Green is In—Why Eco-Friendly Camps Are the Smart Choice

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Summer camps are a rite of passage for most children. In fact, according to the American Camp Association, more than 11 million children and adults take part in summer camps each year. Most parents want to make sure that their kids come home from camp with some valuable lessons and experiences under their belt, and we’re not talking about learning how to glue macaroni noodles to paper or how to be a champion kick ball player. Sure, most summer camps are technically “green” and are full of outdoor activities that will have your kids reconnecting with nature and playing in the dirt, but how many camps actually require kids to put on their environmental thinking caps? This summer, consider sending your precocious kids to a camp that channels their energy towards learning about Mother Earth.

Why Green is Good

  • Eco-friendly camps are an easy way to acclimate and introduce your kids to earth-friendly living.
  • Many schools incorporate green lessons throughout the year. However, with three months off from school, a lot of information can be lost. Green camps will keep their minds fresh!
  • If you’re trying to raise an eco-aware child, or maybe they’re already passionate about the environment, a green camp is your best bet. They’ll be surrounded by their peers who are curious about the same things they are. They’ll feel accepted and fit right in.
  • Green camps can inspire children to make a change and will teach them the importance of caring for the earth.
  • They’re filled with lots of fun, outdoor activities and they make caring for the environment exciting!
  • They offer a variety of activities, like learning about watershed systems, forest ecology, gardening, sustainable living, creative arts, nature studies, outdoor living and community action group building (all offered at Tanglewood Summer Camp in Maine) that aren’t available at traditional summer camps.
  • Some camps, like Tanglewood, also offer leadership development programs that focus on community building, diversity, service learning and leadership while learning about local ecology and natural history.
  • Most importantly, eco-camps teach kids to be more comfortable with the environment and make them feel like they CAN make a difference

Before you ship your kids off to camp, Jessica Deke, Director of Tanglewood Summer Camp and 4-H Camp Learning Center in Maine, suggests talking to your kids to find out what they hope to get out of a camp experience. “Most camps now have an aspect of their programming with a ‘green’ emphasis. If you can’t find a camp that is built wholly on a connection to the environment, you may find one that is doing their best to make positive efforts through small steps,” says Decke.

Check out this list of green camps that we think are top notch. If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, explore www.summercamp.org or www.choicecamps.com to find your perfect camp.

Riverbend Environmental Education Center

Gladwyne, PA 19035  |  Phone: 610-527-5234  |  http://www.riverbendeec.org/

Why it’s green:
  • Unique features including live animals, interactive Lenape Village and weekly field trips to exciting destinations.
  • 30 acres of kid-friendly forest, meadow, pond and stream habitats to explore.

Hidden Villa

26870 Moody Road  |  Los Altos, CA 94022  |  Phone: 650-949-8650  |  http://www.hiddenvilla.org/

Why it’s green:
  • Explore organic gardens.
  • Set up a recycling plant and make your own paper.

New York State Environmental Education Camps

625 Broadway  | Albany, NY 12233-4500  |  518-402-8014  |  http://www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html

Why it’s green:
  • Campers participate in a discovery group while at camp, completing six lessons ranging from group dynamics to field, forest, and pond explorations, to study of human impact.

IslandWood

4450 Blakely Avenue NE  |  Bainbridge Island, WA 98110  |  206-855-4300  |  http://islandwood.org/

Why it’s green:
  • In the “Go Green” camp learn how you can live in a way that is friendlier to the earth. Fun group and individual challenges will help you understand the impact of your actions and enable you to see what you can do to make a difference in the world!

Tanglewood 4-H Camp & Learning Center

One Tanglewood Road  |  Lincolnville, ME 04849  |  207-789-5868
http://www2.umaine.edu/tanglewood

Why it’s green:

•    You can learn about watershed systems, organic gardening, forest ecology and sustainable living.

Lightfoot Camps at Wangat Lodge

Wangat Lodge  |  1938 Chichester Dam Road  |  via Dungog 2420  |  NSW Australia
http://www.wangat.com.au

Why it’s green:
  • They help children understand the impact of our lifestyle on natural habitats, and to encourage, through a variety of practical examples, approaches for sustainable living.

When you send your little ones back to school in the fall and their teacher asks them what they did on their summer vacation, they can reply: “I helped save the planet!”

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One Comment for “Green is In—Why Eco-Friendly Camps Are the Smart Choice”

  • AmyNo Gravatar

    I am sad to see that Chewonki has not made it on this list. They have an amazing sustainability program, and do environmental, ecological and outdoors education. They really practice what they preach too!! They’ve been really active in the Maine Youth Camp Foundation’s Camp (MYCF) Sustainability Initiative and have many green buildings and education centers. My daughter has been doing their wilderness trips for several years, and I can’t imagine her not going to Chewonki! (Their website is at http://www.chewonki.org)

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