Youth Guidance camping experience at Environmental Learning Center

news release

Twelve children enrolled in Youth Guidance went on an overnight camping trip at the Environmental Learning Center on Saturday, October 2nd.

Accompanied by six adult chaperones, the kids applied plenty of bug spray and pitched their tents upon arriving at their campsite. Then they walked over to the Discovery Center, where they experienced different types of marine life in the 145-gallon touch tank!

After learning all about the local ecosystem, the kids ventured to the docks and climbed into canoes for a twilight paddle on the Indian River lagoon.

Upon their return to land, the children went on a night hike and gathered around the campfire for roasted hot dogs and s’mores! They stayed up past their bedtime, giggling and sharing stories amongst themselves. And before they knew it, it was time to go home.

“For many of our kids, this was their first-time camping,” said Phil Barnes, Youth Guidance Executive Director. “They loved it! It was great to see them enjoying nature, and I think we may have some future wilderness experts among us.” 

The camping trip was a reward for children who completed Youth Guidance’s eight-week Camping & Nature program. The kids learned how to pitch a tent, use waterproof paper, set up a hammock, identify plants and animals in the wild, and much more. Then they were able to put their skills to the test at the Environmental Learning Center.

“This program would not have been possible without our community partners,” Barnes said. “The Environmental Learning Center graciously opened their campus to our kids. Also, local camping experts Tim Cook and Robbie Wisecup were amazing as instructors and chaperones.”

Youth Guidance is a local nonprofit that provides mentoring serves to children ages 5-18 with limited resources in Indian River County. With direction from our trained staff, mentors and volunteers, these children can experience a path toward a brighter future. Programs are all free and children are provided with a nutritious meal before programs. To learn more about Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy, become a mentor, or to volunteer, please call 772-492-3933 or visit us at

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