than one of these focused activities. When not doing these activities, Trip Leaders may guide students through other games and activities. Students also help to prepare each meal and help with clean up. Students set and break camp. Students also enjoy supervised downtime each day.
Q: What is the Student:Adult ratio?
A: Trips will have not more than a 4:1 student:adult ratio. For example, 12 students and 3 adults. Most trips will have no more than 12 students and may have as few as 6 to 8.
Q: What does my student need to bring with them?
A: We will provide a packing list to each student. The most important items on the list are a good pair of walking shoes (not just Crocs) and layers of clothing so that the student can adjust easily to changing temperatures. All clothes that come on the trip should be clothes that can get dirty - please do not bring your best clothing.
Q: What about cell phones?
A: We view our time on these Adventures and Expeditions as a time to get away from screens and get into nature. Therefore, we require students to leave their phones at home. We have found that, while students are initially upset by this, they adjust quite quickly and become more engaged in the experience at hand. Trip Leaders do have cell phones that they use to take photos, to coordinate activities with partner organizations, or to use in the event of emergency circumstances.
Q: Can I contact my student?
A: These adventures and excursions offer an opportunity for your child to have some experience of independence, so we ask that you do not contact your child other than in the event of emergency. Very often, a camper can be doing just fine on a trip and a call from home can suddenly cause home-sickness that was not there before. Thank you for understanding.
Q: Where do students go to the bathroom?
A: When we are in front-country campgrounds (most of the time), students will have access to modern toilet facilities. When we are backpacking, we will be in "primitive" sites and students will find an appropriate place in the woods, out of site of others, to go to the bathroom. Trip Leaders will provide guidance about how to do this.
Q: I have more questions. What can I do?
A: Please don't hesitate to email us at Elizabeth@WildernessKidsAlexandria.org to ask questions or set up a phone call. (Para español, por favor mande un email a Jerry@WildernessKidsAlexandria.org para preguntar sobre cualquiera cosa or para arreglar una llamada.)