summer camp basics

Get ready for some serious fun...

Since 2003, Primitive Pursuits Summer Camps based in Ithaca, NY have brought amazing outdoor experiences to kids and teens in the Finger Lakes area and beyond. Our talented leaders craft each week to bring growth, fun and discovery through wilderness survival skills, nature mentoring, community building activities. Our summer camps offer a unique opportunity for toddlers, kids and teens to immerse themselves in the natural world for days at a time.

Go directly to the camp catalog


We encourage you to complete payment several days before the deadline, in case of any unexpected technical difficulty. Be sure funds are available in the bank account, and use Firefox or Chrome on a computer (not phone/tablet) whenever you login to your Account Portal.

  • Day Camps: deposit due now; payment in full due upon enrollment
  • Overnight Camps: spaces are still available; full payment due upon enrollment

We MUST also have your child's immunization records scanned/emailed to after you pay a deposit to hold their spot, even if you have submitted them in previous years. This is a Health Dept. requirement. You child cannot attend camp without them on file. Plan 5 business days for processing in our office.


Simply add the particular camp to your online Cart. If that camp is currently full, you will see "FULL." Please note that if you see the words "Epic Day" followed by "FULL," that simply means the extended care program is full, but not the camp itself.

Summer Camp Hours & Drop Off/Pick Up


Growing Wild for Ages 3-5
Camp runs 9am - 1pm

  • Drop off: 9-9:15am
  • Pick up: 1pm

Day Camps for Ages 6-14
Camp runs 9am - 3pm

  • Drop off: 8:30-9:00am
  • Pick up: 3:00-3:30pm

Epic Day at 4H Acres: 8am to 4:30pm (must pre-register at the time of camp enrollment)

Travel Camps
Camp runs 9am - 3:45pm
(van from CCE Parking lot/ garden)

  • Drop off: 8:30-9:00am (Van leaves promptly at 9am!)
  • Pick-up: 3:45-4:00pm

When children come to a Primitive Pursuits Summer Camp, you can be sure of at least two things...

1. They will spend over 30 hours in the great outdoors EACH WEEK, being challenged and supported by our seasoned staff. When we say "outside" we mean it - wild nature is what we're all about. Un-bounded, un-plugged, un-matched nature immersion is what we deliver.

2. They'll come home inspired after a full day of awesome adventures, achieving new levels of self-confidence among a supportive community of peers and mentors.

Each year we are joined by amazing staff and guest instructors with unique areas of expertise to share with our growing community of nature-connection enthusiasts.

Growing Wild (ages 3-5)

Nature is the teacher and at Growing Wild we help young children connect with nature and each other, as they explore a safe space in the outdoors. Each day at Growing Wild kids discover the wonders in the woods around our camp, sing songs, and share stories. They use natural materials such as clay, rock-paint, bark and leaves to create works of woodland art. Our forest playground includes trails to explore, forts to build and play inside, and puddles in which to stomp and splash.

As with all our camps, Growing Wild is divided into age groups, so even mature 5 year olds will be in a small group with their peers.

*Children must be potty trained prior to the start of camp.

Summer Day Camps (ages 6-11)

Our Summer Day Camps are designed to introduce campers to experiences that create life-long connections with nature. Each of our summer staff teams are state certified for wilderness trips, allowing our small camp groups to venture out well beyond the confines of your average summer camp.

A note about 5 year-olds

If your child will turn 6 by the end of summer, and you feel that they are ready for 5 full days of active outdoor program (which is different from a full day of school), there is the possibility that they may attend day camp. We may accept a limited number of 5-year-olds into certain camps; they are not eligible to attend Epic Day (extended hours before/after camp).

As with all our camps, Growing Wild is divided into age groups, so even mature 5 year olds will be in a small group with their peers.

Advanced Day Camps (ages 9-12)

Advanced Camps provide campers an opportunity to push their skills to the next level. Some Advanced Camps offer overnight options where campers can gain confidence and self reliance under the guidance of skilled wilderness instructors.

Specialty Day Camps (ages 11-14)

Specialty Day Camps include more intensive skills like bow making and hide-tanning, and may require higher levels of physical stamina and focus from participants.

Overnight Camps (ages 11-15)

Primitive Pursuits is proud to offer week-long Summer Adventure Overnight Camps in New York's Finger Lakes for ages 11-15. Campers experience a week of immersive nature-based skills training, inspiring challenges, and outrageously fun activities under the guidance of seasoned wilderness instructors.

Our camps happen at Cornell University's 4,200 acre Arnot Forest Camp featuring hardwood forest, grasslands, ponds and streams. It provides an ideal place for extended overnight camps, trainings, and exploration.

Our camps are designed to build confidence, friendships and outdoor skills - and offer some of the most positive formative experiences in a young person's life. Overnight Camps are a perfect opportunity for kids to safely put their skills to the test. What your kids learn with us are truly helpful life skills that will travel with them far beyond the camp experience.

*This program was made possible by a grant from the Tompkins County Tourism Program

Visit Overnight Camp Details and Logistics Page

Teen Leadership (ages 13-18)

We offer a CIT experience for teens 13-17 year olds and a Junior Counselor position for teens 16-18. New this past summer is a week of “Coyote Camp” including an overnight for CITs. Please visit our Program Leadership page for CIT and Junior Counselor information.

Join Our Summer Camp Interest List

"Thank you all so much! What a wonderful day that was and brought a lot of good stuff to the surface for me to work on making change in my life to get that fire going! I'm so grateful that you imagined this program and brought it so beautifully to life. I've had folks asking me all week how it was and I keep saying, "More amazing than I even imagined."" Central Fire Participant

Tuition and Our Self Determined Sliding Scale

Tuition for all camps, is based on a self-determined sliding scale*.

  • Day Camps $300-$400
  • Growing Wild Camps $200-$300.
  • Overnight Camps $780/week, including all accommodations, food and instruction.

What is a Sliding Scale?

*All funds received over the minimum cost go to our scholarship fund for families who otherwise could not attend. Any payment over the minimum cost is a tax-deductible donation, for which you will receive a receipt at the end of the year.

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

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