Indianapolis Kids Camps
Year Round. Semester, Monthly and Drop-in Registration available.
Our camps are right in the heart of Indianapolis, Indiana in Rocky Ripple, just near Butler University. We offer camps year-round with semester, monthly and drop-in registration options for children ages 4+.
Types of Camps
- Naturalist Routines
- Animal Tracking
- Primitive Shelter
- Natural Hazards and Survival
- Fire by Friction
- Advanced Bird Language
- Stalking & Camouflage
- Physical Fitness
- Aid-less Navigation
- Sensory Awareness
- Edible and Medicinal Plant dentification
- Community Building
Our kids and teen programs offer unique and comprehensive outdoor learning experiences. Through games, stories, adventure hikes and exercises, children are brought into a completely new relationship with their environment.
Freedom to wander and explore our bioregion with master naturalists as guides provides an ideal backdrop for discovery in nature. Lesson plans are woven into the background of each day, learning key nature and survival skills through guided exploration, games, teamwork and mentoring. They will come home tired, dirty (yep) and filled with stories and enthusiasm that will inspire the entire family.
What To Bring:
- Suitable clothes and shoes for inclement weather
- Water container
- Sun Screen
- Lunch (for day camps)
- Wilderness Journal (if applicable)
The process of modernization could be summed up as an increase in technological complexity and a decrease in nature connection. The net result for the individual is imbalance mentally, physically and emotionally and imbalance culturally through societal discord. The benefits of even a short walk in the woods are well documented, the benefits of adapting quality nature connection routines is even greater and the benefits of community supported and facilitated nature based rights of passage are greater still. We started White Pine to help individuals and families. We are a part of a cultural evolution in understanding health.
Our programs have proven very effective for adults with addiction and trauma and children with learning needs. However we are not clinical therapists. If you or your child is suffering from severe depression or suicidal thoughts we highly recommend some of the incredible resources in the wilderness therapy movement like second-nature.com or openskywilderness.com. Though some of our staff have years of experience in comprehensive wilderness therapy, White Pine is not equipped to treat or manage severe mental illness.
Are You a School or Group interested in custom programs?
Camps, Classes & Workshops for Kids and Teens
Every single camp, class and workshop is a unique experience. We typically focus on one element of outdoor studies and incorporate many educational games and methods. Our primary teacher is discovery and their own curiosity. We leave plenty of time for the students to explore their interests and spend energy in play. The theme of each class is based on the season, weather, and known interests of the students. Each class could cover any or a combination of the following components:
It’s never too early to learn the core routines of a naturalist. We teach children techniques they can practice in nature observation, awareness, and study. From learning to use field guides to finding their “sit spot” and taking daily notes in a personal journal, there are many activities that kids can take home and practice every day to satisfy their endless curiosity and deepen their relationship with nature.
Day by day, kids will learn and practice all primary aspects of wilderness survival. They will learn how to forage, harvest, and build tools as they begin their personal journey towards accomplishing milestone survival skill activities such as firemaking and shelter building. In the process they will explore the endless mysteries of our bioregion, play games, listen to stories and make friends.
At White Pine there is a lot of free play and plenty of games that help teach them about nature and themselves. We put a big focus in helping them incorporate and engage their senses in the full field of awareness. Games are an integral part of the mentoring and educational approach of the school, incorporating techniques used by traditional cultures from around the world.
Ethan Runnels Scholarship
The funds you contribute will be used in a scholarship created in Ethan’s name, to allow financially disadvantaged children to attend Youth/Teen Camps at White Pine Wilderness Academy. There is more information about the scholarship here.
Our Educational Model
Nature as our Classroom
Through targeted games, stories and skills children are brought into a completely new relationship with their environment. With nature as our classroom we teach in the tradition of the ‘invisible school’.
We mentor our youth in complex aboriginal technologies like tracking, trapping, wild foraging, herbalism, bird language and movement. Freedom to wander and explore with master naturalists as guides provides an ideal mentoring environment. Our teaching style is based on the ancient techniques of traditional cultures the world over. Through the process of inspiration, experimentation, questioning and reflecting, students discover their gifts and ‘medicine’. When these gifts are celebrated by our community the lineage of nature connection is maintained.
Connecting with our Environment
Our mission at White Pine Wilderness Academy is to address “Nature Deficit Disorder.” (Richard Louv) Through immersion into our curriculum of the sacred order students develop empowering relationships with Fire, Shelter, Water and Food. With the support of our peers and community we are able to restore our lost relationship with nature.
We believe it is in our DNA to develop our problem solving abilities, our physical, emotional and mental abilities in the classroom of our environment.