We help children feel like that group of kids wandering country backyards 50 years ago: independent, tired, muddy, wet, and happy from the woods and wild. Through our many years in education, we are acutely aware of the real hazards of the outdoors. We work to keep kids safe but not encapsulated from, nor phobic of what is wild. We believe children need to develop ever increasing independence, competency, and capacity in nature—not only for their own connection and fulfillment but also to contribute to their families, future generations, and the more-than-human world. We believe it is okay to be thirsty at times, cold at times, and wet at times. This builds empathy and care for the gifts of life, fostering true adventure and genuine accomplishment. We also believe it is critical for children to feel supported and cared for as they explore their passion for service and responsibility. And through a healthy life found in nature connection, they can test their limits and discover the great potential of the often untapped physical grit and emotional resilience they possess.
Trackers is a team of expert educators, and a community. We are made up of compassionate individuals who believe kids (and adults) should have real adventures in the natural world.
At Trackers we are champions of land and village. We are navigators of an epic world that needs to exist, sharing passion and respect for the land and a timeless human story.
Trackers is a family organization. We are not simply limited to one family. Like a true village, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, aunties and uncles, grandmas and grandpas from many different kinds of families work side-by-side for the greater good. We value instilling care and respect for the natural world and the community we serve. With Trackers you often get the feeling of "old friends that just met".
Our mission is to inspire kids and families outdoors, creating stories and memories—new friendships, wonder, and possibilities—within ourselves, between each other, and with the world around us.
Since its beginning, Trackers has helped lead the way in standards of risk management for outdoor camps and programs. Trackers also consults with other outdoor programs and camp organizations, helping them to improve their own best practices for safety and risk management. We cultivate experienced and mature staff that allow us to teach real skills and respect for the land. We seek to bring environmental education back to inspiring adventure with new and leading standards of care, responsibility and personalized learning. Learn more about our safety policies, programs and philosophies from our blog
Trackers camps and outdoor programs have been recognized by several awards:
- Voted Best Camp with parents through PDX Parent Magazine, NW Kids Magazine & Red Tricycle
- Vote Best After School Classes by parents through PDX Parent Magazine
- An award for creative programming by the American Camp Association
The Four Guilds and Trackers Earth Lore
The Guilds are at the core of Trackers. You don't need to know all the skills in every guild, but it is key to have an affinity and strong desire to develop them.
Rangers Guild (Reconnect the Village) The Rangers survive as protectors of the Village. Versed in the arts of Forest Craft, they train in wilderness survival, tracking, and awareness. They are the eyes and ears of the Village, living completely with the land and tending to it, invisible as the Wind.
Wilders Guild (Restore the Earth) The Wilders lives as caretakers, restoring the land to what it once was... and beyond.Through Folk Craft and Wisdom they tend to the balance of the Village, guiding the needs of the people into harmony with the rhythms of life in all seasons, rooted in the Earth.
Mariners Guild (Respect the Waters) The Mariners fish and tend to the creeks, rivers, and oceans. Mariners chart their course by the stars, currents and tides. In trade and salty wisdom, they demand respect for all the life found in the depths of the Waters.
Artisans Guild (Remember our Story) The Artisans Guild opens our eyes to noble purpose and possibilities. They act as our story keepers; travelers bare-of-foot, walking and sleeping under the twilight sky. They ask one and all: Always keep the hearth fire burning, Remember our story.