At Monkey Business Camp, children experience the type of old-fashioned outdoor fun that most of us associate with our own childhood summers: songs and games, arts and crafts, and developing strong attachments to counselors. Started in 1999 by current Executive Director Heather Mitchell and the late Stacy Raye, Monkey Business Camp will be celebrating its 20th year as a small, locally owned business with strong ties to the community.
Monkey Business Camp was started in order to nurture the creativity and individuality of each child in a loving and magical environment. They develop programs with balance of structured and spontaneous activities, hire incredible and kind staff, and then go about building an empowered, peaceful community of independent, confident, joyful people.
Their mission is to provide spaces for children to experience the joy of the outdoors, to learn about and celebrate being in a diverse community, to discover their unique talents and passions, and to relax and have fun in a supportive, kind environment. They are part of the movement to honor the earth and all beings and to cultivate qualities of restoration, justice, and care.
Monkey Business is proud to count themselves among the growing ranks of organizations dedicated to earth stewardship, and is a certified green business. Their Tilden Outdoor Camp is 100% outside, and their Pre-K, Girls on the Go!, and school break camps spend quite a bit of time outside. Studies have shown that when children have memorable, fun experiences in nature, those memories not only sustain them, but also inspire them to protect the natural world. They encourage art projects using recycled materials, have time for nature exploration, and bring in naturalists and herbalists to share their knowledge of plant and animal life and to make useful products like herbal salves.
Their diverse staff is dynamic, engaging, skilled, empathetic, and deeply passionate about their work with youth. It’s easier to learn something new when it’s fun and if you are in a relaxed and playful mood, so their staff brings this joyful spirit to camp days. Playing a competitive or non-competitive game, with laughter and flexibility, builds empathy and trust with others.
As the kids get older, they can become a youth leader to make camp even more special for the campers. Youth Leaders support staff to make camp more awesome for the campers. They help campers and play games. A wonderful chance for them to develop skills and learn how to be a camp counselor, it has been a gift to see many campers grow in to youth leaders and now staff members, grounded into a caring and fun community that they can rely on in their lives.
Another option for older kids is Girls on the Go! field trip camp, which takes campers on adventures around the Bay Area on public transportation to meet new friends and become more curious, competent, and compassionate. Tweens and teens practice increasing independence and making strong connections. Together they explore the area and try new skills like rock climbing, kayaking, and aerial dancing. Campers visit local museums, botanical gardens, and aquariums. Special guests from the surrounding community join Monkey Business to lead playshops in art, music, herbalism, and more. Girls and gender diverse kids are provided with a supportive environment to explore, imagine, and connect with one another and the beautiful Bay Area.