Junior Ranger Adventure Squad
Junior Ranger Adventure Squad is a creative partnership between Urban Adventure Squad and Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens with the goal to create meaningful connections to local National Parks and foster a lifelong love of environmental stewardship in students here in Washington, DC. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, a historic National Park Service site located along the Anacostia River, is where we will spend our days hiking, exploring, learning, picnicking, and playing.
Urban Adventure Squad/Urban Learning and Teaching Center (“Urban Adventure Squad') is a Washington, DC-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit education organization that supports schools and school communities with outdoors-focused, hands-on learning programs that use the city as the classroom. Though we've been exploring the city during our outdoors-based, out-of-school time programs since 2013, we transitioned to fully masked, small group programs in September 2020. Since then, we've offered 2- and 3-hour programs on weekdays after school and on days when schools are closed for federal holidays, parent-teacher conferences, and school breaks. Now we're excited to plan for summer 2021 by working with community partners who will provide bathroom access, emergency shelter, and more.
Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens connects neighbors and visitors to the park all year long through stewardship, engagement and educational activities. To learn more and get involved as a family or school, visit kenaqgardens.org or on social media @kenaqgardens
June 28-July 2
WHO: rising 2nd-rising 6th grade students
WHERE: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, 1550 Anacostia Ave NE, Washington, DC 20019
COST: FREE for neighborhood students (Ward 7)
This program is funded by a grant from the Deputy Mayor of Education's
Office of Out of School Time Grants and Youth Outcomes
PRIORITY REGISTRATION FOR WARD 7 STUDENTS IS OPEN
Scroll down for information on how to register for this FREE program.
If there are spots remaining after the neighborhood registration period, we will open registration to families in other
neighborhoods. These families will choose a payment tier or select a no-questions-asked scholarship during registration.
These are fully masked, small group, outdoor programs.
We're only opening space for 12 Squad members in this program. We will give preference to siblings when we're able to and expand the program to create a third group if we have staff available and can safely do so. Each UAS educator--called Squad leaders--will have 6 or 7 Squad members in their group. The groups will remain separate for almost the entirety of the programs, but these are not cohorts and there will be some mixing of groups at certain points during the day and the week. Our priorities are masking and distance, and we will continue to follow evolving local and federal guidance.
WHAT WILL MY CHILD BE DOING EACH DAY?
Every day of our Junior Ranger Adventure Squad program will include hiking, playing, exploring, and creating at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Your student will learn about local plants and animals, explore the energy cycle and food webs, work on art projects inspired by pastels made by the former owner of the gardens, create their own field guides, participate in a service project, practice wilderness survival skills, earn their Junior Ranger badge, and become an environmental steward of the park by designing a student-led tour for your family and friends to embark upon another day this summer!
At Urban Adventure Squad, we strongly believe that outdoor learning is an essential part of a child’s healthy physical, social, mental, and emotional growth. Squad members, who come from over 80 schools in the Washington area, explore the natural world, build confidence in themselves, make new friends, discover new passions, become environmental advocates, and connect with their communities. See examples of what we've been doing in our weekday programs all schoolyear by checking us out on instagram, facebook, and twitter @UrbanAdvSquad, or visiting our Outdoor Programs webpage.
HOW TO REGISTER
1. CREATE AN ACCOUNT
If you are new to UAS, you should prepare ahead of time by creating a new account in our registration system,
which is powered by UltraCamp.
Please note: Now that we're in a new calendar year, our registration system asks for your student's grade "in fall of 2021." Summer registration generally goes by the "rising" grade, or the student's grade in fall of the next school year. When asked for your child's grade in fall of 2021, you would (for example) select 4th grade for your current 3rd grade student. This would let the system know they are currently in 3rd grade and UltraCamp will automatically graduate them in June to 4th grade.
2. CLICK MAKE A RESERVATION
3. SCROLL DOWN AND SELECT "SUMMER WEEK: June 28-July 2, Grades 2-6"
4. ENTER PASSWORD: ADVENTURE2021
Urban Adventure Squad has run fully masked, small group, outdoor programs 3-5 times each week since September 2020 in green spaces throughout D.C. We've learned what works and what doesn't, and we're looking forward to expanding the length of our program days this summer thanks to the reliability of morning and afternoon bathrooms breaks as well as emergency shelter. Once you've read through this page and our COVID-19 Precautions and Protocol webpage, if you still have questions, please do not hesitate to email us. We can email you back or call you to talk through your questions and concerns.
PLEASE CONSIDER THE NATURE OF AN ALL OUTDOORS SUMMER PROGRAM WITH UAS. Unlike our traditional summer programs of the past, these programs are entirely outdoors except for our bathroom breaks. Please consider your Squad member's personality and zest for the outdoors carefully before registering them for a summer week. D.C. summers get HOT and spending all week outdoors is too much for some kiddos. Each day we hike between 1 and 3 miles, and we'll take extra water breaks and rest our legs whenever we need to. We're going to get creative and find ways to stay cool throughout the day (sprinklers!), but we will not be relying on starting and ending our days in air conditioning like we used to. These programs are designed for educators and Squad members who are flexible, resilient, and excited to be OUTSIDE all week long!
EQUITY AND FAIR PROCESS. We strive to make our processes as smooth and fair as possible. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis; families are not judged on their ability to pay. Equitable outdoor learning is important to UAS, so as part of our registration process, families can select no-questions-asked scholarships. We do not ask for financial documentation or make families wait for approval. Some families use scholarships all the time, while others pay for programs sometimes and use scholarships other times. The benefits of playing, hiking, and learning outdoors can be life changing and we want families across the city to have access to the joy of outdoor learning.
WAITING LISTS. We will run 2 simultaneous groups per session. Each group will consist of 6-7 students with 1-2 UAS educators called Squad leaders. This means we have about 12 spots available per session. If a session you're interested in is full, there is an option to add your student to the waiting list. You'll find programs for which you can add your Squad member to the waiting list by scrolling to the bottom of the list of available programs. If space becomes available, you'll receive an email offering you a spot, which will be held for just 48 hours. Please be sure to check your spam filters. Emails often land in them, and we can't be responsible for emails that land in spam folders.
PREFERRED PAIRINGS. We will do our best to place siblings and friends in the same group whenever possible. If you'd like to request a pairing, please email us when you register to notify us of your request. Click here to email us. We will email detailed program info as it gets closer to summer and ask about pairing requests. We will not create our two or three groups of 6-7 Squad members based solely on age--we will factor in requests for siblings and friends to be together, regardless of age.
WEATHER CANCELLATIONS. If there is relentless rain and lightning throughout all or part of the day, we may have to shorten or cancel that day's program. We will only use Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens' emergency shelter (classroom and tents) for brief periods during the day. We will not spend an entire day indoors this summer due to COVID-19 safety concerns.
WHAT TO BRING. We will send an email at the start of summer as well as the week before your program to give you all the details for that week. Most important is a well-fitting mask. The mask should cover your Squad member's nose and mouth and fit the contours of their face. Please pack a backup in their backpack. Squad leaders will carry kid-sized disposable medical masks if needed in a pinch.
We recommend light, breathable layers in the summer. Light color layers and tall socks help for tick prevention. For UAS tick protocol, click here. A hat and comfortable hiking shoes are a must! NO CROCS OR FLIP FLOPS. Please send your Squad member in the morning with a base layer or sunscreen and insect repellent. We'll remind Squad members to reapply throughout the day. Squad members should bring a comfortable backpack packed with a lunch and snacks, as well as a large water bottle to keep your Squad member hydrated. We do not recommend drawstring backpacks--the strings can create rope burn on exposed shoulders and even through t-shirts.
If it's a rainy day, a waterproof layer or poncho is helpful. UAS educators are well stocked with supplies to keep Squad members safe, dry, and cool thanks to our wonderful Squad community who purchases these supplies from our amazon wish list and donates other items. This means we have things like disposable ponchos, disposable kid-sized medical masks, and extra socks.
All travel will be done on foot. We are not taking Metrobus or Metrorail this summer.