Summer Camp

Navigation Games has run an instensive 6-week summer program since 2016. The program aims to teach youth life skills through learning about navigation with maps, teaching others, and working with a non-profit. Teens attend for 4 hours each weekday from early July through mid August. They receive coaching in the sport of orienteering, teach younger children at summer camps, learn workplace skills, participate in career development activities, learn about non-profit organizations, and take on projects to advance our non-profit mission.

We partner with the City of Cambridge—in particular the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP)—to provide our summer program opportunities. The City of Cambridge provides additional services for MSYEP teens in the program, such as career and college counseling. 

Isak giving instructionIsak getting people ready to go!

Many Cambridge students have been introduced to orienteering in school, at Girls in Sports Day, and through after-school classes via the Community Schools. Our summer camp program provides a much more intensive orienteering experience. Through their participation, Cambridge youth develop their spatial awareness and sense of place. We learn to identify multiple possible solutions to problems, practice critical reasoning skills, and adapt to new situations. We also learn how to apply math, estimate ditance, and find direction using navigational tools. All of these skills advance their orienteering abilities, and their ability to navigate challenges in their broader lives.

Navigation Games also believes that people learn more when they teach others. Teenagers respond well to the opportunity to inspire younger children, and we know a team of youths can come up with a better outcome than any one individual working alone. We provide the type of structure in our camp that encourages creativity and inspiration in the minds of our campers, and we work to incorporate the best and brightest of those ideas into our everyday programs. Not only will our teen campers learn to orienteer, but also how to evaluate their accumlated knowledge and deliver it on to other youths. They will be engaged in refining lesson plans, both before a class and in reflective conversation after the class.

We have a fantastic staff to deliver these programs. Ethan Childs, the lead supervisor, is a former member of the junior and senior US orienteering teams. He coached the CRLS orienteering team to victory at Junior Nationals in 2018, and teaches after-school classes in Cambridge Community Schools. This is his third year with us. Adam Miller is an environmental science graduate of University of Vermont, and also works part time as an EMT. Evalin Brautigam is a former member of the US junior orienteering team; both she and Ethan have competed for Team USA at orienteering world championships in several different countries. She is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State College.

 

Does this sound great to you? You can apply through the Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program. Updated applications are available on the MSYEP website.  Other interested campers may start the application process by sending an email to camp@navigationgames.org

 Weekly Schedule

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Outside, hands-on learning Outside, hands-on learning; map-making instruction and practice Lesson planning and project work Teach children and project work Teach children and project work

 

Weekly themes

Each week the campers focus on specific skills and exercises: 

  1. Introduction to orienteering. Partner forked orienteering (teaching new orienteers independence on a white course after working with a more experienced orienteer)

  2. Spider-O  (Run to control, minimap to other remote controls) (work on attack points and compass stuff). Score-O (work of long term (several controls) route choice and teamwork)

  3. Partner orienteering (refining orienteering skills for new orienteers and teamwork). Control pickup / score-O (refining orienteering skills for new orienteers and blueberries)

  4. Score-O

  5. Partnered orange course (refining orienteering skills for new orienteers and teamwork). Partnered line orienteering (refining micro orienteering skill and teamwork). Partnered relocation training (refining micro orienteering skill and teamwork)

  6. Series of short courses of increasing difficulty: W-Y-O-G (challenging the new orienteers and train for more experienced orienteers)

Logistics

The camp runs from  early July to mid August. All of the activities in the camp take place in and around Cambridge, MA and local campers can live at home. A limited number of out-of-town campers will be provided with housing and meals for the duration of the camp.