Parents: if your child has been to our camp, please write a review by clicking on the above Activity Hero icon. Thanks!
Why is authentic outdoor forest childhood great for kids?
“A child’s immune system is fully developed by natural outdoor exposure to the correct amount of sunlight (vitamin D production in the skin), the deep breathing of oxygen/pollen rich air, and contact with mineral rich organic soil. The child’s movement and play on hills and forest trails also develops the child’s sense of balance and physical coordination. Eyesight is properly developed by the constant variations of light/shadow and visual depth while moving outdoors. Hearing and listening become a skill while sounds of nature change around the child, near and far. Forest plants and flowers allow the child to make celibrial connections to what they see. The child’s sense of touch is deepened by variations in temperature and the many textures of the natural world. This is the natural habitat of childhood. Every child born during the past many millions of years is born with DNA that is expecting and needing this habitat to develop the child into a healthy and powerful adult.” - Ben Jamin Walker
Hear what students & parents are saying about Tribal Wisdom Academy:
"Ben showed up on day one ready to support my son's home school program with his experience, wisdom, creativity and endless energy. It amazes me how much energy he has to match my ten year old! My son's joy of learning has emerged and we are incredibly grateful to have found such a treasure of a mentor at this time in our son's life." by Diane H. (2015, parent in Los Gatos, CA)
"My 9 year old son just joined Tribal Wisdom Academy. We could not be more thrilled with his experience! Many programs through the years have promised but failed to deliver on those promises to truly help my son, who has severe ADHD. Not only are Ben and Claire fully able to work with my son, they are doing it without him having to take any medication! A first for us. My son is engaged and happy, coming home with a huge smile and a lot to tell me about his experiences that day. Also a first!! Now my daughter wants to join the fun." by Karlin P. (2015, parent in Los Gatos, CA)
"The other day I was walking through the woods with my son and I remembered how you taught all of us how to make a bow from tree branches, so I showed my son how to do it as well. I used my boot lace as string. It was a great moment. Thank you very much for all the lessons that you taught me. Every little thing that we do deeply impacts those around us. And I hope I can teach my son some of these amazing things." by Jack W.
"My favorite part of camp was the night hike and the creek exploration. You taught me lots of stuff about wilderness. I couldn't believe I saw a deer!" by Fox, age 11
"Moose!!! I know that you will spread your light, you fun, and knowledge wherever you go. Your patience and encouragement helped me and the students grow. Your enthusiasm and love for what you do is obvious and inspires students to connect to nature." by Izzy, Intern Naturalist
"You are the awesomest, funnest, wisest and nicest person I've ever known. You would always inspire me with your stories." by Imonol P.
"I remember when you blew my mind with the cookie trick. Thanks for all the memories and for making kids smile!" by Joe C. (high school student)
"On the hike today in Yosemite I learned so many new things that I never knew. Thank you. You really inspired me a lot!" by Daisy
"You are funny and exciting. You also have lots of information: making fire, the best animal impressions, and cool amazing awesome stories!" by Amanda O.
"It's been a great experience spending time with you last year and this year. I think you are probably one of the most interesting and funny people I have ever met." by Julie A. (school teacher)
"I want to thank you for everything you did for me: you trained me, you told me so many things, you helped me to become a naturalist...You have that special power to connect with kids, to influence them to learn. " by Sparrow B. (currently a Professional Naturalist)
"I think you are special because you run an awesome camp! Our hikes with you were fun and there was lots of talking!" by Emma, age 11
"One thing I learned with you was where the Native Americans hiked and where they hunted." by Little Branch, age 12
"You are one of the smartest people I have ever seen in the whole wide world. I hope you have an excellent and fun time in building your new school." by Cynthia P.
"That is cool how you taught us that a plastic water bottle and sunlight can start a fire." by Anissia
"We had an adventurous time learning how to make spears" by Yesenia P.
"Thank you for your dedication. I had your class when I was a 6th grader and now again 5 years later. Thank you!" by Jessica O.
"You are the best naturalist. You are always funny. You always make me laugh and give us a lot of information. You are always fun to hike with." by Jocelyn G, age 12
"Thank you for being a wonderful naturalist. I also remember you being a selfless and kind individual when I was a 6th grader many years ago." by Daisy S.
"This review is for the 1-week summer camp called "Tribal Wisdom Academy" on Los Gatos Farms. The name "tribal wisdom" says it all. The kids hike, climb trees, slide down the zip-line, dig holes, shoot arrows, cut wood, make fire, hammer nails, throw axes, use slingshots, and get tanned and VERY dirty. You need to scrub them from head to toe in the evening. But they simply love it!
Kids feel great about the camp not only because the activities are exciting but also because they feel that they are treated as adults, not babies. They take pride in being trusted to use real, very sharp knives (when wearing a protective glove and an apron) and to roast their lunch on open fire. It does seem a little scary but according to the counselors there has not been an accident. Kids learn to take responsibility for their own safety, and for their own physical needs.
I don't understand why some other camps we attend make the kids take 2 morning snacks between breakfast and lunch to make sure that they will not feel hungry for a minute. Here you don't even get 1! You should just eat a hearty breakfast, and then a big lunch. There are camps/schools which dictate the time for all to put on sunscreen, drink water, use the bathroom...as if the kids can't feel or know anything. If you treat them that way, they probably will never learn to feel or know anything."
-Amy S. from Palo Alto
Get a 4-day or 5-day Summer Day Camp HERE:)
If the farm is a little too far, please look at our 1-day Friday Camps.
A note to parents:
The really unique thing about Tribal Wisdom Academy Camps is that the kids are encouraged to try-out our many activities and Maker Projects, and then each child may focus on what they personally want to build or create. The TWA program is not focused on managing your child's every move. Ben Walker's program is purposefully designed to allow and train children to self-manage their experience at camp, and in life. This is organic childhood, it is the original "school" of humankind. Our Camp Mentors make and allow this magic to happen. The kids learn to make new friends, and discover the adventure of building things together. Ben and Claire's goal is that your child will discover and experience their own personal adventure in our forest Adventureland Maker Camp. We hope that our students will gain their own childhood life-story, and that they each will one-day teach the skills that they learned at camp to their children and grandchildren.