Adventure

Farm & Wilderness focuses on fun, community and wilderness adventures. Our camps and teen programs offer a refreshing break from the bustle, technology, and pressures of school lives. All the music, dances, skits and adventures are home grown, inspired by the joy, creativity and zaniness of individual’s imaginations on seamless, summer days.

Campers and teens backpack in the Green Mountains, Adirondacks and Plymouth Valley. Rooted in social justice, individuals explore social dynamics and how to contribute and live in a community. Fueled by Quaker values and local, organic food,  our camps and programs offer space to try something new. Quiet reflection and teamwork round out the summer.

The essence of Farm & Wilderness can be found in the Quaker values of simplicity, honesty, self-reliance and respect for all persons. These values are woven into the fabric of the Farm & Wilderness’ program and community, creating an environment where people develop a deep regard for one another and explore a style of life that is simple, rugged and exciting.

We believe our community is strengthened through diversity. Therefore, we encourage people of any race, background, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status to apply to our camps as campers or staff. F&W is an equal opportunity provider

Inclusivity & Equity

At Farm & Wilderness, we believe that a diverse community makes us stronger and more resilient. Our Quaker heritage lays out the concept of the ‘Light of the Spirit’ in each person, and we work each year to live up to this ideal. Our goal is to provide an open and affirming space for children, young people and staff, where they feel welcomed for who they are, not feel pressured to be something or someone else.

The Board annually reviews our Inclusivity & Equity plan. We are in the process of developing a five-year plan. Currently we work toward:

  • Recruiting campers and staff of color through partnerships, outreach, and affiliations.
  • Building age-appropriate curricula for campers.
  • Refining staff training.
  • Funding and growing partnerships with organizations that have similar gardening and outdoor education programs to increase our diversity.
  • Giving campers a summer that enhances their school-year activities.
  • More than a welcoming place, seeking ways we can learn from differences.

Our Quaker Roots

Since Farm & Wilderness is a Quaker organization, those Quaker roots inform many aspects of who we are today. Founded by Quakers, all F&W camp programs practice the Quaker concept that “the Light of the Spirit is in every person.” This core belief surfaces in an environment of mutual respect and care for each person’s special qualities. We speak of nurturing the Inner Light, we mean that we want the F&W experience to awaken within each person a sense of truly being alive; a sense of purpose, and a connectedness and joy. We respect all religious faiths and spiritual beliefs and are not religious camps/programs.

The most regular Quaker-derived practice that occurs at the camps is Silent Meeting (read more below). The Quaker values of simplicity, community and service are embedded in the way of life at F&W. From our simple buildings and systems to the unplugged quality of our days, F&W offers a quieter and more reflective space. Every day, campers and staff help their larger community with daily chores and by participating in the farm and building work. Campers and teens also do service projects to the farms, food pantries and others in the surrounding area.

Each morning, campers, teens and staff gather after breakfast for a period of reflective silence. Our Silent Meeting lasts from 15 minutes to an hour and is held outdoors, weather permitting. This F&W ritual is based on the Quaker spiritual practice called Meeting for Worship. Believing that the “Light of the Spirit” is in every person, Quakers feel that if one is quiet, the message of God can come directly to anyone, and that a person may be moved to speak (or to “minister”) to their community. Silent Meeting is structured similarly, as a secular period of reflective silence for the camp community. Some meetings at F&W are truly silent, with each person lost in personal thoughts, or letting the senses fill with the natural world. In other meetings, many people are moved to speak. Between each speaker there is a period of silence, and those who speak do not address or respond directly to other speakers.

Tradition & History

Farm & Wilderness is a non-profit Quaker educational organization that has carried forward the traditions and programs launched in 1939 by the F&W co-founders, Kenneth and Susan Howard Webb. F&W became a nonprofit organization in 1973.

Ken and Susan Webb came to camping through their interest in education. The Webbs were influenced by the progressive education movement and the social justice philosophy of John Dewey, an American pragmatist born in Burlington, VT. In 1939, the Webbs started Timberlake, a camp for boys on Woodward Reservoir, on a piece of abandoned farmland. Soon, families who had sons attending Timberlake wanted a similar camp for their daughters, so Indian Brook followed in 1941. As these boys and girls grew into teenagers, the idea of a co-ed work camp emerged, known as the Senior Work Camp. This was renamed in 1953 to Tamarack Farm. All the subsequent camp programs were born out of the dual emphasis embodied in the name Farm & Wilderness — the work required for life on the farm, and the adventure pursued on wilderness trips.

The Wilderness Corporation (now the Ninevah Foundation)  was formed to purchase and preserve a large tract of land on Lake Ninevah near some F&W camps.

In 1962, Saltash Mountain Camp (SAM) was formed on a portion of this property. Initially, SAM camp was intended for boys who wanted to live in a small community dedicated to hiking, canoeing and exploring wild areas. Later, SAM became a small, co-ed camp with a strong emphasis on community living and wilderness trips, and more recently drama and skits.

In 1965, Flying Cloud was formed and named in honor of an American Indian who was a much-loved counselor at Timberlake. At first, Flying Cloud’s program emphasized the values, skills and traditions of Native Americans. As collective discomfort grew over the years that F&W might be co-opting some aspects of native cultures, Flying Cloud’s emphasis shifted to a simple community living close to the land and natural rhythms.

In 1984, Barn Day Camp evolved for younger children, growing from a longstanding program for the children of summer camp staff. Now the BDC is a thriving camp serving children of staff, local communities and summer visitors to the Plymouth area.

F&W continues to grow. We’ve opened our new Tamarack Farm building to retreat groups, built a new Dairy Barn and Sustainable Resources Building, added lands in Chelsea, replaced the Woodward Reservoir Dam, raised a timber-frame Sugar House, added an innovative wood gasification plant, and most recently, installed solar panels.

All camps and programs follow the values inherent in our Quaker philosophy. These central values are simplicity, peacemaking, integrity, community, equity and service. These values underlie all the programs, activities and practices that are alive and well at F&W today.

At F&W, we design and provide age-appropriate curricula that: nurtures a camper’s or teen’s sense of self and community identity; promotes each child’s comfort in socializing with people of varied backgrounds; fosters critical thought about bias; and cultivates a child’s ability to stand up in the face of bias.

Our Board of Trustees has an Inclusivity & Equity Committee. For more information on our current initiatives, please contact Executive Director, Rebecca Geary at [email protected].

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible State or local Agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information is also available in languages other than English.