So proud of my daughter, Sophia. She started off the week not sure if she wanted to go to Ancestral Knowledge Wood Wise I Camp, anxious at first that she was the only girl until a few more girls showed up. She came home every day with a layer of dirt and a smile on her face. Today she was so proud that she had earned her bead for going out in the woods alone, sitting quietly for half an hour, and observing animals. I’m grateful to the young women who were her role models as counselors this week. Sophia seems stronger and more confident. Ancestral Knowledge Camp seems to be an effective counter to princess culture. (See https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/06/24/princess-culture-is-bad-for-girls-now-theres-proof/) Let’s hope she carries these lessons with her. Wood Wise II is next week! She is on her way to becoming a strong young woman. Thank you!”  -Parent of a Day Camper

Emily and Isabelle had such a fantastic time at AK. They had fun and learned a lot about plants, animals and certainly bamboo crockery (our bamboo collection is impressive now!).  We are planning to return in Fall.

Take care,
Nicole-parent of  Home School participant

Dear AK,

Thank you again for all of your hard work with the kids.  Asa and Ruth learned a ton.  Ruth asked why every day could not be AK.  I even have a sit spot outside now and am journaling in my notes on my iphone afterwards while the kids journal.  We are sad we will be away from Virginia for such a long stretch, but we will be back and able to participate in AK again in the spring.  We will miss getting to do all the cool winter stuff, but look forward to Spring.

Jen, parent of  Home School participant

Here is an account of one parents experience during one our Home School programs we offer around the region.
-Home School parents blog entry

Dear Bill and everyone,

Just wanted you to know that my son, (John), really enjoyed his two weeks of summer camp with you guys and he will definitely be back next summer.   I was sure that he would want to stay home because of the heat (one day as you know, it hit 104 degrees!) but he never once complained.  In fact I overheard him telling a friend that they didn’t just learn to survive outside in the heat, “we learned to thrive!”.  After the big derecho storm, many of our friends had day camps cancelled due to lack of power and he thought that was funny, because Woodwise campers didn’t need power… or air-conditioning.

I had already signed him up for a different camp the rest of this month so I couldn’t send him to Hunter/Gatherer SKills camp but really wish I had.  He seems very much to miss being outdoors all day with knowledgeable guides.

We look forward to doing more activities with you as they come up this next school year — I also hope to share your activities with the cub scout and girl scout troops/packs we are involved with.   Please keep us posted!

thanks for everything,
-Caroline, parent of  day camp participant

I just wanted to let you know that I had an awesome, fantastic, peaceful, and knowledge-filled weekend. I do not fully understand what it takes to put together a gathering like this(MAPS Meet 2010), but I want you to know that with my whole heart  I appreciate and am thankful for everything that you and your crew did to make this happen.   You and everybody else that I met this weekend are some of the best, coolest people in the world.
Peace man, I hope to run into you again soon.
– Jesse Hamilton, MAPS Meet Participant

Isaac and Phyllis came home yesterday just glowing with happiness though several layers of dirt! Several years ago, they had a pre-school teacher who said, “You can tell how much fun they have had by how dirty they are at the end of the day.”. Ever since they just love announcing with pride how dirty they are and so, how much fun they had that day. Well, they must have had a tremendously great time at camp!
Once again, thank you for running the camp this past week and all the other programs offered by AK
– Kirsten W.,  parent of  Home School participant

I don’t think Noah and Aidan had much written on their feedback forms last Thursday. But I wanted you to know that as soon as we turned onto our street, Aidan said that he’d really miss it out there, and that the camp-out was one of the best things he’s ever done in his whole life. Noah is a man of very few words, but he said it was better than he expected.

They’ve been telling us about it in bits and pieces the last few days. They loved Joe’s Irish rabbit impressions. They’ve been looking for some of the plants they ID’ed out there. Well, they have lots of cool stories. I’m not sure what might work for a fall program. If nothing else, I’m sure we’ll do another camp-out.– Anne, parent of  Home School participant

Thank you for scheduling the fishing workshop. Guy is a fantastic instructor. I feel that I have the knowledge and experience to use the skills that were taught effectively in the future. Again, thank you for the experience.
– David Bitler, Primitive Fishing workshop

Dakota absolutely loved camp. He learned so much and taught us what he learned- always great! He enjoyed the counselors, campers, games, stories, activities, everything except missing the last night camp-out. He says everything was great! His least favorite thing was that camp was over too quickly.

As parents, we noticed how much self-confidence Dakota gained during this week in addition to the skills he learned. That in itself was worth the price of camp. Everything else was a bonus.

Thank you, Debra, for all your time and energy in this project and for making this camp happen. Thank you, Rhubarb Jam, for hosting this adventure. And a big thank you, Ancestral Knowledge, for your nice counselors, devotion, unique-ness, and, well, ancestral knowledge!

Thank you for this fine adventure for our son. He will have terrific memories of that week and we hope to repeat this experience.
– Scott, Cindy, and Dakota- Members of Rhubarb Jam Homeschool

Your presentation really worked through all the little steps that make obtaining fire possible.   It’s clear why I didn’t get a fire started from some early let’s wing it type approaches.  Also, I was amazed at the creation of the cordage from the dogbane.  I enjoyed that so much that I went to a wildlife area on Sunday and picked about 20 or so stalks. – Dan Clements, Fire by friction

My 8 year old daughter, Abbey, had a great time at AK camp. It was very well organized and the AK guides were great. Everyday she came happy, full of energy, and begging to spend more time outside. Her favorite memories are of splashing in the creek, hiking in the woods, getting to eat plants, learning to use a knife, and Joe’s stories. We were hiking in a field as a family a week later, and Abbey was showing us all the plants she had learned to identify and use. It was very impressive! We will definitely be coming back next year!
– Shawna, parent of Woods Wise day camp participant

“The best thing that happened so far this year was the Ancient Ways program. While we were there, it was fun and educational. We learned a lot about ancient people and our environment. Our teacher was Bill Kaczor, he was nice and knowledgeable.”-A’ishah, Montessori Elementary School student

Wow…. awesome course!!! Great instructor…. very impressed!
– Mark McDermott, Wild Edible and Useful Plants Workshop

“Some of us thought the best part was getting to do what the ancient people did to meet their needs. We learned that these people had to work together, and all had a job. Other good parts were learning to make rope and tools and finding deer bones.”
– Gail, Montessori Elementary School student

I have been so impressed with the confidence my kids have shown after attending the Woods Wise Camp. They have new skills and really enjoy being out in the woods. They share stories they’ve heard, plants they recognize, and other bits of knowledge about living in tune with nature. I especially enjoy watching them turn on their “wide angle” vision and stalk local wildlife. Every day they came home dirty, tired, and happy.
– Debra, member of Rhubarb Jam Home School Group

This camp is amazing. I’ve been involved with Ancestral Knowledge for a couple years now and every event I’ve done has been great. My favorite thing to learn at these camps is stalking (walking quietly to sneak up on animals). I think it’s really cool to get camouflaged with mud and move without being seen. Now I really love going out in the woods in my back yard and trying to see all the animals that live there.-Sara, parent of  day camp participant

“It was really fun doing a loads of activities… making pouches, bow drills, etc…. This is my 3rd year and I will definitely be back next year!”-Jacob, Rhubarb Jam Home School Participant

“The Ancient Ways program was about what ancient people did to meet their fundamental needs. For example, to build a shelter, first they would look for a good location. They would look for high ground so if a river flooded then they would not have to evacuate. Besides learning about shelter, we also learned to make rope, and to make tools from stone and bones. We also learned many other things about ancient people.”
– Dommanita, elementary school student

I highly recommend Bill’s bow-building class to anyone who is interesting in self-bows. During the Baltimore Trad Classic, in 3 days, Bill took us thru every step in the bow building process, and I came away with not only a great bow, that I plan on hunting with, but the knowledge and confidence to build many more. I have already started on another bow and can’t say enough about the class.
– Mark Childers, Westminster, MD

The Meet the Plants class was a lot of fun. We got to try many different plants that I see everyday and never would have thought about eating them. We even ate a pie that some previous students had made, it was pretty good.
– Henry, Meet the plants participant

I really enjoyed the class today. Thank you for offering it. Please let me know if you schedule a summer class.
Happy Knapping to you!
– Lara, meet the plants participant

This was a very professionally run class and I found the instructor, Bill Kaczor, to be extremely knowledgeable about numerous primitive fire making techniques. He demonstrated several techniques successfully and had fire making kits available as demonstration tools. He then instructed the class on the history of fire making and on how to make the various pieces of a bow drill fire kit. He assisted us through the process of making our own kits and ended the day with us attempting to start a fire using our kits. I was able to start a fire with a bow drill on my first try despite never having attempted this skill before. Without his expert instruction on the various subtle, but key clues into this skill, I would never have been successful. This was a very fulfilling and enjoyable class and I recommend it to anyone who has enthusiasm for learning outdoor skills.
– Mark, Quest For Fire student

The wilderness survival program at Georgetown was diverse and interesting and exposed me to things I would have otherwise never have thought about. It definitely widened my horizons.
– Sara, Georgetown University Student

I really enjoyed the bow and hand drill, plant and tree identification and sit spot exercises. Identification of the forest ecology was most pertinent to me and the sits really let me open my eyes and feel more comfortable alone outdoors. It really opened my mind and my senses. I would definitely recommend this program to others, you don’t just learn the skills, you learn a whole new way of looking at the world.
– Jonathan, Georgetown University student

Our survival program was and excellent experience. Great for those interested in the subject of survival and nature. It also game me a perspective of how things work compared to what we are used to in our industrial society. The instructors went above and beyond what I expected in the class.
– Matt, Georgetown University student

My daughter and I loved your primitive pottery class. Digging our hands into the clay and making pinch pots and coil pots was a great learning experience and a great way to reconnect with the Earth. Thanks for the education =)
– Lisa and Kayli, pottery workshop

“Baltimore Bowmen was a blast of a great time and shoot. There was a small contingent of young, dedicated men (about 4 or 5) who were working very hard to perpetuate all of the ancient primitive arts and ways dealing with all aspects of archery including knapping (ABO only). I was impressed, signed a petition for allowing primitive archery gear to be used in MD (currently broad heads must be steel), bought a T- shirt from them to support the movement, and saw some nice points and a little knapping in the three times I visited their set-up . I had very interesting talks with a couple of them, saw wood billets up close and personal, and met another onlooker, whom I was so pleased to meet in person, Woody Blackwell.”

Hope y’all find some interest in this post, and I wish those dedicated “youngsters”/Ancients from B’more good luck in your pursuits.”
– Bernie, “Hunters Are People Too”