Staying in Cape Cod all summer, sophomore Jackson Reed has found something original to do with his time rather than lounging in the sun. He and his friend, Will Van Vleck, who is from the Cape, have come up with a fun way to spend the summer by helping families who might want a break from their kids: a summer camp.
Ridgevale Adventure Club, created by Reed and Van Vleck, is located on the Ridgevale beach in Chatham, Massachusetts. The main focus of the camp is teaching kids the basics of life while incorporating fun field games and beach activities. The educational part of Ridgevale Adventure Club will include teaching kids ages six to 15 how to hunt, fish, make a fire, garden and use the materials they have caught, killed or grown to cook meals for themselves.
Reed has traveled to Chatham every summer since he was a kid. He met Van Vleck this past summer while working together renting sailboats. The idea of creating a business came up between the two at work one day while they were brainstorming ways to make money over the summer. From there, the idea was expanded.
Van Vleck came to Marin this past winter break to help formulate the business plan for the following summer. According to Van Vleck, the idea of starting a summer camp has always been his dream, and starting one with his friend sounded even more exciting.
“I’ve always wanted to buy 200 acres of land in Pennsylvania or somewhere and open a camp to teach kids basics of life that I think everyone should know. When I came to California to visit Jackson, I was telling him and his dad about that [idea] and one night we were just thinking of ways to make money in the summer. We just started brainstorming and I just stuck with the idea,” Van Vleck said.
Van Vleck found a love for hunting and fishing when his dad taught him at a young age. Being taught by his father as a kid made him want to do the same for the kids at this camp. Van Vleck wants them to have the same enjoyable, exciting experience he had so many years ago.
“It’ll be a fun way to give kids an opportunity to enjoy their vacation by themselves while their parents are out to dinner,” Reed said.
Van Vleck feels a similar way as he explains the additional benefits of running their own summer camp.
“[The camp] is going to be two and a half hours, four nights a week. It’ll just give the parents time to have a drink, go out to dinner, while the kids are still having an awesome time and not just sitting around,” Van Vleck said.
In addition to the other camp activities, kids will be able to swim, surf, paddleboard, fish, kayak and participate in other typical beach activities with provided materials already owned. The two friends are planning on advertising by handing out business cards to kids on the beach and putting up signs along the road and in restaurants. Van Vleck has already talked to realtors about advertising to renters and buyers as well.
“The hardest part for us is definitely going to be getting the word out and getting people to know what [the camp] is,” Van Vleck said.
They are planning on creating a five to one ratio of counselors to kids. This would work perfectly with just Reed and Van Vleck working together as counsellors with 10 to 12 kids. If there is more interest in enrollment, they would need to hire other counselors. Van Vleck already has trained counselors interested if need be.
“We’re hoping parents will see it as a babysitting alternative, so rather than paying someone to sit at their house watching the kids, we can make it really fun and also educational in a way,” Van Vleck said.
They both expressed that teaching kids the skills they should know is the most important part of creating Ridgevale Adventure Club and they hope it’ll be a success.