summer camp basics

Get ready for some serious fun...

 Primitive Pursuits has offered Summer Camps to kids and teens in the Finger Lakes area for over 15 years. Our talented leaders craft each week to bring growth, fun and discovery through wilderness survival skills, nature mentoring and community resilience based activities. Our summer camps offer a unique opportunity for youth to immerse themselves in the natural world for days at a time, experiencing life in more simple and affirmative terms.

Summer Camp Hours & Drop Off/Pick Up


Growing Wild for (ages 3-5)
Camp Hours: 9:00am - 1:00pm

Camp Hours Drop-Off Time Pick-Up Time
9-1pm 9-9:15am 1-1:15pm

Summer Day Camps (ages 5-14)

*Includes Day Camps, Forest Village Camp, Advanced Camps, Specialty Camps
Camp Hours Drop-Off Time Pick-Up Time
9-3pm 8:30-9am 3-3:30pm
Optional extended care "Epic Day" runs from 8:00am - 5:00pm and is available at 4-H Acres and Ellis Hollow for an additional $30-50/child per week.

Travel Camps

Van from CCE Parking lot/garden: 615 Willow Ave, Ithaca NY, 14850

Camp Hours Drop-Off Time Pick-Up Time
9-3:45pm 8:30-9am 3:45-4pm

Camp Level Descriptions:

Growing Wild (ages 3-5)

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.

Child must be 3 yrs old by May 1st

Village Day Camp (ages 5-7)

Join this small group of woodland creatures for magical themed weeks tailored specifically for our youngest full day campers. Come to the Forest Village for just one week, or come back again and again to learn a new skill, make a new friend and find your home in the forest.

Summer Day Camps (ages 6-10)

Day Camps introduce campers to experiences that create life-long connections with nature. Our mentors foster curiosity and guide learning through skillful questions and empowering challenges, centering each child's experience of delight in nature and self-discovery.

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.

Teen Leadership (ages 13-18)

We offer a CIT experience for teens 13-17 and Junior Counselor positions for teens 16-18. Please visit our Teen Program Page for CIT and Junior Counselor information.

Arnot Forest Camps (overnight camps for ages 9-16)

Our Overnight Camps, now known as "Arnot Forest Camps" have moved! Click link below to explore the new website:

Payment Deadlines:

All Day Camps: Deposit due upon registration to reserve your spot! Payment in full due by May 1st.

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.

Immunization records (due upon registration):

  • We MUST have your child's immunization records scanned/emailed to once you've registered
  • The Health Dept. requires that we eliminate all immunization records at the end of each summer so you must submit them every year
  • You child cannot attend camp without them on file
  • Plan 5 business days for processing in our office
  • We do not require a child to be immunized to attend camp, but we will require a signed note indicating your decision as a parent not to

We provide financial assistance!

Everyone deserves to benefit from time in nature! Please refer to our Scholarships page to learn more about financial assistance we can offer. 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.


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.

Camp Catalogs:

Primitive Pursuits Summer Camp (half and day camps for ages 3-15)


Arnot Forest Camps (overnight camps for ages 9-16)


"Thank you for envisioning and providing the environment and experience that I got to be part of this weekend. Today made me fully realize that there is a strong enough primitive community in Ithaca to fulfill all of my knowledge for years to come. I am impressed by the workshops that you have been putting on in the last 6 months. I am very excited now that I will be devoting all of my Fridays to WSIC this spring/summer." Z.K., Workshop Participant

Tuition and Our Self Determined Sliding Scale

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

  • Day Camps $300-$400
  • Village Day Camps $275-$375
  • Growing Wild Camps $200-$300
  • Overnight Camps vary by length and include 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

Get In Touch

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