Camps for fierce young women

about us

we make magic with young people in nature. they grow taller, more confident, more relaxed, happier, and deeply empowered.  it's critical that every young women know their power and feel connected to one another and to this place.  we  believe that connection creates power and the quickest way to connect is through fun.


melanie nead

Melanie Nead has a gift for bringing people together and inspiring team spirit. she is a builder, a uniter, and a lover of the natural world. as the owner of icon tattoo from 2009-2014, she operated a custom tattoo studio with more female artists than any other shop in the city, and built a unique community that engaged with tattoo artists, clients, non-profits, businesses, and craftspeople across a wide array of disciplines. a fiction writer, Melanie has been published in the kenyon review online, worked with anthony doerr at the tin house writers workshop, and been honored by glimmer train. she has written a novel and a book of short stories, and is a passionate lover of books. she teaches garden design, and studies medicinal plants and the botany and ethnobotany of the pacific northwest. she has worked with youth for her whole life, and loves connecting with people of all ages. she also plays drums, rockhounds, and speaks spanish. 


renee jenkinson

 renee has a SPECIAL KNACK FOR WORKING WITH and inspiring growth in YOUNG PEOPLE. FERAL GIRLS camp has been in the making for over sixteen years of LEARNING FROM AND INSPIRING YOUNG WOMEN through experiential education. IN THE CLASSROOM renee HAS TAUGHT HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY, HEALTH, ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY, leadership, CREATIVE WRITING, and coached cross country AT both  HAWAII PREPARATORY ACADEMY AND CATLIN GABEL SCHOOL.   OUTDOORS, SHE HAS GUIDED TRIPS FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOLERS AS THE OUTDOOR PROGRAM TEACHER AT catlin gabel, creating a robust expedition program with a focus on girls, decision making, and resiliency.  she's been a LEAD GUIDE AND CURRICULUM DEVELOPER AT ALPENGIRL.  and has taught and guided in alaska, montana, washington, hawaii, japan, mexico, india, and scandinavia.  she has also guided for SIGNAL FIRE ARTS (backcountry artist residencies), PORTLAND WALDORF, AND EKONE RANCH.  renee is the founder and camp director at ola hawaii camp; a girls camp that connects girls to the community and land of hawaii.  since 2004, renee's been teaching wilderness emergency medicine with nols wilderness medicine, empowering leaders with skills in risk management, accident prevention, and emergency medical response response.   SHE is a Wilderness and national registry EMT, and trained challenge course facilitator, swiftwater rescuer, and amga single pitch instructor.  

Vision & Values


Feral Girls Camp is a wild, hands-on response to messages of misogyny, objectification, and disempowerment. Now more than ever, we need to amplify messages of girls' bravery, worth, wisdom, and wonder. Now more than ever, we need fearless girls to become fearless women. 

We believe that connection creates power, and that the quickest way to connect is through FUN. Our long-term vision for the camp is of arts and outdoor immersion experiences in which girls—from upper- and lower- income families; girls without families; girls from all backgrounds, cultures, and countries of origin; girls who identify as girls, no matter what equipment they were born with—have access to the same outrageous, empowering, life-changing quality of adventure, and equal opportunities to connect with themselves, one another, and the immense natural beauty of oregon and the world. 

We believe that inequality and privilege are self-reinforcing systems that work along income lines. Access to elite arts and immersion experiences are a privilege of upper-income youth, and lead to elite opportunities later in life. We believe that intervening at this crucial age—12-20 years—can directly impact adult outcomes. through our unique model, which combines paid and scholarship campers, We create a space to bond with peers from different economic and cultural backgrounds. Not only is this an intrinsically valuable experience, it creates channels of connection that carry into adulthood, and helps fight the privilege inequality cycle.  

how do we get there? 

We believe that the tools for empowerment are gained through access, connection, and self-confidence.

We offer girls access to nature, to our own skills and resources, and to the examples of strong, talented, creative women. through our camps, girls gain access to skills both practical and personal: construction, art, writing, botany; leadership, team-building, organization, responsibility, agency, and courage.

We foster connection between girls from diverse backgrounds; between the campers and adult role-models; between INDIVIDUALs AND THE COMMUNITY; BETWEEN participants and the natural world.

we inspire self-confidence Through our dynamic camp model, combining planned programming and experiential learning with self-determination, allowing girls to push beyond their comfort zones and sparking self-worth that will last a life time.

We impart skills and experience that contribute to college acceptance and life success, as well as an expanded view of the self and one’s possibilities in the world. Our ultimate goal is to combine 50/50 upper- and lower- income campers, offering girls high-quality arts, language, outdoor immersion, exchange, and leadership programming without the segregation of free/low-income and paid/high-income programs. 

can camp experiences REALLY LEAD TO LASTING CHANGE? 

All our programs involve goal-setting, self-evaluation, and self-reflection, both individually and within the group. The emphasis on processing and reflection leads to transference of skills and experiences into the girl’s life, and creates a vehicle for lasting growth and change.

Through our leadership curriculum, girls who participate in our camps can take on leadership roles for younger campers, and eventually within the larger organization. In our leadership training, we emphasize skills and responsibilities that help young women become successful adults, such as budgeting, planning, health and safety, record-keeping, and organizing.

Why not a non-profit?

We believe that being a for-profit benefit corporation adopting B Corp standards ensures our ability to do long-term, sustainable good. with the b corp model, we can run a social justice-minded, dynamic, changing business model that adapts to the financial and cultural climate. We have seen too many non-profits lose their best talent because of low wages, or fail as organizations due to a lack of funding. We believe that in a for-profit world, we can have the greatest reach—and the greatest power to do good—by creating a self-sustaining for-profit business model that pays living wages to our employees and continually expands our operations and reach.

we employ women as co-counselors both domestically and abroad at generous rates, creating job opportunities for women in the arts—a traditionally undervalued field—as well as for women from education, construction, health, and science backgrounds. Our talented staff allow us to roll job training/shadowing into our camp model. at every step, we evaluate how to maximize our advantages and assets to benefit the greatest number of people, including staff, vendors, employees, and campers. we are building a business model that incentivizes leadership, innovation, collaboration, and creative thinking. 

What is a b corp? 

From the b corp "declaration of interdependence:"

we envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good. 

as b corporations and leaders of this emerging economy we believe:

that we must be the change we seek in the world. 

that all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered. 

that, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all. 

to do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations. 


Where are you going with all this?

we're so glad you asked! 

2017: fundraise for land purchase.  run girls and adult programming throughout the year.  expand our scholarship programming to work towards our ultimate goal of 50% scholarship campers. The camp model—especially one with a scholarship component—has a fundamentally narrow profit margin. purchasing a facility will enable us to create a revenue stream to subsidize the girls’ camps and scholarship programs, as it can be rented Throughout the school year for events, artist residencies, and adult camps. 

2018: we'll broaden our reach to include Spanish immersion programs in costa rica and surf camps in hawaii.  and host events and retreats in the off season on the land. 




We couldn't hold camps without the generosity and fierce support of these amazing businesses!

give them your money. they deserve it.

guerrilla development     NORTHWEST DECONSTRUCTION SPECIALISTS     kirsten holliday  

  STANBRIDGE fOTO     zach's shack     wildcraft ciderworks

icon tattoo studio    POR QUE NO TAQUERIA     HARTWOOD pdx     donnie vegas

cassidy jewelry     riley richard woodworks     sara barner bags

p's and q's market     tidy gnomes     betsy and iya     emily katz     loyly sauna

dina no ceramics    olo fragrance     bernstein's bagels

golden rule design     north portland yoga     people's yoga     keen shoes

andy paiko glass     seagrape bath and body     land gallery     oko portland     curious comedy theater     lowell portland

nossa familia      bakeshop     thomas and sons     ann heideman

authentic electric     pomegranate pet boutique