Highlights from Slide Ranch Summer Camp 2015

From June 15 through August 21, over 550 Bay Area children and teens age 5-18 got a delightful dose of fresh air, a spoonful of splendid scenery, and a bucketful of inspiring nature nurture experiences at our Summer Camp. We loved having them here! We hope our campers have many cherished memories from this sunny summer and the experiences we all shared at Slide Ranch. We've put together a collection of photos from all 10 weeks of Summer Camp to show you the variety of activities and exciting adventures we all got up to--it was a blast! Enjoy.

Did you know that every program at Slide Ranch is subsidized by donations?

Your gift of any size directly supports our education programs so that ALL Bay Area children, including those from low income and underserved communities, get equal access to nature education. 

It costs just $22 to partly subsidize a child to attend a Slide Ranch environmental education program and $75 to cover the cost entirely. 

Help a child experience what these campers experienced at Slide Ranch. Thank you in advance for your generosity.


Summer Camp Summary

Slide Explorers were our youngest campers age 5-8 and their camp experience was all about discovery! Children learn best and create the most vivid memories when they engage their senses and our Slide Explorers learned about the natural world by touching, tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing and doing. Our Slide Explorers became great nature detectives! Here are just a few things our Slide Explorers got up to.

Held our baby chicks and milked our goats; found clues about all the wild animals that live in our coastal ecosystem;  made sculptures with beach clay; learned about skeletal anatomy by re-creating bony animals at the Bone Grove; harvested potatoes and rosemary; made delicious french fries, rhubarb crisps and garden popsicles; created a nature weaving with strips of cypress bark; observed owls in the giant eucalyptus trees; tended our garden and worm compost; listened to the sounds of crashing waves and sea birds; felt the sand on their feet and built sand and stone habitats; and many campers sighted seals, porpoises and breaching whales! WOW!

Ranch Rangers (5-13 yo) enjoyed a wide variety of creative, cooking and discovery activities, and many used Ranch Ranger camps weeks to attend camp with their siblings. We learned about animals and plants and “where things come from”, talked about what they wanted to be when they grow up, and how we can take care of the earth. Here are some exciting things our Ranch Ranchers did! 

Went spider web hunting; learned about bees, decomposers, plant families and native medicinal plants; buried a time capsule; made wool necklaces and sea creature mobiles; created fairies using popsicle sticks, wool and leaves for wings; learned how to cook honey cookies and calendula mint sun tea; milked our goats, fed the chickens and harvested the garden. One group even went ole'-fashioned fishin’ at the tide pools with fennel fishing rods and wool flies. Groups observed owls, deer, and even spotted some dolphins! We got down and dirty and dug fresh potatoes to make french fries, created pretzels and pizza from homemade dough, fresh farm cheese, and herbs from the garden. 

Junior Farmers are our older campers age 8-13. They gain a deeper experience by participating fully in ranch life, practicing principles of organic gardening and animal care, and undertaking stewardship projects. They also help shape their summer camp experience by making choices about more ambitious craft, cooking and nature projects. Through the lens of stewardship groups discuss questions like “what is nature?” and “how can we interact with nature in a respectful way?”. Here are a few things our Junior Campers experienced:

Investigated life cycles and reciprocal relationships with the animals, plants, and the wild lands; observed great-horned owls in the giant eucalyptus trees overlooking the pasture; made salve with beeswax and garden herb infused oils; made a ton of yummy food including homemade bread, French fries from freshly dug potatoes, blackberry galettes, herbed popcorn, lemon poppy seed cookies, and pizza which included harvesting, threshing, winnowing and grinding wheat from the Slide Ranch garden. Some campers explored the wonders of the tide pools and went on a trash hunt; painted using water from the ocean and natural paintbrushes made out of plantain; created Dream Catchers by harvesting and shaping willow, making their own yarn from wool and finding feathers; created scavenger hunts for younger camp groups; and one group adventured all the way to the Muir Beach Overlook on the Owl Trail! 

Assisting with a number of summer camp groups were our teen Junior Camp Counselors (JCCs). JCC's assist our teachers with every aspect of Summer Camp helping to develop their leadership, teamwork and communication skills. They said that working with the campers required a "lot of energy" and were impressed that the Teachers never seemed tired! The JCC's also noticed was how much our campers loved to be asked questions:

"I think kids like to be asked their opinions on things because, as a kid, you mainly get asked how old you are and what your name is." 

They all agreed that Slide Ranch is a really special place where kids get to ask and answer many questions. 

We celebrate these inquiries and rich, sensory adventures for children, and we hope that all of the campers have special memories of Slide Ranch and the things they experienced here.

Thank you again for attending Summer Camp. Registration for Summer Camp 2016 opens January 2016. We hope to see you next year!