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Madison Adventure Day Camp

Building skills and confidence in outdoor adventure pursuits
in the best natural areas of southern Wisconsin.

Spend Summer Outside

Camp Snapshot

WHAT: 5-day adventure day camp, w/ canoe camping on Thursday night.

WHO: Adventurous Madison-area students entering 4th thru 6th grade.

PRICE: $425/week. Includes transportation from downtown Madison and most adventure equipment.

MAX REGISTRATION: 10 students per session.

DROP-OFF/PICK-UP: B.B. Clarke Park | 8:30 - 9 AM | 4:30 - 5:00 PM


STUDENTS BRING: Lunch, snacks, rain shell and athletic clothing


Skill building adventures for 4th - 6th Graders interested in outdoor pursuits

Adventure Camp leaves screens and sidewalks behind to explore choice trails, creeks and cliffs in the greater Madison area. Campers will develop adventure sport skills along the way, but also skills like decision-making, navigation, judgment, risk management and teamwork.

Freedom & Responsibility

Adventure Camp is for mature students entering 4th - 6th grades ready to engage the responsibilities of self-care and teamwork essential to outdoor adventure. What exactly does that mean? Things like:

  • Arriving on time with what you need for the day
  • Maintaining a positive, can-do attitude
  • Engaging with adversity and exploring ways to push through
  • Being ready to fail in pursuit of learning
  • Helping your team when you can and asking for help when you need it


Adventure Day Camp costs more than other summer camp or daycare options, but we don't think you'll find a better value! Adventure sports involve expensive gear that must be in good repair. We provide all-inclusive transportation to far-away locations so you don't have to drive very far to help your kid reach awesome destinations. Last, our instructors are experienced educators who know how to teach technical skills AND facilitate conversations about decision-making, responsibility and risk-management.

The framework we help students build at camp extends well beyond our adventures, into students' lives at home and school. Our dream is for students to amaze their parents and siblings with their abilities and to become able leaders in family adventures.


One Or Multiple Sessions

  • June 11 - 15
  • June 18 - 22
  • June 25 - 29
  • Aug 6 - 10
  • Aug 13 - 17
  • Aug 27 - 31

If your student would like additional dates, please let us know. We will open additional sessions as needed, based on demand.
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The Where, When, Why & How

AGES: Students going into 4th, 5th, and 6th grades are welcome. If you and your 3rd grader or 7th grader are confident they would fit the pace of this group, they are welcome to join us. Contact us if you'd like to discuss.

SCHEDULE: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday - Wednesday. Meet at B.B. Clarke Park in Madison. Drop off anytime after 8:30, but absolutely by 9:00 AM. Pick up anytime after 4:30 PM, but absolutely by 5:00 PM.

Thursdays we meet at 8:30 AM, camp overnight, and return back to B.B. Clarke by 4:30 PM on Friday.

PREREQUISITES: No previous experience necessary. However, we require students to be responsible for their needs, including transportation to camp, clothing and nutrition. We want students who take responsibility for themselves and own their actions.

BRING YOUR OWN: Food, beverages, athletic clothing and shoes appropriate for weather and scheduled activities, camera, sunscreen. Adventure gear like harnesses, dry bags, mountain bikes, etc. are provided. If your student wants to bring their own bike, harness, etc., in good condition, that will usually work out.



Our schedule is NOT predetermined. Each day, we meet at B.B. Clarke Park in central Madison and embark on an itinerary determined the previous evening based on the weather forecast and student interest. We expect students to arrive in advance of departure time, prepared for the day's activities with appropriate food, water and clothing.

EACH DAY, we will:

  • Drive 20 - 60 minutes each way to our adventure destination(s).
  • Explore beautiful parks or natural areas in the greater Madison area.
  • Ask students to practice and refine movement, judgment, and outdoor leadership skills.
  • Offer choices of activities and leadership roles.

EACH WEEK, we will engage in a variety of outdoor athletic pursuits. By way of example, we might:

  • Paddle SUPs down Badfish Creek, south of Madison.
  • Climb and rappel 80' cliffs at Devil's Lake State Park, outside Baraboo.
  • Explore the Ice Age Trail at Gibraltar Rock, north of Lodi.
  • Ride single-track mountain bike trails at CamRock County Park, in Cambridge.
  • Cook and camp overnight on a Wisconsin River sandbar (we camp overnight on Thursday evenings).
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Managing Safety

Preventing accidents, minimizing consequences

Adventure Camp activities carry inherent physical and emotional risks; we manage these risks, but we cannot eliminate them. This is what we mean when we refer to "real" adventure. We believe engaging in activities with real consequences creates a potent learning environment. To mitigate the risks involved in our activities, we take the following steps:

FRANK TALK - We help students and parents understand the risks inherent to our adventures, and we don't hide possible consequences. If a large rock strikes your head, a submerged log catches your sandal, or a jump ends in a unintended flip, you can be seriously injured or killed. We discuss risk so students can confront, consider and make more informed decisions.

ADVANCE INSTRUCTION - Learning the right skills in a low-risk atmosphere increases the likelihood of success in more adverse conditions. We conduct ground schools in all activities to help students understand the skills and communications they will need to successfully navigate the terrain of our adventures.

INSTRUCTOR JUDGMENT - Daily itinerary is subject to a variety of factors. Weather is an important factor in all outdoor sports; we make daily and in-the-moment decisions to adjust for weather. Individual and interpersonal abilities within each week's group also play a major role in activity and location decisions.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT - We follow industry standards and take a balanced approach to safety equipment. For example, all students must wear PFDs anytime we are paddling; we always wear helmets in a rock climbing area, or while on bikes. Instructors carry First Aid kits and cell phones at all times. If you have any specific equipment questions, please ask us!

WILDERNESS MEDICAL TRAINING - All Adventure Camp Lead Instructors hold current Wilderness First Responder certification. This is training specific to managing injuries and illnesses in areas where definitive medical care is delayed two or more hours.

SAFETY PROTOCOLS - For every area we adventure in, we know where to find emergency medical help. In the case of traumatic accidents, we call 911 and manage injuries/illnesses until definitive care arrives. For non-emergency illnesses, we consult with parents when possible and act accordingly. 



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Adventure Camp staff meet high standards as educators, facilitators and outdoor sports enthusiasts. 


All Lead Instructors are:

Small class sizes

We maintain a maximum 5:1 ratio of students to instructors because we believe small class sizes create a safer adventure environment with more individual attention.


We treat our teen clients the same respect, attention and enthusiasm with which we treat adult clients. We are not babysitting, but rather introducing young adventurers to new sports and helping them develop confidence and competency. We truly love what we do and can't wait to meet your students!

Camp Directors

Nick Wilkes has extensive experience working with youth and teaching in the outdoors. Nick has taught outdoor sports like sailing, paddling, canyoneering, rock climbing, mountain biking and teambuilding for over 20 years at places like UW HoofersTeton Science Schools and Zion Adventure Company. He holds an M.S. in Environmental Education from Antioch University and has over 1,500 days of field instruction under his belt.

Michal Anne Watson has worked as a middle school math and science teacher for the last 9 years and has experience in camps/after school programs that dates back to 1999. Since childhood, she has been passionate about learning new skills and spending time outdoors. She first experienced climbing at Devils Lake in 2012 and looks for opportunities to share those experiences with others. She has guided outdoor climbing and cycling trips for the past 5 years.

Ready For Greatness?

sign up for 2018 Dates >>>

After you submit your registration request, we will send you an invoice you may pay to enroll your student(s) in camp. We ask for a $100 deposit per student, per week, with the outstanding balance due June 4th, 2018. 


* Our beautiful Adventure Camp illustrations are the work of the talented Julia Kuo. We can't recommend her more highly.