Summer Camps for ages 7-9
Young Alaskan Outdoor Explorers 2023
A fun age group to build foundations in outdoor leadership, skills, and safety. Scroll down to see our summer camp themes, dates, and more information.
Young Outdoor Explorers 2023 Summer Camps
Summer Camp Multiple-Booking Discounts: Click on “more info” next to each week’s booking link to learn about discounts for multiple weekly bookings.
Our 2023 summer camp learning themes and age group offerings:
Wilderness Safety and Outdoor Science
What do we do at Summer Camp?
Each summer camp week is designed to teach wilderness safety skills and knowledge, sustainable and safe outdoor recreation skills, and empower youth to develop confidence, self-reliance, build friendships, and be leaders. Our four rotating summer camp themes provide context within which youth learn these essential foundations of being an outdoor explorer in Alaska.
Each program is specifically scaffolded to age-appropriate learning and developmental skills sets, and the focus is to learn outdoor skills and science through play, fun, positive social interactions with peers, and authentically Alaskan experiential and place-based learning.
Young Outdoor Explorers 2023 Summer Camp Themes
Our “Walking with Dinosaurs” camp week is designed to showcase the fascinating pre-history we have right here in Alaska!
This theme gives young children an exciting opportunity to do what they love most: zoom in on all the little things in the world around them and ask questions!
Children’s imaginations and understanding of the natural world take flight in our “Up in the Air with Birds” summer camp week.
Summer Camp Details
Young Outdoor Explorers, ages 7-9
Iñuuruŋa savaktuŋalu Dena’ina-t nunaŋanni Kisaġvigmun. “I live and work on the land of the Dena’ina in Anchorage” ~ We acknowledge that we live and work on traditional Dena’ina Elnena (Country), home to members of the Eklutna (Eydlughet) and Knik (K’enakatnu) tribes.
- Kincaid Park, Jodhpur Trailhead for pick-up and drop-off. (see map below). We are fortunate to have myriad local parks in the Anchorage area. Kincaid park has distinct ecosystems to explore and hundreds of miles of trails where kids can play in the woods.
- For ages 7-9, Thursdays will be a field-trip day in which we load up in our vans and visit places like the AWCC, The Alaska Museum of Science and Nature, Alaska State Parks, or other places that are relevant to our lessons for the week. This will be communicated with families via our “remind” channel and email prior to each week’s start date.
Minimum 5 participants, maximum 20
PRICE PER YOUTH:
- Weeks are pro-rated: if you book once a week has started, it will pro-rate the cost based on how many days in the week remain. Additionally, a 3 or 4-day week’s price will be adjusted accordingly.
Summer Camp Multiple-Booking Discounts: We love it when families are with us for most of the summer! Discounts* auto-apply for a combination of multiple summer camp bookings, including The Wolf Pups, The Young Outdoor Explorers, and The Jr. Outdoor Explorers Programs, and Mountain Bike Club:
- 4 weeks summer programs: 10%/week discount;
- 6 weeks summer programs: 15%/week discount;
- 8 or more weeks summer programs: 20%/week discount;
- *discounts must be made in the same booking – discount will auto-apply at checkout, and thus will not work if multiple summer programs are booked as different transactions. We are unable to apply discounts to transactions already processed.
Summer Camp Dates
- May 30 – August 16, 2023
- Weekly Sessions, Monday – Friday
HOLIDAYS AND CLOSURES
We will be closed on the following days:
- Memorial Day: May 29, 2023
- Juneteenth: June 19th, 2023
- July Fourth Week: July 3-7, 2023
- School Start Days: August 16 and 17, 2023
- 7:30 – 9:00am: Early drop-off. Select this as an ‘add-on’ when you book your program ($15/day)
- 9:00 am – 9:30 am: drop off for the day at the trailhead.
- 10:00 am – 12:00 pm: morning meeting, nature-walk, forest play time, morning lesson.
- 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm: story time, lunch, games.
- 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm: afternoon forest play time and lesson.
- 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm: pick up your child(ren) at the trailhead.
While we have a schedule, it is tentative as conditions or other events out of our control may be very different than what we planned. Our number one goal is to have a good time and be safe. We will communicate any changes, as applicable, to parents.
- Mondays: Games, Nature Walks, Art
- Tuesdays: Collaborative Art Day, Science Investigations
- Wednesdays: Maps, Trip Planning, Wilderness First Aid Skills
- Thursdays: Field Visit Day
- Fridays: “Theater in the Woods”, End-of-Week Celebration
- vans depart promptly by 10:00 am
- vans return at 4:30 pm
The Young Outdoor Explorers Summer Camps are for ages 7-9.
Alaskan Summers: Packing for a day outside
Below is our general guide for what to wear, and how to pack for a day outside with us in the summer. This list is adapted from our winter list and is very comprehensive – please use it as a reference for packing for the day. Sometimes it can be cold in an Alaskan summer, so packing in layers is standard best practice for a day outside.
We know it is easy to do this FOR your kiddo, but if you have the time try to get them to take ownership over the packing (then they will know where their things are when they need them!).
In addition to the layers you start out wearing, pack the rest in a duffel or big tote bag. We recommend compartmentalizing different types of gear in water-tight bags within your duffel or tote so they stay dry.
Base Layers are worn closest to the skin and tend to be thinner and lightweight. Wear wool, wool-blends, or synthetic polyesters. Getting these layers right can make your day!
For the summer time, a simple synthetic t-shirt and pants are fine. Avoid jeans as they tend to chafe skin. Cotton is fine if it is sunny and warm, but don’t wear it if the weather is wet and chilly.
- Base Layer long-sleeve top
- Base Layer full-length pants
- Synthetic or light wool-blend socks (thickness depends on temperature and activity)
- synthetic underwear
- synthetic bra
Middle, or insulating, layers are thicker layers like softshell, fleece, microfleece, micro-puff down or wool sweaters and pants. Some days, based on your activity and conditions, this middle layer is all you’ll need to wear on top of your base layer.
For summer, a simple sweater (fleece, or a cotton hoodie if it is sunny out) is fine.
- Mid-Weight Jacket or sweater
- Mid-Weight full-length pants
Outer Layers in the summer need to block wind and wet. Try to get rain coat and pants that do both.
- Wind and Water-Proof Coat
- Wind and Water-Proof Pants or Bib/Suit
Hats, Gloves, skin protection, and Footwear:
For the summer, we recommend packing a warm pair of liner gloves on colder, wetter summer days. Once your hands get cold it is really challenging to get them warm again.
- thin synthetic liner gloves
- sun hat to keep sun off of face
- appropriate footwear for weather (rainboots for rain; sensible shoes for walking on trails)
Putting it all together – In the Duffel and Backpack:
Ideally, kids start the day with us with everything in a duffle or tote and an empty backpack – we will pack our backpack together at the start of the day as part of our outdoor learning program.
Kids will eat lunch at the trailhead to minimize impact on our trails. They should have a small backpack, 12-18 L, to carry a water bottle, light snack, their rain coat/pants, and drawing supplies (or other supplies we use for our lessons). They will leave their duffel with extra gear at the trailhead and only carry a small pack on our adventures in the woods.
Packing extra clothes in a duffle (we dub these our “Oh, Sh*t Kits” to have on hand will keep you in good spirits all day. We like to compartmentalize our extra-gear/after-activity duffel by keeping the things we don’t want to get wet in watertight bags.
Pack a black garbage sack to toss wet clothes into. Pack extra plastic turkey bags – if your boots get wet, you can put dry socks on, put your feet into the turkey bag, and then put your wet boots back on. Hopefully you won’t need to bust open your “Oh, Sh*t! Kit”, but it is so nice to have if you do need it. If you don’t, then you’ll always have one ready to go for your next adventure!
- In a water-tight bag:
- extra base layer outfit
- a few extra pairs of synthetic or wool-blend socks
- liner gloves, thick hat
- a cozy, fleecy sweater
- For the duffel
- a garbage bag for wet clothes
- extra pair of shoes (rain boots or good trail shoes)
- outer layers – rain coat and pants
- BIG lunch plus extra snacks
- water bottle (we carry extra water to refill)
Click here to go to Booking Page
For most of our youth programs, we use a booking software system called “Hi Sawyer”. This is helpful for us and families because you can build out your profile through a log-in, and your child’s information and payment info are securely vaulted within this software.
When you click “book now” on our website, it will take you to the “hi sawyer” page where you can begin the registration process for a specific program, or look up a program on the main calendar.
After selecting what you would like to sign up for, it will take you to a page where you can either log in or create a new profile.
It is very important that you fill out your family’s and child’s profile with all adults involved email address and phone numbers, as well as your child’s medical information. Often times when one parent or legal guardian doesn’t receive emails from us, it is because their email address wasn’t added to the profile.
A note on daily plans, communication, and weather: Because of sometimes rapidly changing environmental conditions, animal activity, hazards, and unpredictable seasonal weather, we can’t predict exactly what conditions will be best for until we get closer to the program start date. We adjust our plans and lessons based on current conditions for the place we’re in; we may not be able to look for fungi, for example, if we haven’t had rain. We use the messaging system in our reservation software, “HiSawyer”, and the “Remind” app codes below, to communicate with families.
It is essential that parents join our “remind” channel and stay tuned in to their emails from us through our “HiSawyer” reservation system so that you get updates on what gear you may need to pack for the day. We will send out reminders on both of the above channels 72-24 hours before a program’s start.
- Click this link to join our “remind” communication channel.
- or, text @intosummer to the number 81010
Phone: 907.406.5651 or 907.229.9780
This summer camp is booked in weekly sessions, Monday-Friday. No half-days will be available for booking.
Drop-in Days will be made available for booking 2 weeks prior to a camp’s start date.
We do not offer half-day program options. Booking is for weekly sessions, with drop-in days made available, as space allows, 1 week before a program starts.
Please contact us using the “remind” channel, email, link on our site, or text if you need to pick up your child early or drop them off late.
Our daily itinerary: We leave the trailhead promptly at 9:45 am, return for lunch between 12-1 pm, and return for pick up at the end of the day at 4:30 pm. If you have an appointment in the morning or afternoon, 12 – 1 pm is the time period in which we will be able to accomodate a late drop-off or early pick-up.
Young Outdoor Explorer enrollment requirements:
- must be able to use an outhouse toilet and recognize when they need to use the bathroom
- must be able to eat, drink, and change clothes on their own
- must have verbal skills to communicate needs to guides
- Participants must arrive ready to go with appropriate gear for the weather conditions of the day, with adequate food and water.
- We expect all of our participants to be safe, kind, and respectful.
At Into the Woods, we help kids work on creative problem solving and developing critical thinking skills in the outdoors setting. Part of this is allowing them to overcome challenges and failure, rather than just giving up! Please support your child by letting them pack their own bag, know what is in it, and take ownership over their learning. Most importantly, please allow them the opportunity to experience set-backs, learn from them, and overcome them.
PARTICIPANT OR PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN INITIATED CANCELLATIONS AND REFUND POLICY: This policy has been established to meet the demands of planning well organized expeditions and programs. If for any reason a program ends early there will be no refund. All cancellations and requests for refunds MUST be submitted via the cancellation form “ITWAK Customer Cancellation Notification” on our website. We have many different types of programs, for which our cancellation policies vary.
In the event that you are unable to join us the following guidelines will apply.
For All Multi-Day Bookings including, but not limited to: Summer Camps – both weekly and “drop-in” days, Multi-Day Expeditions, and school-break full and half-days.
- 75% refunds will be provided 60 or more days prior to the program/camp date.
- 50% refunds will be provided 30-59 days prior to the program date.
- No refunds will be provided within 29 days of the program date.
- If a student/participant is expelled due to behavioral issues (please see item 10 below) there will be no refund for their current program and the student/participant is responsible for costs incurred from their expulsion. For future programs in which theyare enrolled and expelled, there will be a 75% refund.
It happens to every parent – we pick up our kiddo from school or other program and ask “what did you do today?”
The answer is usually given with a shrug of the shoulders and one word “Nothing“.
Rest assured, we do a LOT at our programs. We understand that kids typically aren’t going to give parents a play-by-play of all the things they’ve learned, so as much as possible, we post updates about our day outdoors via our “remind” channel, our social media accounts, and through email.
The heart of what we do at camp cannot be quantified by grades, progress reports, coloring pages, or worksheets that get sent home. When kids play in the woods, they have myriad learning moments through friendships, peer interactions, experiences, mistakes, successes, physical movement, imagination…these are all valuable hallmarks of childhood and simply cannot, and should not, be quantified.
Our guides take on the role of coach, mentor, big brother/sister, leader, listener, and it is our job to make sure that we allow kids to learn at their pace and in the way that works for them. We cannot make anyone learn something they aren’t ready for or have no interest in doing. We are not results-oriented, but process-oriented. So many kids experience pressure to provide results and aren’t often given the chance to try something new, fail, and keep trying until they get it right.
Our goal is to teach by inspiring kids to take ownership of the learning process from start to finish. We do this by offering hands-on learning and learning through play, and then allowing kids to experience set-backs, teamwork, practice, and finally the joy of overcoming barriers to find success.
What we DON’T DO:
- give kids paperwork to bring home, like coloring sheets or worksheets;
- focus on “results” over “process”;
- stick to a plan and lesson when it is clear we should adapt and make a new plan.
What we DO:
- allow kids freedom to learn through play, making mistakes, and coaching them through learning moments;
- offer opportunities for kids to make mistakes and keep trying;
- congratulate kids for trying new things;
- cheer kids on for taking on leadership roles;
- assume the best in every kiddo;
- guide kids through social learning moments;
- offer a safe environment to learn, grow, make friends, and practice new skills.
When we started Into the Woods Alaska, it was borne from a desire to teach local kids valuable wilderness safety skills and connect them with the wild spaces right here in Anchorage. Our goal is to teach higher-risk wilderness activities in a risk-mitigated setting. For example, we can teach crevasse rescue on a steep hill, rather than a cliff, where kids can safely fail and make mistakes (the best way to learn) without the real and present danger of actually falling down a cliff. We can teach kids about water safety and water hazards without actually sending them down a class III rapid – we can do it with a bucket of icy water, a calm pond, or our imaginations…but they’ll still get the skills and the practice. Most importantly – when kids learn foundational safety skills, they will share that information with people over their lifetime of being outdoors.
We saw how so many summer programs that were meant to teach about the Alaskan outdoors limited their curriculum to giving kids coloring pages, and furthermore didn’t teach our local kids what we think are the most valuable foundational skills: bear and moose safety and leave no trace best practices. We didn’t want to create the type of program that rushed kids in and out of activities without the chance to play and be leaders in their own learning.
The heart of our success is our high standards for our team: our guides are people who love to work with kids and are passionate about SHARING their outdoor knowledge and skills. Without a stellar team each summer, it wouldn’t be the world-class youth wilderness education program that it has become.
It started with a simple idea: let kids learn by playing outside. Let kids have the chance to experience the power of failure. Let kids take leadership and have authority over their own learning. Teach kids how to be safe and sustainable users in and inspire them to fall in love with our wild spaces. If kids grow up playing in the woods and understand what is necessary to keep nature wild, they will grow up to be advocates for the future protection of our wild spaces. While making this happen is far from simple, this idea has been guiding our decisions, planning, partnerships, team members, and focus from day one and will continue to do so as long as we are operating.
Thank you for supporting you kiddo and getting them outside with us,
Kristina and Dan
Owners, Into the Woods Alaska
Summer Camps 2023
What we learn in the Woods
Our Summer Camps are designed for youth to learn outdoor skills, safety, and leadership through play, friends, and fun, while fostering an authentic relationship with our local wild spaces here in Anchorage.
Our camps are where playing in the woods meets wilderness education. Safe and sustainable recreation is the foundation of all of our programs, in which we have two main areas of focus: wilderness safety skills and place-based environmental science inquiry. While each week has a specific learning theme, like birds, water, or mountains, every week is designed to help youth develop foundations in Alaskan outdoor skills, leadership, teamwork, bear and moose safety, wilderness first aid, and sustainability, among others.
Check out our individual age-group webpages to book a summer camp and learn more!
What we learn in the Woods
Focus 1: Wilderness Education, Safety, and Skills
Our unique 2023 summer camp themes give youth an exciting and focused context within which to learn the foundations of being an Alaskan outdoor explorer. Within these different camp themes, every week includes bear and moose safety, planning and packing gear, being comfortable outdoors, wilderness first aid skills, teamwork, peer-to-peer leadership skills, leave no trace, sustainable use of our wild spaces, and much more.
What we learn in the Woods
Focus 2: The Science behind the Magic and Beauty of our Wild Spaces
The best way to learn is through play, hands-on experience, with peers, and an authentic place-based classroom. Understanding the natural phenomena behind our outdoor explorations is often essential in understanding how to be safe and to leave minimal impact on our precious wild spaces. This understanding also provides youth a solid foundation in natural sciences to build from in their future careers and interests.
Alaskan Summer Camps for kids who love being outside.
Alaskan Outdoor Education
The Magic of Learning in the Woods
Into the Woods Alaska is your local source for authentically Alaskan, place-based learning of wilderness safety skills, seasonal sports, and their environmental science counterparts.
Our number one priority, in all of our programs, is to teach youth how to sustainably and safely use, enjoy, and share our wilderness spaces for the rest of their lives. We believe that if youth learn these skills from a young age, the exponential vector of others they will share their knowledge with over the course of their lives will not only add to our local culture of safety, saving lives, but will also bolster our community’s culture of sustainable and safe use of our wild spaces.