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Call of the Wild Camps

* Summer Camp 

* Fall Camp

* Winter Camp

* Spring Camp 

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Hike, read, write, play

Nature camps for young trail Blazers,
curious naturalists, eager readers & budding writers in forests of the East Bay!

School break camp registrations open for fall, winter, and spring!

Does your child love animals and learning on outdoor adventures, not just from home on screens? We hear the call of the wild! K-5th graders explore, hike, play, and learn in the forests in East Bay outdoor camps. Nature camps are 100% outdoors. Oakland camps and Berkeley camps have eight to ten children in stable weekly groups for health and safety. Kids take a breath of fresh air away from screens, spark a love of nature, develop literacy across genres, read and write wilderness adventure stories and exciting accounts of animals and people in the great outdoors, make new friends, and more!

At Inspire Behavioral Learning®, we believe in learning by doing, so lessons are relevant to the learner's environment, engaging the whole child - head, heart, and body. Berkeley nature camps and Oakland nature camps are a fun blend of outdoor education and recreation. Our day camps combine:

  • Biology and language arts enrichment

  • Kindness for campers and animals

  • Enjoyable exercise: hikes and play!

Child to staff ratio: 4:1 or 5:1

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Activities

 

East Bay educational camps for K-5 combine hiking, reading, and writing camps in one! In active day camps, kids hike in East Bay parks, navigate trails, build forts, explore nature, learn amazing animal facts, play entertaining perspective-taking games, read and craft their own stories with wilderness themes, illustrate stories, create and perform skits, do scavenger hunts and nature journaling, practice storytelling across genres, deepen their sense of wonder and respect for nature, become eco-conscious, eat healthy food, develop executive functioning skills to become hike leaders, strengthen stamina, make friendships, and more!

​Inspire's forest camps primarily use emergent curriculum and experiential learning, which are child-centered, based on children's interests. As such, activities may vary based on the unique interests emerging within each group of children per camp session. Here is a sample of past activities children have enjoyed!

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  • Hike, Explore Nature, Outdoor Education, and Life Science Enrichment: hiking easy to moderate trails in Tilden Regional Park, Joaquin Miller Park, and Redwood Regional Park; easy rock scrambling, nature walks, and nature exploration in the forests and by lakes and creeks; leave no trace activities, poison oak identification, animal watching and identification, animal track identification, mushroom identification, animal senses and adaptations games, leaf rubbings, and more!

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  • Language Arts Enrichment: nature-themed literacy activities with differentiated curriculum for grades K-5, such as story time with colorful and engaging books, singalongs, and movement; nature journaling; reading and perspective taking with animal facts; creating story elements in the "story mountain"; creative writing, crafting and illustrating wilderness adventure stories and nature poems based on the senses (what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch on your hike); skits; mapmaking; choose your own adventure stories; teamwork by coauthoring stories; dinosaur and animal Mad Libs comedy; bios of brave and inspiring naturalists, activists, and wildlife artists; and more!

Inspire Behavioral Learning Call of the Wild Camps Oakland nature camp boys building fort.
  • Nature-Themed Play and Free Play: playing animal fact versions of hide and seek and chase games; crafting and playing animal "Guess Who?" and forest "I Spy" games; scavenger hunts with pictures and decodable words or riddles; treasure hunts; creative field games with an environmental science twist; child-directed play, such as playing on play structures, building forts/teepees and fairy houses in the Create-With-Nature-Zone, log climbing, pretend play, bubbles, ball play; and more!

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  • Nature-Themed Art: creating nature-themed rainbow scratch art, drawing your own nature puzzles, making beaded necklaces, animal face painting, illustrating forest stories and journals, coloring animals and nature scenes, visual arts integrated with science facts inspired by the popular Sandra Markle "What if..." series, visual arts with positive environmental science messages, and more!

  • Holiday and Seasonal Activities: funny stories celebrating Thanksgiving with sensitivity toward animals, plus Nature American Heritage Month activities; nature-themed Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa activities; playing reindeer games; coloring nature-themed calendars for New Year's Day; skits and the role of animals in holiday folklore and fables; learning amazing facts about seasonal survival for plants and animal adaptations; Easter egg hunts in the forest; exploring nature-themed holiday books; and more!

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Hiking Experience

  • Trails: Nature camp trails range from relatively flat to somewhat hilly and rocky with varied terrain over occasional rocks and roots. Previous hiking experience on varied terrain for at least three miles spaced out over the day is required. 

  • Breaks: At camp, kids enjoy flexible and abundant breaks during and after daily hikes for play and exploration, snacks and rest, and lessons both planned and spontaneous. As many breaks as campers need are provided for maximum enjoyment.

  • Hiking Distance: A general rule of thumb is that your child's age corresponds to a comfortable number of miles to hike (age 5 = 5 miles). Many variables may result in your child enjoying shorter or longer hikes, such as previous experience, quality of sleep the previous night, snacks, hydration, and breaks. Campers enjoy shorter hikes than the age-miles formula above to have time for fun lessons along the way. Distance starts shorter and may flexibly increase over the week, based on the unique individuals in a group, tailored to their physical conditioning and interests.

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Grades and Ages

 

Inspire's outdoor camps are for grades K-5, ages 5-10. Over the summer, we accept kids who will be entering K-5 in the fall of the upcoming school year. The minimum age is 5 by the start date of a registered camp.

 

We prioritize grouping by adjacent grades, and the grade range per group is flexible. Common groups are K-1, K-2, K-3, and 3-5. Groups are flexibly based on enrollment, parent requests, and other variables. Children are not in separate grade groups throughout the whole camp day; all grades are together at times such as free play, snack, and lunch. All groups have choices for the same types of activities within vicinity of each other, and children in primary and upper grades form groups for differentiated curriculum. Children form separate groups on hikes to maintain a comfortable pace with peers.

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Diversity

At Inspire, we believe in diversity and inclusion. We welcome children from diverse linguistic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, as well as children in general education and special education programs. Contact us if your child has a disability for accommodations we may be able to provide in our Berkeley nature camps and Oakland nature camps. Our camps are not specifically designed as special needs camps but are open to all children who meet camp prerequisites. Camp Counselors are experienced in creating a safe and respectful environment for diverse children to learn and enjoy! 

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What to Wear and Bring

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Layers: even in the summertime, the forests tend to be cold in the mornings and may be cool throughout a summer day. At least 2 layers are recommended, depending on the forecast. For cold weather, a base layer, middle layer, and outer layer with accessories like gloves/mittens and hats are needed. 

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Hiking shoes or hiking boots: shoes with tread for traction when hiking on uneven terrain, promoting comfort and helping to prevent slips and falls. Outsoles with multi-purpose tread or with deeper and wider lugs are suitable for our easy to moderate hikes. If you flip over the shoe, you will see various multi-directional lugs. Flat outsoles are not suitable for hikes.

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Hiking backpack: children wear their backpacks themselves on walks and hikes. If your child doesn't have a hiking backpack, a school backpack may suffice, but a properly sized and fitted hiking backpack (with a chest/sternum strap and hip/waist belt) is ideal for weight distribution and comfort. For children up to age 7, their filled backpacks should weigh no more than about 5-10% of their body weight. Ages 8+: no more than about 10-15% of their body weight. Percentage Calculator: https://percentagecalculator.net/

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Healthy lunch and two healthy snacks: packed in your child's backpack. Ensure that your child comes with enough food for three times per day: morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack.

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Water: water in a water bottle or water bladder inside your child's backpack. There is no need for a water bottle greater than 16 oz or for two water bottles, as kids can access multiple water fountains at parks for refilling. A lightweight water bottle also keeps your child's backpack lighter and more comfortable.

Many hiking backpacks have a slot or zipped compartment for inserting a water bladder (AKA hydration bladder or hydration reservoir). If this is new for your child, some practice may be needed to use the tube (straw-like part) to drink. Some tubes have a taste your child may prefer to avoid, so a water bottle may be a better option, which works perfectly fine for camp!

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Sun protection: when sunny weather is predicted - sunscreen or sunblock, sunglasses and/or sun hat.

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Waterproof attire and gear: when rain is predicted - umbrella; rainboots, waterproof shoes, or waterproof shoe covers; waterproof or water resistant jacket, pants, backpack (or backpack rain cover); poncho, etc. 

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Change of clothes: when rain is predicted or if your child has a risk of potty accidents, bring whichever spare clothes you consider necessary, labeled with your child’s name.

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A sense of adventure and curiosity: a positive attitude for exploring, learning, and sharing time with people, flora and fauna in the great outdoors!

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Mask note: masks are optional and no longer required. Children are expected to not attend camp when they have, or are showing symptoms of, COVID-19 or any other contagious illness.

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Rain or Shine

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We nature lovers enjoy camp rain or shine! Kids spot fungi and animals that emerge in the rain, splash and play in puddles, and enjoy the senses, observing and exploring a wet, rainy forest in contrast with a dry, sunny forest.

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Prerequisites

 

To promote a safe and enjoyable experience, please ensure that you and your child meet the following prerequisites for your child to be registered for and attend Call of the Wild Camps.

  • Hiking Experience: your child has previous experience hiking on their own two feet on varied terrain for at least three miles spaced out over the day.

  • Appropriate Clothing and Gear: your child will come to camp with appropriate clothing and gear for the weather and outdoor conditions.

    • Bring your child to camp with the items indicated in What to Wear and Bring.

    • Wearing a dress that your child doesn't want to get dirty is inappropriate for an outdoor nature camp.

    • Wearing a backpack that frequently slips off of your child's shoulders and is too large for your child's size or too heavy for your child's weight is inappropriate for a hiking camp.

    • Coming to camp in 40° F weather without a warm coat and layers or coming to camp in rainy weather without any waterproof clothing or gear is inappropriate for an outdoor camp.

  • Respect for Diversity: you and your child respect diversity, including diverse abilities, races, ethnicities, religions, genders, ages, etc. Ableism, racism, sexism, ageism, and any other form of discriminatory behavior from parents/guardians and campers against other campers, staff, or park visitors is not accepted. We expect all customers to respect our commitment to a kind, caring, and inclusive camp community.

  • Safety and Respectful Behavior: you and your child are able to independently follow camp rules and instructions for safe and respectful behavior. For example:

    • Children staying with the group or within eyesight of camp staff. 

    • Respecting personal space and property of all staff, campers, and park visitors by refraining from physical aggression (including but not limited to hitting, kicking, shoving, scratching, pinching, etc.) and property destruction.

    • Following leave no trace instructions, such as leaving what you find, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of others. 

    • You and your child respect all park visitors and camp staff, refraining from aggressive behavior in oral, written, physical, or any form toward camp staff, campers, and other park visitors. 

We expect all customers to respect our commitment to a physically and psychologically safe environment for everyone at camp. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and ask! Thank you so much for considering our camp prerequisites to promote a safe and enjoyable time for your child and everyone at camp!​

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Summer Camp 2024

  • Planned Dates: week-long camp sessions from June 10-August 9

  • Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

  • Prices: $607.35 for five days; $485.88 for four days or $364.41 for three days (week of July 4th)

  • Locations: Berkeley, Oakland, Cupertino

Fall Camp 2023

  • Planned Dates: November 20-22 

  • Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

  • Prices: $364.41 for three days

  • Location: Oakland

Winter Camp 2023-2024

  • Planned Dates: Dec 26-29, Jan 2-5

  • Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

  • Prices: $485.88 for four days

  • Location: Oakland

Spring Camp 2024

  • Planned Dates: Apr 1-5

  • Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

  • Prices: $607.35 for five days

  • Location: Oakland

Discounts

  • Sibling Discount: $50 off for sibling enrollment, applied towards the same camp session per child. May be combined with other discounts!

  • Refer a Friend Program: $50 credit for past camp customers referring new customers, who receive a $50 discount. Terms and conditions apply. Inquire at info@inspirebehavior.com to complete the refer a friend form. May be combined with other discounts! 

  • Summer Camp Early Bird Discount: $50 off per session for summer camp registration completed through February 28. May be combined with other discounts!

  • Scholarships: we now have scholarships available based on financial need. THANK YOU to camp customers for your kind and generous donations to create and maintain a scholarship fund!

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Daily Schedule

 

Outdoor camp daily itineraries include a student-centered, emergent curriculum. As such, aside from fixed drop-off and pick-up times, our schedule throughout the day may vary flexibly with integrated activities and approximate times. You can read a sample structure below.

 

MORNING: 8:30 AM-12:00 PM

 

  • Drop-Off, Greetings & Free Play: 30 min, 8:30 AM-9:00 AM

  • Opening Activities: approx. 15 min, 9:00 AM-9:15 AM

  • Hike, Explore Nature, Science Enrichment: approx. 45 min, 9:15 AM-10:00 AM

  • Morning Snack: approx. 15 min, 10:00 AM-10:15 AM 

  • Free Play and Thematic Gross Motor Play: approx. 15 min, 10:15 AM-10:30 AM

  • Language Arts and Art Enrichment: approx. 45 min, 10:30 AM-11:15 AM 

  • Hike, Explore Nature, Science Enrichment: approx. 45 min, 11:15 AM-12:00 PM 

AFTERNOON: 12:00 PM-4:30 PM

  • Lunch Break: approx. 30 min, 12:00 PM-12:30 PM

  • Free Play and Thematic Gross Motor Play: approx. 30 min, 12:30 PM-1:00 PM

  • Language Arts Enrichment: approx. 45 min, 1:00 PM-1:45 PM 

  • Hike, Explore Nature, Science Enrichment: approx. 30 min, 1:45 PM-2:15 PM  

  • Afternoon Snack: approx. 15 min, 2:15 PM-2:30 PM

  • Free Play and Thematic Gross Motor Play: approx. 15 min, 2:30 PM-2:45 PM

  • Language Arts Enrichment: approx. 30 min, 2:45 PM-3:15 PM 

  • Hike, Explore Nature, Science Enrichment: approx. 30 min, 3:15-3:45 PM 

  • Closing Activities: approx. 15 min, 3:45-4:00 PM

  • Free Play, Goodbyes & Pick-Up: 30 min, 4:00-4:30 PM

Drop-Off and Pick-Up Times

 

Nature camps have a 30-minute window for drop-off (8:30 AM-9:00 AM) and pick-up (4:00 PM-4:30 PM) at camp. There are no before care, after care, or half-day registrations.

Please make late drop-off or early pick-up requests before registering your child or before the session start date to see if an accommodation is possible. We are mobile, going on hikes and explorations in a wide variety of locations throughout the day, and we vary picnic sites and fields where children engage in enrichment activities and play. We do not remain at pick-up and drop-off areas aside from the scheduled drop-off and pick-up times. We will try our best but cannot guarantee accommodation for requests for late arrival or early pick-up.

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Locations

 

Parks of the East Bay! Families drop off and pick up their children at the camp site.  

Berkeley Camps: outdoor education and hikes for kids at Tilden Regional Park. Past camp drop-off and pick-up locations have included Island Picnic Area, Lake Anza Parking Lot, and Tilden Nature Area.

 

Oakland Camps: outdoor education and hikes for kids at Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, with pick-up and drop-off for fall, winter, and spring: Canyon Meadow Staging Area. Past camp drop-off and pick-up locations have included Joaquin Miller Playground at Joaquin Miller Park and Skyline Gate Staging Area at Redwood Regional Park.

NEW! 2024 summer day camps planned in the South Bay! Based on parent requests, Inspire's summer camps are anticipated to expand to Vasona Lake County Park + Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos and Rancho San Antonio Preserve in Cupertino.

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School break camp registrations are open for fall, winter, and spring!

Your requests are always welcome! East Bay outdoor camp locations and specific trail requests are considered by popular demand for Berkeley outdoor camps, Oakland outdoor camps, and other cities in the Bay Area! For requests or inquiries, feel free to reach out with an email for the quickest reply.

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Call of the Wild Camps

* Summer Camp

* Fall Camp

* Winter Camp

* Spring Camp

What to Wear and Bring

Email: info@inspirebehavior.com
Phone: 510-296-5519

Fax: 510-296-5780

Hours:

M-F   8:00 AM-7:30 PM

Sat    9:00 AM-6:30 PM

Sun   Closed

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area

  • Alameda County

    • Albany​

    • Berkeley

    • Emeryville

    • Oakland

    • Alameda

    • San Leandro

    • Castro Valley

    • Pleasanton

    • Dublin

    • Fremont

    • ...and more!

  • Contra Costa County

    • Concord​

    • Pleasant Hill

    • Walnut Creek

    • Antioch

    • Brentwood

    • Orinda

    • Lafayette

    • Alamo

    • Danville

    • San Ramon

    • ...and more!

  • Santa Clara County

    • Milpitas

    • San Jose

    • Santa Clara

    • Sunnyvale

    • Mountain View

    • Palo Alto

    • Saratoga

  • Solano County

    • Vallejo

    • Benicia

    • Cordelia

    • Suisun

    • Fairfield

    • Vacaville

CONTACT

I N S P I R E Behavioral Learning®

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