For the Love of Learning – Unschooly Summer Camps – Epi#95



Show Title:

For the Love of Learning Episode #95

Unschooly Summer Camps

Monday February 27, 2017, 8pm-10pm EST
Tuesday February 28, 2017, 1am-3am GMT


James Davis
Jack Scott
Laura Bowman
Maya Toccata
Evan Wright



Summer camps are more than just something kids do to occupy their summer break. Summer camps provide a unique opportunity to experience important resiliency skills: self-esteem, life skills, self-reliance, and pro-social behaviors. Peter Scales, Ph.D., a noted educator, author and psychologist, says, “Camp is one of the few institutions where young people can experience and satisfy their need for physical activity, creative expression and true participation in a community environment. Most schools don’t satisfy all these needs.”

However, most summer camps across the US are designed for kids who attend regular schools. Therefore, most of these camps employ a tighter programed and controlled camp experience, utilizing a school program paradigm to accommodate these children. But what options are available for unschooled children who do not thrive in this sort of environment?

Tonight, we’ll explore the world of unschooly summer camps, camps designed for self directed learners who are accustomed to freedom, empowerment and choices and demand those attributes as part of their camp experience. We explore how unschooling camps function, their philosophies with some of the facilitators behind these camps.

James Davis


James Davis is a summer camp director and unschooling father of 3. For the last four years, he’s worked to bring the principles of unschooling and autonomy to summer camp environments. He is a co-founder of Camp Stomping Ground,  a summer camp that allows for close to total freedom for its campers. After seeing the beauty that comes from environments where young people are free to be their authentic selves, he and his wife have become evangelists for the unschooling movement, speaking at conferences in the US and Canada as to the benefits of partnering with young people at summer camp as opposed to ruling over them.

Jack Schott


After a thoroughly uninspiring college experience, Jack packed up his bags and hit the road with Laura Kriegel. What they thought would be a month-long road trip turned into 3 years of living on the road researching summer camps and learning spaces. They made incredible friends, learned more than they could imagine, and fell in love with finding new ways to partner with kids and help their dreams come true. Jack and Laura are a part of the organizing team for the Alliance for Self-Directed Education and co-founders of Stomping Ground. Stomping Ground is an overnight camp in New York dedicated to radical empathy, self-direction, and reimagining a world where more is possible.

Laura Bowman


Laura Bowman is a radical unschooling mom of 3 amazing kids, an artist, and music lover. She is the Director of ETUSC (East Tennessee Unschooled Summer Camp), a 7 night secular camp for approximately 80 unschooling teens (13-18) from all over the country. She is also the Coordinator of ARGH (Autodidactic Radical Gathering of Homeschoolers), a bi-annual casual gathering for unschooling families. You can find her during the warm months on her porch making art, going for morning walks with the family dog while listening to music or audiobooks, and trying to get to the lake or river whenever possible; during the cold months she’ll be wrapped in a blanket watching Netflix, trying not to leave the house, and making art in her studio. She enjoys talking about vegan nutrition, family, art, and music…as well as the conundrum of being a social introvert with anxiety who organizes big social events.

Evan Wright


Evan has been involved in Not Back to School Camp for almost two decades. Since first attending NBTSC as a camper in 1998 he has worked as a Session Director, Assistant Director, Advisor, Project Leader and – long, long ago – a Junior Staffer.

Within the larger unschooling movement Evan has been active as a conference speaker and mentor to unschoolers. He was the Director of Quo Vadis, a weeklong gathering for adult unschoolers. Over the past few years he has been renovating an old house in Seattle and creating House on Holgate, a shared living space for grown unschoolers and others.

Evan’s journey to NBTSC began at 15 when he read The Teenage Liberation Handbook and began unschooling. Without schooling he volunteered at a London homeless shelter run by nuns, raised orphaned harbor seal pups in California over many seasons, studied the life of Albert Einstein (eventually correcting an error in a Princeton University Press book on the scientist), and assisted in research of 5 ft. long green sea turtles in Costa Rica.

Maya Toccata


Maya is the Camper and Family Liaison and all around office-gal for Not Back to School Camp. She is a grown unschooler who attended NBTSC as a teenager and liked it so much she asked Grace Llewellyn for a job in 2000. She’s been involved in camp in one way or another since then. 

Maya lives in the Mojave Desert of Southern California where she, her husband, and unschooling 5-year-old are developing a small-scale permaculture farm. She loves distributing fresh produce to her neighborhood village, made up of four generations of family, some super great friends, and a rad tribe of kids.


This episode is produced by Anne Boie

Episode hosted by Lainie Liberti



Lainie Liberti

As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teen son at: You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.

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