Saturday, May 25, 2019

Monthly Archives: May 2016

Editor’s Note The evil opinions of the megalomaniac dictator and scientist, The Evil Dr. Dice does not  necessarily reflect the views of Trackers Earth. We are contractually obliged to let him write three blogs a year in exchange for being a guest instructor at our Evil Secret Agent Academy Camp. Luckily, he is not a legitimate threat to the free-thinking world as our good Secret Agent Academy Camp foils his awkwardly Rube Goldbergian schemes of world domination.

From the Desk of the Evil Dr. Dice

Greetings from the Evil Dr. Dice. Before we get started, let’s clear one thing up; a-lot of people get me confused with the whiney, mewely, hippie founder of Trackers, Tony Deis. They seem to think we’re doppelgängers. Just take a look at these pictures. I see absolutely no resemblance…

Right Evil Dr. Dice, Megalomaniac Dictator    Left Tony Deis, Trackers Earth Founder
Some campers even go so far as to claim we are one-in-the-same person. And that Mr. Deis created me as a satirical comment on corporate personhood. Or to even illustrate the complexities of all characters while fostering empathy in solving our conflicts. I have one answer to that. Would Tony Deis, the founder of Trackers Earth, genetically splice a kitten, Tyrannosaurus rex, and a duck to create a aquatically horrific beast-meme? I think not. Quandary solved. I am The Evil Dr. Dice.

My Evil Plot

With a maniacal laugh I express my excitement to once again lead my own camp this summer, the Evil Secret Agent Academy Camp (vs Secret Agent Academy Camp). This camp is for all the evil children that never fit in to the good side of summer. While most kids were out building fairy houses from sticks, leaves, and flower-petals, my Proto-Evil Secret Agents were either kicking them over, or better yet, serving the winged-fairies foreclosure notices, evicting them, and then renting the fairy houses back at higher monthly rates than the original mortgage. Not that I’m saying bankers are Evil (though they should be proud). Seriously, no more angry letters, like when I made that “Social Media Consultants/Baristas Are Evil” faux-pas last year.

But back on topic (my therapist is helping me with my monologuing issue). I’m charged with writing my yearly review of all the other summer camps Trackers Earth is running. So here goes…

stealth

Stealth, Archery & Wilderness Survival

Seriously, wilderness survival skills? Where are your kids going to use those, the post-apocalypse or something? In the dystopian future where I rule, the only survival skill you’ll need is the complacency to get indoors before curfew after which my giant sentinel robots begin to patrol all neighborhood streets in the Northern Hemisphere. These androids are judge, jury, and, well, the last part we can discuss later.

Though, skills of Stealth, Archery, and Wilderness Survival may be useful when I make select teens from every region battle it out in an epic Zombie Survival Camp to soothe the seething rage of my demoralized populace. So yeah, send them to this one. They’ll need the archery skills. Also, consider Archery Adventure because somehow bow and arrow skills are more useful than the know-how to build a neutron laser! Silly. Hey, I think OMSI Science Camp has a Neutron Laser Building Camp, good on them.

realms

Realms of Cascadia: Elves, Wizards & Dragons

Remember in the 80’s, when wondrous hyperbole came out purporting to be “research” that claimed to link Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games to evil, demonic behavior? (I know, I was excited too). Guess what, instead they found out Role-Playing games actually foster creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork (snore). And that’s exactly why the goodie-two-shoes at Trackers runs a Live Action Role-Playing (LARP) camp. They are under that deluded opinion that kids becoming a character, going on quests through the forest, and creating a village that celebrates community and camaraderie will, in one week, somehow be good for the world. Well I got news, it’s not good for the reality-altered reshaped-multi-dimensional proto-world I’ll be running… someday. BTW, they offer Day Camp & Overnight Camp options for Realms.

Paintball Camp

What, are they training a libertarian militia or something? I can respect that.

camp-trackers

Camp Trackers Village (Overnight)

This is the ultimate flower-power lameness and shameness. Kids participate in a “village” learning “Earth living skills.” I bet all the instructors have stinky dreads, ear plugs, and are scrawny from a long-term diet of dumpster diving for New Seasons for Dave’s Killer Bread and Gogurt.

I have issues with people teaching kids to live and work together as a cooperative team. It makes them less corruptible to the forces of my shadowy media empire and Super PACS. Actually, on second thought, let those shaggy, Captain Cavemen wannabes become your child’s role models. Then, when my mutant minion forces march across the planet, your children shall seek peace and love, or whatever hippies do nowadays (snap their fingers in agreement).

Wait, what’s that you say? They also teach patterns of strategy based on nature observation and animal tracking. Essentially, how to “protect the village” with stealth and evasion skills through their goofy Rangers Guild role-playing game? That might explain why my shoelaces are constantly tied together. Ugh!

Ultimate Evil

Well, I hope you appreciate this year’s reviews. I realize I didn’t get to all the camps, but they’re pretty much the same thing with different titles. I mean how is Forest Fishing unique from River Rats. Or even more egregious, Rangers Survival: Stealth & Bow from Fires, Forts & Shelters. Do you just not get to shoot bows and arrows in the latter?

Well, you know my preference, give me an awesome neutron laser any day. All hail OMSI Science Camps.

dr-dice-2Cheers,

The Evil Dr. Dice
Lutras Enterprises, Total Dominator
Not the Founder of Trackers

Support the Outdoor School for All campaign!

There is a place called “Outdoor School”.

Look around the land of Oregon. We Oregonians value a life connected to the outdoors. Our connection—perhaps even our obsession—with all things green blooms from a culture where diverse “schools of outdoor education” have thrived for nearly half a century.

Many a 6th grade Oregonian has taken a bus down country gravel roads, through enchanted forests, to wild havens where they shared meals in longhouse dining halls, studied along the banks of the Sandy River and tracked down the trails of blacktail deer. They spent a week learning about plants, animals, water and earth.

There was a time when nearly every 6th grader in Multnomah, Washington and other Oregon counties attended Outdoor School. They spent 6 days in cabins in the “wilderness”, living and learning with peers, guided by larger-than-life teachers with names like Digger, Sorrel and Shade. One life-changing week spent walking the trails of Pacific Northwest forests. One week not stuck inside four walls. Not sitting in sterile rows. Time outside with the spiders, leaves, dirt, rain, sun and life.

There’s data to prove it but more importantly, the joy it cultivates for nature connects our community. Ask anyone who’s been there: an impression was made. Something was left behind. Oregon is a more interesting place because of Outdoor School.

Even our founder, Tony Deis, started teaching at Outdoor School. Many of our summer camp staff work at Trackers in the summer and Outdoor School in the fall and spring. Trackers Earth and our families owe a lot to this Oregon institution and tradition. Please help it continue for all our kids.

In recent years, funding for this magical experience has been in under attack. As conventional school funding dropped, so did Outdoor School funding. A full week of Outdoor School was cut to a few days, or even just one. No more overnights with stars and crickets. And not every kid in Portland gets the opportunity to discover their own week of incredible adventure.

It is a crisis that has snuck up on us. Few parents are aware of the cuts, or of how Outdoor School makes our lives better by weaving a web of connections between our community and nature. Without Outdoor School, the Pacific Northwest may well lose what is most valued about our community. We may lose what makes us us.

We could start by simply refunding the old program. But the Outdoor School for All campaign goes beyond just returning to the past. It seeks to forge a better future. It doesn’t stop at Outdoor School for a single school district, but proposes to remake education, fundamentally weaving it into the outdoors and nature. Outdoor School for All seeks to provide a whole week of outdoor education to every child across Oregon. A quintessential Oregon experience for every Oregonian.

And we can do it with no tax increases. The proposed measure redirects a small portion of lottery funds to provide Outdoor School for every child in every area of our state.

Trackers Earth strongly supports this cause. We ask you to join us by learning more and signing the petition.

LEARN MORE  SIGN PETITION

For our part, we’re donating 15% of all May sales of our new outdoor education book, Trackers Earth Guide to Knives & Wood Carving, to the Outdoor School for All campaign!

Outdoor School is the awesome secret all Oregonians can share. It helps define who we are as a state and as a people. It’s the mettle and the heart of our green blood. Outdoor School needs to do more than live on, it needs to grow. Join us in raising our voices to help make this happen. To support Outdoor School for All.

 

S-hook forged in blacksmithing camp

Last year’s quotes and reviews Trackers Earth Portland summer camps:

It sounds like she was in heaven today. I love the wonderful outdoor experiences she had and she was so excited to ride on a bus! This is my first time at pick up and I was very kindly personally escorted to pick up my daughter.
-Andrea, Parent

Thank you for a very positive first camp experience! This is the largest group activity my son has been involved with, and he came home with amazing tales and tidbits everyday. We weren’t sure what to expect and now can’t wait to come back!
-Meredith, Parent

My son was very chatty when he came home, which is always a sign that he had a great time.
-My son was very chatty when he came home, which is always a sign that he had a great time., Parent

Stella had an amazing day at Rangers camp. She recalled clearly every detail of the day and indicated that she had the most fun of any camp she’d been to before. Was very excited for the next day
-Steve Marx, Parent

She loved everything they did at trackers. She is shy n timid by nature so I was not sure how this week would go for us. However the experience was everything I had hoped for her and blew her away. She was ways asking me to drop her off early n she wanted to stay late. Having a female instructor was pivotal for her first experience. Maybe not necessary for all little girls but was great for us. From here on out will be no problem what the sex of the instructor is because she feels like she can do it. we can’t wait to do more. Very Excited. VERY impressed how organized this was. The morning drop off should have been a disaster but it was so professionally managed from those outside, to the map, to those inside, that it was a piece if cake. Everything was great.
-Nazy Sharifi, Parent

Steven has really enjoyed this camp. It was a great way to start his summer. This camp is great compared to other non-Trackers camps. I have never seen Steven so happy (and tired) at the end of the day.
-Yin Bo Tooze, Parent

So many highlights– my daughter’s favorite was going to a farm and throwing watermelons over a fence to feed the pigs. Where else could she ever do this?
-Barbra Fisher, Parent

Emma had a great time. She was a little nervous before going about the archery component, but really got into the week. She really enjoyed the camo component. She also loved the animal walks and being able to be in the forest. Every time she is with you she gains confidence and appreciation for nature and her skills.
-Anna York, Parent

Tori had an awesome time at CTV. This was her second time and she had an idea what it would be like. Her summer had not been a “dream summer” and had been somewhat stressful. She came back calmer and so peaceful. Very zen. We went and got ice cream when she got back (she was craving something sweet) and commented on how “loud” the city seemed after being away from all the noise for a week. That’s awesome. She said it felt like she’d been gone for a month, but in a good way.
-Kristen Nguyen, Parent

Owen is not a child who likes camps or trying new things. That said, he LOVES Trackers! The instructors are very inspiring to him, the freedom in the outdoors, the slathering himself with mud….he loves! Thank you 🙂 The way Owen describes the staff is sort of god-like. He has mentioned the firm but compassionate way they have handled tough situations with children’s behavior.
-Amy, Parent

Everyone that we came in contact with from the parking attendants to the camp counselors was friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Danielle loved learning new skills, especially archery, wood carving, casting a fishing line, and learning more about animals and wilderness survival. She didn’t like the games as much, but still stretched herself a bit by participating. I could see her confidence growing over the course of the week, as she’d relay the events of the day to me. She wanted me to be sure to pass along how much she really enjoyed her camp counselors, Casey and Derek. They were wonderful all week – willing to listen, share the days events and just seemed to have great attitudes and a bunch of positive energy. The place itself was a veritable beehive of positive energy, which I loved. We also had a nice experience buying Danielle’s new Morakniv at the camp store. The woman who worked there in the mornings was extremely helpful and knowledgeable in helping us decide which knife Danielle should choose, as was Casey. I also enjoyed my brief conversation with Chris Codino at the beginning of all this, when she took the time to answer my questions. At camp, I also loved the fact that her counselors always had something interesting going on during check-in and check-out times. Many thanks to everyone for making our week at your camp an exciting and special time. I really love your mission and all the positive, helpful attitudes that go along with it. Keep up the good work.
-Julie Brabandt, Parent

He started nervous and excited. Every day he had a new story to tell of exciting things he did. He keeps asking if he can go back. For me the biggest difference was his interest in computer games. Before the week of camp, he would beg to play with electronics every day. During the week of camp and after, he wanted to play outside and practice stealth. He started begging for a bow and arrow.
-Andrea Leech, Parent

Ben played stealth games on Monday. He came home the dirtiest we’ve ever seen him, caked in mud and joy. We thought, perfect!, and then sent him straight to bath, smooth, MUCH better location than last year, especially parking
-Alice W, Parent

 

Interested in Trackers Earth Bay Area summer camps. Check out last years quotes and reviews:

She had a fantastic week. She had zero complaints even with heat, long days, etc. She came home talking about the events of the day, and somehow you managed to make blood and guts exciting rather than gruesome. (How’d you do that?) She enjoyed the counselors and appreciated them. She made several friends during the week and felt comfortable. (Ended up with a swimming play date with one girl, and a repeat next week.)
-Lisa, Parent

Ethan had an incredible week and is back to loving Trackers. The week’s program was fantastic and seeing a Bald Eagle and Osprey fight overhead was the highlight of Ethan’s summer so far. All of the Counselors we ran into in the fishing area were really nice, friendly, etc. Sonya was great, and Jeff was over-the-top fantastic. What a special guy — really fun, warm, expressive, funny, effective with the kids, etc. He clearly puts a ton of effort and care into his work. And Shane does such a great job managing a huge program! Thank you, Trackers.
-Kristina Whitney, Parent

This was Egan’s second (out of 3) week of Trackers this summer and he comes home every day so excited and happy about his experiences. He literally tells us every detail of the day and can’t stop talking about it. He really loved making cordage and worked on it for hours at home in the evenings and early mornings before camp. Catching leopard sharks, crabs and jellyfish were his highlights and we heard all sorts of stories about different types of crabs. He loved both of his counselors and I really appreciated Tess. She had a personal story to tell me each afternoon about Egan and what he had done or learned and I looked forward to it each day.
-Allison Krasnow, Parent

Dylan had a blast! By the end of the week, he forget his shyness and was handling bait and live crabs like a pro. I knew this from what he told me each day, but his instructor noticed and took the time to tell me too. Your instructors are just incredible. Faith in humanity: restored.
-Carl, Parent

The week started off with an amazing recounting of a discussion held in Trackers where Marina explained to me that there isn’t really good and evil, but rather two opposing sides and misunderstandings/or different motives. It was very sophisticated and interesting and great to see her so engaged in not only the physical/emotional experience, but also stimulated to think about some hefty philosophical topics. Made me think too. Then on Wednesday she got into a fantasy-check situation as an interrogator of an adult and I heard from the Agent Slime aka Jimbo (so present, in tune, responsible, creative, good, smart) that she was so good, so powerful that she talked back to an adult as part of the scene being played out. But then it got emotional for her and she cried. You know, neither or or her other mom were upset by this. Emotions are a part of life. Girls often have big emotions (boys too but they learn to hide them and often deal differently). She was really feeling the experience and that’s powerful. I was so appreciative of the care, compassion, and appreciation shown toward her by the counselors and staff. What a wonderful way to be oneself, fully. I couldn’t be happier with Trackers and I know Marina loved it too. Such a holistic, whole body/mind/spirit experience. Very very pleased and extremely grateful.
-Jenny Strauss, Parent