:: YOUTH & FAMILY PROGRAMS ::
Along with being staffed by expert wilderness staff, Ndakinna camps host to a variety of special guests, including some of the best Native American storytellers and folk artists in the Northeast (learn more about our presenters here). Most camps take place at the Marion F. Bruchac Memorial Nature Preserve in Greenfield Center, NY, with plenty of forest to explore as well as a full-scale Native American wigwam. Through a variety of activities, participants gain a greater respect and understanding for the natural world as well as the rich Native American history of the Northeast. Our 3-5 day camps cover each skill and activity in greater detail. Most camps are limited to 20-30 participants each, and camps are divided by age.
Like our other youth camps, these are directed by James Bruchac and facilitated by the Ndakinna Education Center. Participants in these camps learn a variety of wilderness skills such as animal tracking, and basic wilderness skills like shelter building. For this age level, Native storytelling is a major component as well as Native and nature based arts and crafts projects. Kids learn several Native games which promote cooperation, teambuilding, awareness, patience, turn-taking, and confidence.
- Winter Wilderness Adventure & Storytelling Camps (Ages 6-8, Three Days)
Run by Assistant Director Jesse Bruchac, this is camp features three full days of both indoor and outdoor activities, ranging from shelter making and animal tracking to Native American games, crafts and storytelling.
- Spring Asban Wilderness Adventure Day & Storytelling Camps (Ages 5.5-7, Three Days)
Participants join expert tracker Jim Bruchac (co-author of three Scats and Tracks books – covering the Northeast, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic) for an outdoor adventure to learn how to identify basic mammal tracks (fox, coyote, deer, raccoon, and more) and make plaster casts. Children will be using the adjacent 80-acre Nature Preserve as well as our extensive animal tracks collection. Also included will be various Native American legends, awareness games and activities to further heighten participants understanding of the natural world and Native American culture. New addition will be a daily low ropes course challenge on our brand new ropes course
- Summer Asban Wilderness Adventure Day & Storytelling Camps (Ages 5.5-7, Three Days, Three Sessions)
Three days of outdoor fun including wilderness skills, animal tracking, Native American games, storytelling and daily visits to our adventure challenge course. Taking place at the Ndakinna Education Center with miles of nature trails, Native American wigwams, and other educational exhibits. The camp will also feature special off site field trips. In case of bad weather programming will take place inside our Education center with 3,200 square feet of teaching space. There will be rockwall climbing offered during Session Two.
Directed by James Bruchac and facilitated by the Ndakinna Education Center, participants in these camps learn a variety of wilderness skills such as animal tracking, basic to advanced wilderness skills from shelter building and land navigation to bow and hand-drill fires as well as take part in Native American storytelling, arts, crafts and games.
- Winter Awasos Wilderness Adventure Camp (Ages 9-12, Five Days)
Run by Director James Bruchac, this is a full week of indoor and outdoor winter activities from snowshoeing to animal tracking, shelter building, Native American games, basic winter survival and more. Dress for outdoor adventure (bring snowshoes if you have them)
- Spring Wilderness Adventure Day Camp (Ages 8-12, 13-16 Five Days)
Participants join expert tracker Jim Bruchac (co-author of three Scats and Tracks books – covering the Northeast, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic) for an outdoor adventure to learn how to identify basic mammal tracks (fox, coyote, deer, raccoon, and more) and make plaster casts. Kids will be using the adjacent 80-acre Nature Preserve as well as our extensive animal tracks collection. Also included will be various Native American legends, awareness games and activities to further heighten participants understanding of the natural world and Native American culture. New addition will be a daily low ropes course challenge on our brand new ropes course. Group will at times be divided up into two groups based on age and experience. Bring a bag lunch. $15 off for each additional immediate family member.
- Summer Wilderness Adventure Day Camp (Ages 8-12, 13-16, Five Days, Three Sessions)
A full week of wilderness skills, Native American games, group challenges, Animal Tracking, nature awareness, hiking, Native stories and daily visits to our adventure challenge course. Also included in sessions 1 and 3 is a full-day of flatwater kayaking. The camp will also feature special off site field trips throughout all sessions. In case of bad weather programming will take place inside our Education center. Session 2, and 3 include a wealth of new skills, stories, and activities. Session 2 includes rockwall climbing. Bring a bag lunch and dress for adventure. Group will at times be divided up into two groups based on age and experience. 5% discount for more than one family member per session.
These camps offer more in depth training than our general Spring, Summer, and Winter Youth Camps.
- Nadawaha Wilderness Survival Day Camp (Ages 9-14)
Become a Nadawaha; the Abenaki word for woodland scout. Led by author, storyteller and wilderness survival expert James Bruchac, participants ages 9-14 will learn a host of ancient and modern survival skills. After setting up a base camp deep within the Ndakinna preserve, participants will focus on primitive shelter making, navigation, basic wild edibles, camp craft, fire by friction, and nature awareness. While similar skills are touched on in our famed Awasos Adventure Day Camps, this four day camp is an hour longer each day and moves at a quicker pace to cover more advanced material. In case of severe weather, students can utilize our large indoor facility. Prior camp or outdoor experience suggested but not required. Bring a bag lunch and dress for outdoor adventure.
- Adirondack Pathfinders Wilderness Training (Ages 12-16)
Led by Ndakinna Director James Bruchac, this travel camp will include a mix of wilderness training and field trips into the Adirondacks. Field trips will include climbing at least one high peak, an Adirondack canoe trip, and a one night sleep over trek. Participants will learn a host of ancient and modern wilderness skills such as animal tracking and survival skills including shelter making, land navigation, and fire by friction.Along with their wilderness exploration, participants learn numerous basic to advanced awareness through activities and games. From navigation to camp craft, it is an experience of a lifetime. Transportation to and from the Adirondacks is provided from Ndakinna. Space is limited to ten participants only. Participants must provide their own camping gear for the overnight and a bag lunch for that day day. The camp runs from 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday, with an overnight experience Thursday.
- Martial Arts Camp (Ages 8-13, Five Days)
Ndakinna Director James Bruchac, a wilderness survival expert and fifth degree black belt as well as other highly trained martial arts instructors and wilderness staff, participants will learn the basics of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, kickboxing, and self-defense. Between training sessions, participants will also enjoy Native American storytelling and wilderness activities in the surrounding nature preserve. These team-based activities and native games have a special focus on leadership and character development. The martial arts portion contains partner drills and bully proofing self defense techniques. Each participant will take home the provided Martial arts attire. Participants should bring a bag lunch and dress for the outdoors. No prior experience is required!
Nature Studies programs focus on the study of the flora, fauna and land features of the Nature Preserve connected to the Ndakinna Education Center. Students will learn through a variety of hands-on activities (journaling, radio telemetry, plaster casting of animal tracks, etc.).
The Wilderness Challenge program includes a variety of team-based outdoor wilderness skills. Through hands-on experience and interactive games, participants will learn and apply orienteering, shelter building, fire-making, and other skills.
Family Wilderness Days
Families with young kids (ages 5 and up) are invited to come and participate in nature and Native-based outdoor activities as well as arts and crafts (parents must attend with their children).. Activities may include, shelter building, animal tracking, making mobiles, Native pictographs, plaster casts, nature scrapbooks, and more.
Family Wilderness Camps
Run like one of our popular wilderness camps, family participants take part in the same activies our kids have for years. Sharing in the experience of learning such skills as shelter making, animal tracking, Native American games and more.