Wayfinders SUMMER Program

Wayfinder Program COVID-19 Response


Are you hosting camps?

Yes, we have built a new hybrid model for our 2021 Wayfinders Program to engage youth in K-8 th grade. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we will practice social distancing and have drastically shifted our camps and camp format to ensure the safety and health of all children while still participating in at least some of the Wayfinders activities that kids know and love.

Camp ELSO is a small community based organization with a unique hybrid outdoor science program. Our
partnerships, community educators, and our youth and young adult Camp Guides are a crucial part of who we are, and how we run the Wayfinders Program. Unfortunately, these are the aspects of our program that have been most negatively impacted because of the shelter in place guidelines, and the closure of parks, forests and natural spaces across the state. We have spent the last few weeks checking in with other camps, health officials, and partners about the reality of our programs and impact and are now ready to begin sharing out details of our new plan.

Who can participate?

Since the shelter in place orders began during our summer registration process we have closed registration and will
be serving families who are already registered. In accordance with Oregon Health Authority guidelines for camps, we will be running modified programming for Summer 2020. We will host 2 sessions at the end of July for a stable group of eight (8) children. We are prioritizing families of Essential Workers for our 8 child cohort as recommended by the state. All other currently registered families will receive Wayfinders Take-Home Kits. Any families who have previously participated in our Program or new families will have access to a Resource Lending Library. Learn more about our modified schedule, Take Home Kits and other resources below.

How will I know if my child is one of the 16 selected for one of the camp sessions?

Currently registered families will receive an email from Regpack our online registration system with two questions, vital information we need in order to help us work with you to determine who can safely participate in our programs. Please respond to this email as soon as possible. Emails will begin arriving today (Friday, May 22, 2020).
In alignment with Oregon Health Authority we are prioritizing children of parents/families who are Essential workers. We also need to gather health related data to understand if your child has any medical conditions that make them at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Our first priority is to keep families safe and healthy. We want to assure you that we take the health and well-being of our community very seriously. We also know that African American and Latino communities in Oregon are most impacted by the Coronavirus and it is up to us as community members and leaders to take part in keeping all families safe. We will be in communication over the next few weeks to confirm placement and respond to questions.

Please contact our Administrator Ericka Harrison via email: tappinroots@campelso.org with any questions.

I have already paid fees, what happens to my money?

We will run our entire program free of charge, all paid registration fees will be refunded and we have already
started the process of refunding families through Regpack. (note: We appreciate and ask for your patience as
we navigate this process with a new vendor and in the midst of the challenges of the pandemic).

Is Camp ELSO providing Transportation?

Parents are responsible for providing transportation directly to the location on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Drop Off and Pick Up will happen daily at each site.

How will you keep participants healthy and safe at camp?

We have a Communicable Disease Management Plan and a Sanitization Plan that will continue to guide our
program and we will have requirements for all children and families that participate in person and that borrow our
supplies. All details will be communicated out to parents to help them prepare their child for camp.


Camp ELSO staff are currently working on plans for 2021 Summer Hybrid Day Camps. Details will be shared Late Winter/Early Spring 2021.

Summer 2021

Wayfinders 2021 SUMMER Camps

Register Now!

¿Necesita traducción en español para Registración?
Mande un correo electrónico a la Guia de Campamento:
Isabel Perez Meza: isabel@campelso.org

In alignment with our mission and racial equity lens, Wayfinders Summer Program is a unique affinity space designed to engage children of color. All registrants who ethnically and racially identify as Black, Brown, Indigenous, and/or persons of color are welcome to apply. 

Wayfinders Program is a STEAM based camp for K-8th graders that focuses on life science, ecology, community and cultural history. Wayfinders takes a multicultural approach to science education and uses the natural world to connect and teach culturally relevant science and environmental education. Our goal is to create future black and brown community/science leaders.

• Affinity space for Black and Brown youth to build connection to nature and science from western and cultural frames. 

• Trips and tours led by lived experts and professionals of color. Activities are led by Camp Guides who reflect the community and youth we serve.

 • Hands-on, experiential, outdoor and nature based.


If I am a White/European parent with children of color, can I apply for my child?
Yes, Wayfinders is an affinity space for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and children of color. The ethnic racial identity of parents are not relevant.

What camps do you offer?
We have in-person camps in Portland and virtual camps online via Zoom

For in-person camps, how are you keeping kids healthy and safe?
Checking camp participants temperatures upon arrival (drop off)Only 10 Camp Participants per grade groupProvides ELSO Swag Bags that have hand wipes, sanitizer and masksMask worn unless eating/drinkingMaintain 6ft DistancesFrequent Hand washing/sanitizing during the day

How do you accommodate various child personalities?
The teaching approach the ELSO uses is designed to be flexible and welcoming to accommodate all brains and bodies. Training our Camp Guides on Trauma Informed Care, Implicit Bias, Microaggression and Stereotypes before camps begin. As well as how to work with kids.

Do you have flexible payment options?
Yes, for Wayfinders we use a sliding fee scale based off of the families income in order to provide an equitable cost for camps.

What are your payment options?
For the Wayfinders Program, you are able to set up payment plans through our registration portal (RegPac). 

Oceanography/Marine Biology: Explore the Oregon Coast and what the ocean has to offer! This week, participants will learn and explore the ocean and marine life. Participants will study and learn how climate change affects the ocean and its marine life. Participants will explore  squid anatomy and tidepooling as well as learn about Tsunami safety! 

Health Science: Explore what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle! This week, participants will learn about human and animal body functions, different ways to improve human and animal health and how to live a physically and mentally healthy and sustainable lifestyle.  

Forest: Explore Oregon’s Urban and Coastal forest and what it has to offer! This week, participants will learn about forest wildlife, fire safety and cultural burning.

Waterways: Explore Portland’s Waterways! This week, participants will learn about their local waterways and the interdependent relationships that rely/ have relied on them

Break down of  camp costs ELSO uses a sliding scale to determine camp costs. Upon registration, parents and/or guardians will provide proof of annual income. The sliding scale ranges from $50 - $250. 

June 18th


In-Person Camp pick up/drop off location:
Alberta Abbey (Main Entrance) 
Alder Elementary (Parking Lot)

Drop Off Time:
8am - 8:30am

Pick Up Time:
4:15 - 4:45pm

What to expect:
Camp is broken into groups based on grade:

3RD & 4TH
5TH & 6TH
7TH & 8TH

10 campers per session/theme due to COVID 19 restrictions.
Campers can be placed in grade groups based on the parent/guardians preference.

For example, if your child is going to be entering 7th grade in for the 2021-2022 school year you are able to either register them for 5th&6th Grade group or 7&8th Grade group.

Required to Bring:
Beach Towel
Sun Screen
extra snacks
ELSO Bag & Water Bottle (each participant will receive)

General meal/snack information:
Lunch & Snacks Provided
(GF/Vegan options also provided, please choose need/preference on registration form)

*If a camp participant is bringing their lunch for the week they are registered for, please make sure to select that option on the registration form*

‍K-2nd grade
Week 1 (July 5th - 9th): Oceanography/Marine Biology
Week 2 (July 12th - 16th): Health Science
Week 3 (July 19th - 23rd): Forest
Week 4 (July 26th - 30th): Waterway

3rd-4th grade
Week 1 (July 5th - 9th): Waterways
Week 2 (July 12th - 16th): Forest
Week 3 (July 19th - 23rd): Health Science
Week 4 (July 26th - 30th): Oceanography/Marine Biology

5th-6th grade 
Week 1 (July 5th - 9th): Forest
Week 2 (July 12th - 16th): Waterways
Week 3 (July 19th - 23rd): Oceanography/Marine Biology
Week 4 (July 26th - 30th): Health Science

7th-8th grade
Week 1 (July 5th - 9th): Health Science
Week 2 (July 12th - 16th): Oceanography/Marine Biology
Week 3 (July 19th - 23rd): Waterways
Week 4 (July 26th - 30th): Forest

Virtual Camp

Start time/end time:
10am - 12pm (PST)

July 6th - 30th (Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays ONLY)

What to expect:
(lessons/themes/what they receive in the mail):
Oceanography/Marine Biology
Health Science

*Only 10 Kids per week per theme.*

Parents/guardians will be contact directly (via email) about what items they will receive for Virtual Summer Camp.

What they need:
Laptop/Computer/Phone for Zoom
Any items for that lesson (Participants receive items in the mail)

Sliding Scale Based on Income $50 - $150
(Includes any take home kit items, all of which participants will be able to keep)

Registration deadline:
June 18th


If you are interested in becoming a Spring Break and/or Summer Camp Wayfinders Camp Guide please send your resume and cover letter to Jamie Newsome: jamie@campelso.org


Camp Questions - Email Program Director Jamie Newsome: jamie@campelso.org

Registration Questions
- Email Camp Administrator
Ericka Harrison: tappinroots@campelso.org

Translation Help/Support
- Email ELSO’s Translator
Isabel Perez Meza: isabel@campelso.org

¿Necesita traducción en español para Registración? Mande un correo electrónico a la Guia de Campamento - Isabel Perez Meza: isabel@campelso.org

Ubicación híbrida en persona: Alberta Abbey: 126 NE Alberta Street, Portland, OR 97211
¿Cómo se registra para el Campamento de Primavera? Al final de la página está el link para registrarse!

Plataforma virtual híbrida:

¿Preguntas sobre el Campamento de Primavera? Mande un correo electrónico a la Directora del
Programa Wayfinders - Jamie Newsome:

¿Preguntas sobre Registración?
Mande un correo electrónico a la Administradora del Campamento- Ericka Harrison: