FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. -- It’s been a wild summer so far at the Fish Creek Community Forest.

From widdling wood to swimming in the creek, kids are being kids at Camp Wildlings. The Northern Environmental Action Team (NEAT) started the summer camp five years ago.  

Camp Wildlings Leader Adam Craig said “It’s wonderful for the kids.  So many of these kids grow up and they don’t have that connection to nature. They don’t get to come outside and play and just be free.”

Although they’re enjoying the outdoors, most say they would likely be inside without camp. 

“Sitting on my couch like a couch potato and watching TV,” said Noel.

While Sky thought he would “Probably be playing video games.”

However, some kids like Rhett may have been outside doing something like dirt biking. He said “This is probably more fun than that.”

The daily schedule is kid led at Camp Wildlings.

“Every morning we make a circle and they tell us what they want to do and they tell us,” said Craig who added “It’s great for the kids to have that opportunity.”

Around half a decade after Camp Wildlings began, former campers are passing on the lesson about self determination. Some have returned to be leaders in training at camp this year.

Allowing them to pass on what they learned in the community forest, but amid all the lessons the camp is rooted in fun.

“It’s a great thing for them to be able to come out here and be silly and have fun and see these other kids and enjoy the outdoors,” Craig said.  

While there is a registration fee to cover costs like insurance, there is a new option for families on a budget.

This year, NEAT is happy to provide spots for kids whose parents cannot afford summer camps. Their first annual Camp Wildlings day raised enough money to support five free spots a week.

Next year, NEAT hopes to raise enough money to let even more kids just be kids.

In the meantime, campers are learning about how to give back to their community.

Every Friday this summer is ice cream day. While the kids get a treat, they’re also asked to bring an item to donate to the Women’s Resource Society in Fort St. John.

You can learn more about Camp Wildlings here.