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About KEEN Programs & Camps

Why?

Why KEEN?

KEEN programs are unique experiences that provide people of all ages with opportunities to explore, educate, and engage with each other and our natural spaces.

Our Program Philosophy

1. Place-Based: A place-based program promotes healthy development in a stimulating learning environment. Place-based programming highlights outdoor learning through all types of weather and environmental conditions.

2. Learner-Led: Allowing children to take the lead fosters their fascination of the world around them. Free play opportunities inspire their creativity.

3. Risk-Taking: Encouraging children to take appropriate risks provides real world examples to learn risk assessment and self-regulation.

4. Social-Interaction: Developing healthy social skills and peer-group relations encourages improved communication and problem-solving skills.

5. Environmental Responsibility: Nurturing a connection to the natural world enhances an understanding of our children’s role as environmental stewards in their local community and their greater natural areas.

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Why Camp is Important

In 2007, the American Camp Association identified the three pillars of the camp experience as “our intimacy with nature, our authentic human connection, and our human-powered activities.”

 

A good summer camp program fulfills all these holistic requirements, providing a safe place to build self-confidence, practice independence, make new friends, explore the natural world, and learn dozens of new activities. Summer camp is not only tremendously fun, but it is vitally important.

Here are just a few reasons why:

  • At camp, kids get a close-up look at the compassionate leadership practiced by our camp staff. Kids also get many opportunities to practice being a leader by voicing their feelings, making individual choices, and negotiating group decision-making.

  • Campers develop a sense of security and self-confidence that will help them develop a strong sense of self, form healthy relationships, take risks, and learn from mistakes.

  • Camp embraces the natural environment and allows kids to unplug from their busy, digital lives and experience the wonders of the outdoors.

What is "Camp"?

What is Camp

Defining what summer camp is can be a harder process than you think. Media has depicted camp as a rustic sleepaway experience deep in the woods where kids run around on their own and play elaborate pranks on other cabins. And while some aspects of this over-romanticized depiction are true, “summer camp” is more about the unseen aspects of learning than the caricature seen in the movies.

In 2007, the American Camp Association identified the three pillars of the camp experience as,

“our intimacy with nature, our authentic human connection, and our

human-powered activities.”

When searching through camp offerings, many traditional summer camps fall short of fulfilling this holistic program approach. KEEN works hard to ensure that your camper’s experience touches each pillar intimately through our primitive facilities immersed in our local shrub steppe environment, our kid-centered learning and exploration, and activities based in natural movements and play.

KEEN CAMP IS DISCOVERY

At KEEN camp, your child will discover how capable they are as they build comfort in the outdoors, begin to take the lead, and try new things in an environment where it’s safe to fail and try again.

KEEN CAMP IS COMMUNITY

As your camper learns about themself, they’ll learn about others too—making new friends and building community unique to camp. Together they’ll tell stories, share about their lives, and sing songs. They’ll disconnect from that ever present screen and reconnect with the real world as they play, laugh, and grow, face to face.

An important part of your camper’s community is our skilled and qualified camp staff! These caring adults remain cheerful on dreary days, help your camper make friends, encourage them to drink enough water, keep them safe, teach them silly songs, and make sure every day is full of adventure and camp magic.

KEEN CAMP IS ADVENTURE

Along the way, whether tackling a team-building activity or learning to paddle across the pond, they’ll gain valuable leadership, social and community-living skills to use at home, at school, and throughout their lives. Campers will get to test their resilience, their confidence, and learn to assess risk in every activity they pursue.

Tiered Pricing & Financial Aid

Pricing

What is Tiered Pricing?

At KEEN, we are committed to creating life-changing experiences for all children throughout our programs and camps.

KEEN does careful cost analyses and works hard to keep fee increases to a minimum, while at the same time the costs to run high-quality programs and camps continues to increase. KEEN is implementing a voluntary and confidential tiered-pricing structure for Summer 2024. Rather than raising all camp fees to levels that fully cover camp expenses - and price camp beyond the means of many - we are giving you the option to pay more if you are able.

Realizing that families have different abilities to pay, KEEN allows each family to choose the tier that is most suitable for them. Please consider selecting the highest price your family is able to afford. This is on an honor system; you tell us what is affordable for your family to pay. No questions asked or income verification required.

 

All campers receive the same camp experience regardless of the tier their family pays.

Tier 3 is a fully subsidized rate that covers just the basic costs associated with attending camp such as staffing and day-to-day supplies.

Tier 2 is a partially subsidized rate for those who can pay more than just the basic costs associated with attending camp.

Tier 1 is a rate that closely reflects the true cost of a KEEN camp experience, including wear and tear on equipment and depreciation.

Families unable to afford Tier 3 can email the camp director to inquire about potential financial aid opportunities. These funds are supported by donations and grant programs which can fluctuate year to year and are not guaranteed.

Financial Assistance & Scholarships

Every child deserves to go to summer camp and KEEN understands that cost can be a huge barrier for some families. As a small nonprofit, we rely on donations and grant funding in order to offer financial assistance opportunities.

KEEN currently does not have any grant assistance to provide scholarships for summer 2024.

This could change, so please check back periodically for updates. You can always reach out to Carlyn, KEEN's education director, to see if there are any available assistance funds or scholarships.

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