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.

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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.

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 turns 6 between June 1 and December 31, has attended a program with us before and you feel that your child is ready for a longer day, there is the possibility that they may attend day camp. There are several camps that we recommend if this is the case. We accept a limited number of 5-year-olds into Wildcrafting, Base Camp and Hunter Gather.

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.

All 9 year-olds who wish to attend our Advanced Day Camps must be a returning camper. We consider returning campers anyone who has attended at least one week of summer camp or participated in a school-year program.

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.

All 11 year-olds who wish to attend our Advanced Day Camps must be a returning camper. We consider returning campers anyone who has attended at least one week of summer camp or participated in a school-year program.

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.

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.

A note about 5 year-olds

We understand that every child develops differently. Some five-and-a-half year-olds are more than ready for our full-day summer camp programming, and others would thrive in our Growing Wild program. What this means for summer camp is as follows:

Any child who turns 6 between June 1 and December 31 in 2016 will be able to attend a specified week of Wildcrafting, Base Camp or Hunter-Gatherer. If you feel your 5 year-old is ready for our full-day camps, please call our office at (607) 272-2292 ext. 195 or send us an email at primitivepursuitscamp@gmail.com.

Join Our Summer Camp Interest List

"We love Primitive Pursuits and part of our exuberance is for the program itself and perhaps even a bigger part is the amazing energy, respectful child centered, youth development-focused, democratic approach that you and your staff have with kids." K.Y., After School Parent

Tuition and Our Self Determined Sliding Scale

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

  • Day Camps $295-$395
  • Growing Wild Camps $200-$300.
  • Overnight Camps $675/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.





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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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