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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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Weekly Activities and Daily Rhythm

Summer 2018 will bring a few changes to the daily and weekly rhythm of Nature Day Camp.  Decisions to make changes to our schedule came from camper experiences, parent feedback, staff evaluations, and program management. Having a set schedule for the beginning and end of the day allows us to offer a short break to our staff. Our twenty-four naturalists work almost full time for ten weeks in a highly demanding (and exhausting) role. We believe that allowing them 10-15 minutes each day to step away, recharge, take a walk, or simply have a moment of quiet makes them more patient, more enthusiastic, and more engaging when they return. We believe this change improves our program rather than takes away from it. (Take a close look at the schedule below - those unstructured times are still there...)

A balanced schedule also caters to children who feel more at home showing up to a new place and knowing what's going to happen when they arrive. We've deliberately made the mornings similar each day to accommodate campers who thrive in a routine. Building the unstructured time into the camp day allows children to know what's coming, and when - even though what might transpire in that unstructured time will change depending on the children in the group, the staff leading the group, the nature theme, and the location of the camp. 

Each day of Nature Day Camp starts and ends as one group with all ages together. About half the day is structured with nature-themed games, skits, crafts, scavenger hunts, and science investigations. The other half of the day is spent playing, hiking, and exploring in small traveling groups, divided by age. Depending on the location of camp and how many total campers can register, each week will have anywhere from three to six traveling groups. Our youngest full-day campers are the "Flickers" (ages 4½-6 at Mt Tabor, ages 5-7 at smaller locations) and our next youngest are the "Hawks" (ages 6-8 at Mt Tabor, ages 7-9 at smaller locations).  Our older campers are divided into the "Ospreys" (ages 8-10) and the "Ravens" (ages 10-12). This summer we will also be offering six weeks of True Nature Camps at various locations, which focus on nature connection, bushcraft skills, cooperative games, and stealth movement. Read more about True Nature Summer Camps HERE.

Friends or siblings who want to attend camp together must sign up for the same traveling group. 

Here's what you can expect each week - take note that the all-camp activities will change based on the weekly theme! For more information on the nature themes for 2018, please CLICK HERE! (Note - this schedule does not apply to Rockin Robins Nature Camps or True Nature Summer Camp.)

  MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY
  Concept Focus: Community Concept Focus:
Diversity
Concept Focus:
Adaptations
Concept Focus:
Interdependence
Concept Focus:
Cycles and Change
8:45am Camper Check-in
9:00am Welcome Circle
9:30am Camp Expectation Skits
All-camp “Get to Know Each Other” Games   
Rotation 1 Extended Adventures –Campers hear the options and choose their fave! (Mixed age) Theme-based Nature Crafts All-camp Theme Activity
10:00am Rotation 2 GET INTO TRAVELING
GROUPS
Bathrooms
Snack
Unstructured Time
Hiking
Games
Exploring
Nature Play
(Campers help choose the plan!)  
10:30am GET INTO TRAVELING
GROUPS
Bathrooms
Snack
Unstructured Time
Hiking
Games
Exploring
Nature Play
(Campers help choose the plan!)
Rotation 3 GET INTO TRAVELING
GROUPS
Bathrooms
Snack
Unstructured Time
Hiking
Games
Exploring
Nature Play
(Campers help choose the plan!)
10:45am GET INTO TRAVELING
GROUPS
Bathrooms
Snack
Unstructured Time
Hiking
Games
Exploring
Nature Play
(Campers help choose the plan!)
11:00am GET INTO TRAVELING
GROUPS
Bathrooms
Snack
Unstructured Time
Hiking
Games
Exploring
Nature Play
(Campers help choose the plan!)
1:30pm All-Camp Extreme Scavenger Hunt
2:00pm Theme Introduction Skit + All-camp Theme Game
2:30pm All-camp Songs, Chants, and Stories All-camp Songs, Chants, and Stories All-camp Songs, Chants, and Stories All-camp Songs, Chants, and Stories
2:45pm All-camp Songs, Chants, and Stories
3:00pm
3:15pm All-camp Closing Circle
3:30pm Camper Sign-out