VB Sea Camp History

Summer of 2018 will be our 9th summer of operation. All Sea Camp programs run from 9am - 4pm and are centered around the following activities:

  • Kayaking: learn how to kayak and improving our kayak skills on our fleet of sit-on-top kayaks. We have child-sized kayaks and paddles as well as full-sized kayaks. My two sons were paddling the 6-foot long Sparky kayaks by Emotion Kayaks when they were 5- and 7- years old.
  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding: we break out our fleet of child-sized Liquid Shredder soft SUPs when conditions on the Bay permit. This can be challenging for new paddles, but it's always fun to try new things and there is nothing wrong with kneel paddling while you get the hang of it.
  • Netting: we use a variety of nets including seine nets, cast nets and hand lines to catch marine organisms from various shallow water habitats. We learn how to identify the different organisms, handle them, and view them before we free them back into the water.
  • Surfing Skills: we use our fleet of soft-topped Liquid Shredder surfboards in the calmer waters of the Bay to work on surfboard handling and safety, paddling, sitting, turning, balance and hopefully catch a few Bay waves when conditions are right. We break out our Catch Surf Beater Boards on our ocean afternoon if there is something to ride.
  • SupSquatch: We load 6 campers onto this 18-foot monster inflatable paddleboard and row like Hawaiian royalty.
  • Exploring:we explore salt marsh, oyster reef, sand flats and sand bars, tidal creek, shallow water and beach ecosystems to learn more about the Bay firsthand.
  • Beach Games: we play all kinds of games including kayak tug of war, the surfboard balance test, dizzy bats, Maximum War Dodge Ball, marsh camoflauge and sand soccer. Games are a fun way to break the ice and make friends.
  • Team Building Challenges: We often mix in a some group challenges that foster team work and group dynamics.
  • Play: We work to provide one or two hours every afternoon where campers get to choose which adult supervised activity they would like to do. It took a while for Captain Octopus, a classroom teacher, to feel good about this less structured time, however we have seen an overwhelming positive reaction from campers. Play options from our Bay beach day would include taking a second kayak or stand-up paddleboard session, using the soft top surfboards, pulling more seine nets, playing sand soccer, observing the organisms we have caught, building sand castles, lounging on the intertidal flat or donning a pfd and swimming around in the shallow water. We keep your camper busy during this time, but they enjoy being able to choose what activity they do. Some of my favorite Sea Camp experiences have occurred during this more open ended creative time.
  • Bay Education: We teach Sea Campers about watersheds, estuaries, brackish water, salinity, water temperature, species diversity, turbidity and vital Bay habitats throughout every camp in ways that students will remember without ever thinking they are in class. Campers will learn what's going on in the Bay by investigating what has washed up in the wrack line, observing the water and using their new found Bay-sense.
  • First Landing State Park Hikes: Some camps hike the 5-mile Long Creek and Osprey trail through First Landing State Park from the trail center off Shore Drive and end with a swim in the Atlantic Ocean at 64th street. Our hike traverses through Spanish moss-covered bald cypress swamps, ancient sand dunes overlooking Broad Bay, sandy beaches, salt marsh creek and forest ecosystems. We've been doing this hike with Sea Campers of all ages for years, and my own children enjoyed this hike on their own two feet when they were as young as four years old. Other camps do a shorter 1.5 mile hike in the State Park which affords us time seining at the Narrows.

Sea Camp History:

Bob, Laurie, Chris (http://www.CDollarOutdoors.com) and Kathy met while working as full-time environmental educators on the Chesapeake Bay where they led field trip programs on canoes, boats and islands. Years after moving on to different jobs, Chris contacted Bob with the idea of running a Kayak Fishing Camp based in the Lynnhaven River. We ran Kayak Fishing Camps for two summers. Sea Camp was born when we added stand up paddleboards, the SupSquatch and soft surfboards to the mix. Campers enjoy doing different activities during the week. Word spread through the mother underground about our camps and we have grown to the point where our camps fill well before the summer starts (thank you mother underground communication network). Summer of 2017 will be our 8th summer of operation.