For Email Newsletters you can trust

Course Catalog

Course Catalog

Pioneer Day Camps

Camp Description

This theme is excellent for creative kids who can also focus on verbal instruction as well as work with their hands, delving into the history of pioneers as well as re-enacting their discoveries. It is our first year offering this theme for youth, so we recommend choosing a different theme if your child has unique learning needs where we can better integrate them into other time-tested curriculum choices.

Our pioneer camp is inspired not just by the American Pioneers who traveled here over the Oregon Trail from the east, but also by immigrants who traveled over the Pacific Ocean from the west, all landing on shores where the Coast Salish people had lived since migrating here themselves over the land bridge from Asia ten millenia prior.

Gold Panning: Chinese miners were a critical part of settlement in our area, and persevered despite oppression during times of economic downturn. Inspired by these miners and the throngs of Gold Rush immigrants from the east, our expert gold-panners will train campers how to search out and pan for precious metals.

Hunting, Fishing & Gathering: Native American residents of the area were stripped of traditional food sources in the 1800s when immigrants plowed their park-like oak prairies which had been maintained by controlled burning over the millennia.  To honor the traditional root crops, acorns, fish and game held so dear in our area, we will teach campers how to process acorns into flour, craft fishhooks, make at-latls which were ancient super-efficient hunting tools and also understand more of the Coast Salish culture.

Logging & Fur Trading: Although the Spanish first explored the coast and named various features we still use today, their descendants settled primarily to the south.  Consequently, the first non-Indians to stay in our area were Hudson Bay fur traders from eastern Canada. That all changed when American Pioneers started arriving in droves over the Oregon Trail in the 1850s. We will honor their work by learning to honorably harvest wood, making bowls and utensils with traditional methods like hot-coal burning, and natural sandstone scraping. We’ll also transform animal hides into parfleche and make leather through traditional tanning.

Camp Itinerary

All itineraries are subject to some amount of change based upon location, season, instructor preference, and natural resource availability.

Monday:  Preparing for the Adventure

Morning Session: Introductions, setting the scene, food preparation (making hard tack and jerky or salt pork, etc.)
Lunchtime: Archery, Awareness Games, Swimming/Wading
Afternoon Session: Planning provisions, packing the wagons

Tuesday:  Survival on the Oregon Trail

Morning Session:  Survival (shelter, water, fire, food), obstacle course, overcoming hardships
Lunchtime: Archery, Awareness Games, Swimming/Wading
Afternoon Session:  Old time music & instruments, making feather pens for journaling, trail games

Wednesday: Life on the Oregon Trail

Morning Session:  Chores, animal care, clothing and equipment maintenance, rope-making
Lunchtime: Archery, Awareness Games, Swimming/Wading
Afternoon Session:  Foraging, trail meals and pioneer medicine

Thursday: Honoring the First People

Morning Session: History, language, hunting and gathering
Lunchtime: Archery, Awareness Games, Swimming/Wading
Afternoon Session: Trading, crafts and games

Friday:  The Forty-Niners and the Search for Gold

Morning Session: History, panning for gold, fool’s gold
Lunchtime: Archery, Awareness Games, Swimming/Wading
Afternoon Session: TBA

Locations featuring the Pioneer Day Camp: Click on the location and dates of your choice below to register and for FAQs

June 26-30, 2017 Tacoma-Puyallup Options: Choose from the Wilderness Skills Sampler or the new Ezra Meeker Pioneer Camp with no prerequisite, or Advanced Nature & Survival for returning campers only at Clark’s Creek Park in Puyallup with extended care and Tacoma Transportation options, plus also consider our special series of family classes talking place simultaneously this week.

August 14-18, 2017 Lake Sammamish Week 4: Choose from Wild Cooking & Herbology and the new Ethnic American Pioneer with no prerequisites, or Advanced Wilderness Survival for graduates of two previous camps with at least one being the Wilderness Skills Sampler or Wilderness Survival Craft.

Click any of the dates or locations above for FAQs and to register your child, taking advantage of early registration discounts now.