Youth Outdoor Studies Programs

our programs

TBA: The Alaska Youth Expedition Club: a three-week backpacking and beach base camp trip into Alaska

Experiential learning, Outdoor Studies, and a childhood spent playing in the woods — This is what we’re all about.

Our Youth Outdoor studies programs have three pillars of focus:

1. Recognizing the value of the outdoors as paramount in our lives.

2. Fostering a new generation of thinkers who, as adults, will advocate and work toward the protection of our natural spaces.

3. Safely operating in our back country, learning the fundamental skills needed to be a life-long explorer in our planet’s great, wild beauty.

exploring the gift of nature, one season at a time

Into the Woods Alaska is dedicated to connecting children with the gift of nature. Explore our offerings below for our unrivaled, uniquely Alaskan, outdoor educational programs.

Welcome to our Youth Outdoor Studies Programs.

We designed the youth outdoor studies programs for all ages and ability levels, with the aim of teaching children the intrinsic value the world’s natural spaces have in our lives. All of our programs are founded on two pillars of education: outdoor safety skills and the natural sciences. In recognizing the value of the outdoors and developing a deep connection with nature from a young age, children will become adults who advocate for the protection of our planet’s wild spaces.

As we create life-long lovers of the woods, it is important that we teach them the fundamentals of being safe operators in them. We teach a series of outdoor safety skills that make up the fundamentals of being safe in any back country, but especially our own backyard-Alaska. Our outdoor safety skills are designed to set up youth with the necessary skills for a life full of adventure in the great outdoors. Alternatively, if youth decide to further their outdoor education, our programs are the perfect foundation from which to launch into a deeper study of operating in the outdoors in any field.

The beginnings of our Anchorage Youth Hiking Club – our 2019 teen backpacking camp.

We spent one week exploring the hanging valley in the South Fork Eagle River system. These kids are amazing! We can’t wait to get back into the woods for more camping this summer.

Photo courtesy of AFW Productions.

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

When we traverse mountains, woods, bogs, and forests, it is equally important to foster a respect for the life within them. For this reason, we spend an equal share of time focusing on scientific observation of what we are experiencing around us. Children do not need adults to tell them what to think, or even what to ask: they have a much more honed sense of curiosity – a gift of childhood – and they are naturally scientific in their observations of the world around them.

In this climate of polarization and strife, with our planet at a tipping point-balanced on the brink of destruction-Into the Woods Alaska holds science, truth, and open-minded observation very dear. Once children learn how to observe the world as a scientist, we guide them through engaging their curiosity, asking questions about they see, smell, feel, or hear, developing a hypothesis, testing it, and finally developing a theory.

We are living in the biggest mass-extinction event since the Cretaceous-tertiary Extinction 65 Million Years Ago. This, the world’s 6th mass-extinction event, is OUR Anthropocene extinction.

All hope may not be lost to save our planet and the threatened or endangered species. Into the Woods Alaska is a small part of a growing worldwide movement to return to the protection of our natural world. More and more, we are discovering something that has long been forgotten: we are a part of our natural world as much as it is a part of us. If we don’t act now, we may lose what little we have left.

Our programs are dedicated to the idea that all children have a right to grow up playing in the woods; we hold on to the hope that children who have a deep bond with nature will become adults who advocate for its protection. Right now, it is our children who will have the chance to change the world and make it better for everyone.


Photo courtesy of AFW Productions.


Our Alaska Youth Expedition Club will spend three weeks exploring the beautiful Alaskan Summer with our family – the founders of Into the Woods Alaska. We plan a new itinerary each year, taylor-made to our group and interesting areas to explore in Alaska. This expedition includes a mixture of backpacking thru-hikes, camping spots, day hikes, and beach base-camp stays. It includes our standard investigation of natural science topics and outdoor safety skills. When your children are with us, they become a part of our family and we treat them as such – caring for them by keeping them safe and holding them to expectations of kindness, respect for our planet, and a fierce desire to learn about the world all around us!

Enjoy a summer spent at a remote Alaskan Beach, going on exploratory day hikes, watching whales, salmon, seals, and seabirds in their natural environment while we learn outdoor safety skills and investigate natural science topics. Sleep under a tarp with the sound of waves and Alaska’s great wild beauty all around you. This is nature immersion at its finest and the highlight of our summer!

the alaska Youth expedition club

2020 Backpacking and Beach Base Camp Youth Expedition

  • Ages 12-16
  • Limited to 6 students
  • Student to Guide Ratio = 3:1

COMING SOON! STAY POSTED. Email us at with ALASKA YOUTH EXPEDITION CLUB in the subject headline if you are interested in this experience.

Tentative trip dates: Sunday, July 19 – Sunday, August 9

Photo courtesy of AFW Productions.

What parents are Saying

Jay Reto – 2019

“My six year old son attended Into The Woods Camp during in-service days at school.  We’re relatively new to the area, and coming from California, we are not well trained in the terrain and weather conditions of Alaska. 

Into The Woods provided a safe, education and all around fun experience for him.  The staff and volunteer who tended to the kids are trustworthy, responsible and very knowledgeable about: weather conditions, gear needs, trail safety, and survival techniques.

All of which they help impart onto the kids.  Of all the camps he’s attended, this is the one he excitedly talks about and asks when he gets to go again.  And for what it’s worth, they also know how to make a killer thermos of hot cocoa.”

Into the Woods, LLC Policies for Youth outdoor studies programs

You may download and print our policies by clicking HERE.

PAYMENTS: Please use our online booking system on our website at Payment is due in full when you book your adventure, camp or trip.

PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN INITIATED CANCELLATIONS AND REFUND POLICY: In the event that you are unable to join us the following guidelines will apply. Full Refunds will be provided 60 days prior to the trip/camp date. 50% refunds will be provided 30-59 days prior to trip date. The 50% retained by ITWAK can be credited towards another trip if used within 12 months. No refunds will be provided within 29 days of the trip date. This policy has been established to meet the demands of planning well organized trips. If for any reason a trip ends early there will be no refund. All cancellations and requests for refunds must be submitted in writing or emailed to:

IF YOUR TRIP/CAMP IS CANCELLED BY ITWAK: If, for any reason, ITWAK has to cancel your trip, all deposits and trip payments will be refunded in full, or, are fully transferable to another trip. ITWAK will not be responsible for any costs associated with cancellations including, but not limited to: flight cancelation fees, flight change fees, and/or associated lodging and meal fees. In the unlikely event that an ITWAK trip/camp fails to enroll a minimum amount of campers within 15 days of the start date of the session, said session will be cancelled, and a full refund shall be returned to the camper’s family, or the camper shall have the option to enroll in a different session, as space allows. Into the Woods, LLC will make every effort to immediately notify the camper’s family of this situation.

RELEASE, ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF RISK AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT: All participants are required to sign our
Release, Acknowledgment of Risk and Indemnity Agreement. Please take time to read this form and make yourself familiar with it before signing.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: ITWAK requires that all guests have their own health insurance. Individuals are solely responsible for any medical costs, including all associated rescue, evacuation, and transportation costs. Please take time to review your medical insurance policy. Make certain that your coverage extends to the location of your trip, and that it provides coverage for any potential, associated, costs.

TRAVEL INSURANCE is highly recommended. In many cases travel insurance will help cover medical expenses, evacuation costs, lost baggage, travel delays, and other costs in the event of cancellation of the trip. We have worked with almost every provider of travel insurance and feel strongly that the Adventure Travel Protection Plan from AIG/Travel Guard is the best one available. It has significant benefits if purchased within 15 days of making your trip payment. Additionally, purchasing a family or single subscription to LifeMed Alaska is a good idea. In the event that you or your child must be medically evacuated from the backcountry, LifeMed will cover the costs beyond what your personal insurance will cover.

WEATHER DELAYS AND ASSOCIATED CONSIDERATIONS: In the event that your trip is unable to depart at the scheduled time, individuals are responsible for any associated costs including food and lodging. Furthermore, weather and associated logistical challenges may make it difficult to cover all curriculum points. In the event that a trip is delayed or changed in response to unforeseeable forces of nature, ITWAK is not responsible for any delays or changes in trip structure. The natural world is a highly volatile and ever-changing environment. ITWAK guides are experts at dealing with this changing environment. Despite the guides’ best efforts, weather and environmental conditions can change the focus of a trip.

PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITY: Trip participants are responsible for their own well-being. This includes good health and strong physical condition. Trip members and their families are responsible for: knowing all pre-departure information, preparing proper equipment and clothing, conforming to basic standards of personal hygiene (to minimize the risk of travelers diseases) and acting in a considerate manner toward all group members and with respect for each country’s customs. Participants are prohibited from using illegal drugs and alcohol while on ITWAK trips. Participant gives their consent for ITWAK to use their photograph, likeness and/or voice to be used in its publications, including its website and social media accounts. Participant’s responsibilities further include the following: (1) they are responsible for reviewing the various forms, releases, and information contained in the web site and forms; (2) they will follow the instructions and directions of guides and expedition leaders.

DISCIPLINE POLICY: ITWAK adheres to and applies the Anchorage School District’s behavior and discipline policies. Into the Woods, LLC does not tolerate: Behavior that threatens the physical or emotional safety of self or others; Destructive behavior; Behavior that is a detriment to the quality of the camp or impedes other children from engaging in the camp to the full extent. Should a child display these behaviors, the owner will contact the registering parent / legal guardian. If the child’s threatening, destructive, or detrimental behavior continues the owner will request: immediate pick up, suspension, or dismissal from program. Dismissal from the camp may occur depending on the severity and frequency of the behavior. If a child is dismissed from the program, a refund will not be provided for the camp / week in progress. However, the parent/legal guardian will receive a 50% refund for all remaining camps for which the child is registered.

LATE PICK UP POLICY: Late pick up from camp will result in a $1.00 / minute charge. This rate will take effect after 6:00 p.m. Failure to pay will result in dismissal from all subsequent camps / trips with no refund.

For individuals dealing with behavioral, motivational or rehabilitation issues, ITWAK is not an appropriate choice.
Participants must be able to meet the physical, mental, social or safety demands of our trips. Guests may be expelled if ITWAK deems their behavior unsafe, disruptive, or distracting from the educational goal of their trip/expedition. Harassment, use of drugs and alcohol, theft or misuse of property, low motivation and disregarding instructions are examples of behavior that will lead to expulsion. If a student/participant is expelled there will be no refund, and the student/participant is responsible for costs incurred from their expulsion.

PRIVACY POLICY – when submitting information and/or payment online

Information We Collect: We recognize your right to confidentiality and are committed to protecting your privacy.We use the information that we collect on our web sites to provide you with a superior customer service experience and to communicate with you about products, services, and promotions.Your privacy is very important to us. Be assured that we do not sell or distribute our customer list to third parties.

Security: When you place a deposit/payment online, your personal information and credit card or debit card information are encrypted using SSL encryption technology before being sent over the Internet. We use SSL technology to prevent your information from being stolen or intercepted while being transferred to us and once we have received it. Your credit card information is always stored in encrypted form in a restricted-access database that is away from our Web site database so it is not connected to the Internet, to keep it safe from hackers. However, no method of transmission over the Internet, or electronic storage is 100% secure. Therefore, while we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Looking out at Bold Peak across Eklutna Lake. September 2019