What is Not Back to School Camp?
Not Back to School Camp aspires to create a sanctuary…
- that affirms, inspires, and mentors unschoolers…
- where campers and staff transform spiritually, emotionally, physically, creatively, intellectually…
- where profound friendships begin and grow…
- and where adventure, mystery, music, wild spontaneous fun, and magic prevail.
Not Back to School Camp is unique.
We come together to savor and support each person’s gifts, and to build and celebrate community. Campers and staff co-create a smorgasbord of workshops, spontaneous events, and special evening gatherings. We seek campers who are excited about life, eager to share in what NBTSC offers, enthusiastic about offering their own workshops and other contributions, and willing (even if also terrified) to be themselves and to reach out and connect with the rest of us. Most days, most of the time, campers make their own decisions—whether to attend a workshop or talk with a new friend, whether to go to bed at 11 p.m. or stay up till 1 playing games, whether to linger over lunch or hike up the mountain or nap in the sun or start a soccer game. We come to camp to change ourselves and the world, teach each other great things, and sing under the moon….
What happens at nbtsc?
We swim; talk; sing; drum; dance; hike; stare at the sky; play volleyball and softball and soccer; take creative, emotional, and intellectual risks; encourage each other to do amazing things; have talent shows; teach and learn from each other.
We offer each other dozens of workshops, reflecting the talents and interests of staff and campers. They range from kung fu to cob-oven building to Zimbabwean singing to college applications to surrealist games to VW engine fixing to human digestion to youth rights. At longer sessions we also offer multi-day “projects” that explore a subject in greater depth.
Sports? Our different sites allow for differing activities. We often play volleyball, basketball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, softball, anything else anybody initiates.
Most of the time you’re free to make your own fun if you don’t feel like participating in a group activity. You can often swim, hike, talk with new friends, read, nap, swing, practice a new skill…
Evening talent shows are a highlight. Play music, dance, sing, show artwork, tell jokes, turn cartwheels, swallow a sword, read your poetry, stand up and tell us what makes you tick.
And we eat! Three yummy vegetarian meals each day with vegan alternatives. (Some campers bring their own jerky, canned fish, or other meat to supplement.) We prepare our own food and use mostly organically grown ingredients.
Approximately 60-100 campers (mostly unschoolers and homeschoolers) ages 13 to 18, plus a fabulous staff.
where, when, & how much?
- August 17-31 (14 nights)
- or one-week-only option: August 17-24 (7 nights)
Most campers meet us in Eugene and ride our free bus 120 miles SW to Camp Myrtlewood. (Or you can just drive directly to Camp Myrtlewood, 50 miles west of Roseburg.)
Tuition* for the full two-week camp ranges from $1240 to $1550 depending on whether you sign up by our early registration deadline (March 31), how you choose to pay, and how much income your family earns annually. For the one-week-only option, $750 to $990.
- September 19-28 (9 nights)
Van rides (for a fee) available from White River Junction (train and bus access), the Burlington airport (100 miles north), and also from Philadelphia and Albany.
Tuition* ranges from $875 to $1120 depending on whether you sign up by our early registration deadline (March 31), how you choose to pay, and how much income your family earns annually.
What parents should know
NBTSC is not as tightly structured as most other youth camps. For example, people choose their own bedtimes and sleeping locations (which include some public spaces, although each person is also assigned to a cabin and most people sleep in their own beds most of the time). We have clear agreements which we firmly expect campers to keep, but they nevertheless have a great deal of freedom. Most of our campers are already accustomed to taking a lot of responsibility for themselves, so this works well overall, but some people feel a bit challenged by the open schedule. Feel free to talk with us if you’re not sure whether NBTSC is a good match for your family. (You’ll also see on our registration portal that first-timers have to read a batch o’ fine print on these and related matters.)
Our multi-faceted, skilled, caring, funny staff is one of the best things about NBTSC. They teach outstanding workshops and coach sports, lead group singing, facilitate discussions, wrap twisted ankles, support people who are feeling challenged in any way, cook great food, and those who aren’t exhausted sometimes stay up late and join in the after-midnight revels.
One person is your “advisor” during the week. You’ll meet briefly with them and about 10 other campers each morning to check in, play games, and get to know each other.
For more about staff roles and the specific individuals who have worked on staff (and are likely to do so again), see our bio pages here.
How to register
Register online here.
Miscellaneous good stuff
(Non) religious orientation: NBTSC is a non-denominational, non-religious camp. We strive to honor each person’s religious beliefs or lack thereof, and ask that all campers do likewise.
Not Back to School Camp loves diversity. We welcome campers of all races, ethnic backgrounds, genders and gender identities, religious beliefs, sexual orientations, economic backgrounds, political affiliations, and physical capabilities.
Thanks for reading! We hope you’ll join us!