Trackers A-Team (Advanced Team)
Outdoor Skills & Leadership

Train in advanced Trackers Skills. 1 weekend a month, Fall to Spring.

Are you ready to join a team of Trackers dedicated to training in-depth outdoor skills? The Trackers A-Team (Advanced Team) is an intensive 9-month leadership program designed for students interested in going further into what Trackers has to teach. It is led by our seasoned Trackers Mentors and Founders ready to teach skills to go beyond camp.

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This is our one weekend-a-month A-Team Apprenticeship.
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Trackers A-Team (Advanced Team)

This program offers an action-packed adventure for committed students ready to master tracking, contribute to their communities and nature, and develop independence through service. It has four primary elements:

Mentoring Weekends: 4 Overnights & 5 Field Days Fall to Spring.
Independent Study: Self-directed naturalist studies.
Service Learning: Service hours beyond program days.
Leadership Roles: Opportunities for leadership within Trackers.

Mentoring Days

Ongoing from September to June, the program includes 9 mentoring weekends with a mix of overnight campouts and outdoor field days. We focus on cross-training essential skills across our Four Guilds:

Rangers Guild: Our goal is for students to master all wilderness survival skills: shelter, water, food, and fire. We delve into the art of tracking, starting with animals and expanding to broader nature awareness. Students gain practical experience with hunting tools and techniques, preparing for game harvesting if interest develops.

Mariners Guild: We focus on aquatic and marine species, exploring the bounty of our waters through seasonal harvests. Training covers boating safety and paddling skills in canoes or kayaks, along with orienteering, navigation, and expedition skills for wilderness and global travel.

Wilders Guild: We delve into animal husbandry and care, including butchering livestock for homesteading. A significant focus is placed on foraging and wild food preparation, supported by seasonal botany studies. We maintain high safety standards for farm tools, tailoring tool usage to age groups.

Artisans Guild: We explore the fundamentals of folk crafts such as woodworking, ceramics, and blacksmithing. Through martial arts and stealth training, we enhance physical fitness. Storytelling is developed as a crucial survival skill, emphasizing thoughtful communication and its impact on the community.

Independent Study

Students are expected to engage in independent study to deepen their understanding of naturalist topics, supported by mentor-provided journals and study methods. Topics include:

Hazards: In-depth study of natural hazards.
Wildlife: Research to complement field tracking.
Botany: Detailed study of plant taxonomy and biology.
Connection: Exploring how nature connects us to our community.

Service Learning

To benefit our wider community, students are asked to volunteer hours outside of Trackers, ideally in emergency response or community care, fostering a sense of service and community connection. This is a great way to make a difference and connect with others!

Grade 5-7: 4 hours
Grade 8-9: 8 hours
Grade 10-12: 12 hours

Leadership Role

Participants are seen as young leaders in the Trackers Community. They have the option to share skills, becoming a force multiplier for learning in our community. They engage in forest caretaking and can attend extra apprenticeship days as Leaders-in-Training (LIT). Scheduling for LIT days is arranged with program mentors.



Required Certifications

To maximize what we can accomplish together in the program, student Trackers must work towards obtaining the following certifications that apply to their age:

First Aid & CPR Certification: 12 years & up
Angling & Shellfish License: 12 years & up
Hunters Safety Certification: 9 years & up

Program FAQ

See below to read our Trackers A-Team FAQ.



Our Mentors

This program is led by Mary McKeever and Josh Fritch, both key program directors and two of Trackers' most experienced mentors. It also includes guest instruction from other skilled Trackers staff, including curriculum development from Molly and Tony Deis, Trackers' Founders. Core qualifications of all our educators include:

  • Expertise in mentoring and Trackers skills.
  • Low student-to-guide ratio facilitating personal, team-based learning.
  • Background checked with First Aid & CPR certification.
  • Trained in outdoor safety and the Trackers Earth curriculum.


Choose Your Schedule

Mentoring Days: 5 total, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM + Graduation Day
Mentoring Overnights: 4 total, Friday - Sunday

When choosing, be sure your child can make most weekends.
Due to group size limits, we cannot switch between schedules.
We offer make-up days for weather-related postponements.
The Graduation BBQ is May 10, 2025


Schedule



SCHEDULE - Teams Overnight

Grades 5-7 / 8-9 / 10-12
  • September 27-29, 2024 - Camping Overnight
  • October 18-20, 2024 - Camping Overnight
  • November 9, 2024 - Field Saturday
  • December 14, 2024 - Field Saturday
  • January 18, 2025 - Field Saturday
  • February 15, 2025 - Field Saturday
  • March 15, 2025 - Field Saturday
  • April 25-27, 2025 - Camping Overnight
  • May 30-June 1, 2025 - Camping Overnight
  • May 10, 2025 - Graduation Day




Trackers A-Team Application

To confirm a student Tracker's interest in learning advanced skills, this program requires an application. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, with acceptance notifications sent within two weeks. Given the very limited space in Trackers Teams, early application is advised.



Frequently Asked Questions

Does this program require prior experience?
No, it can be useful for students to be familiar with Trackers activities, yet if a student is truly motivated to learn the Trackers Skills described here, they will succeed.

What are the sleeping accommodations?
Each camper sleeps in tents supplied by Trackers—though they are welcome to use their own with approval from Trackers Guides to ensure it is functional. Tents are all-weather to keep out rain or inclement elements. Campers must bring their own cold weather sleeping bag and pad—we give equipment recommendations upon registration. Campers learn to care for their own tent and organize their Trackers Kit (gear & clothing) to stay clean, dry, and well maintained. Almost all activities take place outdoors. This is an authentic camping experience.

What kind of meals do student Trackers eat?
We often serve meals outdoors. Depending on the season and program logistics, food may be cooked over an open fire or on personal camp stoves. Meals are simple, using menus common to backpacking or overland expedition kitchens, for example, hearty stews. Please understand that this is not the camp for choosy eaters. We may be eating food we butchered, foraged, or processed from the wild. Due to the rugged nature of this camp, it may be difficult to provide accommodations for specialized diets. If your child has a severe, systemic food allergy, contact us and we may be able to work with your Medical Doctor (MD) to see if adjustments can be made to meal plans.

What is your medication policy?
We do not directly oversee medication administration at this program. Given the independent nature of the program, student Trackers are tasked with their own self-care, which includes reminding themselves and administering their own medication during the program. This approach emphasizes responsibility and autonomy, aligning with the program's focus on independence and self-sufficiency. Student campers must bring medications in original packaging, labeled with name and dosage, and keep them in their backpacks. If the student Trackers has an EpiPen or inhaler, they should carry it and inform the instructor of its location for emergencies.

What gear should we pack?
We give recommendations for the ideal Trackers Kit (Gear & Clothing) to outfit you to camp in all weather. Our goal: to get student Trackers ready while helping them become independent for future adventures beyond the program. The Trackers Kit you assemble will include a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, outdoor clothing, and other personal gear. It also includes the required Trackers Uniform of a designated wool shirt jacket, wool pants, and Team patch. Before the program begins, we send you packing recommendations with links so you can stock their kit efficiently and cost-effectively.

Can my child bring their cellphone?
No, 100% leave them behind—this is a direct rule. Electronic devices can distract from developing real-world observation skills in the outdoors and wilderness. Tracker Guides will carry cellphones for any necessary contact. While not a rule, discouraging both short and long-term social media use will be part of the Trackers Team culture. Digital distractions can significantly divert our attention, creating skewed perspective and focus. This severely limits the development of optimal situational awareness—a critical survival skill. Cultivating this awareness means being fully present and attentive to the details of our real world.

How much time commitment will my child need to give to independent study?
This decision rests with them. Training independently, away from mentors, is intentional and as vital as guided training. The core aim is to foster self-sufficiency and competency. It's for the Apprentice and their family to decide the time commitment. We suggest, but don't mandate, 2 - 4 hours weekly for personal study on skills projects and tracking. This could include naturalist journals, backyard nature-mapping, useful reading, and even harvest chestnuts, acorns, and other wild foods in season. Parents may need to facilitate access to greenspaces. Because of this, we also advise student Trackers of appropriate age to start learning to drive—moving into greater independence and the ability to contribute to community and family. This capability is crucial for accessing wilderness areas for their skill development.

What am I getting my child and our family into?
Trackers offers truly "fun" summer camps, yet the Trackers A-Team extends beyond the typical camp experience. Our foundation is built on deep outdoor skills, best learned through rigorous training comparable to, if not more comprehensive than, martial arts. Such training demands focus and diligence from the Apprentice, enhancing both academic and physical capabilities. The practice of ecological thinking, particularly in animal tracking, cultivates an ability to understand complex systems and the workings of the world, fostering humility, patience, and strategic thinking.

What is the role of program mentors?
Our program mentors are among the best at Trackers, responsible for directing and developing the curriculum and logistics for our field days. They adapt their mentoring to each team, regularly checking in to gauge the well-being of students in the program. They are readily available for families seeking advice on skills, independent study locations, or updates on their child’s progress.

Have Questions?

For any questions, please feel free to contact our Family Success team.

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