The mission of the Camp Linden Summer Children’s Program is to introduce inner-city children to the wonders of nature. Our 50 acre property is located along the Brandywine in the rolling hills of Chester County, five miles from West Chester, PA. It is owned and operated by the Philadelphia Ethical Society.
We offer a six week summer program, free of cost, to day camps serving school age children from low income urban families. Our partners bring the same group of children to Camp Linden on the same day each week for a program which includes swimming and environmental education.
During the summer of 2016 we served 200 children who were brought to Camp Linden by five organizations based in Philadelphia: The Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia; Community Concern 13; Spring Garden School; The Center for Returning Citizens; and United Communities of Southeast Philadelphia; and two from Wilmington: Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center and the William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center.
For more information about our partners see Summer Views 2016.
Our facilities include a 30 by 75 foot pool with separate bathrooms and dressing tents for boys and girls. We employ two certified life guards as swimming instructors. We teach basic swimming skills to beginners, and campers who already know how to swim receive instruction at their level. Campers are given a swimming lesson and period of free swim each day they attend.
Our environmental education curriculum, designed for children ages six through twelve, includes gardening, exploration of the natural world, learning activities in the Nature Center, and one week focusing on Native American culture. Each week has a different theme or major activity. See Camp Linden Program 2016.
Our vegetable garden includes twelve 4-feet by 12-feet raised beds. Seven raised beds are planted by volunteers from the Ethical Society for campers to harvest, and five are reserved for planting and cultivation by our campers.
Our nature program inspires campers to observe with all of their senses and fully appreciate the natural world. Counselors guide campers in walking our fields and trails, wading in the Brandywine, catching bugs, and learning about the insects, birds, animals and plant life they encounter at camp.
The Nature Center
Activites in the Nature Center follow up and enhance the hands-on gardening and nature exploration. Campers taste vegetables harvested in our garden and learn about the life cycle of plants, the role of pollinators, and how all elements of our environment relate to one another.
Native American Culture
Chief Shelley DePaul of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania was in residence at Camp Linden one week during the summer to teach campers about Lenape Indian cultural and values.