FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Are there any discounts available? How much is the deposit? When is the final payment due? What is Ravenwood’s cancellation policy?
How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting Ravenwood’s programs? Can we still go to camp?
Ravenwood is honored to be able to provide meaningful nature-based connective programs during these challenging times. We believe connecting to nature, each other, and our larger community are essential to health and well being, and we are working hard to provide safe ways to keep connecting. We have a number of program options depending on your family’s needs around quarantine and connection.
While we are in Phase 1 or Phase 2 of reopening, we will hold in-person camps, with some adjustments. We will not be gathering inside tipis but will use open-air tarp shelters. We will ask parents to drop off campers directly, rather than loading campers into the school bus. We will have two central campfires, limiting overall group gathering size. We will maintain abundant hand-washing stations, and provide hand sanitizer for those times when groups are not near the hand washing stations. We are now requiring all participants to wear face coverings and maintain appropriate social distance. With appropriate measures in place, we can host a fun, connective, and safe summer camp!
What programs does Ravenwood offer? And for what ages?
Ravenwood offers family outings and camp-outs, adult trainings and skills classes, and homeschool, day camp and week-long overnight camps for youth ages 4 to 17.
- We offer FREE family-friendly seasonal festivals for our community.
- Inquire about our Family Connections Package, a custom 5 month experience designed to help your family members connect more deeply to themselves, each other, and nature.
- We run homeschool day outings for kids ages 4-12 every other week during the fall and spring each year.
- Wilderness Kids Club for ages 6-12 runs the entire summer. Session I, Mondays and Tuesdays, or Session II, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 9-3 each day.
- Music and Nature Camp runs for one week in mid-July.
- Spring Break Day Camp runs for one week during spring break in March.
- Winter Break Day Camp runs for three days during winter break in the end of December.
- Teen Overnight Camp for ages 13-17 is a week-long summer back country experience
- Camp Corvid is a sleepaway camp for school groups and runs during spring with outdoor learning programs designed specifically for school groups.
- Schools in Nature is designed for schools with a “nearby nature” site and is a custom designed series of day outings intended to enrich and support grade level curriculum goals and enhance community building, personal growth, problem solving, and skill development for students.
- Arts and Ancestors is a skills development program we bring to schools designed to connect students with hands-on learning and craft in a rotating workshop format.
- Volunteer trainings help adults connect with the Ravenwood community and give back to our youth through mentoring.
- Our Elders Initiative enriches the lives of campers and elders alike
- We offer custom mentoring trainings for a number of local outdoor education organizations, wilderness programs, and schools.
Where is Ravenwood located?
Through a partnership with FH Stoltze Land & Lumber Co, Ravenwood’s homeschool programs and seasonal day camps are currently located on working timber forest land between Whitefish and Columbia Falls. Directions to the site will be sent to participating families after registration is completed. Summer overnight camps also partially base on the FH Stoltze land.
Camp Corvid, our residential school program takes place at the Montana Council of Boy Scouts of America’s Grizzly Base Camp south of Kalispell, MT. Other school programs take place at school campuses and natural areas around the Flathead Valley.
Our new Viking Creek Camp is located just north of Whitefish, MT and hosts our monthly Teen Program and Music and Nature Day Camp.
How do I register for a Ravenwood program?
Ravenwood uses ActiveNetwork.com for safe and private online registration and payment. Click here to register. You will be able to set up your own account and view all financial and registration transactions. Payments and forms can also be sent to Ravenwood at PO Box 1314 Whitefish, MT 59937 at your request.
Are scholarships available? How do I apply for a scholarship?
Yes! Ravenwood Outdoor Learning Center offers scholarship opportunities for families in need. We believe that deep nature connection mentoring should be available to all regardless of financial situation. To apply, fill out a scholarship application. Please Note: A submitted scholarship application DOES NOT GUARANTEE A SPACE IN ANY RAVENWOOD PROGRAM. You must register your child through our online registration system in order for your child to be registered in a summer program. This process includes the payment of the program deposit. We can accept checks or cash as an alternative to an online payment if you let us know before you go into the online system.
A Scholarship Committee will review applications, letting applicants know if and how much award will be given on or before a specified date. The committee will award scholarship money until such funds run out for each program year unless the demand does not match the funds available. The Scholarship Committee will take the utmost care and responsibility in protecting the privacy and confidentiality of each applicant.
Under exceptional circumstances, a scholarship award may be large enough to cover more than the balance due after deposit, in which case a refund check for the qualified amount on a deposit will be issued after the scholarship award has been confirmed. If you pay the deposit, register, and submit a scholarship application and ARE NOT AWARDED ENOUGH SCHOLARSHIP ASSISTANCE to justify participation (at your determination), a refund of your deposit will be granted at your written request minus a $10 processing fee.
Are there any discounts available? How much is the deposit? When is the final payment due? What is Ravenwood’s cancellation policy?
Ravenwood offers two discounts: a Sibling Discount (10% off for each additional sibling) and a Mulit-Program Discount (10% off of an additional program in the same season).
All summer programs have a 25% non-refundable deposit to secure a spot. The balance in full is automatically charged via your chosen payment method two weeks before the start of the program.
If Ravenwood is notified of a cancellation seven or more full days before the start time of a program, then all but the deposit amount will be refunded. In this situation the entire non-refundable deposit is eligible to be transferred as credit for future programs only for the child who was originally registered and only through the end of the calendar year following the original registration. In order to be eligible for a deposit credit transfer, Ravenwood must be notified in writing of this intent at the time of cancellation.
If cancellation notification is given less than seven full days before the program start time, no refund will be issued. In this situation, we will offer a 50% credit of the full program fee amount (if already paid in full) toward a future program for the originally registered individual taking place before the end of the calendar year following the original registration. In order to be eligible for any deposit credit transfer, Ravenwood must be notified in writing of this intent at the time of cancellation.
What will my family, child, grandchild, or I experience at Ravenwood? What will the day be like?
With the mentoring of trusted adults, Ravenwood kids experience nature in ways that strengthen connections to their community, themselves, and the natural world.
Each day is built around a set of core routines that help us become more aware of our relationships in nature and build a sense of community among our group. We’ll start with a morning circle where we set our intentions for the day and get oriented. Games and exploration follow, lunch, then some outdoor skill work, and finally a closing circle with songs, stories, and snacks. We also leave lots of room in our day to let the land inspire our learning and fun. From exploring a nearby stream bank or wetland to playing games, singing songs, building shelters, learning survival skills, and telling stories around the fire, Ravenwood participants come home tired, happy, and filled with the inspiration only a good day (or week) in the woods can provide!
We see ourselves more as mentors than teachers, and ask a lot more questions than give out answers. This approach gently stretches a participant’s awareness of their world through their senses and, over time, brings them a rich and natural connection to their place, their community (all of it, not just the people!) and ultimately to their own unique set of gifts and talents. For more information on our mentoring approach and how you can support your family’s learning journey, consider purchasing “Coyotes Guide to Connecting with Nature.”
What is the mentor to student ratio?
Ravenwood Camps have a mentor to student ratio of 1:8 We often improve this ratio, however, as we have a number of trained volunteers who help out when they can.
What do participants need to bring and wear to Ravenwood?
Within a week of each program start time an Orientation Packet will be e-mailed to you which will include more information about the program, a list of what to bring, directions to the site, and more! Click here for a sample (note details are different for each camp!). We’ll be setting up tipi lodges for rainy day shelters, but most of the time we’ll be outside so please make sure each participant has clothing for any type of weather in their pack EACH day. A port-a-potty is available at the site during fair weather seasons. A water bottle, nature journal (can be any type—blank pages with no lines is best), sunscreen, sun hat, and proper footwear for outdoor adventuring are all important items. We strongly recommend participants wear long pants, and closed-toe shoes for each session. Many of the games we play can result in scratches and scrapes and mosquitoes are easier to handle with less skin exposed as well. We’ll be carrying a first aid kit for minor bumps, scrapes, etc. If you would like to use commercial insect repellents, please do so before the program begins and away from others. Participants should be prepared for any seasonal weather possibilities. If it’s cold and rainy, participants should dress as if they were going to stand in a cold shower for six hours!
Can I drop my child/grandchild off late for a Ravenwood program or pick them up early?
We ask that only in the case of the extreme do you drop off a child late or pick him/her up early. In general, early pickups are easier for us to accommodate than late arrivals and lunchtime is the best time to schedule this. We often let curiosity and inspiration direct where on the land we explore, making it a disruption to come back to the center of camp to meet a parent. Please call Jennifer Bresee at 510-423-2705 if you need to co-ordinate a late drop off or early pick up.
Are meals provided?
All children involved in Day Camps need to bring their own sack lunch, a healthy snack and a water bottle, all housed in a backpack. Overnight camps like Teen Overnight Camp provide healthy (local/organic when possible) meals cooked onsite with the help of the community (except the first day lunch which we ask the campers bring).
For Camp Corvid school programs, groups of parents and other volunteers from your school/community work together to provide food for the meals. Camp Corvid has a fully functioning industrial kitchen for your use and work crews are lined out by the lead teacher from your school.
How would I contact my child during a Ravenwood program?
If you need to get a message to your child, contact Jennifer Bresee at 510-423-2705 and she will get the message to Ravenwood staff to pass on to your child.
What is the “closing ceremony” at the end of each Ravenwood program?
Ravenwood strongly encourages friends and family to attend a closing ceremony at the end of each program. This very meaningful and celebratory program allows children to share about their Ravenwood experience and bring family and friends into the community they’ve created in the woods! The ceremony often includes songs, games, stories, and sharing of skills learned at Ravenwood. It can be very disappointing for children if no one from their family/friend circle comes to the closing ceremony, so please make every effort to support them for this special event.
Can I volunteer at Ravenwood?
Yes! Parents and adult family members are always welcome to become volunteers! Our mentoring approach works best with several adult participants, so please let us know if you’d like to learn more about how you can volunteer. You can fill out a volunteer application here. If you are unable to attend the volunteer training (which includes a background check for program safety), we do allow parents to join us for our opening circles at day camp, as well as the closing ceremony at the end of the program. Click here for more information in the Volunteer section of our Adult Programs page.
Does Ravenwood offer year-round programs?
Ravenwood offers programs year-round including free seasonal festivals, adult workshops and mentor trainings, spring and winter break day camps, homeschool programs, and more. We also run fundraisers, and we love to help organize Ravenwood-themed house parties to raise funds for our programs. Contact Brett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (406) 260-8620 for more details. Follow Ravenwood on Facebook, sign up on the website for emails, and read our blog postings to keep up to date on how Ravenwood Outdoor Learning Center can help to strengthen your connections to community, nature and self throughout the year!