Sarah Pirtle and the Discovery Center

Welcome New Campers

Here’s a description of our camp and what we do to help first year campers feel welcome.

A Description of Our Camp

Journey Camp is led by a national pioneer in peace education. It is a treasured place for young people who want time to make their own choices, enjoy making new friends where everyone is valued, like the support of teen leaders, and really enjoy playing in the woods.

Parents tell us how glad they are that we specialize in making it safe and comfortable to come to camp without knowing anyone ahead of time. New campers are greeted right away with a tour as they arrive. Parents can stay a half hour as children get settled. Very soon the first morning, the community divides into small groups called “Roots Groups” where children get to know eight others in a welcoming setting before the day gets going.

Staff of all ages are trained to look out for new campers and help each person make friends. By the end of the first day, children tell us they are surprised to see how familar the faces have become. They have made new friends and they feel nested.

We create a relaxed atmosphere where children are attended to, and can express what they need. The staff works hard to get to know each person and think about them. Every day the “Roots Group” continues to meet during snack, and this provides a home base. These welcoming practices have been effective for over two decades to insure that you don’t need to come to camp with a friend you already know.

More Details About Support

WHAT MAKES JOURNEY CAMP DIFFERENT AND BELOVED:

After holding sessions for nearly thirty years. we know how to build friendships. 

We offer kindness, creativity and support. 

We make agreements so that everyone is treated in a friendly way. Journey Camp is a place where your feelings and needs are acknowledged, honored, and met. 

There’s lots of freedom of choice.

All day long we help people get nested doing things they enjoy. When we go into the woods, you select whether to build a stick house, a fairy house, or help collaborate on the big global house. If you choose play-building, you create your own character. Workshop times always offer a wide range of choices from crafts to active games to hikes to songwriting and dance.

When we say you can be yourself, we really mean it.

When campers realize they aren’t going to get in trouble for their feelings, they feel safer. People can ask to be included in a game and the answer is always yes. We teach how to advocate for yourself and let people know what you need. Our core values are peace-building and mutual respect.

BIG SUPPORT is available.

A warm group of young teens are there to assist campers as well as six adult staff who’ve been returning year after year. This is a place where all ages respect and enjoy each other. The staff thinks closely about what will help each person. Campers ages 7 to 10 have layers of help from younger teens who are like older sisters, counselors who know what makes camp work, and the six adults.

In addition to our four adult teachers, our three counselors have all been part of camp since they were seven and now are college age. They told us that Journey Camp offered special things other camps didn’t. They said the staff took the feelings of the campers really seriously and taught them how to believe in themselves and ask for what they need. They told us they loved the choices and how they were respected.

We welcome campers who would love a place with such support.