All posts by Farmer Buzz

2017 Earth Camp Registration Now Available

We have firmed up dates and personnel and are now open for registration.  We are so delighted to have Jamie Malone return as Earth Camp Director for 2017.  This promises to be one of the best Earth Camp sessions ever!

There are only three weeks this year, so please register early to secure your spot.  Children will be enrolled on a first come, first served basis, with priority assigned to returning campers and alumni of Wildflowers Nature School.  A waiting list will be kept for additional enrollment, following same priority.

Week 2 has been designated as “Alumni Week”.  We are encouraging alumni of Wildflowers Nature School Preschool to enroll in that week, and registration priority will be given to them during that week.

2017 Earth Camp welcomes back Jamie Malone as Director

We are so pleased to welcome back Jamie Malone as Director of Earth Camp this year! This will be another exciting summer of Earth Camp! We are currently deciding on dates, and will announce them soon. Sorry for the late notice, but with the delay we were able to put together a staff that will certainly make this one of the best years ever for Earth Camp.

Registration will be available soon. The web-site will be updated first, then we will send out an email to announce dates and registration.  Register early to assure your spot.

We Look forward to seeing all of you again this summer!

“Phoenix Rising” week for ages 8-14

This year we are introducing older children and early teens to the experience of an overnight camp, with 2 regular days of camp & the other 3 days living on the land here (2 nights). Ages 8-14 will be treated to an amazing week inspired by the preparation for Rites of Passage that is done in many countries with healthier cultures around transitions than ours. I’m excited about the research we’re doing on this special age and many of the customs in other lands.  I’ve consulted Masai personally and researched other cultures about how they provide for growth of children this age.  These 2 inspiring Masai from Kenya told me that they, like many other cultures we’ve studied, have a Rite of Passage for children anywhere between the ages of 8-14.  At one point, she said to bring the kids to Africa and they will share the experience their kids get with them.  Start saving because I’m starting to dream of Summer 2018 taking a group of families to Kenya!

The kids here at Earth Camp’s new “Phoenix Rising” week will be improving their skills in caring for themselves & others in wild situations (such as learning to make spears or bows & arrows, build shelters & fire by friction) and be entrusted with responsibility.  Whether the child is just starting to get bigger responsibilities at home & school, or peer relationships are starting to trump family, or whether they’re experiencing pre-pubescent changes, or in that hard time of early teens, they’re in a time in life of reinvention.  “Phoenix Rising”.  It’s our hope that this week will bring their core and strength a beautiful new self-perspective, empowering them to grow with gratitude, resiliency, and respect.  The week will end culminating in a ceremony at the end of the week.  We’ll have a special staff that week of 2 mentors with experience in this arena, Rebecca and Vinnie.  (See bios).  Buzz & I will be present in some way every day & night plus our director Spinnerets will be there in late afternoons & evenings on the 2 overnights.  So don’t worry, we’ll have probably 4 or 5 of us (for 14 kids) around at bedtime for extra attention at that magic hour for kids. We have almost 5 acres of land that borders on open space with a creek, woods, and meadows, so it’s a good site for them to learn camping under the stars, too.

I know if you have an 8 year old you’re thinking “What?  Rites of Passage?  He’s just a kid!”  Of course he/she is & nature is the best place to keep the “kid” in kids.  But, don’t blink.  I was surprised to find the Masai lump the 8’s in with the 14’s, too.  But the reality is that many 9 year olds and most 10 year olds (girls especially) these days start experiencing changes.  The important part of preserving childhood is that 1) they have abundant opportunities and support in playing like a child well into their teens, 2) they have opportunities, activities, conversations, & support that meet them right where they’re at for any given moment. Kids are both child & tween, and then child & teen, for many years.

P.S. Careful how you present this to your kids.  “Rites of Passage” can be concerning for kids in our culture not accustomed to it.  Some may want to avoid the idea, with visions of teary challenges or talking about puberty, etc. that today’s kids might conjure in their heads at the thought of a focus on “Rites of Passage” (no, neither of those are planned).  In the end, this week of camp is just a “Big Kids to Early Teens” week, with appropriate challenges and experiences to celebrate where they’re at.

New: Sliding Scale

Like many other local camps, we’ve switched to a sliding scale camp fee.  It breaks my heart every year knowing that there are kids whose families can’t afford camp.  I have in the handbook that I offer partial worktrades, but many don’t even get that far, assuming they can only afford those cheap camps with 19 year old counselors, basically daycare.  Yet if all the other families just pitched in a little extra, we could, in effect, create basically a partial scholarship for families on the fence about a quality nature camp.  If we get over a certain figure we’ve outlined, we’ll allocate the remainder to true scholarships to further help create opportunities for kids to experience the nature connection of Earth Camp. An added benefit for everyone is that I believe it will increase the diversity here.  If we get a decent scholarship fund, we’ll be able to reach out to new families and communities more.  I encourage you to open your heart and give a little extra, sharing the gift of nature connection with kids who might not have had much experience even playing in natural spaces.

All that said, please don’t turn away from Earth Camp for any guilt of not “paying enough”.  You have my trust and support that everyone will just do what’s right for their family.  If you want guidelines, suggestions, or have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us.  It’s all confidential, of course.

With much gratitude,

Bev & Buzz


LOTS NEW.  For tonight, a quick note about staff changes.

I’m sorry the camp info’s coming out a bit late this year, but I wanted to find the very best staff, continuing the high quality Earth Camp’s known for.  Sunshine (Jamie Malone), long-time director, is taking the summer to just be with her 4 kids & hubby, camping a month in Colorado, etc.  We’ll sure miss her sunshine here at camp. She leaves some hard shoes to fill.  Vanessa, original founder of Earth Camp, was too good to be true, back after many years, gracing us with her wisdom and cheer for a few weeks last year.  She’s back to being a mom of her 3 year old & her great career as a nature-based therapist (she’s an MFT).

My search paid off & once again, Earth Camp has some of the highest quality staff you’ll find.  Go to the Bios page by Saturday night to read about our new awesome mentors and directors.  They all have bachelor’s degrees or higher.  They learned their skills and inspiration from people associated with Wilderness Awareness School, Weaving Earth, the Regenerative Design Institute, Wilderness Torah, Infinite Wild Immersion, & Second Nature.   Buzz & I will be in & out as usual, playing guitar & singing & showing the kids cool stuff and leading awesome activities on occasion.  But we’ll be there every day at our new exciting camp for older kids (see the next blog for more info!).

I can hardly wait to tell you about each of our new staff of 4 outstanding mentors.  Those bios should be up on the website, along with all the important info like dates & rates & registration forms, tomorrow.  New blogs to come on our new sliding scale and our new camp for ages 8-14, “Rising Phoenix“, which will include overnights!

Trying to always be in a state of gratitude,


Earth Camp 2015 Dates Announced

Registration is now open for Earth Camp 2015.   We are doing something a little special and different this year:  There will be 4 weeks of camp, and each week will have a different mix of ages.

The 4 weeks of camp are:

Week 1 – June 22-26 (ages 7-12)
Week 2 – June 29 – July 3 (ages 3-10)
Week 3 – August 3-7 (ages 5-12)
Week 4 – August 17-21 (ages 3-7) and (ages 9-16 for counselors in training)

We are looking forward to seeing the returning campers, and meeting new ones!

Register early to ensure your space.  We filled up early last year.

Jamie (aka “Sunshine”) returns in 2015 as Earth Camp Director

We are thrilled to have Jamie Malone return as Earth Camp Director for 2015!  As the 1st Earth Camp Director here at Wildflowers School,  many of you may remember camp with Jamie at the helm.  She’s kept a presence in some format in the years since, but now she’s back, running all the camps this year.  Her enthusiasm & joy are infectious to children and all around her.  All campers choose a nature name here & Jamie very aptly is “Sunshine”.   She has so many great ideas for camp, some new and some tried & true.  I don’t know how she packs all the fun into a day that she does.  Jamie worked camps for many years before she became a teacher & a busy mom.  She also used to lead teen groups in the wilderness for months without even a match.  Her skills as a leader, though, are innate, always pro-active in creating a safe, harmonious, & fun time for everyone.  Don’t miss this great opportunity to have your child with Sunshine this summer!

Join us in welcoming Jamie back to Earth Camp for 2015!

On “Themes”

People often ask if we have weekly themes. Themes make sense for camps that run for 8 or 12 weeks, attempting some differentiation as the summer winds on. But we like to keep things small, with only 3 weeks and only 14 kids per week.  With such a small group, we are able to cater somewhat to the needs of the children that week. Some groups are all about the adventure, wanting to stalk ducks or build tracking boxes or climb in the trees on belay. Others are very interested in the crafts and we’ll learn cordage, build looms to weave grass mats, etc. We might have a week with young imaginative children and keep focused on “solving mysteries” as we follow wonder, or make fairy houses in the woods. Some kids love the gardens, some love the chickens, some love the creek. We have a routine, a schedule and a plan, but we can look a week ahead when we set up that plan to see who the kids are going to be.  It’s essential in this over-programmed life children lead to experience some of what summer used to be, too, playing in the creek and building mud castles.

Instead of weekly themes, we’ll build daily themes so that everyone gets the whole experience of Earth Camp. Some possible themes are: adventure, animals, plants, earth, air, fire, water, shelter, food, energy, connection, web of life, and primitive skills. Within our themes, our days are filled with garden projects, farm animals, wild plant and animal hikes, tracking, bird language, nature wanders, nature journals, fire making and other primitive skills, homesteading skills, & more.

With our “Special Guests” we feature a couple of times a week, our “Elder Storytime”, our sense of adventure and love of new activities, and the reality of time fitting it all into a short 3 weeks, every week is a little different. For more info, don’t hesitate to ask us. Keep checking this blog, too, as we’ll occasionally update you as we schedule our guests & activities, too.