Construction Camp

This is a unique opportunity for campers to develop confidence and sense of purpose, and participate in real-life construction projects at the ranch. Campers will get training in safe building skills, learn how to handle tools, and collaborate on both larger and smaller woodworking and construction projects. In 2019 Construction Campers built 13 beds for the new Bunkhouse, which we’ll all be enjoying for many years to come!

This year Construction Campers will have the opportunity to have a hand in construction of the new Yummy Tummy Cafe!

We’ll also spend time on the land looking for materials and gaining inspiration from the natural world, and we’ll take some field trips to friends and neighbors to learn about blacksmithing, finish carpentry, earthen plasters, and creative green-building strategies.

**Note that Construction Campers won’t be riding horses during this camp, but will get to experience all the other aspects of Ekone Magic!**

If you haven’t already, please visit our main About Camp  page

to get a feel for our camp philosophy, history and the scope the Ekone Summer Camp program

Please visit the Apply Here! page to find out how to sign up!

Lead Staff for Construction Camp

Liz Coppola

Liz has a special understanding with chickens, but she understands horses and kids pretty well, too.

A dynamic leader and longtime staff member, Liz first came to Ekone as a camper in 1995 and hasn’t missed a summer since.  She is most known around the ranch for her love of all things related to homestead living: fixing things, building things, raising goats, pigs, and poultry, cooking and preserving food, putting in firewood, driving the tractor, having ever more Supreme Adventures in the woods, reading voraciously whenever there's time, and laughing loud enough to be heard from the other side of the ranch!  Liz has lived year-round at Ekone since 2013, and is now the Operations Director, as well as supporting many weeks of summer camp and other programs.  Before coming to live at Ekone full-time, Liz spent six years managing a small pasture-based livestock farm on Vashon Island, WA, raising dairy cows, pigs, sheep, and poultry for the Seattle farmer's markets. 

Liz grew up in SE Portland, and graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she received a BA in Media and Cultural Studies, as well as working at the college’s farm and CSA.  She is also certified in Wilderness First Aid.

pronouns: she/her

Shawn Bergman

A master of figuring things out, Shawn loves nothing more than solving a good puzzle and doing it sustainably...​

​Shawn joined the Ekone crew in the spring of 2017, bringing his awesome work ethic, creative problem-solving skills, and the good sense of humor necessary to deal with Ekone's infrastructure. He first visited the ranch in the early 2000s, drawn by the mission and vision of this place, and then spent many years working with other educational organizations and with troubled youth in the wilderness, developing and teaching valuable construction and wilderness skills. He's brought those skills to summer camp here, and his project crews have been known to spontaneously burst into percussive interludes with whatever's on hand—be it recycled rebar, a paint brush, or a five-gallon bucket....

pronouns: he/him

Mindy Schmidt

Mindy finds the fun in EVERYTHING.

Mindy grew up in California, Colorado, and Scappoose, OR, and excels at creative problem-solving and finding the fun in EVERYTHING. After graduating from high school, Mindy spent a year as a full-time Ekone volunteer, learning all about the ins and outs of the ranch facilities. She spent the following winter traveling extensively in Greece, Austria, and Germany, gaining further facilities and horse management skills, and we’re so glad she’s returned to Ekone to share her experience with us! She is so great to have around that we auctioned off a week of her help at 2017's Barbed Wire Ball, and the bidding was intense! In September 2018, Mindy took on the role of Ekone's volunteer coordinator.

pronouns: she/her

Dani Parker

You can usually find her on a horse, under a rig, or in the woods!

All Dani wanted as a 10-year-old girl was to live on a ranch and ride horses. And then her dad found Ekone! She spent the next eight years coming to camp and interning for programs before graduating high school. In 2012, she attended Lamar Community College in CO and obtained her A.A.S. in Horse Training & Management. During her time in Colorado, Texas, and Montana, she worked for many cattle ranches and horse training facilities, offering training, lessons, and general ranch work. After a seven-year hiatus from the ranch, she came back to Ekone in 2019 for summer camp with her amazing doggo, Dylan, and her mare, Bugs. She is now full-time volunteering and working programs. Ekone has played an integral role in shaping the person Dani has become, and she is overjoyed to be living here—a childhood dream realized! Dani's favorite summer camp activity? "Watching and facilitating the kids' breakthroughs with challenges. Whether it is with the horses, a craft, a game, or a wonder wander- seeing a child overcome an obstacle is one of the most rewarding parts of being camp staff!"

pronouns: she/her

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So much fun and community and meaningful service!