By Jessi Loerch
When I was young, my parents sent me to horse camp several years running. It was only a week long, but given how much space those memories fill in my mind, it may as well have been months.
I rode, I swam, I played in the mud, I cooked over campfires. I treasure those memories.
Lately I keep coming across summer camps for kids that look like a lot of fun. Here are a few that have caught my attention. (I’m sure I have missed some good ones. If you know of more, e-mail me.) I should note, many of the camps also offer courses for adults. It’s not fair for the kids to have all the fun.
Wilderness Awareness School
I just recently heard about this group, and it sounds fascinating. They offer a wide variety of camps, for both kids and adults. Topics include tracking, survival, wild foods and more. The day camps for kids start as young as 4 years old and they have overnight camps for older kids. They are based in Duvall, but they offer camps in a variety of locations. They have day camps and overnight camps, too. Click here to find out more.
Everett Parks and Recreation
The parks department has a number of summer camps with outdoors activities. Thar parks department programs often fill up quickly, but many camps still have space. Options include horsemanship camp, adventure camp, a science camp on Jetty Island and camp at the animal farm. Click here to find out more.
Snohomish County YMCA offers a number of summer camps, including teen adventure camp and horse camp. Learn more here. The YMCA of Greater Seattle has two locations that offer overnight camps, one on Orcas Island and one at Case Inlet in lower Puget Sound. Click here to learn more about them.
This is the Camp Fire program’s camp, but you don’t need to be a member of Camp Fire to attend. They offer a wide range of courses, including archery, boating, horseback riding, drama, cooking and more. They offer both day camps and overnight camps. Find out more here. (Click on “day camps” or “outdoor.”)
Campers do not need to be members of Girl Scouts to go to the camps. There are camps around Western Washington, the closest is in Carnation. They offer a variety of camps. Some camps offer the classic camp experience, with a range of activities, while other focus more intensely on a specific interest. They also offer horse camp and leadership camp. Find out more here.
The Mount Baker Council of the Boy Scouts of America offers year-round events at Fire Mountain Scout Camp. Click here to learn more.
This group is based in Puyallup, but they also offer camps around the area, with shuttles to camps from even more locations. The camps are for kids as young as 5. Older kids can go on overnight camps. Topics include wild foods, wildlife rescue, survival and more. Click here to find out more.
The SV Orion
Full disclosure: The captain of this boat, Kevin Campion, is my cousin. But, even if he wasn’t family, I’d think his program is cool. And as family, I can tell you he is genetically programmed to be intrigued by the natural world. Kevin and his crew take students out for sailing and naturalist expeditions. He still has a few bunks left for his summer trips. Click here to find out the details.
CedarRoot Folk School
This school is on the Olympic Peninsula. They offer summer camps on nature studies, survival skills, boating and backpacking. Click here to learn more.
The North Cascades Institute
NCI offers a few summer camps for kids, although the deadline has passed for most. They also offer family getaways throughout the summer. They also offer many courses for adults.
Camp Horse Country
This camp in Granite Falls has a number of sessions scheduled throughout the summer. Campers learn about horses both on the ground and in the saddle. Click here to learn more.
Sail Sand Point
Sailing classes are offered at Magnuson Park, Mercer Island and Kirkland. Kids as young as 5 can take classes. Click here to learn more.