OUR MISSION STATEMENT:

Ventura Wild creates meaningful outdoor experiences to reawaken an innate human affinity for Nature. We believe that a physical and emotional connection to Nature at an early age promotes basic principles of human development that inspire a sense of belonging, resiliency, and interdependence. Returning humans to our indigenous awareness, knowledge and skills are the first steps toward a life of sustainable relationships with each other, the self and the planet.

A TYPICAL DAY: 

  • Drop-off and games
  • Opening Circle – using a talking piece we will share appreciations and set safety agreements, share what we want to do today – depending on age and group. Keeping it short!  Water and bathroom break as needed…
  • Wander into the wild to introduce a skill or theme: might be tracking, fox walking, shelter building, or nature listening…endless possibilities. 
  • Options: In the wild we may be moving, we may find a home base where some can work on a project, others can explore – that’s why we have 4:1 ratio…more discovery activities and free play. Includes snack time and possible songs & stories depending on ages & interests.
  • Closing Circle includes sharing a favorite moment or an appreciation…and whatever else needs to happen: Maybe a song or story or show and tell.
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OUR HISTORY:  Founded in 2009 by professional outdoor educator Heather King and local parents Rita Maes and Alison Bradley, and with support from Sara Benjamin, another outdoor educator. Ventura Wild began under the non-profit umbrella of Oak Grove School, a private school located in Ojai, California, offering 2-3 weeks of day-camps in the summer. Heather King worked as director and lead instructor to build the program and the staff. In 2014, in an effort to expand into other seasons and to reach the broader communities of Ojai and Ventura County, the program moved to the umbrella of the Ojai City Recreation Department, which offered our programs year-round as part of their recreation activity guide.  Growing from 2-3 programs a year to as many as 40 programs annually, Ventura Wild became an even stronger organization with committed leaders, strong content and a strong vision to bring nature connection to our local communities long term. In 2020 we made the move to a non-profit parent organization, the Ventura Land Trust in order to raise money for scholarships, diversity and capacity building. Our mentor organization, Wilderness Youth Project in Santa Barbara, continues to offer their support as we grow and evolve. We have received “miracle grants” from Patagonia for scholarships and many families contribute toward scholarships as well.