Teen Total Immersion Wilderness Overnight Camp

“You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don’t turn away from possible futures before you’re certain you don’t have anything to learn from them. You’re always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past.”

—Richard Bach

Just a few words from our Director:

Thank you for visiting this page, we take great pride in our teen camps. Our team of staff, volunteers and most importantly our teen campers and students have designed and built these total immersion wilderness camps be the camps that they most wanted. It is a camp designed not by a group of adults but by the youth that participate.

Thank you

Brian King Education Director NOLI



13 – 15, 16 – 18 depending on which section of teen camp enrolled in

Max Enrollment:



As Listed on the Teen Total Wilderness Immersion Camp

Location: As Listed on the Teen Total Wilderness Immersion Camp

Type of Camp: Bushcraft, Shooting Sports, Adventure, Primitive, Survival, Academics, Nature, Leadership and so much more.

Activities: Shooting Sports, Fly Tying, Rappelling, Rock Climbing, Whitewater Rafting, Nature Photography, Woodcraft, Primitive Skills, Backpacking Skills, Animal Tracking, Awareness Games, Horses, and Mules. During the 2, 3, and 4-week intensives the students may go deep into one of the following specialties: hunting skills, archery skills, ham radio, equine, fishing, nature photography and drawing, and more

Click For More Information on These Focuses

Prerequisite: Must be able to follow directions and be passionate about being in the wilderness and learning a majority of the activities listed above. Be willing to be self-reliant and be able to collaborate with others to work toward a common goal.

Skill Level: Basic to Advanced

Description: This intensive total immersion teen wilderness camp is intended to make coed teens well rounded, skilled, and confident when in the backcountry, be it for work or recreation.

There is ample time for the teens to explore and just be teens.

Nature Connection

It can be argued that everything we do is connecting the teens to nature and in fact we do a number of core routines each and every day in both our schools and all our camps to deeply connect them to nature. Most importantly each morning the students have the opportunity to explore and observe alone an area of the wilderness, journal that experience, and share with the other members of the camp their observation. Follow this link for more information on the value of nature connection and how we teach it.

Understanding Wildlife

Knowing how to identify wildlife, tracking wildlife, the behavior of wildlife, and know what they see, smell, hear, and sense.

Back Country Etiquette

The participants learn and practice daily the ethos of good ethics, etiquette in the wilderness, and Leave No Trace Behind.

Wilderness Travel

All of our teens in the 3 week immersion camps will go deep into river rafting, rope access, horses and mules.

River Rafting

There are many remote areas work and recreate in that is only accessible by river raft and rafting is a skill that makes a person more versatile and self-reliant working in the field. River rafting at Wilderness Skills Institute is not an amusement park ride. All the students will learn how to properly pack and prepare a raft for safely dealing with rapids. Each participant will learn to guide the raft, reading the water, leading the team, and controlling the raft. This leg of the trip is both fun and challenging. Given changing river levels due to weather conditions our plan is to camp on the river for 3 nights and be on the river for 2 days. The participants will not only experience beautiful views and exhilaration of the rapids but will also see and learn about the mining history of the Mother Lode area.

Rope Access — Rappelling and Ascending Ropes

Wildlife management, forestry, backcountry guides, search and rescue teams, civil engineers, and much more only look at rappelling as part of the daily commute. Rope access at Wilderness Skills Institute is not conducted as a climbing wall in a gym but as a skill to get in (descend) and out (ascend) of an area from above using best practices and equipment on rope.

Mules and Horses

Many areas that need to be accessed for work or recreation can only be done via mules and horses. The participants don’t just go on a trail ride but learn how to tack up both saddle and pack equine but how to properly secure the load using both a diamond and box hitches, how to control the animal and to properly take care of the animal and the environment.


Navigation during daylight and night time is a skill that everyone that ventures into the backcountry be it for work or recreation should know. By far the reason that most Search and Rescue operations are conducted because a person is lost not injured yet in many cases the person was injured after getting lost. The participants will learn to read, understand, and navigate using USGS topographical maps with the use of a compass. The students will also learn and practice basic nighttime navigation skills

Wilderness Survival

Truly survival skills in keeping yourself alive long enough to have someone save you. Yes, we go over basic survival skills that everyone should know, we will teach your teen how not to put themselves’ in danger and what to do if an emergency happens. We also teach your teens how to thrive in the backcountry without outside help. The teens will learn and practice making fast and easy environmentally friendly shelters, making fire with friction and sparks, making safe, smokeless fire, finding water and making water safe to drink without needing chemicals or filters. They will make fishing line from nettle plants, fish hooks from bones. They will learn basic wilderness first aid, and much more.

Fly Fishing is Great But It Is Awesome On Rod, Fly, and Leader I Made

It is cool to catch fish but awesome to do it on a hook and line you made. Fishing is a favorite activity, we offer the campers instruction in fly casting, fly tying and rod building. The fly tying is also a favorite activity of the girls they use the same tools, materials, and skills and can also make earrings.

Shooting Sports

All campers can get safety and basic instruction and practice in rifles, shotguns, and archery. Throwing hatchets, rabbit sticks, and atlatl are skills of our ancestors

Wilderness Stealth

Many backcountry occupations and activities require the participant to observe and move without detection. Our participants learn to manage their image, scent, and sounds. The participants learn by playing awareness games and stocking animals.

Wilderness Communication

The students will learn the advantages, limitations, operation, hardware, and regulations of Cell Phone, Citizen Band, Family Band, and Ham Radio. Yes, under the direction of our licensed amateur radio operators the teens will be able to study and have hands-on practice for the amateur radio license.

Wilderness Cooking

All participants will learn to light and use the multi-fuel stoves and cook with lightweight backpacking cookware prepare freeze-dried food. They will also learn to prepare various main and side dishes cooking over a campfire using cast iron, clay, stone, or nothing. The participants will also learn to identify wild eatable plants and most importantly what plants are dangerous.

Other Specialties Available

Northwestern Outdoor Leadership Institute offers many specialties that the students may focus on click here for details.

"I started rappelling with Brian when I was little, last year I used the skills I learned in camp and Brian's recommendation to join Marin Search and Rescue"
—Kobe age 15 -- Kobe located a missing hiker that had a broken leg and had not eaten in 8 days, he was working with Marin SAR.
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
—Albert Einstein