July 31 – Aug 4, 2023 Overnight Youth Camp at Lake Sammamish for ages 10-16 with prerequisite of a wildlife day camp, or two other previous day camps or one prior overnight camp with us.
Why, Hello There
Learning How to Plaster-Cast Wolf Tracks
Camper Shows Off Her Wolf Track Plaster-Cast
Amazing Find! Outlines of Muddy Paw Prints on Rail Road Tracks
Looking at Bear Claw Marks on an Overturned Log
Listening to Charles Tell a Story in the Shade
Abandoned Bird's Nest
Patrick Pointing out Bear Dig
Bear Claw Marks
Practicing "Deer Ears"
Anxious Ground Squirrel
During the day, your overnight camp group will work in tandem with our Advanced Animal Tracking day camp, and then stay overnights to discover sign of bears, bobcats, coyotes, owls and so many more animals which come out in the evenings and early mornings. Wildlife reveals itself to those who can read their stories in the earth, their size, health, emotions, history and intentions. As part of a select group of overnight animal trackers, you’ll learn the skills of the wildlife conservationist while also learning to harness the eyes of an owl, ears of a deer, nose of a bear, and hands of a raccoon.
It’s not a stretch to say you’ll become a real animal detective as you follow clues, and solve mysteries that go unnoticed by the general public. Learn secrets to finding animals that few people understand, especially the language of the birds which point out where animals are moving, and how to follow tracks that animals leave behind. In order to truly understand the animals we hope to observe, we must adopt their behaviors and embrace their customs. You’ll learn to find deer lays, bear dens, bobcat perches, cougar traps, coyote rendezvous sites hidden to residents of close-by neighborhoods surrounding Lake Sammamish.
After this week, you will have joined an elite group of animal trackers, elevating your senses to new heights, using your newly found prowess to successfully search for animals, and gaining a deep understanding of the relationships between predators and prey.
Camp Goals & Skills Covered
The goals of this camp session are to bring you closer to the natural world, provide you with a better understanding of its intricate relationships, blending into nature as well as social circles, using your position to influence positive change in the world. Skills covered during this camp session include, but are not limited to:
- Sensory Awareness, Navigation & Lostproofing
- Understanding Birds and Their Voices
- Understanding Mammals and their Tracks
- Nature Journaling & Wildlife Sketching
- Intuition, Purpose, Wits & Courage
- Stealth, Camouflage & Silent Communication
- Morals, Teamwork & Self-Sacrifice for the benefit of others
- Understanding Animal Dependence on Plants, Fish, Insects, Beetles, Arachnids, Anthropods, Reptiles & Amphibians
Ages & Prerequisites
This camp is designed for ages 10-16 with one of the following prerequisites: completion of our Wildlife Search & Rescue day camp or family wildlife workshop earlier this summer, or at least two of our day camps or one overnight camp in the past such as the Out-of-this-World Wilderness Camp earlier this summer. Older teens may also attend if accepted into our IIT Youth Mentoring Program.
Notes: We launched this overnight camp theme in 1998 and found that it’s excellent for exploratory and academic learners, but not recommended for those on the autism spectrum, as the itinerary diverges daily, and sometimes hourly, based on wildlife “finds” and other learning opportunities. Please call us at 425-248-0253 ex. 1 to discuss further.
Pick-Up & Drop-Off Times, Camp Schedule & Directions
Please arrive between 8:30-8:45 am on Monday morning, and pick-up between 4:00-4:15 pm on Friday, at the Lake Sammamish Hans Jensen Group Camp, 4460 East Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE, Issaquah WA 98029. The land is managed by the state park but not generally open to the public. Look for the hard-to-spot gravel driveway ACROSS THE STREET from the East Lake Sammamish BOAT LAUNCH – by the park ranger’s house – NOT THE MAIN PARK ENTRANCE.
7:00-8:00 Wake-Up & Help Make Breakfast (Tues-Fri)
8:00-9:00 Breakfast & Clean-Up (Tues-Fri)
9:00-9:30 Songs, Stories, Stretches & Late Check-Ins (Mon-Fri)
9:30-12:00 Morning Lessons with snack break at 10:45 (Mon-Fri)
12:00-1:00 Lunch & Games (Mon-Fri)
1:00-3:00 Afternoon Lessons with water break at 2:00 (Mon-Fri)
3:00-4:00 Camp Crafts, Creek Time & Berry Picking (Mon-Fri)
4:00-5:00 Take Turns Making Dinner, Practicing Archery & Studying Wildlife (Mon-Thu)
5:00-6:00 Dinnerime (Mon-Thu)
6:00-8:00 Evening Lessons & Field Trips (Mon-Thu)
8:00-9:00 Campfire Songs, Stories & S’mores (Mon-Thu)
Camp Directors Ansley Roberts & Matt Hale are on site all week with Wolf Camp founders Kim & Chris Chisholm teaching groups and directing professionally-trained staff instructors at our hallmark 6-1 average student-teacher ratio that’s critical for safe and profound outdoor experiences. Read our FAQ’s for more details and check out camp testimonials dating all the way back to 1997.
Hygiene protocols will remain the same as last year as long as there is still no evidence of Covid transmission in the outdoors with plenty of room to spread out. To start each day, campers must pass our health screening before being allowed to participate in camp, and we still require all campers to carry masks in backpacks. If there are reports of group participants who came in contact with an infection, we require participants of that group to wear masks when lined up or seated less than 3-6 feet from others. As before the pandemic, we will continue requiring hand sanitizing whenever sharing tools and materials, before entering toilets, and we supervise proper hand washing after campers exit toilet facilities – doors left open between uses to ensure ventilation.
Full vaccinations are strongly encouraged – we follow the scientific consensus – with tetanus shot (usually given as part of the normal Tdap vaccine series) considered the most important in the field of outdoor education. Otherwise, we know that due to our 100% outdoor setting, combined with health screenings, contact tracing, supervised hand washing, bathroom ventilation, mask use when exposure has been reported in a group, and individual/family style tenting at overnight camps, the risk of disease transmission has been negligible at Wolf Camp, so other vaccination records are not required.
Please click here for full details on our health and safety protocols during the pandemic era, see the latest CDC summer camp guidelines, and the state’s pandemic era guidelines for day camps (2021-22 pdf will be updated if/when 2023 guidance is issued).
Tuition for this camp week is $985 including all meals and most camping gear, although participants are encouraged to bring their own pillow, sleeping bags, pads, and tent if they have them already. We accommodate almost all food restrictions (our staff has many) but you may want to send along food for campers who are picky. Tuition includes choice of orienteering compass, recommended field guide, firesteel and other outdoor essentials depending on number of camps attended, age and availability.
Discounts are available including $10 off per additional week you attend this summer, and $10 off per additional family member attending this summer. For those who are on a tight budget, we have plenty of tents, sleeping bags, pads and other gear on our recommended packing list for overnight camps. Or click here to apply for financial aid from the Max Davis Scholarship fund administered by the Conservation College.
STEP 1 – Reserve your spots in camp by making $100 deposits for day camps, or $200 deposits for overnight camps via one of the following methods:
• Zelle to “email@example.com” with a note including camper names and ages, camp dates and theme, plus your EMAIL & PHONE since Zelle doesn’t automatically share that with us;
• Or call us between 9am-9pm at 425-248-0253 ex 1 or ex 2 with a credit card to register over the phone;
• Or use the PayPal system appearing below;
STEP 2 – If this is your camper’s first year with us, complete our once-in-a-lifetime Registration Form within one week of making your deposit, otherwise we will have to refund you and give your spot(s) to others. You can use our Microsoft Word or PDF registration form, or make your own copy of our Google Doc form, or choose our Bilingual Chinese-English Registration Form PDF / Word Doc – one per new participant. We’ll need you to email it back to us for review within one week to maintain your reservation. Again, skip this step if your camper has attended anything with us in the past.
STEP 3 – Pay balance before or during your summer camp weeks. We’ll email you an invoice this spring with camp prep info and balance payment options (Zelle, PayPal, Check, Credit Card) that can be done in advance or during your first camp week. All payments are non-refundable unless we refuse your registration. However, if you cancel (at any time for any reason is fine) we will save your payments as credit for you to use in future years, or you can choose to have us move the funds into our scholarship account if you prefer. The best practice is to make the minimum deposits to register, and then wait to pay the remaining balances during camp via Zelle to “firstname.lastname@example.org” saving us time and transaction fees, or you can PayPal us at that same email address, or give us a check or have us run a credit card on site.
Or email us to be put on our list for this program in the future. We always keep your information absolutely private, and will never share it.
Refund Policy: Payments are not refundable unless we don’t accept your application. If you cancel for any reason, you may receive a full credit good through the following calendar year on appropriate and available programs listed on our schedule, although an additional deposit may be needed to secure your spot in the future program. If a program you sign up for is canceled and not rescheduled at a time you can attend, you may receive a full refund except in cases of natural (weather, geologic, wildfire, etc) disasters, grid failures, epidemics, government shutdowns, conflicts or curfews, or other unforeseen emergencies making it unsafe for staff and/or attendees to reach or use program locations, in which case all payments made will be held by us without expiration date for your future use in appropriate/available programs of your choice. Reasons include the expenditure of funds (property rentals, advertising, materials, admin staff time, etc.) long before programs take place, i.e. deposits make it feasible for Wolf Camp to schedule programs in the first place, but our mutually understood agreement is that Wolf Camp will run the program at the safest available time in the future. Finally, no refund, nor credit, is given if a participant is a no-show without prior notice, or asked to leave a program for inappropriateness as determined by our kids, youth and adult agreements for participation.
Camp Preparation: Agreements, Packing List and FAQ’s
Agreements for Participation in Camp
Recommended Packing List for Overnight Camps at Lake Sammamish
Homesickness Protocol & Prevention
Health & Safety in the Pandemic Era
Other FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions
Most Asked Question: What are bathroom and sleeping arrangements like? Bathrooms are primitive, and we train campers in wilderness hygiene and private outdoor bathing methods as part of their learning experience. We provide camping tents, and campers may have (or bring) their own, or share one with others, depending on pandemic protocols. We recommend you bring your own pillow, sleeping bag and foam pad, although we have extras if needed. Click on packing list above for more details.
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