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Green getaways and summer programs for kids

Are you a stay-at-home mom desperate to get your kiddos out of the house this summer for maybe a week or so? Or perhaps you work full-time and need a place for your little ones that’s unique and fun. Maybe you have obnoxious neighbors, and want their kids to be gone for a while! Regardless of your reasoning, here are a few amazing summer camp opportunities brought to you by some of my favorite local green educators.

Urban Roots Garden Classrooms: Located out on the corner of Fourth and McCarran is a tiny little farm. Formerly a parking lot, this amazing group of guerrilla gardeners has turned this into a little sanctuary focused on teaching kids where food comes from. My kiddos love the chickens, the rabbit and the farm cat. They love getting dirty in the mud and eating fresh-picked salads and fruit (this is an amazing feat for my vegetable-challenged son; he only eats veggies from the Urban Roots farm). They also adore the teachers who are young, energetic and full of awesome ideas. Urban Roots even has “BussAqua” – an old school bus gutted and turned into a huge hydroponic tomato farm with over 70 plants! They offer weeklong programs all summer for ages 4-15. Check them out online.

Sierra Nevada Journeys focuses on getting kids outside and learning about nature. With a science focus, all of their programs help develop leadership, teamwork and critical thinking skills. Their summer programming isn’t actually in Reno, but in nearby Grizzly Creek Ranch in Portola, Calif. (about an hour from Reno). They have weeklong overnight camps in true summer camp style for kiddos ages 8-14; they also take older kids (14-17) to the back country, teaching them ecology and survival skills. If you can handle the drive (maybe a carpool with other parents?), day camps are also offered.

Camper villages at Grizzly Creek
Camper villages at Grizzly Creek

At Grizzly Creek, the kids can do kayaking, archery, crafts, rope-climbing courses, swimming and more. Our kiddos haven’t done any of those camps, but we have participated in their annual Family Camp. Family Camp is only over Labor Day weekend. It. Is. Awesome! You get a complete cabin all to yourself with 12 beds in it. It has electricity with your own sink and toilet, with nearby shower facilities. They cook every meal for you. They even host a “parent’s night out” where they watch your kiddos and you get to do whatever you want! Our kids love Grizzly Creek. Seriously. One year we went to San Diego, camping in a variety of places, visited my parents in Utah, and went to Grizzly Creek with Sierra Nevada Journeys. The trip our kiddos have asked for over and over again is Grizzly Creek. They actually rated it above Sea World and Legoland. And that’s really saying something! Our kids were 8, 4, and we had a four-month-old the last time we went; they all loved it. Learn more about SNJ’s offerings here.

Finally, if you know of high school students looking for something different to do this summer, take a look at Envirolution. They offer the “Three Spheres Academy.” In this intense workshop, students learn how to perform energy audits, create action plans for reducing energy consumption and develop skills for becoming green business and community leaders. They go on a gazillion fieldtrips touring environmentally-conscious businesses (Patagonia, for one). Not only is it super fun, but the kids learn amazing skills for their future and resumes! I don’t have personal experience as my kiddos are too young for their summer camp, but I can say I know the guys behind the academy and they are experts and a lot of fun! Learn more about Envirolution here.

Please feel free to message me if you want any “insider knowledge” on any of these terrific summer programs. Otherwise, contact one (or all!) of the organizations above. And hurry! These camps fill up fast.


About Fayth Ross

Fayth Ross
Fayth moved from a no-stoplight town in rural Utah to Reno in 2006. She’s happily married with three kids ages 11, 6, and 2. Fayth is a Director of Development for a Reno-based non-profit. When she’s not working, doing endless amounts of laundry, or helping with homework, Fayth loves her Keurig, reading, pedicures, baths without children, naps, Mommy juice, and dancing to 80’s music while cooking. Fayth embraced life in the biggest little city and, despite the multiple stoplights on her daily commute to work, loves living in Reno.

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