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T-shirt design Art of Adventure typography

Spend quality time on a residency with your family with a summer camp vibe.

Instead of sending the kids to sleep-away camp, bring them along for a special, unique experience for each individual and the family as a whole. You have dedicated studio and work time while the kids have  customized nature-based, creative private instruction and mentorship intentionally away from the typical distractions of home life and modern society conveniences.

Want them to have a unique experience in nature and in a homestead environment with inspiration and interaction opportunities all around?

Want to have family dinners in a no phone zone and make s'mores around a campfire telling silly stories or playing musical instruments?

How does a creative family take a summer vacation where everyone gets to tinker, play, experiment, explore, and overall engage in wonder and wander?

What is available for them?

If your tween or teen has interest in graphic design, former design professor Val has a unique project options based on their age and skill level emphasizing hand craft from design basics to typography and advanced projects related to sustainability and the role of citizen designer. Or if they have interest in the arts in general, Val will offer a nature-based set of projects such as cyanotype, nature journaling, writing prompts, and craft. 

If they are younger, this is still a unique opportunity for individualized creative exploration that again can be customized (Val likes to channel her time in Girl Scouts and as a Girl Scout leader) with a variety of nature-based art, craft, and other creative activities. Options also available if you have toddler(s) which would be similar to a part-time nanny assistant keeping their attention with safe and interesting activities around the camp. Each family residency will be customized and you can join in the workshops if you want to experience adult summer camp. Your dog can join too!

Limited availability. Each family will occupy one of two lodging options (Raspberry Residency or Lemon Lodge) for 1 or 2 week terms. These are fully furnished houses like a vacation rental, but with the added bonus of an arts and homestead/farm environment.

Adults do not have to be full time creative practitioners or educators to participate in this family residency. This is an opportunity for you to spend focus time on your passion project, the things you put on the back-burner, or maybe even learning new techniques, or tackling a book list by day for family dinners and camp vibe at night.
Illustration with camera and words collect memories

An A-typical, totally Unique
Summer experience
for Lasting Memories

In this heart-centered, compassionate, secular, and joyful place, individuals may begin to understand that we are Human BEINGS, not Human DOINGS. A focus on your family and your creative activities that can even include reading, reading or playing games together, naps in hammocks, hanging out with donkeys, and other non-technical (non phone) activities.

endurance from bamboo
ence from wildflowers
harmony from 'weeds'
tenderness from donkeys
individuality from feathered friends
delight from fireflies
calmness from water
patience from dirt
energy from compost
power from fire
and wisdom from trees.

photo of the Milky Way galaxy by CJ Okafor

Photo of the Milky Way taken from the back porch of Raspberry Residency House summer of 2023 by writer in residence CJ Okafor with her Iphone!

Circle patch with campfire illustration and typography

program philosophy & Overview
* Why Can't Adults  also have Fun at Summer Camp? *

Are you yearning to have bonding experience with your family with an intention of disconnecting to reconnect?

Do you have children with creative passions and an enduring / adoring interest in the natural world including animals, flora and fauna, astronomy, and even sustainability (upcycling)?

Do they have a creative flair that could flourish even more with additional mentor beyond immediate family and schooling?

Would you enjoy the family experience of summer camp if you have your own studio time while the kids are off with their personal coach, mentor, guide and maybe even in free time get to hang out with donkeys, dig around in the garden, or even peruse the art/design library on site?

Would you all get a thrill out of starry skies, a dip in the buffalo river, and occasional campfires?

Val will develop a customized itinerary for your kids based on their age, interests, and skill level. This will be nature-based and can include a variety of experiences from photography, craft, nature observations and naturalist journaling, writing, exploring, gardening, and even downtime to play, read, or daydream.


For those interested in Val's specialty of Graphic Design, ACTIVE LEARNING is key in this dynamic and fun learning environment in the form of a residential summer camp workshop and youth artist residency that Val, a (former professor has created with the belief that design education should be taught at a younger age as technology and social media has advanced the recognition of aesthetics and interest in d.i.y. Why wait until junior year in college to begin developing a design voice?

Watercolor Painting
"Expect three main benefits from nature: restoration, contemplation and inspiration. Nature restores us. It gives us physical and emotional health—when it comes to stress relief, breathing fresh air is as close to medicine as you can get. Being in the mountains or near the ocean directly affects our health in a good way. After just 20 minutes in a natural setting, our levels of cortisol, which is a stress indicator, decrease significantly." for the full article click here to read "The outdoors prescription: how nature ignites creativity" by Kate Inglis

"Let children play, it's good for them!" -
"Why Kids Need to Spend Time in Nature" - child mind institute
"Why our children need to get outside and engage with nature" - the guardian
"5 Really Good Reasons Why Kids Need Time In Nature" -

At Camp Wonder Wander, participants will be in nature or close to nature in the dwellings or studios, not industrial buildings or clinical computer labs. Val witnessed firsthand on a daily basis how college students were tied to their digital devices and she wanted to create a space that allows people to look up at the sky as often as possible, rather than down at devices or in virtual reality realms. This starts with a guided Forest Therapy walk and is reinforced in activities including bonfires.


A highlight of camp is spending time with the donkey crew - Pepper Patrol.



Channel the calmness of water and the peacefulness of life away from modern hustle.



 The refreshing water of the Buffalo, the sounds of birds and sights of fireflies are just a few of what you'll find.

activity options

Sometimes we can't do it all, and kids maybe want to learn not just from parents and teachers, but from a mentor / coach. Each family residency will be customized based on your preferences of time allocated and scale/scope of activity. This can be a few hours on one day, a regularly scheduled session over the course of several days, or a more intensive interaction with multiple sessions per day.

BOOK CLUB: Reading and book club style conversations about art, nature, life.Activities organically from this material based on age and skill level. If your child loves to read, Val also has a list of many books about books from biographies, non-fiction to fiction that can be provided for a reading assignment, book club style discussion and creative exercise such as book cover design, creative story mapping, or writing. Val created a unique course called "Books, the life and love of..." so she's ready to bring any of that material to a new audience.


COLLAGE - Val teaches collage as the fundamentals of design and composition are aspects of using found elements emphasizing the design elements. This is also a coaching practice where she gets to know how each individual approaches problem-solving which can lead to more intensive design projects.


NATURE JOURNAL -  Why Nature Journaling? Nature Conservation Way of Life | Rewards of Nature Journaling - This option would include supplies in program fee.

ANALOG PHOTOGRAPHY basics - A nature emphasized process -  CYANOTYPES which are the original photographic process where light sensitive paper exposed to sunlight will develop into a blue color except where an object is laid blocking the sun. If they are interested in photography, then we can also experiment with an instant camera starter kit to go analog. An entire week of photography would lead to a body of work that could be transformed into narrative or their own exhibit.

FINE ART basics - Go analog and explore nature by sketching, drawing, watercolor, and or even finger-painting. Experiment with potato prints and using natural items as ink.

Experimenting with craft and upcycling projects - From collecting rocks to paint or stack to making terrariums or bird houses from up-cycled material from the collected items already on site.

GRAPHIC DESIGN PROJECTS - typically starts with understanding research and thumbnail sketching in the design process and creating visual solutions without digital tools. We'll work on basics to more advanced projects based on the skill level of each participant with each participant also receiving one-on-one coaching. Design projects are focused on nature themed and sustainability issues. They may include experimentation with up-cycled materials or found natural material for example in the study of typography.

GARDENING, Cooking, Camping - based on interest, get involved in a garden task, a cooking class, or try out camping in a tent just outside the lodging.

campwonderwander families.jpg
ERTH dark-final.jpg
Camp Life
Camp Wonder Wander patch with donkey and words camp life
- Choose a 7 or 14 night residency with furnished lodging
(arrival on Saturday or Sunday) for family size up to 5 (ask about additional per person charge to bring additional families, family members, friends, or kids)
Raspberry Residency House features 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, open space living room and kitchen with front and back decks. Largest bedroom is ensuite with full bed and a bunk.
Lemon Lodge has 2 private bedrooms and a loft (that sleeps up to 7) with 2 bathrooms. Large living room gathering space, kitchen, and the pine room doubles as an eating area, work space and an extra bed. Largest bedroom is an ensuite and features a king bed with extra twin. Donkeys live out back.
- Guided Forest Therapy session for the family (averages 3 hours)
- Studio access - Studio 2 is freestanding structure with several windows, cement floor, large table surface, and storage shelves (not climate controlled). If you opt for lodging in the lemon lodge you will likely be assigned Studio 1 and a choice of other outside options if Studio 2 is not available. Many participants in the summer will use the big outdoors, or they work smaller inside the lodging with climate control.
- Final Night Family Meal will be prepared for you so you don't have to worry about that before packing up to depart.

- Housekeeping - the lodging will be prepared before your arrival with all beds made and a housekeeper will enter mid-to-late in the week to clean the hall bathroom and main living areas including the kitchen. Housekeeping after your departure includes cleaning and laundry. Studios will need to be swept and generally tidy.
- ACCESS - to the homestead experience, the land and landscape, the library, visiting the animals, the buffalo river and all of the other unique attributes of this site.
- Utilities - well water, electricity, and broadband wifi
- State and local taxes - sales and hospitality on the lodging portion of the program.

Based on the number of kids, ages, and what type of activities you would like them to experience as well as how often we'll meet and how long each session will be. A quote will be provided before making a commitment to decide the best logistics for you. This can range from basic childcare supervision for a few hours with or without activities to an intensive daily study for teens eager to start their graphic design or art studies way before college with lots of options in between.


RESIDENCY FEE & LODGING for 2 adults and up to 3 children reserves entire lodging and a studio option. Date options limited.

Raspberry Residency House | 1 week  $ 1,275      | 2 weeks $ 2,000

Lemon Lodge | 1 week $ 1,500    | 2 weeks ask for quote

does not include transportation, additional person charge for another family or more kids if you want to bring your own or their friends, food (except a group dinner once a week), and customized youth programming.

Camp Wonder Wander baby donkey cupcake

Family Inquiry

Let's start planning!

What options are you interested in?
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Looking forward to talking with you soon.

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