What We Do

Project Ember is a Bay Area based day camp dedicated to curiosity, grit and the creative practice.  At the end of the season, we will host one intimate week of overnight camp in Sonoma county.  At camp, kids build imaginative projects while collaborators make an amazing camp.  (If you'd like to hear what parents have to say, check out our testimonials).

Kids Make Stuff

Imagine it’s day two of camp. The energy is alive as campers walk onto campus knowing the project at hand but uncertain how they'll pull it off. Sometimes our projects are purely technical and outlandish; other times they are rooted in community service. No matter the theme, we strive to make something different every week. This week: a mechanism that will let the smallest member of the team lift the entire group off the ground. We've already made group agreements, gotten to know each other through games, and gone over tool use and safety expectations. Ahead of us is brainstorming, planning and doing. We're close to taking our first go at solving this startlingly complicated project. Teams swiftly break into sub-groups, some tackling the technical how. Is it a crane? A lever arm? A pulley system? Others start working out the why? Is our smallest friend a superhero lifting a bus of kids in some danger? Or an elevator gremlin toiling away at his day-job?

With an emerging blueprint of how and the creative fire of why, the making begins and we spend the rest of camp working, testing, refining, messing up, changing our mind, and facing unforeseen hurdles. Will it work? No one is quite sure, but by week's end we'll have given it everything we’ve got. Success or failure, there is no shaking the pride of trying hard on a solid challenge.

Collaborators Make Camp

Whether it’s the how or the why, kids are making the calls. Collaborators are deep in the mix, offering suggestions, having opinions, facilitating discussions, and generally modeling what a good team member looks like. In many ways, they just happen to be the tallest and strongest member of the team. However, they are also guiding the kids towards group cohesion and slightly more possible technical options.  Using their past experience, these mentors help kids skip past the obviously impossible or avoid a week spent on a total dead end.

All along the way, our staff is challenging those engaged with ever more interesting problems, finding entry points for kids less clear on their next steps, and setting the tone for a truly supportive and collaborative environment.