Greetings and Welcome!
Thank you for registering your child for Wild Play Summer Camp, Session I! You can rest assured that your child’s summer will be full to the brim with fun, discovery and connection to the natural world.
At Wild Intelligence, we believe in the value of mentoring in nature. Thank you for the opportunity to work with your child during the summer; we don’t take your trust in us lightly. To us, relationships are at the center of our work – with you as parents, with your children, and with the natural world. We consider ourselves mentoring partners with you and we hope this letter begins a connection that is more than just need-to-know information. Rather, we want this to be the beginning (or continuation) of a community of support as your child grows and develops.
We can’t wait to see the sparkle in your children’s eyes – full of wonder and appreciation for nature and community!
** This letter has been recently updated. It provides new and important information that you will need in order to prepare your child for the program. Please read it thoroughly! **
If after reading this letter you still have questions, please call Sarah Hubbard at (706) 255 – 8937 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need further assistance, please contact our Director, Shannon McBride, at (706) 614 – 7818 or email her at email@example.com. We request that you limit calls to weekdays 8 AM to 6 PM, except in case of emergency
Wild Play Summer Camp is a 2-week day camp that runs weekdays from 9 am till 2 pm. Session I dates are Monday, June 5 through Friday, June 9 and Monday, June 12 through Friday, June 16.
*** CAMPOUT DETAILS: There is a campout for Advanced Camp on Thursday June 8! Please note that this is at the end of the first week of camp. Advanced campers are invited to sleep over on the land with us. They will be dropped off as usual on June 8 and then picked up in the morning on June 9 at the pickup time, 9AM. They will need to bring their gear (listed below) with them on the 8th, as well as any snacks they might need. We will provide dinner cooked over the fire Thursday evening and breakfast Friday morning.
This year we are delighted to offer summer camp at Earthsong, an intentional community on 98 wooded acres along the beautiful Middle Oconee River. You can learn more about Earthsong at http://www.earthsong.cc/.
Earthsong is located on Big Bear Road, just off of Savage Road near Bogart GA.
From Athens: Drive west on 129 until 330, take a left on 330. Pass Tallassee Rd and continue on 330. Take the next left, Savage Rd, just pass the bridge crossing the Middle Oconee River. The left turn onto Big Bear Rd comes a short ways after getting on Savage. Take a left on Big Bear and drive until the road is blocked. You will be directed where to park.
To find on mapquest, search 255 Chulitna Way, Bogart, GA 30622.
Drop-off and Pick-up:
Drop-off is at 9:00 am. Our Staff will greet you and will have a sign-in sheet for you. Please sign your child in every time. Please do your best to arrive on time each day. If you are going to be more than 15 minutes late or your child is not coming please contact Sarah Hubbard at (706) 255-8937 as soon as possible. This helps us manage the flow of the day and allows the rest of the campers maximum woods time.
Please arrive to pick up and sign your child out at 2:00 pm.
No Early Arrival/Late Pickup…
Please know that although our staff are on-site both before and after the sign-in and sign-out times, they are not available to supervise children outside of the arrival and pickup times indicated above. This time is used for program planning and debrief, and it is critical to us being able to provide each individual camper and the group with the best day possible. We acknowledge that this can be a challenge for working parents and appreciate your understanding.
Sign-In and Sign-Out…
It is our policy that each child participant be signed in every morning, and signed out every afternoon! Please make sure that everyone who is authorized to drop off or pick up your child during the week is aware of the need to do this! Sign-in each morning will be on a clip-board that one of our instructors will be holding. Please make a note if your child is going home with someone else!
Our programs take place outside. We do have access to a communal kitchen structure. If the weather becomes temporarily unsafe, we will wait it out there. It’s a great time for stories and games! Occasionally the weather does take a harsher turn and we have to cancel our programs. We watch the weather closely and will notify you the evening before if we are going to have to cancel a day. We take cancelling our programs very seriously and ONLY do it if we believe the weather is going to put your children in an unsafe environment – meaning tornadoes, heavy thunder and lightning, high winds or extreme cold. Rain is something we can contend with and is often fun!
What to Pack:
Please send the following items with your child in a small backpack. DO NOT send your child to program with a bag on wheels or a satchel they have to carry over one shoulder. We often ramble widely across the land, and these lead to unhappy campers, unhappy groups, and unhappy staff. Please try to limit the weight of what you pack and provide comfortable backpacks for your campers. They are responsible for carrying their packs and a heavy pack or an uncomfortable back pack makes for an unhappy camper.
We recommend applying sunscreen and bug spray before your drop your child off for camp.
*** when packing backpacks, please be mindful of how much they weigh. Campers are responsible for carrying their own backpacks and we cover a great deal of distance every day. Heavy and uncomfortable backpacks make for unhappy campers.
** A Note on Knives:
Summer camp provides the opportunity to mentor children in the safe and effective use of knives, a fundamental wilderness skill. We have a process in which children get “Knife-Safety Certified.” We provide the knives. Children who have earned certification receive a card to document their achievement, the date to re-certify, and also lists our knife safety protocols. We ask that once a student receives a Certification card that they keep it with their knife so we are able to ask for it to confirm whether they are certified or not. This allows mentors to know a child is currently certified, reminds the child of the protocols, and informs parents so that they may encourage those protocols at home if they choose. Once a person is knife certified, they are eligible to bring their own knife (subject to our guidelines) to the program. Certification will be rescinded for protocol violations.
**Unless your child is Knife Safety Certified, do not send them to camp with any knife, even to just leave in their packs.
To be eligible for knife safety certification, one must be at least 8 years old AND deemed ‘ready’ by the instructing mentor. The most important qualities we look for are a high degree of attention, respect, patience, focus, and ability to follow direction. Next are adequate muscle strength, coordination, and fine motor skill. Lastly, we look for desire and confidence. Without these qualities, knife use can be frustrating and dangerous. Exceptions regarding age are occasionally made for children who exhibit these traits at a younger age.
Something we often come across in our knife certification is that some children are allowed to use knives at home. THIS IS AWESOME. We still require them to go through our process and follow our rules of knife safety and we acknowledge this may be different than their rules at home. We are very thorough and confident that we set our students up for success with knives. IF your child gets the opportunity to become knife certified at Wild Intelligence we will provide you with all of our information so that you can fully support them in learning to use knives well and wisely alongside of us.
** Wild Intelligence approved knives have:
What NOT to Pack:
Campout Pack List (for Advanced Camp only):
What Your Child Should Wear:
Appropriate clothing can make an outdoor experience. Poor clothing can break it, or become outright dangerous. We reserve the right to send campers home if inadequate clothing for the weather is an issue.
In general, clothing should be loose and comfortable, able to get very wet and dirty, and appropriate for the weather. Pants, rather than shorts can be helpful if one is new to off-trail hazards such as briers, insects, poison ivy, etc.
What to Expect:
We group children into clans. A clan is much like a family within the tribe and your child will spend much time with her clan. When making clan assignments, we consider many factors including age, experience in nature, experience in Wild Intelligence, energy, interests, existing relationships with mentors and other children, and more. We consider each child as an individual and we also consider the bigger pictures for each clan and Wild Play as a whole. This is part of “meeting them where they are” and allows our mentors to create the most positive experience for each clan.
If you have already requested that your child be placed with a friend, we will consider this when creating the groups, but we are not able to meet every request. Please understand that we do our best, but sometimes there are other factors that take priority. Requests for children of significantly different ages to be grouped together will not be accommodated, nor will requests made on the first day of a program.
By the first day of program, we will know who is in which clan, and you’ll be able to meet your child’s Lead Mentor.
Our days will generally look like this:
At Wild Intelligence we encourage campers to really connect with the natural world! Often that means getting right in – be it mud, charcoal or berry-juice face paint. Don’t be surprised to see children and adults with dirty faces at the end of the day. Please send your child to camp in clothes and shoes that can get dirty. Keeping some large trash bags in the car for kids to sit on at the end of the day is a great way to minimize the impact of dirty campers!
Scrapes, Bug-bites, and other small things…
In general, these days, there is a lot of nature-phobia floating around. Most often it is very exaggerated, and this is in fact one reason that children are not playing outside as much these days. We’re changing that! On the first day of Program, we will go over possible hazards, such as ticks, stinging insects, and poison ivy, and what to look for to make sure your child is safe and strong. Many of our instructors have had Wilderness First Aid training. They all have real-life experience with the hazardous aspects of the natural world and carry first-aid kits. Our Program Manager is certified as a Wilderness First Responder. We are always watching out for your child’s safety.
Special note on ticks: It will be very important for your children to be thoroughly checked for ticks each time they come home. To learn more about removing ticks, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27McsguL2Og .
Parent Survival Kit
We have devoted a section of our website to provide more information that may help you manage your family’s experience with Wild Intelligence. There you will find a copy of this info letter, information about our mentoring model, and our policy around projectile hunting tools, hunting, fishing, and consuming wild plant and animal foods while in program.
This information can be accessed at http://www.wildintelligence.org/parents/.
We encourage our Mentors to get to know our camper’s families and to communicate regularly. We also welcome and invite you to talk with your child’s Lead Mentor regarding your child’s experience in the program.
For immediate contact, attendance notifications, or larger concerns or questions, please contact Sarah Hubbard, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (706) 255-8937. If you need further assistance, contact our Direction, Shannon McBride at (706) 614 – 7818 Please limit calls to between 8 am and 6 pm.
That’s all for now. We pour a lot of heart and soul into making our programs the best nature connection programs we can. I certainly hope this information helps you prepare for the coming year!
We look forward to seeing you this fall!
Sarah Hubbard, Programs Director
Institute for Wild Intelligence
last update: May 10, 2017