Summer Camps

← Back to Courses

Growing Wild

Growing Wild (Ages 3-5)

Dates & Locations

July 29 - August 02, 2019
4-H Acres
August 19 - August 23, 2019
Ellis Hollow Community Center
August 19 - August 23, 2019
4-H Acres
August 26 - August 30, 2019
4-H Acres

Nature is our teacher. And like a good teacher, nature can guide us and nurture us through our entire lives if we learn how to listen and move with the rhythms. At Growing Wild we facilitate this life-long connection. We help young children connect with their abilities, the elements of nature and each other within a safe, explorative space in the outdoors.

Each day the kids get to romp in the woods and find natural materials, such as clay, rock-paint, bark, and leaves to create works of woodland art. This forest playground includes trails to explore, forts to build and play inside and creeks and puddles to splash in. Children delight in singing songs, and sharing stories that reflect their adventures.

Small groups are formed based on age so even mature five-year-olds will enjoy this program among their peers.

Please use only FIREFOX or CHROME on a computer, as our software doesn't play well with Safari and Explorer and some smartphones/tablets.

Growing Wild for Ages 3-5

Camp runs 9am - 1pm

  • Drop off: 9-9:15am
  • Pick up: 1pm
Eligibility for Growing Wild Camp is dependent on the following criteria:

  • Toilet Training: Children must be out of diapers/pull-ups and needing only minimal assistance with toileting. Children are encouraged to pee outside and to poop in a child potty that is kept at our base camp. Occasionally we are too far from a potty and need to use the nature bathroom (pee on the ground, poop in a hole) with assistance. There is also an indoor bathroom a short walk away.
  • Child must be 3 yrs old by May 1

  • Registration is complete and your child's space is held when:
    Payment has been made in full AND a NEW copy of your child's latest immunization records has been sent to the Primitive Pursuits office (we are required by the NY Health Dept. to collect these every year, even if your child was with us the previous summer).

Visit the Course Catalog to register!

† Tuition is based on a self-determined sliding scale. Funds received above the minimum go to our scholarship fund as a tax-deductible donation (you will receive a receipt at the end of the year).

  • 9:00am - 1:00pm
  • Flexible drop-off and pick-up time: You may drop off between 9-9:15am and pick up 1-1:15PM
  • $200 - $300
    per session Scholarships Available

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Is food provided?

No. Please supply yourself/your child with plenty of healthy snacks, lunch, and water each day. These are active children, and they get HUNGRY! Protein, fat, and fiber are especially important for providing long-burning energy.


Is there public transportation or carpooling available?

For programs at 4-H Acres: it is an on-demand TCAT stop, and there is a bus that can arrive right around 9am. We do not arrange carpooling, but you are welcome to discuss this at drop off or pickup with other participants/parents who may be interested.

Is toilet-training required?

Yes. Children must be out of diapers/pull-ups and needing only minimal assistance with toileting. Children are encouraged to pee outside and to poop in a child potty that is at our base camp. There is also an indoor bathroom a short walk from our base camp. Sometimes we are too far from a potty and need to use the nature bathroom (pee on the ground, poop in a hole) with assistance.


Will my child be outside the whole time?​​

We are outside the vast majority of the time; however we do have access to several places to go “in”, including a tipi, a pavilion, and a heated building with bathrooms. Parents learn to dress their children for the weather, and children learn how to stay--or get--warm and dry. Our motto is, "There is no bad weather, only bad clothing." And remember:

Whether the weather is cold
Or whether the weather is hot
Whether the weather is fair
Or whether the weather is not
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not.

Registration Details

What scholarships are available?

Scholarship Information

At Primitive Pursuits we are committed to making our programs available to as many people as possible. To this end, we generate scholarships via our sliding-scale fee on a program-to-program basis. Any contributions made over the minimum of the sliding scale for all our programs are tax-deductible donations to our scholarship fund. Thus, scholarships are limited to the sum of these funds and are awarded based on equitable distribution.

We review donations the first week of each month, and make decisions regarding scholarship awards soon thereafter.

Recipients will be notified by email and given a timeframe within which to accept or decline the amount awarded and complete payment of the balance.

Additional Outside Sources for Scholarships:

Although we do our best to make sure that everyone can attend our programs, please also consider applying right away to the following supplemental financial assistance programs, to allow them time for processing your application:

  • Ithaca Youth Bureau ECHO Scholarship - This scholarship is through the Ithaca Youth Bureau and intended for youth in Tompkins County, at any time of year.
  • The Town of Danby offers grants to youth up to age 21 for camps and afterschool programs. Info & application: youthgrants@danbycc.org or on the Town Hall bulletin board.
  • If you live outside of the Towns of Ithaca and Danby, inquire at your local town hall for possibilities of youth scholarships. Please let us know of any resources you find!

What to Know About Our Scholarships Before Applying:

  • The maximum scholarship we can supply for any program is outlined below by program type.
  • Larger scholarships are considered under extenuating circumstances, and on a case by case basis.
  • Scholarship applications must be submitted a minimum of 30 days before the program start date to ensure consideration. You may apply closer to the start date, but we cannot guarantee a response before the program begins.

Maximum Scholarship Amounts by Program:

  • After School, Homeschool and School Break programs: 50% of program cost up to $100.
  • Growing Wild Summer Camp: $50 per week for a maximum of 2 weeks of camp per child.
  • Summer Day Camp: $100 per week for a maximum of 2 weeks of camp per child.
  • Overnight Camp: $225 per week of overnight camp for a maximum of 2 weeks of camp.
  • Forest Preschool Trimester: $100 in scholarship for the first day/week, then $50 for each additional day/week (e.g., If you are registered for Mondays & Wednesdays, the maximum amount in scholarship would be $150)
  • Adult Workshops: 50% of program cost up to $100.
  • Wilderness Skills/Nature Mentoring: up to $300
  • Wilderness Year: up to $1000

How to Apply:

  • Create an Online Account Portal using a computer and Firefox or Chrome (not Safari or Explorer, not on a tablet or smartphone)
  • Sign up for your selected program(s) and pay a deposit (EXCEPT summer camps after May 1, email primitivepursuitscamp@gmail.com to arrange deposit payment thru Registrar).
  • Complete a separate scholarship application for EACH participant and EACH program. Epic Days are not eligible for scholarship funds.
  • (eg. Robin Bird for Base Camp starting 7/1/18, requesting $50; Jay Bird for Growing Wild Camp starting 7/1/18, requesting $25).
  • If you are applying for a scholarship for more than the maximum amount listed above, please email our office at primitivepursuits@cornell.edu with information about your circumstances.
What is your cancellation and refund policy?
Different programs have different program-specific policies.
Please see our Payment Policies page for more information.
  • In order for any program change or refund request to be considered, it must be made in writing through the registrar, even if you have discussed this with another staff person, such as a field educator.
  • The effective date of all refund requests is the DATE OF THE EMAIL notifying the Registrar of your request.
  • Changes and refunds are NOT guaranteed and only the Registrar can process these changes.
  • Epic Days and donations (amount paid above the base rate) are nonrefundable.
  • All deposits (even "non-refundable deposits") will be returned if you are unable to participate in a program for lack of a scholarship request being approved.

Please email primitivepursuitscamp@gmail.com with your full name, phone number, the participant's name, the full program name(s), and the program start date(s).
No phone calls, please.

You May Also be Interested In:

Need a trail guide?

We’re happy to help you navigate. Give us a call at the office (607) 272-2292 ext. 195 or use the link below

Get In Touch

Don't miss a beat, add yourself to our list to get all the latest details.