Wilderness Skills Institute's Youth Camps and Trips

Childhood Memories In The Wilderness Last a Lifetime

Just a few words from our Director:


Thank you for visiting our website, I would like to share with you how our team of staff, volunteers and most importantly kids have made a camp like few others. It is a camp designed not by a board of adults but of kids.

The year was 2006, my fifth year of directing a farm based camp in Marin, I conducted a brainstorming exercise. Sprawled on my back porch and armed with butcher paper and markers were two teens, two preteens, and two younger kids. From about 200 kids who had taken part in our farm camps, I had selected this group to participate in this exercise. They were the wilderness camp poster children, campers who had come for multiple weeks over multiple years and loved camp. Their job was to design the camp of their dreams.

They were asked the questions: What do you love about our camp? What are we doing wrong? What do you want to add? What do you want to omit? Their parents were in the house doing the same. I brought in two staff the kids did not know to facilitate this activity. This way, no staff who had worked with the kids were present, so it was a safe environment for the participants to be honest.

The document that came out of that focus group was priceless, and we took it to heart. I went to work, cut out what little the kids did not find important (less time spent on games) and brought together what they believed we were missing (more survival skills, go deeper in skills offered, and firearms). We were also told the kids liked smaller camps so we now keep camps at 9, 14, and 24 campers depending on the age of the campers and the focus of the camp.

From that meeting came WSI, our effort to continually build their utopia.

We did not stop there in making our best better. At the end of each camp the campers suggest what changes they would like the following year, usually adding some new skill, in 2012 a seperate teen camp, 2013 trap shooting, 2014 horses, 2015 long range shooting, 2016 amateur radio, and in 2017 scuba.


Thank you

Brian King Education Director WSI

Teen Camps Wilderness Adventure Camps California

Our teen camps are intensive total immersion wilderness experiences intended to make them confident and self-reliant in nature. They're applying leadership skills, survival skills and the practical skills of our ancestors. These camps start and end in the mountians of Santa Cruz but camp along the American River and in the Sierra Foothills.

Teen Total Immersion Wilderness 3 Week Camp

Specialty Wilderness Camps Offered Concurrently With The Teen Total Immersion Camp

Teen Total Immersion Wilderness Photography Camp

Teen Total Immersion Wilderness Ham Radio Camp

Teen Total Immersion Hunt Camp

Teen Total Immersion Bowhunt Camp

Teen Summer Wilderness Pack Trip

Teen Summer Under Water Wilderness Scuba Trip Summer 2017

Preteen and Kid Wilderness Day Camps

Back by popular demand are our day camps held in the Santa Crus Mountains. Follow this link for more information on the wilderness Preteen and Kid Day Camps.


"My brother and I have been coming to their camps since we were little. They have all been great, we never know what to expect, each one is always better than the one before."

Kobe age 15

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better".
Albert Einstein 

"Nature is a profoundly deep part of us. Our species has spent 99.9% of the past 200,000 years thriving in nature, building shelter, making clothing,  making fire, finding drinking water, tracking and harvesting food. For our species survival we had to be deeply connected to nature".

Brian King

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For updates about our youth wilderness and nature programs please join Coyote Tracks, our informative e-newsletter. It contains wild craft projects, wilderness safety, native plants, and animal tracking sections to better connect your family to the nature of the Pacific North Coast.