The Ventura Wild  STORY SPOT!

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July 9, 2019  Hello you awesome naturalist leader types!  Thank you for an amazing week. Freya had such a great time with you exploring the outdoors. I appreciate your daily emails with questions to ask about the day. Mostly, I am so grateful that you were willing to run your program right now. I know it was a challenging decision and it took a lot of effort from everyone involved. From my perspective, you nailed it! Thanks again.

For the last year my daughter has gone to wild Ventura. I want to say there are not enough good words to praise this program. Sara and Trudy, the leaders of this group, had made it a special journey each time we met. The rhythm, the magic, the connections they create through play and fun are so delicate and deep. Such a gentle touch to the souls of children. I was fascinated by each meeting at the way they handle a group of children in nature. Their ability to not force information but keep an interest, their extra touch with kids having a hard time. I’ve never been in such a lovely program. I wish I was a kid and could go too.

Add your review if you think they are GREAT!. 

June 26, 2019

Thank you Heather and team! I had to really rack my brain for anything constructive … Arlo LOVES his experiences at Ventura Wild, and the growth, confidence and Independence from these experiences in nature will serve him forever – we LOVE this program!!!!  Tessa and Trudy are spectacular leaders!  Thank you Tessa and team for a wonderful week! 

On a scale of 1 – 5 how does Ventura Wild rate in your child’s view? 6+!!!!!! Every day when I say “How was Ventura Wild?” He says “GREAT!” With a HUGE SMILE! What was your child’s best memory? 100% Jumping off the dam at Foster Park. He was so nervous to do it, and said when he did it he was so proud and excited. He said it was his favorite memory of the summer. He also loved what you did Friday – up past Rose Valley I think? Thank you all for what you do for our children. We are so very lucky to be a part of Ventura Wild. We are so grateful to you, Heather and the team. THANK YOU! 

August 22, 2019 

Thank you for a great week of “nature camp”. Abigail loved every day. She loved being outside, getting dirty, and especially swimming. I know being in nature calms her. It’s a great all around program for kids. I love it. And she still coyote calls all the time. I think the staff ratio and email communication was great. I would appreciate it if we could have known the locations at the beginning of camp. That would give me enough time to make arrangements for drop-off from a further distance. Thank you for accommodating my work schedule and only having 1 day in Ojai. Teachers and staff were great as always. I tell everyone this is the best kids activity. I know there are lots of families interested in this program that live in Ventura. Maybe expand marketing in that direction too. Poinsettia Elementary school has an outdoor learning component and the 5th graders even do an outdoor camp. I know several families there would love Ventura Wild

Thank you for all you do,

Heather! Otto LOVED it is an understatement!!! I was REALLY impressed with the entire program and all the naturalists. WOW! Worth every penny for sure! Can’t wait for both my kids to do it. Start of school has been so nuts but I’m personally trying to see if we can swing signing both kiddos up for it. I’m so happy to spread the word. I got a couple of pals to sign their gals up this summer. You’re doing such GREAT and AMAZING things! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Flow

On a scale of 1 – 5 how does Ventura Wild rate in your child’s view? – 5.  What was your child’s best memory? – Playing in all of the water and mud with her friends! Thank you for offering this program for our children, it’s super cool and we are grateful for the experience!

WE are so sad the program is over and are really looking forward to the Fall session. You created friendship bonds and gave kids a forum to be free! With that said, you exceeded our expectations. Olivia does not want to do ANY extracurricular activities but she REMINDED both me and her dad that Tuesday was coming up and she needed her gear. She loved the pre- activities before the exploration, getting “messy”, and all the conversations and jokes said along the way. I enjoyed taking her to the different locations.All in all- this program is a FIVE plus!! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for being kind, patient, and open with our children.

Until the Fall….

As a parent, my favorite things about Ventura Wild are that my kids aren’t so whiny when I take them for a hike anymore and I find I’m a bit jealous of their experiences out there with you guys! Nature names, opening circle, the books you read (could you please share the names of these books with me?), what they found and how they rock-hopped across the river. I appreciate that they teach skills and nature knowledge while allowing plenty of play time, as well as helping children with conflict resolution and aggressive play tendencies. I really appreciated the first day when I heard my son was playing too roughly that their time together was a place to learn how to play well and handle those situations. As the session moved on, he was better. 

My favorite thing about Ventura Wild is (as a parent): Knowing that my child is having positive, empowering experiences in the natural world that deepen his relationship with himself, with others, and with wild nature.

The easy going, child-driven flow.  The teachers are excellent at noticing and building on the activities the children naturally engage in. She loves showing off her knowledge to her cousins and friends.  “At my outdoor school we….”  

A great group of women!  I’d work with you gals any day.  I enjoyed your knowledge of the natural world, and your perspective on child development.  I would have left my child with you in a heartbeat, had she let me.  I liked the pace that was set.  Exploring, noticing, and having the time to just be wherever we were.  I think Gillian would definitely like to do the Forest preschool again in fall.

Thank you all for a wonderful program.  I like that Gillian is comfortable in nature, and learning about the local world around her.

My favorite thing about Ventura Wild is (as a parent):    Helping me include nature and adventure for Aidan in a difficult new world we live in.  As a single parent, it’s been a challenge to be consistent with making adventures in the wild a norm.  I grew up up with this stuff… It was easier then.  VW made it possible to provide balance. One thing my child shared with me about their Ventura Wild experience was:   I couldn’t name one.  His messy soaking, muddy clothes said it all.  ‘ was the water cold?’ “No… It was crazy cold…” 

My daughter loves it! It’s her favorite activity of the week. She loves learning about plants and animals, building shelters and exploring.

My favorite thing about Ventura Wild is knowing that my child is outside on an adventure! Playing, learning, growing and connecting in nature. Hearing about life from a Native American experience via the book read. Making a “blood circle” and using a knife. Cooking a snack over a fire. Having elderberry and rose hip tea.

My favorite thing about Ventura Wild is (as a parent): I can drop my kid off and know he’s in good hands. It’s the highlight of his week. He’s happy and excited to share his adventures when I pick him up. One thing my child shared with me about their Ventura Wild experience was: he loves exploring and swimming/water play. He always wants to take the family to the trail and show us everything he’s learned about or explored. My feedback on the field staff is: they are super patient and understanding of my super quirky kid. They teach the kids stuff in a way that doesn’t feel like school, it’s more fun and hands on.

My favorite thing about Ventura Wild is (as a parent): I love how the program cultivates an appreciation for nature and using items in nature for play, social and emotional learning with peers, risk taking, responsibility (ie carrying a backpack, picking up trash), and an understanding of our local places. One thing my child shared with me about their Ventura Wild experience was: There have been so many things.  Recently he shared about finding a big frog and playing Run Rabbit Run.  He usually talks a lot about a mud project he worked on with his pals. I really appreciate them modeling being so excited about nature and being inclusive with all the kids.  I also love the pace of the class.  The instructors do a great job slowing down and adjusting the class if needed based on kids’ interests and needs. Thank you for leading these great classes! We would love to continue with the class for 3-5 year olds. We would also be interested in a single day Saturday family class that included 4 year olds to a farther location like Pine Mountain or Piedras Blancas.

My favorite thing about Ventura Wild is (as a parent): It gave my child time that she enjoyed outdoors, something that she looked forward to rather than something that she felt pressured to do. One thing my child shared with me about their Ventura Wild experience was: She liked the games she got to play, and she enjoyed circle time.

My favorite thing about Ojai Ventura Wild is how happy, dirty and informed Remi was when we picked her up. Also how excited she was every week to go to OVW. Remi shared with us the cool hiking spots that you took them on, the mustard flowers that she now knows are edible , swimming in the river…I could go on! Actually today she is taking us to her favorite hiking trail that you took them to. The staff seemed very involved, kind and informed and you all seemed to have a love of nature.I think Remi would love to learn more about rocks, fossils and local animals. Anything to do with nature is what Remi loves.