Summer 2021 update

Fifteen or so years ago, a camper wrote, “I believe that when people cross that tiny bridge going into camp, they become their true selves. They take their masks off and have a break from everything in the world.”

Well, this year people will need to keep their masks ON–at least some of the time. But Nature Camp is pleased to announce that we are proceeding with plans to resume our in-person sessions this summer, albeit with a modified schedule, and we are optimistic that it will be feasible, practical, and permissible for us to do so.

Since our facilities complicate our ability to maintain sufficient physical distancing between campers, especially when they are sleeping in the bunkhouses, we have therefore decided to reduce the capacity in each session to no more than 50 campers. Consequently, in order to increase the number of sessions and thus the total number of campers we may accommodate during the summer, we are shortening each session from 14 days to 10 days.

Tuition is $690 per camper. Financial aid will still be available.

Increasing the number of sessions from four to six also necessitates some shifts in the grade ranges for each session, and with 10-day sessions each session will either begin or end in the middle of the week rather than on a weekend. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we believe that this is the best possible schedule for the summer of 2021.

Dates for this year’s sessions are as follows.
Session 1 (grades 10-11): June 17 – June 26 (Thursday – Saturday)
Session 2 (grades 11-12): June 27 – July 6 (Sunday – Tuesday)
Session 3 (grades 9-10): July 8 – July 17 (Thursday – Saturday)
Session 4 (grades 8-9): July 18 – July 27 (Sunday – Tuesday)
Session 5 (grades 7-8): July 29 – August 7 (Thursday – Saturday)
Session 6 (grades 5-6-7): August 8 – August 17 (Sunday – Tuesday)

Registration will begin on Monday, February 1 for those campers who were enrolled in sessions for 2020 and one week later (February 8) for all other applicants. Applications may be submitted on the Nature Camp website or by downloading, printing, and mailing a paper application. Applications will be mailed this week to those who requested paper applications or who submitted applications by mail last year.

In addition to reducing the capacity in each session, Nature Camp plans to implement other measures to safeguard the health of campers and staff, including frequent hand washing, mandatory wearing of face masks indoors (and when sufficient physical distancing cannot be maintained outdoors), and daily wellness checks. Details about these and other protocols are available on a special COVID-19 information page on the Nature Camp website; there is also a set of frequently asked questions (with answers) about our response to the ongoing pandemic. We will continue to seek and heed guidance and recommendations from the Virginia Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Camp Association and will update the information on our website as necessary and appropriate.

Although Nature Camp is an educational camp that seeks to promote greater appreciation for the natural world and a lifelong love of learning, our foremost responsibility will always be the safety and welfare of our participants. Nature Camp will not operate unless we can be confident that we can maintain a safe and healthy environment for our campers and staff.

Please stay well and safe, and we look forward to seeing you again in the Big Mary’s Creek valley.

Here we’re taught not only to appreciate things as they naturally are, but also to see the opportunity in what we do, and let the world slow down at the same time. This, I believe, is our constant, and the most powerful one of all: the ability to approach the world with refreshed positivism.

Will D., Gloucester, VA
Will D.Gloucester, VA

At a place with such a variety of people, much of what you learn is through conversation and not necessarily what you set out to absorb. I come back each year for an experience impossible to comprehend if not here. I come back to learn how to pursue the commitment we have to better lives for ourselves, our planet, and generations to come. I come back to spend time with some of my favorite people in the world. I come back because I don’t know what my life would be like without Camp.

Maggie J., Fredericksburg, VA
Maggie J.Fredericksburg, VA

Going to Nature Camp is no longer just a want. It is a necessity, an essential part of my summer. It holds a very special place in my heart, and it always will. I always leave with a sense of balance and well-being, having totally soaked in all the wonders and virtues and lessons and friends and learning and nature.

Emily G., Durham, NC
Emily G.Durham, NC

Going to Nature Camp has taught me many things. When I first went to Nature Camp, I could not tell the difference between a death angel mushroom and an oyster mushroom. I also could not have told you the difference between quartzite and limestone. Since going to Nature Camp, I can tell you these things and many more. Nature Camp is truly a wonderful place. From my first day to my last, I have the most fun I will have all summer.

Phoebe W., Fredericksburg, VA
Phoebe W.Fredericksburg, VA

Nature Camp is a true chance for immersion learning. My family has been amazed how many times the academic learning at Nature Camp has been connected to my school and home life.

Josh C., Williamsburg, VA
Josh C.Williamsburg, VA

I feel that there could never be any words to explain my feelings for Nature Camp. It’s a different world there: no TV, radio, cell phone, or anything from the real world. Nature Camp has changed my life forever. I believe that when people cross that tiny bridge going into camp, they become their true selves. They take their masks off and have a break from everything in the world.

Hannah S., Mount Jackson, VA
Hannah S.Mount Jackson, VA

There is just something special about Nature Camp. Maybe it’s the smell of being outdoors, the freedom of being away from your parents, or that you are at a summer for two weeks. I do not think those are the reasons why Nature Camp is so special. I think it’s the people you meet, the science things you learn about, and the pride and confidence you walk away with at the end of the session.

Kelsey G., Fredericksburg, VA
Kelsey G.Fredericksburg, VA

I have attended Nature Camp for four years and have never had a more rewarding experience. Nature Camp has taught me what one person who cares can do to make a difference. The hikes to Table Rock, the salamander searches at Buttermilk Springs, the breathtaking view from Lookout Rock, and of course the Sunday hikes to undiscovered mountain peaks are experiences one cannot have anyone else, and experiences I will remember forever. I have made friendships at Nature Camp that promise to last a lifetime.

Lucy A., Ruckersville, VA
Lucy A.Ruckersville, VA

There is a coveted two weeks in the heart of the summer that is called Nature Camp. It is the best thing that I do all year and is what I most look forward to. I grow mentally there more in two weeks than I do in the rest of the year.

Buck T., Fredericksburg, VA
Buck T.Fredericksburg, VA

For the past three years I have attended Nature Camp and loved it. Most four-year-olds, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, say a fireman, a ballerina, or an astronaut. When people asked me what I wanted to be, I replied confidently, “A nature scientist. I want to save the land.” Ten years later my answer still hasn’t changed.

Veronica P., Williamsburg, VA, Camper
Veronica P.Williamsburg, VA, Camper