Sunday, July 5, 2020

Click to watch a short video from Tony about summer

 

Letter From Our Founders

Summer Camp Update

Dear Parents and Campers,

We’re here to announce that Summer Camp is happening! These past few months have affected us in more ways than we ever could have imagined. Kids have been indoors for months, and are longing for summer camps where they can connect with friends, play in the open air, and have new adventures.

Under normal circumstances, going to camp requires significant preparation — both from our staff and families. In this new world, it takes even more time to consider the many precautions for the safety and well-being of everyone involved. All of us here at Trackers Earth have spent these past few months working around the clock to anticipate what safe summer camp will look like this year. As our state releases new guidelines, this thoughtful analysis has proven to be valuable. We are grateful for your continued patience and understanding with our process.

What’s Next?

Re-opening timelines vary by state, region, and county. California released their official guidelines for day camps on June 2nd. We reviewed each area’s guidelines and regulations the minute they came in. We’re continually brainstorming as a team, meeting with health authorities and camp organizations, and doing all we can to prepare. One thing is for sure: we will adapt and continue to create safe ways to provide engaging, educational — and fun! —  camp experiences, no matter what.

While we continue to adapt our programs, here’s what we know so far:

Location Change: In an effort to follow Department of Health guidance, we are moving our drop off location for all of our Bay Area programs to the Camp Herms Scouts property, which we have exclusive use of for the summer. We are reaching out to the parents affected to communicate the change, as well as answer any questions you might have.

Overnight Camps Due to the health guidelines in place, we will not be able to hold the Leadership in Training program. We are working with each family to figure out the next best steps for them with us in this program.

Day Camps will continue according to Contra Costa County Health Authority guidelines:

  • We plan to have small, stable groups of the same kids for our day camps – working under essential state guidelines.
  • Each group will remain together throughout the day and for the entirety of the camp week. Campers will space themselves as much as possible, which is much easier outside!
  • We will provide hand sanitizer and hand washing stations, working to make sure each camper and staff uses them often throughout the day.
  • We ask parents to take their child’s temperature every morning. If your child has any symptoms of being sick, please stay home for the safety of everyone. Trackers will credit you for that time. We are also planning an efficient and in-depth daily health check for staff and students at drop-off each day.
  • We ask that campers bring masks to wear. They will be asked to wear masks in situations where social distancing is not possible and on vehicles, as well as maintain 6 feet of space between themselves and other campers whenever possible, not limited to when directed by a staff member.
  • Check-in and check-out times may be staggered. This may result in minor shifts in camp times.
  • Check-in and check-out times may be staggered. This may result in minor shifts in camp times. To follow Oregon Health Authority guidelines to maintain stable groups for our campers, we do not plan on currently offering after camp.
  • To follow California Health Authority guidelines to maintain stable groups for our campers, we do not plan on currently offering after camp.
  • At this time, our buses will be limited to a stable cohort to ensure social distancing. That means
  • Trackers will use more vehicles and also adjust which programs and the number of days we transport for. The positive result, less time on buses and more time for activities.

What Else Are We Exploring? 

We are considering neighborhood camps that start at 9 AM and end at 2:30 PM. In Neighborhood Summer Camp, kids would be led by teachers on safe adventures using walking friendly paths and areas. We are also exploring family and friends’ camps and even Camp Shares where a Trackers Teacher comes to your home for camp with a group of siblings and kids you choose. Finally, we have a goal of offering a limited scholarship tuition and programs for children of essential workers in need of financial assistance.

Trackers Spark also offers online classes for those continuing to stay home. These are interactive, small group webinars with a familiar guide and tons of activities. This is a chance for kids to connect with other kids in classes from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Join Captain Nick in recovering the lost idol. Quest with the Realms of Cascadia, where you create your character to adventure as an elf, wizard or more. There’s even online classes for adults.

Connection & Community

Trackers is about community and personal connection. This is not a time for one-size-fits-all thinking. It is a time for personal action and responsibility. We will work with each of you to make sure your kids have the best possible camp experience this summer. During the next several weeks, our teams will reach out personally to parents signed up for camp. This is our quest to better understand your particular needs, and answer any questions you might have.

Please, if you have urgent specific needs for your children and circumstances (ie., essential workers, specific health concerns, etc.) feel free to contact us as well. Personal connection is part of our core values, and we will do our best to find personal solutions for those who need them. Again, we appreciate your patience and understanding through this process.

PLEASE SEE OUR Q&A HERE

Connecting kids to nature in inspiring ways is central to our mission. We are an organization that exists to support kids and parents and provide real and awesome camp experiences. Everyone at Trackers remembers what it’s like to be a kid. We look forward to helping your kids learn and build lasting memories – while giving parents a break, too.

If your situation has changed, we hope that you can still support Trackers by accepting a future camp credit that will be good through 2022. If a credit does not work for you, please contact us, and we will do our best to help your individual needs.

We thank you for your trust in Trackers and look forward to speaking with each of you soon. Please stay healthy and safe, and we can’t wait to see you at camp!

See you in the forest,
Molly & Tony Deis

Trackers Earth
Founders & Parents

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From Molly, Trackers Founder & Mom

We all are getting quite a bit of special family time these days. Moms (and all parents) now do work, school, and play! The “new norm” of leisure includes 10 minutes of uninterrupted: shower, cooking, sleep, thought, or the online multi-user dungeon (MUD) that I play.

I’m experiencing an interesting side-effect with my patience level. The daily affirmations said under my breath seem to be helping. Along with lowering my standards.😉I find myself getting less frustrated about things. Tony cooked me breakfast this morning. Good for him.

Counting to 10 goes both ways. To buffer my reactions to my kids or for getting them to do a thing. This week the girls cut sleeves off their dresses to make them more “summer-ready” in the hot weather. My sweet-toothed child has been hoarding cups of sugar around the house. The youngest hides whenever it’s time for chores.

It’s all part of being a parent. From one mom to other parents, Happy Parent’s Day. I hope we’re hanging in and I’m looking to the light beyond this—as long the kids get outside the house. Take the day to enjoy a little “new norm” and play with your wonderful and sometimes aggravating loved ones.😸

See You In The Virtual Forest,

Molly Deis
Trackers Earth
Founder & Mom

From Molly, Trackers Founder & Mom

Like most families, at the Trackers Homestead we take it one week at a time. Our team is still hard at work creating online classes (below for cool news) and preparing for summer.

It’s ironic, we’re used to homeschooling, but we’ve taken it easy the past couple weeks. Tony and I even got the kids outside to make ↓ this video

Video Whittle Kids – Woodcarving

Click on thumbnail to watch it! My kids, Robin (9 years) and Maxine (4 years), teach the safety basics for whittling with knives. I highly recommend watching it with your kids. These two are cute and informative, but my opinion may be skewed.

If you liked it, check out our upcoming online classes that teach woodcarving to parents and kids. Let’s get to the big news! Trackers Online is now…

Trackers Spark!

Our online camps and classes have grown. So we’re giving them a new home and a new name. Trackers Spark lights the fire. It has “channels” that feature your favorite Trackers Guides, skills and fun.

Join Captain Nick on his globetrotting adventures. Next week, in Captain Nick: Sky Pirates, Nick and kids take to the air to stop the Captain Zeppelin’s flying bandits. Plus, in Captain Nick: Kingdom of Cats, the Contessa turns our adventurers into feline friends. It’s up to “Catnip” Nick and kids to prevent an aPAWcolypse!

Wilders Home is bringing back Home Ec. Kids join Cowboy Sam to cook Dandelion Donuts. Or take part in a fun food show style cook off with found kitchen ingredients.

Finally, Wizards Academy is taking new students. Practice wand craft, search for mythic beasts, and help the school of magic fight the Realm of the Dark Arts.

Trackers Spark is where you now find our live, small group interactive webinars. Rovers for young kids. Rangers with outdoor skills. Earth Ninjas with martial arts every morning. Scroll below for every Spark channel…

Kids can learn new skills or adventure through a fantastical Realm. With Trackers Spark, Trackers Earth is doing what we do best. We inspire kids everywhere, every week, to find connection and community!

See You On The Spark,

Molly Deis
Trackers Earth
Founder & Mom

All Locations for Parents

By Molly Deis, Founder

We’ve come a long way since our first eclectic location directly across from Oaks Bottom Park. I often have conversations with many parents who don’t realize there’s a Trackers in their neighborhood. They get really excited when I tell them. So I wanted to review all our pick-up and drop-off options for Portland Area and beyond!


SE Portland

4617 SE Milwaukie Ave Portland, OR
This is Trackers Central, where you will find the most camp offerings. It also includes our nearby Annex.

Portland Waldorf School

2300 SE Harrison St Milwaukie, OR
We’re excited to offer camps at PWS to all families of the Milwaukie and beyond. Pro-tip to parents, parking is great here!

NE Portland

2727 NE 54th Ave. Portland, OR
Based out of St. Rose of Lima school, our NE Portland camps are in their 6th year with one of our fullest camp offerings.

N Portland

4822 N Vancouver Ave Portland, OR
New this year! And just off Williams Avenue, this site is a convenient option for many families in North Portland.

Cedar Hills

330 SW Murray Blvd Beaverton, OR
Right near the Nike Campus and only 1 minute from the Sunset Hwy, our new Cedar Hills site has proven very popular.

W Portland

5656 SW Humphrey Blvd Portland, OR
Close to our original W Portland site, this is more convenient for parents near both Schools Ferry Rd and the Sunset Hwy.

Happy Valley

16581 SE Hagen Rd Happy Valley, OR
Located at Pendarvis Farm, not too far from New Seasons in Happy Valley and site of the famous Pickathon festival.

Vancouver

10606 NE 14th St Vancouver, WA
You can find us at the Cascadia Montessori School. This is our 2nd year in this welcoming community.

Sandy

41515 SE Thomas Rd Sandy, OR
Day Camps are now available to families in Sandy. Now I drop my own kids off with a much shorter commute!

Overnight – Camp Roslyn

Thomas Rd Sandy, OR
Our new overnight site includes a newly remodeled historic school with a full-fledged dining hall.

Overnight Basecamp

Marmot Rd, Sandy, OR
Camp Trackers, our original residential site, is now our Basecamp for adventures in climbing, kayaking and more.

Overnight Expeditions

Adventures in the Pacific NW
Expeditions travel the Pacific Northwest. We visit the San Juan Islands, Oregon Coast and even backpack the Cascades.


I hope this review is helpful in knowing all our Portland sites. Also, don’t forget, Trackers has been in the Bay Area since 2008 and this year you can also find us in Denver and the Seattle area.

See You In The Forest,

Molly Deis
Trackers Earth
Founder & Mom

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I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. For me, it's one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I call any place with Western Red Cedar Trees and Pacific Wrens my home.

For me, joy is in picking salmonberries and thimbleberries every Summer, hunting for chanterelle mushrooms in the Fall, and embracing the grey rains of Winter while waiting for the first young nettles of Spring. All across our region, people have a love for the outdoors and nature. We are connected by the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

That is why, after many years of parents asking, I'm thrilled to announce Trackers Earth is coming to the Seattle area for Summer 2020. The schedule is now posted (with a 15% Early Discount). You'll find all our old favorites teaching outdoor lore and skills with our Rangers or Mariners guilds. Plus, story adventures of Live Action Role Playing (LARPs) with Elves, Wizards and even Secret Agents.

Camp Drop-Off is available in Lynnwood and Kirkland. Let me know if you have any questions and we look forward to seeing you there!

See You In The Forest,

Molly Deis
Trackers Earth
Founder & Mom

Help Us Connect With Families!

You likely heard the news. For Summer 2020 Trackers is going beyond the Bay Area and Portland. We now offer camps in Seattle and Denver! Everyone here is excited to bring a deep connection to nature, community and many generations beyond our lifetime to more kids and their families.

How we connect at Trackers is unique—it is more than simply a visit to the woods. It is a profound relationship that empowers children in every aspect of their life. Nature becomes a friend who is always there. Allow me to illustrate this with a simple story.

Mystery Feather

A long, long time ago, Before Trackers (circa 6 BT), I was a seasonal outdoor educator. It was a Saturday—one of my few days off in the summer. Most of my time, day and night, was spent teaching in the forest. Coming back to the city was a culture shock.

I was tired, mulling over a hard week of camp (that happens) and trying to balance my personal checkbook.* I resented being back in the city where everything was more complicated. Walking with my head down I noticed a swath of light feathers lying on the sidewalk. My Trackers brain kicked in. Pulling out my pocket journal I drew a map of the whole area, noting buildings, curbs, rose bushes, trees, people sipping coffee outdoors, and flocks of pigeons mulling about.

Then I narrowed in on where I stood. How was the track and sign strewn across the landscape? While drawing it, I found the feathers had fallen into a pattern. The lightest feathers scattered in a concentric ring further South/Southeast along the sidewalk. The feathers on the street were pushed into the curb by passing cars.

The heavier feathers did not float as far, but still followed the same flow. I tracked the Wind That Once Was, walking only 12 paces North/Northwest to find the heaviest clump of a partial wing just below the Stumptown Coffee sign, where a hawk had temporarily rested in the early dawn with her fresh kill.

Looking up again, I sighted the nearest trees one could fly to and walked West towards them. Three blocks away, in the middle of the street, I found the rest of our pigeon prey, flat like a pancake from the morning traffic. “Why did she drop it?” I asked myself and was immediately answered by the caws coming from a nearby maple tree. The Hawk would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those Meddling Crows!

Later that afternoon, my hypothesis was confirmed by a friend who lived in the neighborhood. Without knowing about my Tracking Adventure, he relayed seeing several crows mobbing a hawk very early that morning—just over where I found the remains of our Pigeon Friend.

Nature Awareness & Connection

This little quest got me out of my head and back into my senses. I opened up the wilderness in the middle of the city. We hope to share that unique form of nature adventure with more families in many other urban areas. No matter where kids live, we want them to see through the eyes of a Tracker. It gets them through challenging days and gives them a superpower to see what most modern people do not. We want to help share a deeper connection to and awareness of community, nature and many generations beyond our lifetime.

Please help us connect. Share the news with friends and family from Seattle and Denver who you feel can benefit by learning and growing with Trackers. Also, we are looking for ideas for activities and local sites to run programming, along with parents interested in becoming ambassadors for our programs in their area. Who knows, Trackers Pittsburgh?

Reply to this email to contact Molly, our Founder, directly. We will both be personally responding.

Keep on Tracking,

Tony Deis
Trackers Earth
Founder & Dad

Get to know our new Forest School Principal, Ian Abraham!

Ian Abraham comes to us most recently as the Youth Programs Manager at Portland Audubon, overseeing and developing programs for tens of thousands of youth. We’re so excited to have him join us, and wanted to share that enthusiasm with you as the school year gets started. Read on to learn more about Ian’s background, experience, and philosophy. And go here to learn more about learning at Trackers Forest School

Ian, why Trackers?

IA: I was fortunate enough to be a part of some of the earlier discussions that have now become known as Trackers Earth. While the ideals and philosophies back then were new, I have had the pleasure of watching the organization, program, and work grow into a movement that is connecting thousands of youth and adults to the natural world and themselves.

What are you most excited for in joining the Trackers Earth Forest School team?

IA: I have made it my life’s work to facilitate a nature connection for adults and youth alike. Over the past 13 years, I have spent my career as an Environmental Educator, Camp Director, and finally the Youth Programs Manager with Portland Audubon. I have also spent the last three years co-mentoring teen boys on a weekly basis with a focus on mindfulness and socialization skills. I have wholeheartedly mentored dozens of teens and educators throughout my time at Audubon and beyond. This path has allowed me to form relationships with youth and nature in a holistic and whole systems learning environment wherein nature is the ultimate teacher, providing an experiential learning environment like no other.

My personal values and mission align so well with those of the Forest School. It is rare that one has an opportunity to have such succinct alignment with personal values and organizational values. This chance to work with children, parents, and teachers within a community steeped in nature is what I am most excited for.

What’s your education philosophy? Or give me some central tenets.

IA: The strictly formal education that I received as a child was founded in human to human relationships and, as much as I appreciated that, it was always missing something. I believe that education is based in relationships between people, and the more than human world, wherein nature is the ultimate teacher.

Education should be a hands-on, experiential practice wherein children gain a working understanding of subjects, knowledge, and skills while developing lifelong critical thinking skills and core competencies. Academic learning is supported through earth-based skills through story, music, art, song, providing a whole systems environment for all learners… visual, oral, or/and kinesthetic.

How is the format and curriculum of Forest School uniquely posed to be beneficial to real learning?

IA: Unlike other forms of environmental education that are a one-off program, Forest School is an apex opportunity, allowing students and teachers to walk together in relationship with the natural world, all the while learning math and reading and writing in courageous and competent ways. I’ve never been a part of a program with this kind of consistency — full-day learning, five days a week, nine months of the year. With this amount of student-contact time, I’m excited to watch their progression throughout the year. Their progressions—teachers and students alike—are based in our ability, as a school, to give primacy to relationships, and create meaningful, honest, long-term mentoring that centers the student’s experience.

Trackers Forest School provides a unique opportunity to blend academics with hands-on learning. Full-time school for grades K-8, and a micro high school that meets three days a week. Ian’s background in administering and planning interdisciplinary curriculum makes him well-suited to lead Trackers Forest School into the next academic year and beyond. Come to our next Open House to meet Ian and learn more about the Forest School educational environment.

2019 Apprenticeships for Youth & Teens – Ready to Register

Apprenticeships are our year-round mentoring programs. They take place 1 weekend-a-month from September to May. Trackers staff and I truly appreciate this incredible opportunity to go beyond summer, helping kids develop greater connection to community and nature. We offer options for ages 4 to 17. This year brings a couple of new features

New Programs Along with familiar favorites such as Wilders Farm Craft, we also offer new programs exploring subjects such as Ninja Martial Arts & Forest Parkour and Photography. Also, Outdoor Leadership for Hiking, Boating & Climbing now has a single day option for all ages along with the popular overnight session. See below for a list of all programs…

More Space Quickly growing into one of our most popular programs, Apprenticeships had a waitlist of over 250 students last year. Because of this interest, we have expanded our capacity for each weekend. While we cannot guarantee there will not be another waitlist, we want to share this experience with more children, teens, and their families.

New Facilities We are excited to open our new Arts & Crafts Annex—only 5 blocks from our HQ. This newly remodeled learning studio features a dedicated classroom for Ceramics and Woodworking, along with one of the largest Blacksmithing Shops on the west coast. Plus, as Blacksmithing gets its own location, our indoor Archery range will expand.

Why Apprentice?

Finally, I want to talk about how our Apprenticeship programs can help support the families we serve by reflecting on my experiences with my own children in the program.

Friend Connections I have seen kids in Apprenticeships become part of a team and much more. My own kids have discovered lasting friendships through sharing these adventures. Many Apprentices return year after year.

Skills & Nature Connection Each Apprenticeship offers its own set of skills, but they also are an immersion that connects kids to natural world. As kids explore the outdoors and traditional crafts, they learn life lessons of resilience, thoughtfulness, and mutual respect.

Leadership & Mentoring Our long term goal is to cultivate leadership skills for community and stewardship. Our most experienced educators mentor students to take ownership of their own learning.

Remember to register soon if you plan on joining us. As always, feel free to email me with any questions about how we can best care for and support your family—replying to this email goes directly to me! We can also meet in person at our Portland Camp Fair this Saturday on April 20, 2019.

See you in the woods,

Molly Deis
Trackers Earth
Founder & Mom

 

Find your Apprenticeship!