Expanding our Families into a Larger Community
At the height of summer and in the fading light of the fall, Wilderness Youth Project widens its circle to encompass not only a band of young participants but their entire family. This twice annual event is Family Camp, a long developing tradition that attempts to expand the experience of nature connection to a community of families that come together for a weekend (or week) of exploration, good food and, winds willing, campfires. Of course, all the events, both planned and spontaneous, wouldn’t be half as magical without the gracious collaboration of the place itself, the Arroyo Hondo Preserve, nested among the canyons of the Gaviota Coast.
Fall 2018: October 26-28th
Registration for family camp happens via a weighted lottery. Join our mailing list to be notified of upcoming registration opportunities like Family Camp.
The lottery for Fall 2018 will run September 3rd-16th and selected families will be notified by October 1st. Please check back on for link, or look for an email from us announcing the opening of the registration window.
Arrive 4 pm Friday (dinner is at 6:30 pm–feel free to arrive from the 4-5:30 window or let us know if you need to come later and we’ll save dinner for you!). Depart 12 pm Sunday.
Weekend: $280 per family (limited scholarships available–you can request one during registration.)
How to Register:
Enter the weighted lottery Register a primary adult family member at $280, and additional family members attending at $0 (for a maximum of 6 family members total).
How the Weighted Lottery Works:
This weighted lottery system will not be completely random. Certain factors will affect your chances of enrollment, weighted in the following order:
- No outstanding balances from past sessions
- Participation in school year programs
- Balancing for demographic diversity
More Details about Family Camp:
Family Camp is in perpetual evolution but is anchored by the same core values that steady our weekly and summer youth programs: Inclusiveness, Nature Mentoring, Community and Peacemaking. Families arrive Friday afternoon and receive ample help in getting settled. Throughout the weekend we gather in a great circle to share information, laughter and gratitude. Breakfast and dinner are provided and shared family style in rows of picnic tables under a canopy of oak and fragrant bay laurel.
Saturdays generally have a morning activity designed to get folks moving around on the landscape, deepening their awareness of the patterns, language and fabric of their surroundings. There is a kids program that runs simultaneously. We’ve found that this separation of kids and adults typically allows both groups to go further along their own path of discovery and creates more storytelling energy when we reunite for lunch. After lunch, free time evolves into our fabled “Crafternoons,” where different activities emerge in the meadow such as fire kits, basket weaving, acorn processing, etc. Sunday morning typically has another structured activity, as well as an optional “Bird Language Sit” for the early risers. Then, despite the fact that timelessness is an active goal for the staff, midday Sunday is time to pack up and depart.
Of course, one of the best things about camping is the night: Friday and Saturday nights are the times of stargazing and campfires. This is time when stories and music are offered up by anyone to everyone, so bring your gifts along with your sleeping bags and tents. Speaking of gear…any families in need of gear to ensure their comfort while camping can contact Wilderness Youth Project for assistance.
Gear to Bring:
Please mark your names on all gear
- Sleeping gear and shelter (warm bag, ground pad, tent, etc.)
- Chairs for campfire area
- Extra blanket (or two)
- Cold weather clothing
- Warm weather clothing
- Sun hat and warm hat
- Closed toed shoes for exploring and wandering
- Swimsuit, towel
- Toiletry items (biodegradable items only please)
- Bowl, plate, utensils, cup for each family member (it’s a great idea to mark your items with tape for easy retrieval after dish washing).
- Water bottle(s)
- Necessary medications
- Knife for carving sticks etc…(fixed blade)
- Musical instruments
- Games for the open meadow (such as Frisbees, soccer balls, bocci ball, etc.)
Bring a story and/or song to the campfire or skill to share during the days. NO DOGS ALLOWED.
Food: We will provide scrumptious meals for dinner Friday/Saturday and breakfast Saturday/Sunday. (we’ll provide food for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans). Please let us know if you have any dietary preferences on our application. You are responsible for your family’s lunches and snacks.
NOTE: Please bring extra breakfast snacks for your little ones if they will be hungry before breakfast time (8 am) on Sat/Sunday morning.
Carpooling: PLEASE do your best to carpool. There is limited space for vehicles and the more folks we can get in the fewest number of vehicles, the better.
From Santa Barbara: Traveling northbound on the U.S. Highway 101, the Preserve is about a thirty minute drive from downtown and approximately four miles past Refugio State Beach. After the Refugio exit, pay attention to the blue CalTrans call boxes spaced one mile apart on the right hand side. The Arroyo Hondo entrance is located at call box 101-412. Make an immediate right hand turn into the driveway. Drive down hill, and keep to your left. You’ll see a big meadow where you’ll ultimately park, but you can drive up to the event site to unload. WYP staff will be there to greet you.
From Buellton/Lompoc: Traveling southbound on the U.S. Highway 101, approximately 6 miles past Gaviota State Park and a mile after the Vista Point Rest Area, look for the blue CalTrans Call Box #101-403. Be in the left hand lane. Just after the Call Box, make a u-turn (turn lane provided) onto the northbound lanes of the U.S. Highway 101. In a mile, make a sharp right turn into the Preserve immediately after blue CalTrans Call Box #101-412.
(If you miss the U-turn, the next turnaround is at Refugio State Beach about four miles south.)