Public Lands Stewards: Summer Camp at Cascade Mountain School

by | Land Stewards


I was kind of nervous for my very first day of summer camp season, I had been at Cascade Mountain School for nearly two months now and all the build-up to the summer was pretty intense at that point. We had been doing some trail-clearing, cutting down trees, putting up signs, clearing out barns and other jobs to get the camp ready for the kids, as well as intermittent training during this stretch. I felt both extremely prepared and trepidatious when it was finally time for the first camp. I had the Little Trackers camp, ages 6-8.


My first thought was I was surprised about how small they were. The kids were pretty much dwarfed by their backpacks. They were already screaming and making fart noises, picking up sticks and kicking a soccer ball around the field. I loved it. Suddenly the whole camp was full of sounds and life and energy.


The lead instructor was a firefighter/EMT named Dave who also had a son in the camp. He had done Little Trackers before and took them on many hikes in the woods, whether it was looking for deer or candy we had hidden on a trail during the morning. I asked him if this group was the normal amount of energy and he said no, this group is a bit rowdier than most. We played so many active games to try and get their energy out but they just kept going, it was a lot of fun!

I got to lead the last two hours of camp before the kids got back on the shuttle to go home, and I relished the opportunity to come up with my own activities. It was relatively easy because each day had a specific theme I could work off of. The first day was listening, second was seeing, third was touch, and the last day was patternmaking. We ended up doing really great (and adorable) things like a puppet show, nature art, guess what’s in the box, and other art projects. We even had a ranger come in and let the kids touch a bunch of different pelts.


All in all it was a very exciting week and at the end I was sad to see those kids go. They all gave me a (tackle) hug and told me that they had a great time. I think a few of them are coming back for different camps, and I can’t wait. I had a wonderful time with those crazy kids.