Pioneer Camp: Wilderness Exploration & Survival


Wilderness Exploration & Survival

August 5th – 9th

“To be brave cheerily, to be patient with a glad heart, to stand the agonies of thirst with laughter and song, to walk beside death for months and never be sad – that’s the spirit that makes courage worth having.”
– Earnest Shackleton



Wilderness explorers are the quintessential pioneers. The courage, confidence, and competency required in order to study and venture out to explore uncharted territories is second to none. The Natural Exploration & Survival camp will serve to strengthen all three of those c’s in each boy: courage, confidence, and competence.

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” Henry David Thoreau’s line reminds us how nature can shape us. When we take on a good hike or launch a canoe out into a river, we are learning how to step into the wilderness around us. We are letting the great outdoors be our guide to growing in competency and wonder. Add Mr. Houde as your instructor and at the end of this week of camp, you will be more than just a wilderness explorer, you will be a true pioneer.


Activities include:

  • canoeing on the Charles River
  • hiking a local mountain
  • orienteering
  • fire building
  • hearing stories of great explorers from the past like Earnest Shackleton and Lewis & Clark
  • whittling
  • shelter building


Verso L’Alto (To The Heights)

During the week, the boys will also partake in a conversation about what real toughness looks like in the various spheres of life and what it means to “search for that which is higher, to set off beyond ourselves, toward the highest of what it means to be a man.”

“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit.” – Edward Abbey


Wilderness Exploration & Survival Camp FAQs

What’s the schedule of an average day of Wilderness Exploration & Survival Camp?
Camp runs each day from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Drop-off starts at 9:30 AM. Parents should pick their campers by 4:15 PM.

Where does the camp take place?
Some basic activities will take place in and around the Sparhawk grounds. For days when we hike, we will travel to a local mountain.

What should my son wear to camp?
Campers should dress in comfortable, warm-weather athletic attire and bring a bag lunch and drink from home.

What else does my son need to bring with him to camp?
As we will be outdoors for much of the camp, campers should bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and bug spray!

Do Wilderness Exploration & Survival Camp t-shirts cost extra?
The price is included in the camp fee. Each camper will receive a Sparhawk Wilderness Exploration & Survival Camp t-shirt on the first day of camp.


Camp Leadership

Ben Houde teaches Language Arts, Latin, Literature, and Music at Sparhawk Academy, where he also coaches soccer and baseball. Mr. Houde led a Wilderness trip last summer to Wyoming and Montana with students from Sparhawk and our brother school The Heights. He is excited to teach similar lessons in a more approachable camp here this summer. Contact Mr. Houde at

Full profiles for Mr. Houde and other Sparhawk teachers are available here.






Ticket TypePriceSpaces
General Public$525.00
Sparhawk Family$475.00
Reservation ticket: General Public
$100 reservation; remaining $425 due in May
Reservation ticket: Sparhawk Family
$100 reservation; remaining $375 due in May

Registration Information

Booking Summary

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