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Summer Experiences

Summer camping programs for Wilderness Kids students

When school is out, we are given the gift of more time to explore. To explore the natural world and our own abilities in it and our relationship to it. We have time to get out into nature, to spend the night there, to paddle through its waterways, to climb its rockfaces, to summit its peaks.


And, in doing all of these things in community, we have time to build friendships and to experience the joy of knowing our peers - those similar to us and those with differences from us. We have time to build our skill and self-confidence, our resilience and self-sufficiency. We have time to explore new places and new ideas; to hear new sounds and experience silence in a different, appreciative way. We have a chance to explore issues of concern to us - social justice, environmental conservation, and more. We have time to be grateful and to express ourselves. We have time to find that we truly belong.


Our summer program in 2022 consists of three camping trips, each featuring a unique component: either backpacking, climbing, or paddling. 

2022 Summer Experiences

We hope your student will join us for one or all of these opportunities!


June 28 - JUNE 30

Camping and Paddling

Join Wilderness Kids on a 3-day, 2-night camping trip in Shenandoah. We will explore two different day-hikes and take most of a day to paddle down the Shenandoah River. At night, we will sleep in tents in a “front-country” campsite (with bathroom facilities and near other campers).


July 19 - July 21

Camping and Climbing

Join Wilderness Kids on a 3-day, 2-night camping trip at a location still to be determined. We will explore a couple day-hikes and devote a big chunk of one day to rock-climbing. At night, we will sleep in tents in a “front-country” campsite (with bathroom facilities and near other campers).


August 8 - august 11

Camping and Backpacking

Join Wilderness Kids on a 4-day, 3-night camping trip at a location still to be determined. While we will spend our first night at a front-country campground (with bathroom facilities and near other campers), we will leave civilization and our vehicle behind, setting off with packs on our backs to spend two nights in the back-country, away from roads, cars, and modern amenities. Students will learn to filter water, cook over a backpacking stove, find a backcountry campsite, enjoy dark skies, and more.



Students will do front country camping and embark on day hikes, learning about their local environment



Students will embark on a 2 night backpacing trip on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park




Students will be able to take on top rope climbing, facilitated by certified staff.



Students will get to try their hand at canoeing, led by experienced river guides

A Day In the Life


In Camp

Students will wake up in camp and get themselves ready for the day, tidy their tents, and pack their bags for a day- hike as breakfast is prepared. They will enjoy breakfast together, engage in some morning chores and a morning activity, and then head out for a day on the trail, the rockface, or the river.


Students will explore their local environment, learning about the rich ecology and culture, learning about themselves as outdoor young men and women, and developing a better understanding of their relationship to their local environment.


In the afternoon, the group will head back to camp for group activities, personal time to read, write  or explore close to camp before enjoying dinner and a camp fire together and then turning in for the night.

friends on the trail.jpeg

In the Backcountry

When students spend the night in the backcountry, we will awaken far from cars and roads, in the stillness of the wilderness. In the morning, students will pack up their personal gear and tents, perform any morning chores, and gather for a morning greeting. They will enjoy breakfast together before throwing on packs and hitting the trail. 


The group will hike at a pace that keeps everyone together and eat lunch on trail about half way through the day.


Once they arrive at camp, the group will throw down packs, find good places to set up tents, fill up and purify water, and hang a bear bag, while dinner is being prepared. The group will enjoy dinner together in their new home for the night, before enjoying a recap of the day around a camp fire, identifying their favorite moments and new things learned before turning in to their tents for a well earned rest.

Working with Partners

On the days that the group enjoys rockclimbing and canoeing, they will meet with professional guides in the morning to learn aboout safety in these activities, before setting out on these new and challenging adventures.

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