Seattle Parks to offer ‘challenge course’ facilitator training at Camp Long

Seattle Parks and Recreation worked with Washington State University Extension 4-H to build a “challenge course” in the trees in West Seattle’s Camp Long. This fall, interested members of the public are invited to join other educators and counselors in learning how to use adventure education to promote team building and personal development in their communities.

The introduction to facilitator training takes place Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 18-19, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $160. The low course facilitator training takes place Wednesday evenings, Oct. 22 and 29, 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 1-2, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $240. The high course facilitator training takes place Friday through Sunday, Nov. 14-16, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $240. The training location is 5200 35th Ave SW at Camp Long in West Seattle. Camping is available during the training.

After successful completion of the training, participants will be able to facilitate events at the Camp Long challenge course. The course is designed to meet the 4-H certification requirements to host and facilitate group activities at Camp Long. Certified facilitators receive reduced rates when bringing their own groups. The trainings are designed to sequence together.

At the Camp Long course, several elements of the ropes course are integrated into the forested areas. WSU 4–H, through 30 years of adventure education experience, has developed curricula that strengthen critical life skills including decision making, self-confidence, positive risk taking, self-esteem, teamwork, and leadership.

For more information and to sign up for the challenge course training, please contact Challenge Course Manager Ken Turner at 206-684-7434 or keno.turner@seattle.gov.

Camp Long is one of Seattle’s best kept secrets. Located in West Seattle, this 68-acre oasis in the city offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy nature, hike in the forest, camp overnight in rustic cabins, rock climb, learn about natural history, and visit or rent the rustic Lodge. For more information, see http://www.seattle.gov/parks/environment/camplong.htm.

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Camp Long hosts ‘Great American Backyard Campout’


What better way to celebrate the start of summer than to go camping with family and neighbors less than a mile from where you live?

On Saturday, June 21, 67 people from 12 families, including 27 adults and 40 youth, did just that. Residents of Seattle Housing Authority’s nearby High Point Community, the families participated in a free overnight nature immersion experience, many of them visiting Camp Long and camping for the first time.

Singing around the campfire.

For the second year the Camp Long Environmental Learning Center partnered with National Wildlife Federation (NWF) for NWF’s annual national initiative the “Great American Backyard Campout,” which aims to get more families outside, even if it’s only in their own backyards.

Families stayed overnight in Camp Long cabins and participated in various activities including forest hikes, night walks, a traditional campfire and a forest stewardship activity.

After getting settled in their cabins on Saturday afternoon, families joined educational organizations in the Camp Long meadow behind the lodge for interactive learning stations.

Seattle Tilth provided gardening information and compost investigations to connect home recycling with the natural systems that exist in nature. Kids got to see live worms and other decomposers in action. Other learning stations included read-aloud multicultural nature stories with Seattle Public Library and making nature crafts from recycled materials with NWF volunteers.

Ranger Rick, NWF’s raccoon mascot, was a hit with the children.  Staff and volunteers had to pull kids off of him in order for more to climb on.

Following a buffet dinner provided by NWF and donations from local vendors, everyone headed to the community campfire circle to learn about building a safe campfire. The children eagerly swapped stories, and a Samoan family borrowed a naturalist’s ukulele to lead the group in song.

Before tucking into their cabins, there was naturalist-led stargazing and night hikes to search for owls and other nocturnal life. Candle luminaries graced the upper trails in a magical glow to illuminate the path for children back to their cabins.

Sunday morning after breakfast, families went on forest walks, learned about the health of Seattle’s forests and its wildlife and helped with forest restoration – pulling invasive ivy and putting mulch on newly planted native plants.

Everyone seemed to get a great dose of Vitamin N (nature activities) and enjoyed being outside together with their community.

Local mammal and bird specimens came to life as Seattle Parks Environmental Learning Center Volunteer Naturalists shared how these animals coexist with humans in the city.

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An excerpt from a letter sent by one of the Campout participants:

“…Our 9-year-old foster son, has never done anything like a campout before, and this was a HUGE experience for him. We watched him learn and grow in new ways in front of our eyes in 20 hours. This is a kid who whined about reading anything just weeks ago. Having the Seattle Public Library person there with books about nature (and totem poles, etc.) that were just right for him was PERFECT. He read books about animals in the field there. At bedtime, for the FIRST time, he said he’d like to stay up reading a little bit. Please share this with the library people.

“He was afraid of the dark, afraid of bats, etc., and so much of these fears dissolved on this trip because we got to pet little stuffed bats, he got to wake up in a safe cabin in the darkness without any light on. The structure provided by you and your people was so incredible, that there were only positive experiences. This weekend would have been incredibly hard to simulate in any other location, even at a campground because of the numbers of strangers there.

So thank you from the depths of our hearts.”

 

Your Seattle Parks Summer Bucket List

Remember the “What I Did on my Summer Vacation” essay assignment on the first day of school? You had to think about the previous three months and make up events that made you seem more interesting and adventurous than watching Judge Judy marathons. Embarrassing.

You may not get a summer vacation anymore, but the season is still something to be treasured. Seattle Parks and Recreation wants to help you take advantage of these rare, sunny days and create some brag-worthy memories.

We won’t ask you to write an essay, but we’d love to see you in action. Prove you completed some of the activities on our Summer Bucket List by sending photos to @seattleparks on Twitter #bucketlist

On my summer vacation I…GOT HEALTHY! Join us from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday, June 29, for our first-ever Big Day of Play at Mount Baker Park Sailing and Rowing Center! We’ll have entertainment, music, kids’ activities and plenty of opportunities for you to learn about our active recreation and healthy food programming.

On my summer vacation I…ROCKED OUT WITH THE T-BIRDS AND PINK LADIES IN MAGNUSON PARK! On Thursdays throughout the summer, Magnuson Park will host outdoor movies. “Grease” kicks off the line-up, followed by “The Lego Movie,” “Gravity,” “Sixteen Candles” and other favorites. Spread out a blanket on the grass, take part in movie trivia and get some grub at a food truck. Don’t worry, no one can say you’re wasting away in front of the television if you’re doing it outside.

On my summer vacation I…MET A CAMEL! I mean, really, how many chances does one get to meet a camel in the Northwest? Visit Othello Park on Sunday, Aug. 17, for the Othello Park International Music and Art Festival. Between noon and 6 p.m., the park will be filled with family-friendly music and performances. Wander through the vendor and food booths, take a ride on the zip line and of course, say hi to the visiting camel.

On my summer vacation I…PAMPERED MY POOCH! Sunday, Aug. 17, is truly a dog day of summer. From 1-3 p.m., you can take your pups to Helene Madison Pool and let them cool down in the water. Each year the pool hosts a dog swim before the facility closes for preventive maintenance.

On my summer vacation I…WENT SCUBA DIVING IN ELLIOT BAY! Did you know you there is a protected area off the shores of West Seattle’s Seacrest Park for scuba diving? Explore underwater sea creatures in the Sound and then treat yourself to lunch at Marination Ma Kai, voted one of the city’s best lunch spots by Seattle Magazine.

On my summer vacation I…DANCED THE NIGHT AWAY WITH 800 OF MY CLOSEST FRIENDS! Dancing ‘til Dusk events take place throughout downtown parks in the summer. We provide lighting, bands and free dance lessons; you just have to show up in your boogie shoes. From 5:30-9:30 p.m. on Friday Sept. 5, we’re hosting a square dance in Freeway Park, so save the date and swing your partner! For other Dancing ‘til Dusk dates, click HERE.

On my summer vacation I…LEARNED A NEW SKILL (FOR ONLY $2)! Have you always wanted to register for a new class or activity, but have a fear of six-week commitment? Seattle Parks’ Healthy Parks, Healthy You program has got you covered. With the Try It for $2 program, you can attend a program or class session at one of our community centers or pools for only $2. If you like what you experience, you can register for the remainder of the session at a pro-rated amount. Yoga, Zumba, karate? See you there.

On my summer vacation I…FOUND MY INNER TARZAN! Grab a group of friends and take to the trees. Camp Long in West Seattle has a vertical playpen. Climb through tires and obstacles up in the sky or travel between high platforms on beams, swings and ropes supported by belayers. There are a variety of challenge course options available for adventurers of all levels.

On my summer vacation I…BIKED THE BURKE-GILMAN TRAIL! The Burke-Gilman Trail runs from Shilshole Bay in Seattle to the City of Bothell spanning more than 18 miles. Grab your helmet and follow the historic railroad route near the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Sammamish River. Pack a lunch, enjoy the views and get some fresh air.

On my summer vacation I…DISCOVERED A NEW PARK (OR 10)! Pick a park, any park, and then grab your sunscreen and go. We have more than 400 parks within our city limits and very few people have seen them all. Take this summer to find a new picnic spot, a breathtaking viewpoint or a perfect practice field for your soccer team. Each of our parks is unique, and they’re all FREE.

Kids learn, have fun at Camp Long’s NatureQuest Summer Day Camp

Award-winning author Richard Louv coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” for children who are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of negative physical, mental and emotional consequences.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Camp Long NatureQuest Summer Day Camp in West Seattle has just the “cure” for this disturbing trend: fun and educational day camp in the great outdoors.

Beginning Monday, June 30, 2014, summer day camp program hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at different park locations in West Seattle, depending on the week. See the schedule below. Fees are $215 per week (sibling discount $10) unless otherwise noted. Register by calling 206-684-7434

Week 1 (6/30-7/3):  Watershed Wonders (Camp Long) ($175; sibling discount $8 pro-rated 4 day week)
Wonder what’s a watershed? Come discover the Longfellow Creek Watershed and follow the creek through magical places like the Salmon Bone Bridge and the Dragonfly Pavilion. Learn how land and water shape each other, observe creek wildlife and build a watershed model. We’ll also hold a Science Council to make decisions about an imaginary watershed, while exploring the many ways humans affect our watersheds.

Week 2 (7/7-7/11):  Journey through the Intertidal Zone (Mee Kwa Mooks Park)
Search for life between the tides and discover how plants and animals have adapted to such changing conditions. Set up a beach science station where you can examine animals in their unique habitat. Learn how sea stars move, how clams and barnacles eat, and much more about the critters you find above and below the rocks, sand and water.

Week 3 (7/14-7/18):  Urban Wildlife Jungle (Camp Long)
It is a jungle out there and worth investigating! Seattle is one of the Top 10 Cities for Urban Forests. Become a scientist and explore this urban wilderness in the Camp Long woods. Unearth the forest’s secrets and learn how hawks, owls, coyotes, fox and a multitude of songbirds live here. In every layer you’ll find clues. Identify native plant species that have grown here for centuries and investigate the role forests have in human survival.  Learn how you can be involved in forest protection.

Week 4 (7/21-7/25):  Schmitz Park Wildlife Jungle (Schmitz Park)
What makes Schmitz forest special are some very old trees still standing. Wander through this native ecosystem and gather clues as to how everything is connected. Explore huge old tree stumps and see evidence of logging from years ago.

Week 5 (7/28-8/1):  History Happenings (Schmitz Park)
The natural and human history of Seattle is rich and diverse. From glaciers to Native Americans to European settlers, this area has a lot to tell.  How did Puget Sound form?  Where and how did Northwest Coast Indians live?  And what major changes have occurred through the centuries? Take a treasure hunt around West Seattle to find your answers to these questions and more.

Week 6 (8/4-8/8):  Winged Wonders (Lincoln Park)
Birds live in every habitat – forest, desert, fresh and salt water, icy, tropical – you name it, they are everywhere. Get to know the avian life all around us and gain skill at observing and identifying the numerous birds of Seattle. Learn using sight and sound, as well as watching behavior, how these adaptive creatures have survived and ways that we can support them. Binoculars are provided. 

Week 7 (8/11-8/15):  Watershed Wonders (Longfellow Creek South)
Learn the ways of a watershed as described above, but explore a different section of Longfellow Creek. Journey through restored areas of the creek and discover the wildlife that has also altered it. See beaver dams and study beaver ways to appreciate their unique impact on land and water.

Week 8 (8/18-8/22):  Survivor Week (Camp Long)
Could you survive a night in the forest? Create a shelter, build a safe fire and cook outdoors? Do all that and more in learning the art of nature survival. Gain skills at identifying edible plants and berries and which plants to avoid. Build confidence and ability to become most secure in a forest setting.

 

Kids learn, have fun at Camp Long’s NatureQuest Summer Day Camp

Award-winning author Richard Louv coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” for children who are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of negative physical, mental and emotional consequences.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Camp Long NatureQuest Summer Day Camp in West Seattle has just the “cure” for this disturbing trend: fun and educational day camp in the great outdoors.

Beginning Monday, June 30, 2014, summer day camp program hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at different park locations in West Seattle, depending on the week. See the schedule below. Fees are $215 per week (sibling discount $10) unless otherwise noted. Register by calling 206-684-7434

Week 1 (6/30-7/3):  Watershed Wonders (Camp Long) ($175; sibling discount $8 pro-rated 4 day week)
Wonder what’s a watershed? Come discover the Longfellow Creek Watershed and follow the creek through magical places like the Salmon Bone Bridge and the Dragonfly Pavilion. Learn how land and water shape each other, observe creek wildlife and build a watershed model. We’ll also hold a Science Council to make decisions about an imaginary watershed, while exploring the many ways humans affect our watersheds.

Week 2 (7/7-7/11):  Journey through the Intertidal Zone (Mee Kwa Mooks Park)
Search for life between the tides and discover how plants and animals have adapted to such changing conditions. Set up a beach science station where you can examine animals in their unique habitat. Learn how sea stars move, how clams and barnacles eat, and much more about the critters you find above and below the rocks, sand and water.

Week 3 (7/14-7/18):  Urban Wildlife Jungle (Camp Long)
It is a jungle out there and worth investigating! Seattle is one of the Top 10 Cities for Urban Forests. Become a scientist and explore this urban wilderness in the Camp Long woods. Unearth the forest’s secrets and learn how hawks, owls, coyotes, fox and a multitude of songbirds live here. In every layer you’ll find clues. Identify native plant species that have grown here for centuries and investigate the role forests have in human survival.  Learn how you can be involved in forest protection.

Week 4 (7/21-7/25):  Schmitz Park Wildlife Jungle (Schmitz Park)
What makes Schmitz forest special are some very old trees still standing. Wander through this native ecosystem and gather clues as to how everything is connected. Explore huge old tree stumps and see evidence of logging from years ago.

Week 5 (7/28-8/1):  History Happenings (Schmitz Park)
The natural and human history of Seattle is rich and diverse. From glaciers to Native Americans to European settlers, this area has a lot to tell.  How did Puget Sound form?  Where and how did Northwest Coast Indians live?  And what major changes have occurred through the centuries? Take a treasure hunt around West Seattle to find your answers to these questions and more.

Week 6 (8/4-8/8):  Winged Wonders (Lincoln Park)
Birds live in every habitat – forest, desert, fresh and salt water, icy, tropical – you name it, they are everywhere. Get to know the avian life all around us and gain skill at observing and identifying the numerous birds of Seattle. Learn using sight and sound, as well as watching behavior, how these adaptive creatures have survived and ways that we can support them. Binoculars are provided. 

Week 7 (8/11-8/15):  Watershed Wonders (Longfellow Creek South)
Learn the ways of a watershed as described above, but explore a different section of Longfellow Creek. Journey through restored areas of the creek and discover the wildlife that has also altered it. See beaver dams and study beaver ways to appreciate their unique impact on land and water.

Week 8 (8/18-8/22):  Survivor Week (Camp Long)
Could you survive a night in the forest? Create a shelter, build a safe fire and cook outdoors? Do all that and more in learning the art of nature survival. Gain skills at identifying edible plants and berries and which plants to avoid. Build confidence and ability to become most secure in a forest setting.