About our Day Camps

The Vashon Wilderness Program’s summer day camps are a place for children to make real and deep connections with nature, while having a great time learning about the mystery and magic of the local ecology.  VWP’s incredible instructors spark kids’ curiosity and unveil the secrets they need to: discover the tracks and trails of local mammals; forage safely for food and medicine from the forest; stay found while traveling in totally unknown territory; build shelters; decode the language of the birds; and so much more.  Come have a blast, learn and grow with VWP this summer!

A typical day

The morning begins with the option to play a group game in the field to awaken and challenge their sensory awareness, or to experience the amazing items in our nature museum.  After the game all the youth gather up in a big circle for a sharing of gratitude – an important core routine at all our programs that helps engender a deep appreciation for all of life’s bounty.  Mentors will then share a story that relates to the day’s curriculum, and inspires a passion for exploration. After that, we head out on adventures, and learn some great nature awareness and survival skills along the way.  At the end of the day the group shares with one another the incredible experiences of the day, sealing in the magic and prompting curiosity for the next day!

Some of our curricular themes include safety in nature, aidless navigation, mapping, discovering a sense of place, our mammal neighbors, animal track and sign, harvesting plants for food and medicine, learning the language of the birds, survival skills and much more. Beyond these lessons learned, kids awaken to their own aliveness that comes from being truly immersed and engaged in the natural world.

Our camps are led by our awesome Coyote Mentors and highly skilled apprentices. We have two lead instructors and two assistants per 12 campers in our 4-6 year old camps; and one lead instructor and one assistant instructor per 10 youth in our camps for 7-12 year olds. All camps take place on beautiful Vashon Island, just s short ferry ride from Seattle or Tacoma



Our summer day camps are held at Island Center Forest, a 370-acre working forest and nature preserve featuring various forest stands, meadows, the Mukai Pond and Meadowlake Pond wetlands, and home to the headwaters of Judd Creek. 

Thank you to King County Parks & Recreation, our 2017 Summer Camp sponsor! Together we are getting more kids outside and connected with nature, community, and themselves!



Gear List

What Your Child Should Wear:

– Comfortable clothes that can get very dirty and are appropriate for the weather. If it is cold or raining, please avoid cotton clothing. Cotton is great for those beautiful sunny days. Fleece, wool or synthetic fibers stay warm when wet.

– Sturdy shoes that can get wet and very dirty

– Rain gear or poncho if significant rain is in the forecast

What to Pack in your Child’s Backpack: Please send the following items with your child in a small backpack. DO NOT send your child to camp with a bag on wheels or a satchel they have to carry over one shoulder.

– Sack lunch

– Mid-morning snack

– Full water bottle (1 liter minimum, larger kids need 2 liters)

– Sun protection or Sunblock – apply before camp

– Bug repellent (herbal based, as opposed to DEET-based, is encouraged)

– Extra Layers or rain gear for cold, damp weather. Synthetic or wool is better than cotton.

What NOT to Pack:

– Knives – we do not teach knife safety at our summer camps

– Electronics

– Personal toys

– Excess extra clothes – extra layers/rain gear are fine if necessary but please do not pack a change of clothes for after camp in their backpack. Keep these (or garbage bags for your muddy child to sit on) in your car.

– Extra weight. We will be hiking each day, and heavy backpacks become a challenge for all. Bring what you need and need what you bring.