CAMP DETAILS FOR WILDERNESS SKILLS OVERNIGHT CAMP

Thank you for registering your child for our 2022 Wilderness Skills Overnight Camp.

This page provides important information about preparing your child for camp; we know it’s long, but please read it thoroughly!

Camp Location:

Earth Native Bastrop Campus at 137 Woodview Ln, Bastrop, TX 78602

Click here for written directions and Google map link

Communication:

Please call the main school number at 512-299-8870, if you have any questions or have trouble finding our campus. On Monday and Wednesday evenings you will receive a camp update email. For after-hours emergency contact (after 5pm, before 8am) please text 512-299-8870 and the Camp Director will call you back.

 

Camp Times:

Drop-off: Please arrive at 10:00am on Monday for registration and sign-in. Please plan to stay with your child for the first 30-60 minutes to help set up their tent, meet the staff and get settled in and attend a mandatory parent orientation

Pick-up: Please pick-up your camper Friday at 12:00pm. No later pick up is available.

Sign-In and Sign-Out:

It is our policy that each camper be signed-in at the beginning of the camp and signed-out at the end. Please make sure that whoever drops off and picks up your camper is aware of the need to do this. Please let the staff know at sign-in if your child will be picked up on Friday by someone other than the person who has dropped them off Monday.

What to Bring:   (PLEASE LABEL ALL YOUR CAMPER’S BELONGINGS)

  • 6 full changes of clothing

    • Comfortable clothes that can get dirty and are appropriate for the weather

    • Please pack a pair of light pants to help prevent mosquito bites

    • Also, please send shoes that are comfortable for playing running around games in addition to any other shoes packed.

    • Sleepwear

  • 2 towels (one for showers and one for creek time)

  • Swim suit (that covers maximum amount of skin - to protect against sticks in the creek and sunburn. Rash guards are ideal.)

  • Sturdy, closed-toe shoes that can get dirty

  • Water shoes (will be needed for creek time)

  • Tent

  • Sheet or light weight blanket (even lightweight sleeping bags are too warm in the summer)

  • Outdoor sleeping mat/camping pad

  • Pillow – if desired

  • Raingear or poncho

  • Bug spray and anti-itch cream/spray!!

  • Sunscreen/Hat

  • Flashlight or headlamp - If you purchased a headlamp during registration it will be given to your child at camp.

  • 1 full water bottle, at least 27 oz. If you purchased an Earth Native water bottle during registration it will be given to your child at camp.

  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap, etc.) – Avoid scented items because they will attract insects.

    • ​All shampoo, body wash, soap, etc. should be biodegradable

  • Small Backpack (Daypack)

  • Packed lunch for Monday (All other meals/snack are provided through Friday’s breakfast/AM snack. Please bring a packed lunch for pick-up on Friday)

  • Mess Kit (non-breakable plate, bowl, spoon, fork, knife, cup) If you purchased a mess kit during registration it will be given to your child at camp.

  • Medications (if applicable) – Please list all medications on your child’s registration form. Any medications must be given to the staff member who is checking you in on Monday morning. 

  • Sharp Morakniv Craftline Basic with Stainless Steel Blade and Combi-Sheath (3.6 in blade). If you purchased a knife during registration it will be given to your child at camp. If you chose to purchase a knife on your own, please be sure to pack it.

    • Note: Please make all purchases in advance of camp. Our instructors are not authorized to take payment at camp.

  • OPTIONAL ITEMS (to help beat the heat): 

    • HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Battery operated fans that can hang/set in tents (pack extra batteries). If your child has a rechargeable fan please let them know to ask for help recharging it during the day. (This fan is recommended by a staff member as great affordable option.)

    • Water bottles that also spray mist or cooling towels that can be worn around the neck.

  • Lastly, feel free to pack playing cards, books, non-electronic games, etc. for tent time. (No phones or electronics are permitted at camp)

Note: We do have a limited amount of gear that is available for rent if you don’t have an item on the list and would prefer not to buy it. If you did not choose this during your registration process but are still interested, please contact info@earthnativeschool.com. Rental gear is limited and is available to reserve on a first come, first serve basis. If you are interested in renting items from us, please let us know ASAP (and at least 1 week prior to camp) so we can hold them for you. 

 

What NOT to Pack:

  • Electronics – Including cell phones, iPods/iPads, video games, etc. If parents would like to check up on their campers, they can contact the Camp Director at any time.  

  • Any food beyond Monday’s packed lunch (Unless cleared in advance with Earth Native and related to food allergy, special diet, etc.)

  • Excess extra clothes

Parents/Guardians and the camper's secondary emergency contact need to be reachable by phone 24 hours a day while camp is in session. 

Tent Sharing:

Tent sharing is allowed as long as it is requested in advance by parents/guardian. Spontaneous tent sharing will not be allowed.

Food:

Food will be provided for all program participants starting at dinner on Monday night. Please send a packed lunch with your camper for Monday. We have noted all food restrictions/allergies that you provided during registration and will shop accordingly. Please do not send any additional food with your child. If there is a need to send food, due to a food allergy/restriction, please contact us in advance. You will need to “check in” this food with an Instructor on the first day.

Hydration:

We take safety very seriously at Earth Native and summer heat is definitely a hazard we face here in Texas. In order to prevent heat related illness, we will require your camper to regularly drink water throughout the day. 

Knives:

We require that each student participate in a knife safety training at camp unless they have previously received a level 2 or above knife safety certification through Earth Native. After the training, each student will be required to pass a knife safety certification before they can use their knife. Even after students pass the verbal and skill test and are “Knife Safety Certified,” instructors will hold the students to strict guidelines regarding knife use that must be followed at all times to include:

  • Students must ask an instructor before using their knife. (If it is an appropriate time, the instructor will direct them to a safe location where they can carve.)

  • Students must maintain a minimum safe distance apart from other students and instructors while carving. (The distance must be equal to or greater than the distance of their arm length plus the length of the object they are carving.)

  • A knife is not a toy and can never be treated as such. (Using a knife in an inappropriate manner can result in the knife being taken away and a loss of knife certification. If this happens, the student will have to re-earn their knife certification by acknowledging that what they did that was inappropriate/dangerous and re-passing the knife certification at a later time/date deemed appropriate by the instructor.)

  • Never carve toward or on top of any part of your body.

  • Never leave a knife unattended.

  • Always put your knife back in the sheath and back in your backpack when you are done carving.

  • Knives must stay in backpacks when not in use.

Over the years we have found that Mora brand knives are the best

and a great knife for both new and advanced carvers.

 

 

Weather Policy:

Our camps run rain or shine, however, although it is very rare, we will delay or cancel a day of camp in cases of dangerous/severe weather (such as tornado warnings, flash flood warnings, etc.). If the first day of camp is canceled or delayed due to severe weather, you will be notified via phone or email and it will be clearly marked on the webpage for your camp. If unexpected severe weather hits or is imminent while camp is in progress, we may call you and have you come pick up your child from camp. Camp will resume after the severe weather has passed. If you have questions about cancellations please first check our website, if you don’t get the answers you are seeking then please call the main school number at 512-299-8870

Homesickness for first time overnight campers:

Spending time away from home at overnight camp can be an incredible experience full of growth for kids. It can also be tough! It is not uncommon for kids to feel homesick at overnight camp even if they already have (or have made) friends or even siblings at camp with them. Most commonly children experience homesickness in the evening and at night when they aren’t as distracted by fun camp activities.

 

In our experience the kids who are most likely to experience homesickness have little experience camping in their own tent, are feeling forced to attend camp, are anxious, or have overhead their parents express concerns or fear about them attending overnight camp. 

 

Most feelings of homesickness are not a major issue. Missing home is normal and isn’t really a problem unless feelings of sadness, and the anxiety associated with these feelings, become so strong that they interfere with a camper’s abilities to make friends, have fun, sleep, eat and fully participate in camp activities. The Earth Native staff will do their absolute best to provide as much support for homesick campers as possible. Our caring, empathetic approach is effective in most cases, and usually results in homesick campers feeling settled in by the third day of camp. It is our experience that homesick campers who work through their emotions and stay at camp are almost always glad that they decided to stay. 

 

The first two nights can be hard for some kids since they are in a new and unfamiliar environment, and it can also be a little overwhelming to leave behind many of the comforts of home. It isn’t uncommon for some campers to express a desire to go home on the first or second night of camp. In these circumstances the camp staff will sit down and talk to them, encourage them to share their feelings, and help them work through it. 

 

Below are some tips for parents to help your child through the experience of missing home- 

 

Tips and Tricks for Parents:


 

  • We highly recommend that parents write short encouraging letters to their child(ren) and give them to the Camp Director on the first day of camp. This can help campers feel more at ease knowing that you are thinking about them and are proud of their accomplishments. Secret parent tip - It is also fun to hide a few notes in their bag or gear that they can randomly find.

 

  • Begin preparing your child to be away from home days or even a week or more before camp. Talk about homesickness and let them know that these feelings are normal. Perhaps share an experience where you felt homesick as a child and how you got through it. Discuss in advance some things they might do to help themselves feel better if they start feeling homesick. Encourage your child to engage in “Positive self-talk”. Positive self-talk is used to encourage yourself to be strong and confident in your abilities. An example of positive self-talk is saying, “I’m safe and even though I am in a new and different environment, it is a good place where I can have fun and make new friends.”

 

  • If your child gets anxious about the dark or has trouble falling asleep, make sure to pack a comfort item from home (examples include, stuffed animal, a shirt with mom or dad’s smell on it, or another item that makes them feel less lonely). A comfy sleeping pad will also help them relax and get better sleep. A low power LED light can also be used as a nightlight if needed

 

  • Texas summers are hot and sleeping in the heat can be a challenge since our bodies are not used to it. Our most experienced campers have learned that bringing a battery operated fan with extra batteries helps them keep cool and sleep soundly at night. If your child brings a rechargeable fan let the instructors know and ask your child to communicate when they need help charging batteries.

 

Steps that the Earth Native Staff will take to help campers work through homesickness include:

 

Problem:

Most campers may not get a good night’s rest the first two nights. There are many reasons for this, but in our experience we’ve noticed that many homesick campers may not have the best sleeping arrangements, left behind a favorite comfort item (i.e. stuffed animal, blanket, book) or feel anxious or scared sleeping in their own tent away from home. 

Common Camp Staff Actions:

  • Assess campers' needs and provide positive coping outlets.

  • Provide an extra sleeping pad, blanket, pillow, book or stuffed animal if needed.

  • Encourage the camper to talk about their feelings and help relieve any worries/concerns they may have.

  • Follow up in the morning with the camper to see how they are doing and take further action to help alleviate their homesickness. 

 

Problem:

For some kids, homesickness sticks around even though they are doing their very best to fight this feeling and they aren't able to work through it without additional support. 

Common Camp Staff Actions:

  • The Camp Director will call the camper’s parent/guardian for help.

  • The Camp Director and parent will discuss strategies to help make the experience for the camper better. Sometimes words of encouragement by a parent over the phone are enough for the camper to feel confident in themselves to continue on with the program.

    • If we do end up needing to call you please be prepared for a lot of emotions to come up over the phone. Homesickness can bring up big emotions.

    • Following a phone conversation it will be up to the parent to decide if they would like to come pick their child up or encourage them to continue with camp.

    • If the camper and parents decide to keep the child at camp, the Camp Director will update parents/guardians throughout the day about their child’s progress/feelings.

 

Problem:

If the camper is truly not enjoying their time at Earth Native Summer Camp, and we’re not seeing them make progress, after a reasonable amount of time and effort from the staff, the Camp Director will call parents and discuss the matter further and determine the best course of action to move forward.

Camp Staff Action:

While it isn’t very common, sometimes kids aren’t quite ready for overnight camp and just aren’t able to work through feelings of homesickness even with support. If a child is consumed by homesickness and they can’t get over it, after we use all of the tricks up our sleeve, we will call a parent to come pick them up. 

Note: If you have a specific approach that you would like for us to take in helping your child deal with homesickness please let us know. Sometimes parents request that camp staff call them immediately if their child is expressing homesickness and others would prefer that the child work through the experience on their own (without direct parent involvement with them). We will honor any and ALL direct parent requests regarding these issues.

Lastly, please take a moment to read our Student Code of Conduct - click here

If you have any questions, please contact us at (512) 299-8870 or via e-mail at Info@EarthNativeSchool.com

We look forward to seeing you this summer!

What did Your Child Learn at Summer Camp this week?

Is it “enough” for your child to come home from camp with a sparkle in their eye and dirt on their knee? We think so, but some parents might wonder, “‘Where is the curriculum?’ Is my child actually learning anything at this nature camp?” And well you might wonder, for it is only what we teach that is right in front of us – how we teach it is what we like to call “invisible”. (It’s not really invisible, you just have to know what to look for!)

Our curriculum is taught in a variety of ways – through storytelling, games, hands-on doing, challenges, and the art of questioning. Furthermore, only a portion of our camp curriculum is set in stone – it is more important to us to notice who your child is and what in the natural world captures their excitement and curiosity! Nature provides many more opportunities for learning and discovery each week than we could ever follow. So, within very broad guidelines and intentions, we allow nature and the children to be our guide.

If your child says “We had fun! We sneaked and hid and ambushed and wandered around and got lost,” please understand that this is our pedagogical method at Earth Native School. Based on how hunters and gatherers taught their children, camp is designed to be an “invisible school” that flows with the energy cycles of your children and the opportunities that nature presents. We are confident you will find that, in one short week, we’ve begun to reach our goal for your child: to awaken awareness, to provide tools for inquiry; and to create learning routines for life-long naturalist studies.

So, if you ask your child what they “learned” at camp, you might get a vague answer, or none at all. Instead, we invite you to ask them questions that will allow them to show you what they know... here are some suggestions:

- Are there any wild plants that you like to eat? Can you show me? (Instructor Tip: Be sure to ask them if they know of any similar looking plants that cannot be eaten! Ask them how to tell the difference, and if YOU don’t know, look them up in a field guide! We emphasize and role model this important safety technique when eating wild edible plants and encourage you to do the same!)

- I’ve heard you can build a shelter out of branches and leaves; can you tell/show me how?

(Instructor Tip: To build a human-size shelter can be a several hour project in a location where all the natural materials are close at hand. You can build a doll-size shelter much more quickly, and then test its effectiveness with a “rain storm” from a water bottle.)


- Is there a way to move silently to get close to animals? (Instructor Tip: Ask your child if they learned any sneaking games that they’d like to show you.)

- Is this an animal track? How many toes does it have? Which way do you think the animal was going? Does it have claws? What kind of animal might have made it? (Instructor Tip: Asking lots of questions before deciding “who” it is can lead to more learning! Animal track field guides are lots of fun.)