Nature Summer Camps


Wilderness Passages

A Journey Thru 4 Rites of Nature, Ages 12-14, June 10-15, 2017, Emigrant Gap, California, $600

Every human has four elemental needs:  shelter, water, fire and food.  All of our ancestors were deeply connected to these needs. Our modern world seems to have forgotten much of this. Wilderness Passages is a week-long journey for youth ages 12-14 where they learn to reconnect with these skills. Learning these skills creates confidence, self-sufficiency, and transformation. We light the ceremonial fire for each of these passages and provide guidance for creating community containers for recognizing this transformation in the youth before and after the passages.

The 4 Rites of Nature - The weeklong is centered around four challenges:

Shelter:  building and sleeping in survival shelters made from the land. Water: finding and purifying water, wandering watersheds and connecting to water through awareness challenges. Fire: Learning to make fire from the land and tending a solo overnight fire. Food: spending an entire day relying on food gathered from the land.
Instructors: Ken Clarkson and Rick Berry

Note: parents must supply transportation to/from Emmigrant Gap, CA.

Interested in applying, here's more information

Nature Explorers Huddart Park

 Ages:  6-13

Summer 2017
6/19 - 6/23, 9am - 3pm FULL

Location:  Huddart Park (drop off and pick up at Huddart)

Nature Explorers day camp enables children to create deep connections to the natural landscape through experiential nature awareness and hands-on wildcrafting activities.

Campers will explore the environment through their senses, games, survival skills, tracking, and much more! Our proven approach with highly skilled naturalists uses Cultural Mentoring and best practices in nature awareness with low student to instructor ratios.

Cost:  $380 – Limited scholarships are available.

Mountains to Sea Santa Cruz  

Ages:  6-12

Summer 2017                                                                                                                               6/26 - 6/30 FULL

Location:  Drop off/Pick-Up UCSC Arboretum

The Mountains to Sea Day Camp will travel from the tops of the Santa Cruz mountains to the sands of the Monterey Bay and everywhere in between.  Each day brings a new adventure and destination. We will track bobcat, explore  the river for crawdads, and play games that teach nature skills and awareness. 

Students will learn to view their “backyard” through a new lens of nature awareness. Drop off and pick up will be at Garfield Park, where we will load into the Riekes van for a different destination each day.

Cost:  $390 – Limited scholarships are available

Bay to Sea

 Ages 7-12

Summer 2017 | 9AM - 4PM | Drop off/pick up: Riekes Center                                              7/5 - 7/7   cost $240                                                                                                                 7/10 - 7/14  FULL                                                                                                                           7/17 - 7/21   FULL                                                                                                                       7/31 - 8/4    FULL                                                                                                                         8/7 - 8/11   FULL                                                                                                                               

The Bay to Sea Day Camp will travel from the waterfowl-rich wetlands of San Francisco Bay to the sands of the Pacific Ocean and everywhere in between. Each day brings a new adventure and destination. We will track bobcat, explore riparian river mouths, and play games that teach nature skills. Students will learn to view their “backyard” through a new lens of nature awareness. Drop off and pick up will be at the Riekes Center, where we will load into the Riekes van for a different destination each day.

Cost:  $390 – Limited scholarships are available

Surf Camp

Ages 6-18

Summer 2017, 8:30AM - 1:30PM                                                                                          6/26 - 6/30 FULL                                                                                                                           7/10 - 7/14  FULL                                                                                                                           7/24 - 7/28 FULL                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Drop off/Pick up at Riekes Center

*Aftercare not available for Surf Camp

Have you ever dreamed of learning to surf, or wanted to spend days on end improving your surfing?  If so, seek no further!  Join us for surfing in Pacifica this summer.  This camp will teach the fundamentals of surfing, body boarding, and body surfing. 

Surfers will also learn wave judgment, ocean safety, and explore tidepools from certified lifeguards and experienced surf instructors. Campers meet at the Riekes Center and are driven by staff up to Surf Camp.

Cost: $420 – Limited scholarships are available.

Plant Lore and Magic 

Ages 6-10

Summer 2017                                                                                                                               7/17 - 7/21  FULL                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Location: Huddart Park

Join us for an adventure into the California plant world of lore and magic.  This is a journey on the green path of helpful plants and how we can relate to them as food, medicine, and wise teachers.  The week will deepen the connection to plants through story, song, medicine making, games, imagination, and the senses.   Your child will learn how to make a basic herbal first aid kit.  

They will learn what parts of the plants are used and how to prepare them.   Your child will be introduced to the ethics of Wild Crafting and how to connect deeply to plants through art, naming, and guided questions from skilled facilitators.   Activities will also include herbal medicine making, plant wisdom stories, botanical drawings and wild crafted art and stone age instrument making.  Instructors:  Anole Dahlstrom and Marisa Bean

Cost: $375 – Limited scholarships are available

Four Fires Rendezvous  

Ages 13-17

Summer 2017                                                                                                                               6/18-6/24 Apply Here                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Location:  TBD

Four Fires Returns for year #8!!! This camp is the brainchild of 4 California wilderness school leaders that began in 2010. This is a rendezvous camp where each wilderness school brings a group of teens for a week of advanced nature awareness skills and fun. In the past, themes have included scouting skills and invisibility, martial arts, hands-on stone age skills, survival quests, and solo overnight quests. In 2017. Prepare for redefining the word “epic” and resetting your inner fun-o-meter. This is an advanced nature skills week where we will offer the opportunity to meet and share skills with teens from similar nature programs throughout the state and to learn from instructors from different schools. Because of limited space and the advanced nature of this camp, applicants must apply first before being accepted into this program.  Applicants must first complete a 4 Fires Application through the link below. Staff will review each application and if necessary, contact individual applicants for an interview.  Applicants who are accepted will be sent a subsequent registration link. Instructors:  Dylan Mathews and Audra Rowles.

Cost: $750 – Limited scholarships are available


Summer Schedule, 9am -3pm                                                                                                     6/12 - 6/16  |  6/26 - 6/30  |  7/10 - 7/14  |  7/31 - 8/4 

What is AFCANA?

Join us for the ultimate summer camp that fuels creativity, develops fitness, and connects us to the natural world around us! Camp AFCANA integrates programming from the 3 departments at the Riekes Center: Athletic Fitness, Creative Arts, & Nature Awareness. This camp creates a full mind-body learning experience. We will create opportunities for students to experience:

  • Three worlds of exciting experiential learning all in one facility
  • Staff trained in multi-disciplinary programming and best practices in education that enable growth in multiple intelligences
  • Exploration of interests and new worlds of learning.  A unique summer camp experience found nowhere else!

Cancellations 30 days or more in advance of your session will be refunded minus $50 fee. Cancellations less than 30 days in advance will be refunded minus $50 fee, only if your space is filled by a wait-listed camper; otherwise no refund can be given