‘Camp Fair’ highlights Trackers Earth activities

Find out why both kids and adults from outer East Portland sign up for classes and camps at this unique educational institution …

Representing Trackers Earth’s “Secret Agent Camp” is Ian Moore, who shows guests some of the “tools of the trade” – including lock picks, marked playing cards, and a secret storage cane.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

One of the most unique educational organizations ever, Trackers Earth celebrated its tenth anniversary by holding a “Portland Camp Fair” at their new facilities in Southeast Portland on March 8.

Both experienced the Trackers campers, and those new to the organization, experience hands-on activities, such as woodcarving, homesteading projects and animals, fiber arts, knot tying, fishing and casting demonstrations, archery, blacksmithing, and more.

Trackers Earth founder Tony Deis, co-founder and Outreach Director Molly Deis, and Marketing Director Dan Clark say they offer “the best camps in the universe”.

Trackers Earth founder Tony Deis said he ditched high school to go live in the woods like a hermit when he was 14 years old. He explored and trained in the wilderness, later returning to school and earning a college degree.

“But I took with me what I learned out there: Awareness, forest craft skills, primitive skills, and tracking,” Deis reflected.

Roxanne Olsson shows Kieran Wilde basic martial arts moves.

“When I compared my experiences in the woods as a teenager, to what was being presented at more conventional camps at which I worked, I noticed that there was a distinct contrast,” Deis told East Portland News. “My experience was more wild and woolly, and seemed truly more connected to what is real.

“To give this experience to kids – teaching real and authentic skills – was the reason we started Trackers,” Deis remarked.

Learning blacksmithing are Talbot Ridgway and his son Neiko.

Their classes and camps provide outdoor-oriented experiences for both kids and adults, explained Trackers Earth Marketing Director Dan Clark.

“We teach life skills through outdoor experiences,” said Clark. “This could be wilderness survival skills, learning to think creatively through role-playing, or learning craft skills like blacksmithing. It’s also about teaching a sense of responsibility, and creating the desire to always learn something new, in a new environment.”

Inspired by “Hunger Games” character Katniss Everdeen, Montana State University student Kelsey Martin learns the basics of archery at Trackers.

They’ve established camps with a variety of themes, Clark observed. Both “Realms of Cascadia”, a medieval-themed camp, and “Zombie Survival Camp” teach basic Ranger Camp survival skills, such as building shelters and fire making. “There are a lot of ways to teach outdoor and leadership skills.”

This first-time offering of “Camp Fair” looked successful: Adults and kids filled the facility, experiencing medieval, ninja, secret agent, and craft classes, to name only a few.

Getting the experience of “Animals on the Ranch Camp” is Shaelee Alexander.

Trackers Earth offers more than just summer camps, Clark said. “We offer some ‘Skills Night’ classes on Thursdays that are as inexpensive as $5. Outdoor weekend classes range from $40 to $70, and more immersive experiences start at $200, depending on how involved you want to be in this universe.”

Learn more about Trackers Earth at their official website: CLICK HERE.

On our Front Page: Preston Walk, Nathan Cubbin and Kailyn Cubbin get a taste of what it’s like to participate in Trackers Earth Realms of Cascadia Adventure Camp.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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