The creator of a Yellowknife yoga camp for kids says she came up with the idea to give youth a choice.

Natasha McCagg, who runs the Young Explorer Yoga Nature Camp, told Cabin Radio she believes campers should be the ones deciding the activities.

“I think that it’s really important for kids to have a say because they’re coming out of a school system where, you know, they’re following curriculum and a lot is decided for them,” said McCagg.

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“So in summer camp, I want them to have a say.”

The campers’ day starts with a morning yoga session, followed by a snack and a discussion of the day’s activities, which mainly involve the outdoors.

Young participants and McCagg decide together what they want to do that day.

“The kids want to be outside and that’s where they can explore the world around them,” she said.

Campers at Natasha McCagg's yoga and nature camp inspect a bug
Campers at Natasha McCagg’s yoga and nature camp inspect a bug. Alice Twa/Cabin Radio

Sunara, one of the campers, said her favourite activity so far had been collecting bugs. She was looking forward to doing more crafts.

McCagg came up with the idea after her experience with other summer camps.

“When I was looking at options for camps for my kids, there wasn’t a camp quite like this camp,” she said.

“I sat down with my 14-year-old daughter and we sort-of created a little dream together, and a vision for a camp for kids where they were steering the ship and coming up with the agenda.”

The theme of children steering their own learning experience is echoed in the recent, separate launch of the Birchbark Discovery Centre – a form of school being operated by the YK1 school board and NWT Montessori in partnership, in which students help to decide what they learn.

The late July camp attended by Cabin Radio was the second McCagg has run.

“It’s been great. It’s been lots of fun. I don’t feel like I’m working, I feel like I’m playing,” she said.

The next camp, for children aged four to 12, runs in the last week of August. A yoga retreat for teenagers and tweens is scheduled for August 21-22.