Wayfinders Summer Program

We're creating a pipeline for Oregon's future science and environmental leaders!

Wayfinders summer program

Four Key Elements

Using four unifying elements, we set out on a series of environmental STEAM-based excursions that emphasize life science, ecology, community, and cultural history.​

  • Sharing Our Stories: Exposure to Black and Brown Environmentalists
  • Stewardship of the Land
  • Watershed System and Relationship to the Land
  • Identity Affirmation and Confidence Building
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
– Arthur Ashe

Summer 2020

Wayfinder Program COVID-19 Response


Are you hosting camps?

Yes, we have built a new hybrid model for our 2020 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 Hybrid Day Camps. Details will be shared Late Winter/Early Spring 2021.

Wayfinders 2020 Hybrid Camps


Community Science [K-8]  

Participants will learn about the many different ways that communities study and contribute to science - including place-based knowledge. Youth will engage in a hands on community science project, practice different methods of data collection while thinking about who is considered a scientist and what it means to be a scientist outside of the lens of dominant culture/Western academia. Participants will reflect on what it means for them and their community to participate in science and how to redefine science.

zoom links for virtual days

Monday 7/20 [9a-11:20a]: Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89999378922
Friday 7/24 [11:45a-1:30p]:  Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88437911094

Photojournalism [K-8]  

Equipped with digital cameras, participants will set off on a week long experience to capture some of the NW’s most beautiful natural spaces and local cultural historical landmarks. Through a camera lens, they will engage in environmental journalism - participants will learn what it means to be an advocate for environmental justice through recording changes within their own communities in the form of photography. Participants will begin to think about the various systems and relationships to and within nature and how they impact each other. Youth will reflect on how human activity impacts the climate and how climate change impacts humans.

zoom links for virtual days

Monday 7/27 [9a-11:20a]:  Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82409366743
Friday 7/31 [11:45a-1:30p]: Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86988032471
For questions, contact Asia Saechao at asia@campelso.org

videos for virtual days

How will you keep participants healthy and safe at camp?