Our latest on COVID-19 is available here

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 almost 20 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.

Latest on 2020 camp Protocols due to COVID-19



Summer 2020 refund policy for Primitive Pursuits camps:

As an exception to our stated refund policy, we are committed to returning 2020 Summer Camp fees, by request, for camps that you are currently registered for if they are cancelled by state or local authorities due to COVID-19 (a COVID-19 cancellation). Your financial support is crucial to our financial well-being at this time, and we encourage you to show your support by signing up now! Our refund policies for cancellations that you request still remain. But 100% of your camp fees will be refundable in the event of mandated COVID-19 cancellations.

Camp Hours Summer 2020

This summer our drop off and pick up times are staggered to keep the density of campers at any given time to a minimum. If you are dropping off or picking up children of different ages, you will receive more information closer to the start of camp.

Drop off and Pick up procedures:

Your drop off and pick up times may change, please refer to your confirmation email. Camp staff will meet you at your vehicle each day to do an in-person health check and receive your child.

4-H Acres Drop Off Times:

  • 8:30-8:50 AM: Forest Village Camp and Forest Explorer Camp
  • 9:00-9:20 AM: Pathfinders, Advanced and Speciality Camps
  • 9:30-9:40 AM: Growing Wild

4-H Acres Pick Up Times:

  • 1:30-1:45 PM: Growing Wild
  • 3:00-3:20 PM: Forest Village Camp and Forest Explorers
  • 3:20-3:40 PM: Pathfinders/Advanced and Specialty Camp

Alternate Locations:

Drop off and pickup times for camps meeting at Ellis Hollow, Ecovillage at Ithaca and the Finger Lakes National Forest are currently TBD

Travel Camps that formerly met at CCE:

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we can no longer provide van transportation. Travel camps will meet families at locations within 7 miles of Ithaca. Travel Camps Camps include Wilderness Explorers, Trailblazers, and River Scouts.

Travel Camp Drop Off Times:

8:45-9:00 AM

Travel Camp Pick Up Times

3:15-3:30 PM

2020 Epic Day/Extended Care is canceled.

This summer, our campers will be staying in small groups for the duration of the camp day, minimizing contact with other campers and groups. Epic Day does not fit into this framework and, unfortunately, this means that we will not be able to offer extended care at the beginning or the end of the camp day. Epic Day payments, if paid, will be refundable. Summer Day Camps include Forest Village Camp, Forest Explorer Camps, Pathfinder Camps, Advanced Camps and Specialty Camps.


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

Forest Village Day Camps (ages 5-7)

Our Forest Village is an intimate space where younger campers get to know each other and their instructors, with an opportunity to return for more. This focus on belonging and familiarity provides nurturing for younger campers trying out full day camps for their first time and for campers who may not be as familiar with wild nature. Our goal is for each camper to experience all the physical and emotional health benefits of time in nature, while learning important life skills.

Forest Explorer Camps (ages 6-8)

The Adventure continues! Our brave band of Forest Explorers will venture farther into the forest to navigate the landscape and delight in nature’s gifts and mysteries. Each day will take us to a different forest location to learn the names of the plants and animals that live there, and play fun woodland games. We’ll spend time creating forest shelters, making cozy fires, harvesting and cooking wild edibles and crafting with the materials nature provides. With a focus on fostering curiosity and learning through skillful questioning, and empowering challenges—kids will grow their forest skills while experiencing delight in nature and self-discovery.

Pathfinder Day Camps (ages 8-10)

Blaze yourself some wilderness skills with camps that explore unique paths each week. These more peer-specific groups allow campers the opportunity to further develop the skills and experiences of their choosing. Each week offers a new adventure! And each week offers returning campers fun and creative challenges for improving outdoor skills and knowledge.

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 13-17)

We offer a CIT experience for teens 13-15 and Junior Counselor positions for teens 16-17. Please visit our Teen Program Page for CIT and Junior Counselor information.

Payment Deadlines and Information:

Deposit due upon registration to reserve your spot!

Rolling Deadlines: We have changed our due date policies for refunds, transfers and payment deadlines. Instead of one early deadline (previously June 8th), see below for our extended Payment Due Dates:

  • The extended Payment In Full date for Weeks 1 and 2 (camps starting June 29 and July 6) is now June 12th.
  • The extended Payment In Full date for all other weeks is now June 26th. 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.

This is a time of great uncertainty.

This year, we have extended our Summer Camp 2020 refund/cancellation policy to better align with the needs of our community while staying true to the needs of our organization.

We recognize that this summer there will be two types of cancellations for summer camp enrollments:

  • Family-initiated cancellations (including cancellations for individuals based on health and travel concerns related to COVID-19)
  • Mandated COVID-19 cancellations (initiated by the Health Department or Primitive Pursuits as an organization). All mandated COVID-19 cancellations will be fully refundable to families if their camper is registered at the time of the cancellation.

Please see additional COVID-related policy updates here.

Sick Camper Policy:

At this time, we are not changing our policy on sick campers:

If your camper is sick, we ask that you keep them home so they can get well. If they have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea, please keep them home until they are symptom free for a full 24 hours. If your camper displays contagious symptoms during the camp day, we will call you to pick them up from camp. Refunds are not available if your camper is unable to come to camp or is sent home from camp because they or a family member have symptoms of an illness.

If your child's camp or group at camp is canceled due to COVID-19, your prorated camp fee is transferable or refundable.

Immunization records (due upon registration):

As per NY State Health Department regulation, we require the most recent copy of all campers’ immunization records and keep this on file for the summer. 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 these records on file.

Options for submitting:

  • Mail to our office: 615 Willow Ave, Ithaca NY 14850, ATTN: Primitive Pursuits
  • Email a legible copy to primitivepursuitscamp@gmail.com (this can be a scanned file, a downloaded file or a readable photograph) - include the camper’s name in the subject, one camper per email
  • Fax a copy to 607-272-7088, ATTN: Primitive Pursuits

Due to volume, we are only able to confirm receipt of immunization records received via email.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter!

Medication Policy:

All medications (prescription and over-the-counter) must be in their original container and must be accompanied by a written note from the doctor, including the patient’s name, the dates of the program, and dosing information. Pharmacy labeling on the medication is not sufficient for this purpose as the medication, dosage, and/or regimen may have been changed since the pharmacy filled the prescription. Bring the medication and doctor's note to camp together in a clear plastic bag with your child's name on it.

Please make sure to have the doctor's note with you at check-in on Monday morning - medications will be checked in to a designated instructor on the first day of the program and carried by this instructor until needed by your child.

By NYS Health Department regulations, all medications must be self-administered and instructors must carry all medications, with the exception of EpiPens and Inhalers. Your child may not be permitted to come to the program if he or she is unable to self-administer required medication. If your child has an EpiPen, our medically trained staff will assist them if necessary. When camp is over on Friday, be sure to sign out your child's medication.

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.



"I wanted to take this course because even though I live in the woods, am surrounded by woods when I become caught up in my schedule, I just don’t take the time to get out." E.R., Workshop Participant

Tuition and Our Self Determined Sliding Scale

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

  • Growing Wild Camps $220-$320
  • Forest Village Day Camps $285-$385
  • Forest Explorers $300-$400
  • Pathfinders, Advanced and
    Specialty Camps $325-$425
  • Arnot Overnight Camp $465-$565

What is a Sliding Scale?

Our sliding scale system means that you can choose to pay the base price (bottom of the sliding scale) or any amount above. 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 also considered to be a tax-deductible donation, for which you may request 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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