Let’s get Into the Alaskan Woods this summer 2021 and explore the gift of nature.
Whoa, are we really back in business?! YES! Yes we are! Three months ago we thought we may have lost ITWAK for good — in spite of everything– which makes THIS moment all the sweeter! We are very happy to be able to re-open for after school programs starting Feb. 22 and dive into the SUMMER 2021 season with a whole new array of summer camp offerings.
Before further ado, we want to express our thanks and gratitude for all the kind emails and words of encouragement. We love what we do, and we love collaborating with kids and parents in our local, wild, beautiful, outdoor spaces to teach life-long outdoor safety skills and watch kids fall in love with nature. Words cannot truly express our happiness at being a part of such a wonderful community. Thank you.
* offering weekly summer camp sessions (available from May 24 to August 23).
*registration open for 10 kids/week. Payment due in full at registration.
*If a week fills, we will create a waitlist for up to 10 more participants. Secure a spot on the waitlist with a refundable 25% deposit (minus 5% card processing fee).
*We are now requiring a $150 annual admin fee per family in order to participate in ITWAK programs. This fee helps with gear, tools/equipment, and general administration costs. You can view this and other updates to our general policy and liability waiver form here.
*summer camps are open for ages 7-12 only (If you are interested in a group for little explorers in the preschool ages of 4-6, we are working on a waitlist for this. The offerings for this group would be afternoon half-days. If there is enough interest, then we will be able to move forward.)
Summer Camps 2021
Tentative Details (subject to change based on trail conditions, environmental, wildlife, or other extenuating factors):
Location — We are alternating between two locations:
1. Hillside Park (drop off and pick up at the Hillside Park Parking Lot on Abbott rd.)
2. Kincaid Park (drop off and pick up at one of three parking lots: Jodhpur Parking Lot, Stadium Parking Lot, and Raspberry Parking Lot, varies by week/day, we will communicate details ahead of time).
Times: 9:00am to 5:30pm
Themes/Gear: TBA (look for weekly themes to be announced in April/May. We will have bike club days, art days, and theater in the woods days, all incorporated into the weekly learning theme.)
Tentative Weekly Plan:
“Come to camp ready, go home tired and muddy, fall asleep with a full belly and a big smile…wake up and repeat!”
Mondays — Overview/Games, Weekly theme skills and topics intro.
Tuesdays — Bike day – pre-ride, re-ride, skills workshop, bike maintenance
Wednesdays — Art in the Woods
Thursdays — Bike day – free ride, bike maintenance
Fridays — “Theater in the Woods” – based on week/theme/interests
Through the above structure, we teach STEM and outdoor safety skills topics/themes. Generally, each week has a different topic/learning goal and curriculum, but we always include: bear & moose safety, food, water, and gear management, kindness, safety and respect (our big three), and environmental advocacy mindset (leave no trace and responsible usership of natural spaces).*
Tentative Summer Offerings:
Week 1: May 24-28 at Hillside Park
Week 2. June 1-4 at Kincaid Park
Week 3: June 7-11 at Hillside Park
Week 4. June 14-18 at Kincaid Park
Week 5: June 12-25 at Hillside Park
Week 6. June 28 – July 2 at Kincaid Park
Week 7: July 5-9 at Hillside Park
Week 8. July 12-16 at Kincaid Park
Week 10: July 19-23 at Hillside Park
Week 11. July 26-30 at Kincaid Park
Week 12: August 2-6 at Hillside Park
Week 13. August 9-13 at Kincaid Park
Week 14: August 16-20 at Hillside Park
In-Service Adventure Day 1: August 23 at Kincaid Park
*We still have some fine-tuning details to work out and have not set our curriculum and locations in stone. The general break-down is that we have weekly themes and learning goals. While we practice some things every day of every week, like bear & moose safety and environmental stewardship (leave no trace) concepts, some weeks will be more specifically focused, like how to go backpacking/camping, water safety (both recreating and drinking water!), foraging, and much more. Note: We may not publish these themes until May, and as always, the learning theme for each week as well as drop off and pick up locations are subject to change based on environmental, wildlife, and other extenuating factors. After all, this still feels like 2020 in so many ways. We need to remain open and adaptable to this ever-evolving situation.
It feels like starting over because in many ways it is. While we are scaling back in a big way and getting back to basics, we are also entering our third year of operating which means that we have more established programming and curriculum, have smoother administrative set ups and registration processes, and have a very solid foundation from which to adapt and grow our original mission: getting kids outdoors to learn outdoor safety skills and to nurture a deep love and sense of stewardship of our earth’s natural spaces.
With a rapidly changing global climate, our kids today must become adults who advocate on some level for the protection of our planet. They will face the onerous task of tackling problems caused by warming temperatures, deforestation, overpopulation, mass-extinction, and our most important natural resources: clean air and safe drinking water. Many of these problems are already pushing, or have pushed, ecosystems beyond the breaking point both here in Alaska and around the world, causing a chain-reaction of problems ranging from social justice, violence, populations seeking refuge, economic impact and poverty, pollution, and health.
While these are all sobering problems to solve, we are optimistic that we humans CAN and MUST work together to turn it around. We started Into the Woods Alaska because we recognize that kids have the power to change the world, and any change we want to see happen starts with our youth. Kids that spend a childhood playing in the woods will become adults who understand that healthy natural spaces are paramount in the lives of a thriving community.
Our vision for the future: to get as many kids outdoors as possible, to give youth a platform from which the adult world will listen, to effect policy change and a change in our consumption culture. This is all done through engaging, fun summers and after school programs spent playing in the woods and learning safety skills that will last them a lifetime.
The images above are from a bike packing trip we did with the boys last fall. We rallied, dragged, and limped our bikes over 22 plus miles of rough, heart-wrenchingly beautiful terrain. Would I do it again? Yes, but maybe over 8 days rather than 2. Maybe with a fly-fishing rod as well. It was both too many miles and too much beauty for too short a time. The swans at bench lake with the mountains reflected in its still waters, the waterfall at the gorge, the wolves and their haunting howls at night, the hawks and falcons circling, the earth in her autumn beauty, the feeling as though the world around you were settling in to a long night’s sleep, the frost at night and sunny, cool days. The boys plodding along, hiking their bikes up rocky hills and rallying down descents. It was an epic journey and one I hope that everyone has a chance to do at least once in their life. This is why we love what we do — we love being in nature and sharing that love with others, and we want our beautiful, wild spaces to stay that way forever.
However you get into the woods with us, thank you for being a part of our big extended family. We can’t wait to see you again and explore the gift of nature with you and your family.
We wish you all the best of health and happiness this 2021.
Meet you in the woods,
Kristina & Dan