Arts & Culture, Family, Wellness

Idaho BaseCamp: An Outdoor-Oriented Learning Oasis

Located halfway between Ketchum and Mackay up Trail Creek is Idaho BaseCamp, an oasis for both children and adults to explore the outdoors through education, workshops, and experiences, all while staying in one of the camp’s funky yurts or camped out in the maze that winds through the riverfront property.

Idaho Basecamp in the Pioneer Mountains near Sun Valley, Idaho
photo courtesy of Idaho BaseCamp

Founded in 1998 by Mathew Gershater, Idaho BaseCamp is an educational non-profit specializing in the building of one’s knowledge of environment, community and individual impact upon nature.  In our modern world, connecting to nature has become even more of a priority, something that Gershater and Idaho BaseCamp recognize and seek to remedy through group and individual experiential and academic study.

5thGrade Outdoor Adventure Program     

While Idaho BaseCamp is a resource for people of all ages, the camp is particularly dedicated to educating our youth. Their 5th grade outdoor adventure program is free to every 5th grader in the Blaine & Cuter County School to make sure that youth in the area can have a chance to create a connection to Idaho’s wilderness and work on BaseCamp’s core values: personal responsibility, courage, and respect for all.

Idaho BaseCamp - Kids Learning through nature
photo by Joey Cardella // Idaho BaseCamp

Students spend three days and two nights at BaseCamp, starting the day with morning mindfulness in the Borah Basin Building (the first public hemp building in the U.S.) then moving on to shelter building, fire starting, team-building games, and STEAM-aligned curriculum in the outdoor classroom.

Funding for this program is entirely through grants and donations. The Sahm Family Foundation funded the 2019 season for over 10 schools and 450 students and proceeds from the 2018 and 2019 Sun Valley Tour de Force event went to fund the program as well.

Mountain Adventure Tours (M.A.T.)

Idaho BaseCamp’s most popular program, M.A.T. has been running for 21 years and is the leading summer camp in Idaho for outdoor adventure education. The camp is modeled on the idea of enviro-tainment: teaching kids important values and life skills through the use of entertaining activities within our environment, wilderness, and community. M.A.T. offers daily outdoor activities, overnight trips, and extended road trips for kids ages 4-16 years old. Activities include fishing, hiking, biking, farming, visiting hot springs, exploring caves, constructing shelters/forts, river rafting, horseback riding, and so much more.

Idaho BaseCamp - Kids Learning through nature
photo by Joey Cardella // Idaho BaseCamp

Out of School Program

An addition to the organization for the 2019/2020 school year, Idaho BaseCamp has added a dynamic after-school enrichment program for 3rd-5th graders of the South Wood River Valley. Students are picked up from their schools by IBC staff and taken to a daily activity in the community and then to a facility in north Bellevue. The program offers a rotation of educational themes, daily projects, mindfulness, academic time and outdoor adventure.

Kids learning with yoga
photo courtesy of Idaho BaseCamp

BaseCamp For Adults

Idaho BaseCamp is available for rent for any number of groups, organizations and events. Some examples of past events have been workshops on building with hemp, Higher Ground events, the Humming Bull story telling competition, yoga workshops and more. The annual Feastival event is held in the fall at BaseCamp as well, a family-friend food and music event to raise funds for IBC’s programming. The event features live music, yoga, workshops, fishing, camping, bonfires, sit-down dinners, and the infamous “beet-off” beet cooking competition.

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