The diverse and wild ecosystems that span more than 100 acres across our mountain offer the best of convenience and vast natural beauty to explore.
At Camp Waubanong we work daily to achieve a cultural intervention that will bring back into our modern lives a necessary and healthy relationship with the natural world.
In all that we do, we role model a sense of appreciation, gratitude, and reverence for the abundance that the natural world provides for us. Through this act of thanksgiving we begin to see our direct impacts and the great potential we each have to nurture the health of our environment as well as our human family.
We have passion for each activity that we lead, story we share, or skill we teach, we draw from a place of personal inspiration. In doing so we create a learning atmosphere that motivates campers to explore nature, to practice skills and to share their experience with others outside of our programs.
We support individual growth by encouraging each participant to see and move beyond their perceived limits while experiencing and exploring their roles in a supportive community. We believe that by achieving the balance of individual & group mind we are fostering a generation of courageous, innovative and caring human beings.
Camp Waubanong is proud to be the summer “home” for boys & girls ages 3-17. Our campers come from across the country to experience Waubanong community and foster life-long relationships with the natural world through exceptional mentoring and nature education. Kids have been learning and growing at this summer camp year after year. The basket of community that has been woven at Camp Waubanong for 90 years continues to grow and evolve with numerous new programs.
Camp Waubanong is a place where each individual can feel at home among peers and mentors within the elements of nature. Experiencing the non-judgmental simplicity and expansiveness of nature within a supportive group creates a powerful space for healthy personal growth.
We do this through exploration and experience in the natural world. We are outside in all weather and all seasons, witnessing firsthand how plants and animals change and adapt with the earth’s turning, including us!
We believe that if we can help people to feel a part of the world around them, and help them to ask great questions, then wherever they go they will have the tools to feel at home in and learn about their environment.
While our experienced instructor teams design a different theme for each session and prepare activities for each day, we are also very student-centered, following individual interest and the teachings of the earth in the moment. Participants are encouraged to bring their own interests and to share them, as well as to explore the group focus for the day.
Epic games, quiet time to connect with a “sit spot”, making fires, noticing what’s different this week outside and inside of themselves, and unstructured free play are all a part of a typical day.
There is a lot of freedom and confidence that comes from learning fundamental skills for not just surviving, but thriving in nature with only the natural materials that surround you.
How might you feel differently in the landscape once you have mastered some of the primitive skills listed below?
Find one or build one for survival, concealment, wilderness living or just plain fun. Shelters are home base for any survival situation and are great containers for exploration, growth and sharing.
Finding water is a top priority in the wild. Humans can survive only a few days without water. We explore many ways of finding and purifying this precious commodity.
Mastering the art and science of creating fire with raw materials gathered from the land. Building smokeless fires in all types of weather, and forming habits of fire safety. Beyond rubbing two sticks together, fire making provides an experiential learning platform for tree identification, resource extraction, ecology, physics, body mechanics, teamwork & more.
Where wilderness survival becomes outdoor recreation! There's no better way to tame the uncertainties of life than to cook your meals healthfully over a fire without pots or other modern amenities.
Gathering foods from the wild, learning how to identify plants, understanding invasive species ecology and native species regeneration, plant taxonomy, and of course - eating your vegetables! Learning these concepts under the magical invisibility cloak of FUN is education at it's best.
Knowing how NOT to get lost, how to to find your way and feel at home no matter where you're going. Does moss really grow on the north side of a tree? No compass, no smart phone... no problem!
Perhaps one of the most overlooked survival skills! Knowing how to see and identify the things that can bring you harm and get you into real trouble is, in fact, where we often begin; not to frighten, but to empower one to explore the world safely.
By learning to understand the marks made by every living thing, we connect to the oldest science ever practiced by humans, tracking! Tracking is the art of reading the landscape, it gives us a window into the mind of what we track, and through that window we gain a greater appreciation for and understanding of the world around us.
The hallmarks of cultures are the technologies derived from the landscapes around them. It is by re-inventing the wheels of our past that we come to know who we are. Whether by hunting, gathering or just creating comfort in the wild, we learn to solve life's challenges by crafting tools from the raw materials we've gathered with our own hands.
Camp Waubanong hires only the most qualified staff who have demonstrated strong leadership skills, a love of children, and a true camp spirit. Our staff understand the importance of creating a fun, nurturing, challenging, and safe environment in which children can learn about themselves and the world around them. Many staff are former campers themselves! To find out what it takes to join the Camp Waubanong Family check out our employment section at the bottom of the page, fill out an application, and get it to us.
Sean Ashcraft is the Executive Director of Camp Waubanong and is the primary year round contact person. For the last decade Sean has designed programs, policies and procedures, and was responsible for marketing, purchasing, and the hiring and supervision of staff for multiple international businesses. Sean has extensive experience in the development and leadership of outdoor programs, and is particularly interested in youth development through outdoor opportunities and challenges. Sean is an Coastal Kayaking Instructor, Climbing Guide, Nordic Skiing Instructor, WFR, Outdoor Emergency Care (NSP), Avalanche Forecaster, Flat & Whitewater Canoe Instructor, Stand-up Paddleboard (SUP) Instructor, Challenge Course Facilitator, Pilot, NYPUM Dirt Bike Instructor, Gear Guru, Backcountry Travel Guide, and General Wilderness and High Altitude Adventure leader. Sean facilitates marketing initiatives, registration paperwork, oversees American Camping Association accreditation procedures, handles facility maintenance and improvements, and works in conjunction with the Camp Director to ensure a great time at camp for every camper!
Donny Kanovsky is a man of many trades. Originally from Queens, NY he now lives in Vermont with his wife and two daughters. His love and passion for the natural world can be seen in his work both as a professional ski instructor and through his expertise with wilderness skills. Donny is a certified member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI) and spends his winter teaching at Okemo Mountain. He specializes in adaptive lessons, working with both adults and children who have a variety of intellectual, emotional and sensory needs, including Asperger’s, Anxiety Disorder, and cognitive delays. Donny spends his summers with Waubanong to create a multi-age learning environment that engages and inspires children and teens to learn real life skills, confidence in their own being, and developing relationships with the natural world and each other. Furthermore, Donny received certification through the Wilderness Skills Intensive Course with Primitive Pursuits. This program focused on Naturalist Studies, such as animal tracking, field awareness, forest forensics and hazard identification, plant foods and medicine and more. Additionally he trained extensively in wilderness survival skills.
Dusa Heller grew up on Long Island, and found her way to Vermont and Camp Waubanong at age 11. She's been going to Camp Waubanong ever since - first as a camper, then as a counselor-in-training, and now as a counselor! She absolutely loves Waubanong and is so happy to be back this year! When it's not summer, she lives in Montreal, majoring in English Literature at Concordia University. She loves cats, playing guitar, and being outdoors.
Jasmyn grew up amongst the rolling Vermont hills and sandy dunes of cape cod. As a young homeschooled child she spend lots of time outside, playing in the mud and climbing trees with her siblings. At the young age of six she began attending wilderness program, where a lifelong love of nature, and nature skills began. Throughout high school she continued spending as much time as possible outside continuing to learn, and once graduated began teaching at the programs she once attended. When not in the woods Jasmyn plays around in the circus, gardens, and spends time with animals.
Ben is a sophomore at Blinn College in Texas where he is studying mechanical engineering. He enjoys archery, swimming, gardening, reading, jogging, strategic games such as chess, and plays the guitar. Ben has attended Waubanong as a camper and is really excited to spend another summer with us, but this time as our lifeguard and an instructor!
Ryan has grown up in various towns throughout Western Massachusetts. By the time he was 7 he had spent his first summer at Camp Waubanong and has been going to camp ever since, working his way from camper, to Counselor-in-Training, to Junior Counselor, and finally up to Counselor. He feels like Waubanong is a second home to him, and is excited to return this year. In the fall he will be a sophomore at Wentworth institute of Technology in Boston Massachusetts, studying Architecture. When he is not working on his Architecture projects; Ryan enjoys spending time outside, drumming, and sitting around a fire.