sustainable summer camp

8 Simple Ways to Make Your Camp More Sustainable this Summer

Led by young activists like Greta Thunberg, youth around the world are rising up to take action on the climate crisis. In an effort being called, #FridaysForFuture, during the week of March 15th, there were at least 1.6 million strikers on all 7 continents, in more than 125 countries and in well over 2000 places. On May 24th another global #FridaysForFuture strike took place. Identifying opportunities to step up, follow the lead of, and support these brave young people has been on my mind a lot recently. As the summer kicks off, you may be wondering the same thing: how can we support young peoples’ sustainability efforts at camp?

Although it may not be feasible this summer to overhaul your camp infrastructure, start growing your own food, or switch to green suppliers, there are still many ways you and your campers can go green in the next few months. Below are some easy ideas that can be integrated into camp at little to no cost.

  1. Create art projects out of recycled materials. If you can’t coordinate recycling at camp yet, see how you can use some of those items that would otherwise be headed toward the dump to create art. Allow campers to express themselves through the creative process.
  2. Initiate the conversation. Use the Earth Guardians Lesson Plans, customized for camps, to start the conversation. These lessons are designed to inspire, educate and support your campers, giving them the tools to bring their unique voice and ideas to the table.
  3. Share your visions. Encourage  campers to create vision boards that reflect their vision of the change they want to create in the world.
  4. Talent Show. Give campers the stage. Host a talent show where campers can bring their thoughts, emotions, and visions for sustainability to life in the form of a song or poem that can be shared.
  5. Story telling. Provide opportunities at the dinner table, around the campfire, or in the bunk before bed for campers to share an impactful moment in nature from the day.
  6. Offer intentional activities to connect with nature. Camp offers direct access to nature, making it a prime location to reconnect to the natural world. You can introduce practices like place bonding, nature walks, and meditation. The outdoor activity in this guide provides a great option. And, you can submit photos or recordings of your completed outdoor activity to be entered into a contest to win a live concert by Earth Guardians Youth Director, Xiuhetzcatl Martinez at your camp in the summer of 2020!
  7. Offer one vegetarian meal a day. Consider offering one vegetarian meal a day to help reduce the environmental strain caused by  meat consumption. And share why you are doing this with your campers. They can bring this awareness home!
  8. Organize a tree planting. Campers can plant trees that they will see grow each year when they return to camp and potentially their children and future generations will see when they attend the same camp later on, connecting their family deeply to the camp grounds.

If these options excite you and you want to continue building on these efforts, this guide, created by Earth Guardians in partnership with Campminder, offers tried and true practices to pursue sustainability at your camp. It can help you determine what resources you have and the next steps that make most sense for your camp this summer and in the future.  

At Campminder, we are working to bring our entire community together to support each other around sustainability through our initiative, Mindful Camps. If you’d like to learn more about this initiative and our partners at Earth Guardians, you can listen to our introductory webinar here!

If you’re looking for a community to support you,  you can visit our community forum. Here you can start sharing what has worked for you, questions, and ideas to support each other in your efforts. Once you register you can add to existing topics and create new topics.  We also invite all camps to send photos and stories showcasing your camp’s sustainability efforts this summer to  We would love to highlight the work you’re doing both at your camp and with your campers and look forward to seeing how you bring this conversation to life with your campers this summer!