If you’re a parent of school-aged children, you’re probably already looking ahead to booking summer camps. With COVID receding, it’s more important than ever to keep our kids moving, engaging them outdoors and with each other.
If you’re a Yoga Calm instructor, you may want to consider offering your own summer camp series. It’s a lot of fun! Freed from the constraints of your school, you can really let your creativity fly! Drama and arts camps? Sure! Cooking camps? Of course!
And then there’s our favorite: an environmentally-themed Yoga Calm camp.
Earth Warriors summer camps have been especially popular with students. I still hear from teens who want to come back and assist because of the strong, positive memories they have from attending them in their younger years.
The Earth Warriors handbook lays out a complete curriculum that helps you design classes that include gifts from the Earth, opportunities to bond with nature, and yoga that helps students experience the four elements – earth, water, fire, and air – in their own bodies.
The whole integrative curriculum is designed to be deeply experiential. What does it feel like to be rooted into the earth or to flow like water? Why do we use the fiery word “burn” when we talk about making our muscles stronger? It’s also entirely flexible, so it can be implemented as easily in an urban setting as a suburban, rural, or wild one. There are opportunities to connect with nature everywhere!
We also include activities like cooking and art in our Earth Warriors camps. We might make and enjoy fresh berry popsicles on “water day,” applesauce made from local apples on “fire day,” wind chimes and bubbles on “air day,” and animal tracks on “earth day.” On the final day, we share a celebration meal from all the elements. Guided by the Mindful Snack activity from the original Yoga Calm curriculum, the students help decorate the table, set it, and make the food.
You can get a glimpse of what these camps are all about in this post from our archives, loaded with pictures of young Earth Warriors engaged in even more sample activities.
So how do you get going with a summer camp of your own? Here are some tips based on our many years of doing them ourselves:
- Start early. Parents are booking camps now, in March, for the summer. Pick some dates for your camp – or, better yet, ask parents you know who may want their kids to attend which dates would work for them.
- Get help. We recommend having two adults to run your camp – at minimum. Perhaps one of your interested parents, a fellow teacher or Yoga Calm-trained colleague is available. As mentioned, teens can also complement your camp leadership, providing role models and encouraging participation.
- Find a camp location. This can be anywhere: your backyard, a local park, a church, your school – anywhere there are trees, birds, and other natural elements. Have some nearby protected space such as a park shelter or even a pop-up canopy, both to contain processes such as guided environmental stories and in the event of bad weather. If you decide to use a park, be aware that they sometimes require a permit or rental of a picnic shelter. If you opt for a school, remember that they may have their own summer programs, so check with them about space availability and if they can help put out the word about your camps.
- Find out about insurance coverage. If you run your camp through a school, church, or rec center, they typically have coverage that includes you, but make sure you check. If you run a camp at your home, check with your insurance agent to make sure you have “slips and falls” coverage or a rider to protect you. (This costs us about $100 a year.) There are also low-cost yoga teacher policies like these that follow you wherever you teach. (Please note that we’re neither lawyers nor insurance agents, so please check with yours to make sure you’re covered.)
- Spread the word. Put up flyers. Create social media pages or events, with lots of posts about what your camps have in store. Send out email or text blasts. You don’t even have to have your detailed curriculum finished before starting your marketing. Having a rough outline and logistics is enough to get you started.
- A 3- to 5-day camp works well. This is long enough for kids and teachers to bond, short enough that you don’t have to take one-day drop-ins (which can be disruptive to group dynamics), and easy to commit to amongst all the other summertime activities. We’ve also done morning, half-day camps, which some parents have really liked.
- Have parents pay in advance. This helps ensure their commitment. To establish your pricing, research what other camps charge. Make sure you price your camp high enough and highlight the fact that you’re a teacher, counselor, or other well-qualified child development professional. With just 10 kids over 5 days, you could earn several thousand dollars!
- Send parents a liability release. Have them bring a signed copy to the first camp session. At this time, we also provide a longer description of what their kids can expect at camp and detail how we handle camp disruptions, class management issues, and other discipline issues that may arise. Relatedly, we find it’s usually best to have the kids attend camp by themselves, without a parent “helicoptering.”
- Go over the safety/camp rules with parents and kids during the first camp session. Describe the drop-off/pick-up procedures, get in writing which adults are to pick up kids, the boundaries of the camp area, bathroom procedures, and – again – what the classroom management procedures are. One of the riskiest times is when kids are being dropped off and picked up, so assign an instructor or a responsible older teen volunteer to be at the street during this time (sort of like a crossing guard, there for safety).
- Have fun! Yes, there is some work to creating and running a camp, but we love it! It’s one of the highlights of our summer.
Resources & Training
April 9, In-person Earth Warriors Workshop: Learn more about how to create your own environmentally-themed camp at this special 6-hour training held live at our studio and in our gardens here in Portland, Oregon. Your course fee includes a copy of the Earth Warriors handbook and samples of our camp materials, flyers, news releases, and more. Register now.
Earth Warriors Handbook: Can’t make the workshop? Get started with a digital copy of the Earth Warriors handbook and email us for copies of the sample materials described above. The curriculum is FREE for Certified Yoga Calm Instructors who have relicensed in 2022.
Yoga Calm Online Courses. For Earth Warrior and yoga-themed camps, our Yoga Calm curriculum provides you with fun and accessible yoga and social-emotional learning activities for all ages. We offer several options:
- Intro to Yoga Calm – The basics of how to teach Yoga Calm, along with our most popular activities (12 hours of college credit available)
- Curriculum Bundle – The entire Yoga Calm curriculum covered over three courses, including Intro to Yoga Calm (36 hours of college credit available)
- Certification Bundle – Includes all the above, plus individualized coaching and assistance to become a Certified Yoga Calm Instructor (100 hours of coursework; 5 graduate credits available)
Certified Instructor Benefits
We love helping others improve the lives of our children and the health of our planet. Currently licensed Certified Yoga Calm Instructors can take 50% off most trainings, including the April 9 Earth Warriors workshop. They also receive free consults with Jim and Lynea. Click here for more information on how to renew your license.