The inspiration for Camp Idyllwild came from wanting to give our own children a camp experience unlike any that we could find locally, and from reading the work of Richard Louv, mainly his book Last Child in the Woods, a book about how modern children lack exposure to outdoors in a way that was so common in the past. We wanted to give children a place to immerse themselves in the natural world.
Kids need to spend time outside in an unstructured way, using their imaginations and exploring, discovering and playing! Research shows that quality time spent outside improves overall well-being in children and improves their health. Spending time in an outdoor natural environment leads to a life-long appreciation for and desire to protect and preserve the environment. Our focus on nature and the environment is reflected in everything from outdoor activities to arts and crafts and music. We have an incredible variety of activities and add new ones every year.
Our child-centered camp philosophy is unique among day camps in that activities are relatively unstructured but supervised. This allows kids to make choices throughout the day about what they want to do and for how long. This format encourages independent thinking and decision-making, and teaches children how to prioritize and experience the results of their choices. Time and time again, campers tell us that the best thing about Camp Idyllwild is that they get to choose what they want to do and for how long - kids love this! Kids also really like not always being segregated by age. Integrating them for most activities helps older kids find their nurturing side and helps younger kids feel more mature by interacting with the older campers.
The name of the camp "Idyllwild" is derived from both a place and from the two words "Idyllic" and "Wild". Idyllwild is a small town in the San Jacinto mountains of Southern California that started as a summer camp in the late 1880's. It's a small, rustic music and arts community that remains a minimally developed nature retreat. Both the place and these words continue to inspire what we aim to do at our camp, which is to provide an idyllic, wild, and beautiful nature retreat for children.