Arcadia Farm is a place of wonder and discovery for people of all ages. Campers are surrounded by a bounty of vegetables and beautiful spaces. The Groundhog Garden, Arcadia’s educational youth space, is a plot in the middle of the four-acre Arcadia Farm. It is designed specifically to engage the elementary-aged audience-- to inspire them, to excite them, and to invoke questions and discoveries!
Our approach to engaging kids on the farm sets us apart. Our techniques are guided by the principles of Farm Based Education. Each aspect of Arcadia Farm Camp is hands-on so that campers come away with a deep appreciation for the process of cultivating food in harmony with nature, and eating healthy. Each day, we prepare snacks and taste the fruits of our harvest, including a salad bar for students to experience once they’ve washed and prepared produce from the farm.
Our farm provides the freshest of eating experiences to campers. When campers prepare snacks, they get to harvest their ingredient veggies right from the farm! During Seasonal Eaters week, all of the ingredients will come from Arcadia Farm. During Small Chefs week it is important to craft dishes that reflect the diversity of ingredients involved in recipes. We use seasonal veggies, from Arcadia and other local Farmer partners, and locally purchased products such as breads and cheeses, which usually come from our farm partners on the Arcadia Mobile Market.
Arcadia Farm is on the site of the Woodlawn Estate. This historic property, once a part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon, provides campers with the opportunity to learn about the history of the people, buildings, and agricultural traditions of this area, as well as sustainability and land conservation.
The Groundhog Garden, an interactive garden space designed specifically for kids, will be the center of activities at Arcadia Farm Camp. It has 10 raised beds and 12 rotating vegetable plots, and includes a pollinator garden, a peanut butter and jelly bed, a kids shed, and 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables.
When campers are not in Groundhog Garden, campers use our outdoor chef’s counter for developing their culinary skills and preparing healthy snacks. They also explore our other spaces such as the compost pile, chicken coupe, beehives, and the Natural Play Space. Our Natural Play Space is our version of a playground. It is designed using natural, found objects and functions to provide a space for creative play.
Shade Structure is provided by our industrial sized tent. Our picnic tables for snack, lunch, and activities are positioned under the tent. Campers can get out of the sun under the tent or the trees on the Farm.
Indoor Space is something we use in case of emergencies or harsh weather conditions. Our focus is to be an outdoor camp. Inside Woodlawn’s historic house we use the air-conditioned Underwood Room as our indoor refuge from the rain or the heat. See weather questions below.
All sessions of Arcadia Farm Camp include food and farming activities like harvesting, weeding, making recipes, and more. During some weeks, we’ll spend more time exploring certain aspects of the farm to table process, depending on the weekly theme.
For example, during the Farm Creatures week, we’ll still make a few great recipes, but we’ll also take a nature walk to find creatures on the farm or explore our pest population and why sustainable farmers do not use pesticides to combat them. Campers who sign up for the Seasonal Eaters week will certainly be involved in taking care of the farm--watering crops, collecting eggs, turning compost--but will spend more time exploring the fruits & vegetables of the season and using them to prepare healthy snacks.
Our ratio of staff to Farm Campers is about 1:6 each week. We have 6 experienced staff members during all weeks of camp. Our Farm Camp Director oversees the development and coordination of the program from start to finish. We then seasonally hire 4 counselors and 1 Farm Camp Director to facilitate an open and exciting environment during the Farm Camp day. You’ll learn more about those fun-loving staff members in June!
Our Farm Camp Staff is dedicated, diverse in skills, and, most of all, loves being outdoors with kids on the farm! Each of the other staff members is over 21 years of age, has been CPR certified, and has prior education experience. They have each participated in an extensive training specific to our unique Farm Camp. Our full week of training covers topics including outdoor education techniques, inquiry-based learning, facilitating an open learning environment based on choice and free play, conflict resolution, handling issues of heat and inclement weather, emergency procedures, cooking with kids, and much more.
Campers are placed into mixed-gender, age appropriate groups during the week. Each group is guided by a Farm Camp staff member who will get to know the ins and outs of your child’s interests. Campers spend equal time in and out of groups; they are in groups for themed activities and together with all of the campers for all other activities. Additionally, parents will check-out at the end of the day with their camper’s staff person in order to allow for open communication between parents and Farm Camp staff about the fun that was had during the day, how the camper is developing throughout the week, and any concerns for either party.
It is possible that your child can be paired with their friends, but not guaranteed. You can make that request through the online registration system when you register. At Farm Camp it is important that we provide opportunities for campers to get to know new friends while on the Farm. We value the opportunity for campers to spend time in structured group activities so as to promote new friendships and communication skills, as well as make sure to provide ample unstructured time for reconnecting with old friends or exploring the farm with new friends.
During a day at Farm Camp our activities could range from bug races and making fresh pesto, to time with Visiting Educators who share their passion for topics like bees and goats! The activities vary according to theme week but we keep a similar schedule for each day throughout all four weeks.
The following is an example of a normal Daily Schedule at Farm Camp:
Each week culminates in a farm-to-table experience during which campers will show off their culinary skills by making snacks with farm-fresh fruits and vegetables to share with their families. Families are invited to Arcadia Farm to have their camper show them around and share their favorite parts of the farm! We will enjoy snacks made by campers as camper teams share something special with everyone.
Campers must bring one snack and a bag lunch each day. They will have the snack in the morning and lunch at noon. Depending on the theme week, we will make at least one dish every other day using ingredients right from the farm or Mobile Market. Campers also snack on sungold cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, and any other produce as it is ready for campers to harvest in the Groundhog Garden and the Farm. Farm Camp does not provide full meals for campers.
Round trip Transportation is available from Old Town Alexandria for an additional fee of $100. Drop-off will be from 8:00-8:15am and pick-up will be from 4:15-4:30pm. There will be a Farm Camp Counselor dedicated to the vehicle in use for the Transportation Service. The Counselor will conduct check in/out, ride along on transportation to look after campers during the trip, and be available for questions from parents.
This service is provided to assist those Farm Camp Parents seeking an extended day. Rather than our normal hours of 9am-3pm, this extends the day from 8am-4:30pm. The precise location for drop-off and pick-up will be posted prior to May 31, 2017.
We suggest that if you are interested in utilizing the Transportation Service you sign up when you register for Farm Camp online. Spaces for this service are limited and we cannot guarantee a space for you after registration has been open for a few weeks.
Arcadia Farm Camp has extended the hours of our Transportation Service to assist those parents in need of extended hours. Rather than our normal hours of 9am-3pm, Transportation extends the day from 8am-4:30pm. See the preceding question for details on our Transportation Service.
If it’s raining, dress your child for the weather – we’ll still work and play outside! Rainy days are a great time to learn about how we use water on the farm and the ecosystem we’re a part of. In case of thunderstorms, we will go into the Woodlawn estate house for quiet lessons and activities.
On extremely hot days, we’ll take every precaution to keep campers safe and happy. We’ll always have water available, and we’ll take frequent water breaks throughout the day. Camp staff will take into account the temperature, the humidity index, and air quality when planning daily activities. We will make greater use of the Tent and the shady spots on the Farm.
We will take mandatory breaks, extend rest period, and plan shade and water activities as necessary. If necessary, we will go to the Woodlawn estate house to take a break from the heat.
Dress to get dirty! Wear comfortable, cool clothes that can get wet or dirty. Bring the following:
Sure! You are welcome to stop by Arcadia Farm, located at the Woodlawn Estate, anytime while Woodlawn is open. We cannot guarantee that an Arcadia staff member will be present but you are welcome to take a look around. Hours and directions can be found here.
The online registration system through which you register your camper will collect all forms and documents from you. Several forms are required to complete your registration, such as release of liability and photo release. In order to proceed with the online registration, you are asked to read through these forms and digitally agree to their statements.
We require an additional document in order to finalize your child’s registration. We must receive a copy of your child’s most recent Immunization Records before June 20, 2016. This should be submitted via your account with our online Registration system. Use the login information you created at registration to reach your account. You can navigate to your login page by clicking “Online Account” on the confirmation email you receive immediately after completing registration. You may also submit via email to FarmCamp@Arcadiafood.org or mail to Arcadia Farm. However, online submission of this document is preferred.
We require families to present a Proof of Identity (POI) for each child on the first day of camp. This is outlined by the Code of Virginia section 63.1-196.3 which requires all children under the age of 13 when first enrolled in a Virginia school or camp to present proof of identity and age. As of January 2017, Arcadia Farm Camp will be requiring that families present this original POI for children on their first day of camp. It will be viewed and verified by a staff member, and immediately given back to the child’s family before leaving check-in on the first day of camp. The great thing is, once you do this, you will not be required to show this at Farm Camp again! We keep record of this Proof of Identity for future summers of Farm Camp.
The Code of Virginia states that “Proof of identity means a certified copy of a birth certificate or other reliable proof of the child’s identity and age.” The following documents are acceptable forms of reliable proof:
There is a limited waitlist available for each week of Farm Camp. No payment or deposit is required to add your child to the waitlist. If your registration is moved from off of the waitlist and onto the official registration list, the system will prompt you via email to complete the registration process in full (including the $100 non-refundable deposit). You will have three business days to do so and then the system will automatically move on to prompt the next registrant in queue.
If for any reason a change to your child(ren)'s registration (i.e. withdrawal, session change, addition of transportation) is necessary, you can make alterations to your registration online by using the login information you created at registration. You can navigate to your login page by clicking “Online Account” on the confirmation email you receive immediately after completing registration. If you are having difficulties making your desired changes, please contact our Farm Camp Director at FarmCamp@arcadiafood.org for assistance.
Yes, you may receive a partial refund, minus your $100 non-refundable deposit. if you cancel your enrollment before June 1, 2017. We cannot provide refunds of any amount after June 1, 2017. This is covered in our Policies Handbook which you will receive upon registering.
Arcadia staff members are trained in CPR and first aid, and will provide first response in case of accidents or injury. All staff members also carry cell phones to be used in case of an emergency. In case of emergency, we will notify parents/guardians indicated on your registration forms as soon as possible. There’s more information about our health and safety policies in our Policies Handbook, which you will receive upon registering.
Learn more about Arcadia Farm Camp by exploring further information through the pages listed below. If after you have read through all of the information provided, you still have remaining questions, you may contact the Farm Camp Director at FarmCamp@Arcadiafood.org.