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Ben & Claire welcome your feedback, questions, suggestions and wisdom:

FAQ (Frequently asked questions)

Tribal Wisdom Academy & Los Gatos Farms are separate camps with separate staff, at the same ranch. These FAQ's are just for TWA camps.

  1. What "tribe" is Tribal Wisdom Academy? We are your tribe, or basically we honor and welcome your own family's cultural heritage. Ben has traveled in over 30 countries and understands fairly well how to do that. Please let us know if you have an accommodation that you require for your child.

  2. Does TWA teach any Religions? No. And we also don't preach atheism while teaching science (as is the policy in many schools), and our staff also don’t add new-age spiritualism to their lessons in nature. TWA uses the broad definition of religion as "any belief held by a group that influences their behavior". We value the tribal context of one's own family and culture. No worries. Our job is to support each family in their personal parenting style. Ben was a youth pastor in the 90's and knows well the concerns of our Church families.

  3. Does TWA Recycle? Not religiously. But yes we recycle camp water bottles, so please put cleaned recyclables into the designated bag. We give the bag to to an elder who collects plastics full-time. (Please don’t pack soda drinks in your child’s camp lunch).

  4. Does TWA teach Hunting: No, but we play with the toys. Child development from the depths of ancient history has involved hunting for food. Human hardware (your brain/body) was designed to grow in the fertile soil of historic forest adventures. Comparably, all "cat toys" are hunting toys. And, of course, raising a house-cat without toys would be cruel. Beyond analysis, when parents see kids playing at Tribal Wisdom Academy camps, they all say something like ", this is childhood".

  5. Homeschoolers? We have a lot of experience with homeschoolers and unschoolers, as well as gifted and twice-gifted children. Please tell us about your child on the Online Registration form, and feel free to call Ben and Claire.

  6. Other-Able Kids? Parents should work with their doctors to decide if their child's simple physical limitations are okay at the Academy. Our Online Registration includes the parent reading and declaring their confidence in the safety of having their child participate in Academy programs. Some parents give us a medical report. Kids at Adventure Maker Camps don't need to do much walking, but the terrain can be steep. Kids will also need to clearly see and safely grip wood-cutting tools, and use them with fair coordination around other kids and staff.

  7. Behavior Contract? Yes this is serious, although in our experience kids tend to behave much better than their parents had often expected. Our staff nurtures a child’s sense of responsibility, but woodshop tool programs are not safe for children with recognized behavior issues. Our staff/student ratio is between 1:6 to 1:8, but is NOT the one-on-one ratio that behaviorally challenged children require. Our Behavior Contract is a list of expectations for well behaved children. If you as a parent would not trust your child with an axe, tomahawk, knife and saw, then please read the Online Camp Waiver. It is a legal document, and each parent is legally responsible for the actions of their child. Maybe ask your doctor for advice on other camp locations with nature programs that hike all day, rather than our tool-centered program. Email us if you would like recommendations to other camps.

  8. Switching Dates, Cancellations, and Refunds:
    (As stated in the
    Online Camp Waiver)

    1. Switching dates at any time before your first day of camp: Parents may email to switch weeks (no fee), as long as there is space in the week(s) that you are switching to. Note that all weeks may be full or unavailable by that time, and in that case, anything that you have paid will be kept as a credit toward the following year TWA summer camps only.

    2. Before April 1st: You may cancel for any reason and receive a 100% refund of all amounts paid, minus a $50 administration fee. Email

    3. After April 1st: If your child cannot attend camps this year, anything that you have paid will be kept as a credit toward the following year TWA summer camps.

    4. (Please note that no refund or credit will be made for late arrival, early departure, dismissal for cause or other reasons unless a doctors note is included). 

Ben has taught over 30-thousand kids during hundreds of Merced County Office of Education 5-day Outdoor School field trips during 15 school-years in Yosemite.

Ben has taught over 30-thousand kids during hundreds of Merced County Office of Education 5-day Outdoor School field trips during 15 school-years in Yosemite.

Tribal Wisdom Academy VISION

  • Allow children to have an actual childhood that is full of real adventures.

  • Create unstoppable self-directed lifelong learners that can get into any career or college that they choose.

  • Focus on moral character and sustainability.

  • Help families find a balance between self-reliance and community.

  • Train kids to thrive in any world future with an intertwining of paleolithic survival skills and modern day life-skills.

  • Connect students with how the natural world provides all of our food and raw materials, in today's advancing technological world.

  • Have a lot of fun.

All summer at the end of the camp day many parents arrive early (at 2:30pm) to chat with the TWA Mentors and with other parents. Together we are your child’s village.

Parents who want more of Tribal Wisdom Academy's authentic childhood life-experience will be enthused to look at our Wednesday After-school page.