Explorers Club is our signature outdoor, youth mentoring program. Explorers Club kids embrace the outdoors to discover the Pacific Northwest, gaining naturalist knowledge, leadership skills, and lasting connection to nature and community – all while having a blast outside!
What Happens at Explorers Club?
We clamber over rocks (and look under them), plant trees, wonder at the habits of fungi, share leadership roles, mud gush, follow streams, spend quiet time on our own, hike, create poetry and sculptures, play lots of cooperative games, build shelters, share stories, help our community, make friends, and get dirty!
Participants build confidence and competence in every area of their lives through our unique process of discovery of our region's natural places.
Kids explore and learn about ecosystems and along the way gather lessons that carry over into life beyond Explorers Club.
Explorers learn vital collaborative leadership skills and are respected as learners and leaders.
Youth discover the impact they can have in their community through service projects.
Many Explorers stay with the program for years to form strong bonds with their cohort.
Learn Life-Changing Skills
Identification of plants, trees, rocks, fungi, tracks, and anything else nature reveals
Outdoor safety and preparedness
Understanding of patterns and process in nature
Discovery of the myriad connections that exist between all things
Shelter building, fire by friction, basket weaving, and more
Empathy and trust building
Self-challenge and self-knowledge
Awareness of community needs
About our Outings
Groups (~13 kids each) meet nine times per year. Our new Wayfinder teen program will meet six times. All outings are during the academic year and typically last for four to six hours.
Graduating groups and Wayfinders typically have one to two overnight campouts.
Outings may be an exploration, service project, or skills-building session. Schedules vary season-to-season, year-to-year, with the curriculum deepening as Explorers grow.
Explorers Club is for kids in grades 2-8. The all-gender Wayfinder program is for teens in grades 9-12.
NEW! Wayfinder Program For Teens
We are excited to announce our new teen Explorers Club program, Wayfinder, for all genders in grades 9-12. Wayfinder is an updated version of our Four Shields program - giving teens an opportunity to continue their involvement with Wild Whatcom past their graduation from Explorers Club.
The Wayfinder program gives Explorers Club graduates the opportunity to further their explorations in all gender groups. We’ll spend our outings rambling from the majestic North Cascades foothills to the shimmering waters of the Salish Sea.
Our two Wayfinder groups, Kulshan Wayfinders and Salish Wayfinders, will deepen their naturalist expertise, intra/interpersonal skills, and place-based knowledge of our area over the course of two campouts and four exploration outings during the academic year. Our hopes are for the Wayfinders to not only adventure in, and discover, our area, but also explore what it means to honor yourself and your truth while transitioning into young adulthood.
Explorers Mentor Apprentice
For Explorers Club participants in grades 6+ who are interested in working with younger Explorers Club members.
Explorers Mentor Apprentices (EMAs) help mentor younger groups and, in turn, rediscover the fun of 2nd-4th graders. EMAs learn new skills from staff, and those staff learn techniques from the EMAs too. Everyone benefits from this circle-within-circle mentoring exchange!
EMAs are introduced to mentoring techniques such as:
Leading from behind
Cost - 2019-20 Season
Tuition Price Levels: Please select the highest feasible level based on your financial situation. We do this in an effort to reduce financial barriers, while also trying to cover program costs. Tuition level choices are treated confidentially. If you are able, please consider making an additional donation to help low income participants.
Level 1: $650/season
Level 2: $600/season
Level 3: $550/season (Applying for financial assistance? Please select Level 3).
We accept cash, check/e-check or credit/debit cards and offer payment plans. Details are available when registering.
We do not want cost to be a barrier for participation. Financial assistance, up to 75% of program cost for qualifying families, is available. Please fill out the brief financial assistance form during registration.
Cancellations, refunds, and other policies.
Explorers Club - MEMBER INFO & GROUP Schedules
If you are not a current Explorers Club member, please sign up on our Interest List below. We will contact you when space is available.
Thank you for your interest in Explorers Club. We appreciate it! Please know that we are doing our best to meet demand for the early grades and often have space in older-grade groups.
Interested in joining Explorers Club? Please signup on our Interest List.
If you would like to join an Explorers Club group, please complete our Interest List signup form. Because of robust interest among younger grades, we are switching to a randomized selection process to fill groups (aka: drawing names from a hat on June 1 of each year) rather than a sequential list.
To be eligible for placement in a group, please submit the form prior to June 1 of any given year to have your name included in the randomized selection for the following September-June program year. Remember, the specific date of your submission will not be a factor – we just need it by June 1 in order to formulate groups for the following fall.
In order to confront societal inequities and increase access to the outdoors for all youth, we give priority to participants from communities that are underrepresented in outdoor education (including, but not limited to, participants that identify as LGBTQ+, as a person of color, as a low-income family, and/or as gender non-conforming). Please do not hesitate to let us know if you feel that your family or child faces any barrier to participation in our program for any reason, so that we can do our best to accommodate and make you feel welcome. We also provide financial assistance for participants from low-income families, and we give priority to siblings of current participants in order to support family cohesion. You can contact us at email@example.com or by voicemail at (360) 389-3414.
Already on the Interest List?
Participants who will be in 2nd grade or higher in September 2019:
We will be working from this list to fill spots and form new groups in 2019-20. You do not need to resubmit a form. We thank you for your patience.
Participants who will be starting 2nd grade in 2019:
We will include your name in the randomized selection process for 2019-20. Thank you for your understanding.
Stay in touch! Sign up for Wild Whatcom news and event announcements.
Summer Adventures, including day camps, day camps with an overnight, and multi-day backpacking trips are open to all kids in grade 1+ (some grade restrictions apply).
Contact Explorers Club Coordinators:
Joey Christianson, Boys Explorers Club (BEC): firstname.lastname@example.org
Stormie Romero, Girls Explorers Club (GEC): email@example.com
Ellen Reiche, All Gender Explorers Club (AGEC): firstname.lastname@example.org
Jasmine Vilar, Wayfinder Teen Program: email@example.com