RCS Summer Programming 2019

2019 Summer Camps at RCS

Summer Programming at Rainbow is an extension of what happens during the school year. Our camps focus on holistic approaches that appeal to all learners. From hands-on nature awareness, to cultivating video skills or learning about new cultures, there’s something for everyone.

We have program offerings from Kindergarten through 8th grade. We also offer camps throughout the summer.

When applying, some camps are offered by Rainbow Community School teachers and staff. Others are offered by members of the Asheville Community. Be sure to click the registration button at the end of each camp to apply to the correct camp.

We have limited scholarships available. We encourage to inquire about availability by emailing our Camp Director, West Willmore.  

Words Have Power – Creative Writing Camp

  • June 10-14, 9:00-4:00, Rising 5th-8th graders
  • Location: Rainbow Community School
  • Camp Cost: $300 – includes composition books, writing instruments, art materials, and the cost of publishing journals at the end of camp.
  • Led by April Fox Dorion

This camp is for rising 5th- through 8th-graders and combines the outdoor fun of a relaxed summertime with plenty of time for budding authors and poets to hone their craft.

We’ll explore writers across a broad spectrum of genres, from classic authors and poets to modern songwriters. While spelling and grammar help will be offered as the campers go through the editing process, the focus will be on developing their own voices and studying the various ways that words can reflect and influence moods, emotions, society, and the world at large.

After the close of camp, the young authors’ work will be compiled in professionally-published journals that they can keep and add to as they continue their writing journey.

About the Instructor

fifth grade assistantApril Fox Dorion is Rainbow Community School’s 5th grade teacher assistant, as well as a published poet, author, and music journalist writing under her maiden name.She developed a love of words at an early age, and recognizes the power that they have: to reach others, as catharsis, to entertain, to educate, and to self-reflect. Her hope is to cultivate and encourage this love of writing in her young students and others in the community as they develop their own powerful voices.

Asheville Adventures Camp


  • June 17-21, 11:00-4:00, Rising 3rd-8th graders
  • Location: Rainbow Community School
  • Camp Cost: $300 – includes materials and bus transportation.
  • Led by Susan Waddell

Join us for a week of Asheville Adventures!

We live in one of the best cities in the world, and this week is dedicated to diving into the local history and taking time to show appreciation for what makes Asheville, Asheville.

We will spend many of our mornings expanding our knowledge of the local arts, the geography, the haunted tales, and the pop culture that has been cultivated in our region. Our afternoons field trips will deepen our understanding of and allow us to have a first-hand experience with what we studied that morning. In these visits, we will find ways to share an appreciation for the person or space visited. Our final afternoon will be the creation of a What I Love about Asheville poster filled with pictures and artifacts from our adventures (and likely some local grub!).

About the Instructor

Susan moved the Asheville in 2006, which is also when she became one of the Omega teachers here at Rainbow. The first few summers, she and her husband, Chris, ran a camp they called CampChrusan: a week of Asheville adventures.

They were filled with inspiration at every turn in this city and discovered the best way to experience Asheville was to be in it. From Art Strolls and local hikes, to trips to the Folk Art center and locations where haunted takes are set, they turned over all the stones they could in these camp days to get to know their new hometown. This camp ran for several years, and then Camp Chrusan went on pause so that Susan and Chris could raise their two children.

In her spare time, Susan can be found knitting, playing with her family, doing all things Asheville, and falling more in love with this little town daily. Susan is super excited to open the vault of Asheville secrets, make certain that her campers not only can say where they live, but what a treasure trove Asheville truly is.

Outdoor Living Skills Camp


  • July 8-12, 9:00-4:00, Rising 3rd-8th graders
  • Location: Rainbow Community School
  • Camp Cost: $285
  • Led by West Willmore

Join us for a week of outdoor exploration and fun! Gain essential survival skills and outdoor living skills through stories, games, activities and skill-based challenges.

You will learn to execute a one match fire, build a shelter with natural materials, orienteer using a map and compass, learn a variety of knots, explore our region’s wild edibles, learn a variety of ways to purify water and engage in many predator and prey games.

About the Instructorstaff

West Willmore has, for 15 years, taught natural sciences and environmental education to children of all ages. Much of West’s own education took place in nature’s classroom where she studied the unique ecosystems of the Appalachian region and the southeastern Barrier Islands, the western United States, and New Zealand.

West’s educational philosophy is anchored in place based and experiential learning. She works to nurture a love of learning by fostering in students deep connections to themselves, their community, and the natural world around them.

West holds a degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, a graduate certificate in Environmental Education, a Master’s of Education and is a NC certified teacher and administrator. West is also an avid rock climber, trail runner, cyclist, and paddle boarder.




Exploring the Magic and Mystery of the Natural World Camp


  • June 17-21, 9:00-1:00, Rising K-2nd graders
  • Location: Rainbow Community School
  • Camp Cost: $135
  • Led by West Willmore

Let’s take the opportunity deepen our connection to nature through play, exploration, and inquiry! We will spend the week exploring the nooks and crannies of Rainbow Community School’s five-acre nature oasis.

Time outside will be complete with animal observation, shelter/fort building, science experiments, nature art, sensory awareness activities, storytelling, quiet, meditative time in nature and gardening.

About the Instructor

West Willmore has, for 15 years, taught natural sciences and environmental education to children of all ages. Much of West’s own education took place in nature’s classroom where she studied the unique ecosystems of the Appalachian region and the southeastern Barrier Islands, the western United States, and New Zealand.

West is not only a North Carolina certified teacher and administrator, but also holds a degree in Environmental Science and Natural Resources and a graduate certificate in Environmental Education. She has been working as a naturalist for over 15 years.

West’s educational philosophy is anchored in place-based and experiential learning. She works to nurture a love of learning by fostering in students deep connections to themselves, their community, and the natural world around them.

Creek and Parks Camp


  • June 10-14, 9:00-12:30, Rising 3rd-8th graders
  • Location: Rainbow Community School
  • Camp Cost: $145
  • Led by Mark Strazzer

Come dressed to splash around in water and get dirty! Each day campers will visit a park and a water spot. The first part of the day camper will explore the various parks offering around Asheville. Then campers will play in the water and will end eating lunch at Rainbow’s magical playground.

Campers will visit Hominy Creek, Jones Park, The Botanical Gardens, Fletcher Park, and many more! Students must wear shoes in the water and it is recommended they bring a change of clothes. Please pack a snack as well for your child.

About the Instructor

Mark Strazzer graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Health and Physical Education and holds a Master’s in Health Education from East Carolina staffUniversity.

He has taught both middle and elementary health and physical education for 10 years in Asheville, NC, Ghana, and India. He has also spent time as a personal trainer, a diabetes counselor, and tobacco prevention coordinator. Mark serves as Rainbow Community School’s P.E. teacher and coordinates our local Hospitality League.

In his free time Mark likes to stay active. He is part of a community garden, he enjoys bike riding, and getting on the river! Dela is his dog and you might meet her in PE class one day! Mark’s favorite sport is ultimate frisbee and is a two-time world champion!


Fierce Flix


  • June 24-28, 9:00-4:00, For gender minorities and girls ages 8-16.
  • Location: Rainbow Community School
  • Camp Cost: $150 – includes all video equipment
  • Led by Fierce Flix volunteers
  • Website: Fierce Flix

Fierce Flix is a social justice film camp for gender minorities and girls ages 8-16. Over the course of a week, campers will form production teams, and write, direct, shoot, and edit music videos for local bands! The music videos will premiere as a public screening at a movie theatre at the end of camp.

Each day, campers will attend video shoots, filmmaking instruction, workshops, and a mini-screening & talkback with a filmmaker from a marginalized gender group. Throughout the week, campers are encouraged to work together, support each other, and foster one another’s unique creative abilities through positive reinforcement.

Women are significantly under-represented in film production – 9% of directors, 2% of cinematographers and 15% of writers are women. On screen, only 30.8% of speaking characters are women.

WE hope to empower the next generation of makers to change this.

About the Instructors

Fierce Flix is a volunteer-run non-profit camp. Our volunteers are filmmakers, artists, educators, parents, activists, and community members dedicated to empowering youth.


The Peaceful Warrior Camp

  • June – August, 9:00-4:00, for students ages 9-15
    Paladin Week: June 3-7
    Ranger Week (3rd-5th grade): June 17-21
    Ranger Week (6th-8th grade): June 24-28
    Monk Week: July 1-5
    Rogue Week (3rd-5th grade): July 15-19
    Rogue Week (6th-8th grade): July 22-26
  • Location: Rainbow Community School
  • Camp Cost: $350/week or $650 for two weeks or two campers
  • Led by Phil Ferguson
  • Website: The Wandering Swordsmen

This camp teaches children ages 9-15 how to be a modern day warrior that deeply values peace, compassion, and respect for themselves and their opponents. Each week will include large amounts of boffer game play using all different kinds of gear, and we will focus on studying the style of one warrior archetype and honing the abilities that they utilize in the game and the rest of life!

The mornings will be more physically active, focusing on game play and ability training. The afternoons will be less physically demanding during the heat of the day, with time and activities focused on learning how to become our own unique versions of the warrior archetype for the week.

Week of the Paladin: Specializing in sword and shield style combat, the Paladin is a warrior that embodies Devotion, Honor, and Leadership.
Week of the Ranger: Specializing in ranged combat using archery and javelins, the Ranger is a warrior that embodies Adaptability, Dexterity, and Wildcraft.
Week of the Monk: Specializing in staff and unarmed combat, the Monk is a warrior that embodies Serenity, Perception, and Grace.
Week of the Rogue: Specializing in dual weapon combat and stealth, the Rogue is a warrior that embodies Precision, Resourcefulness, and Patience.
Week of the Barbarian: Specializing in two-handed and large weapon combat, the Barbarian is a warrior that embodies Resilience, Strength, and Wildness.

About the Instructor

Phil Ferguson is the leader of The Wandering Swordsmen, an organization dedicated to the facilitation and growth of padded full contact combat sports, also known as boffing. He started training in boffer swordplay in 2006, started the Asheville team and community in 2011, and has been teaching professionally since February 2014.

Currently he teaches at many schools and festivals around Asheville, as well as weekly by donation at Carrier Park on Sundays, and travels to national events to compete numerous times throughout the year. His goal is to travel the world with The Wandering Swordsmen to help professionalize the sport, while using his training methods to teach people how to engage in compassionate combat, and by doing so help humanity learn how to resolve conflict more effectively.

Email Phil Ferguson at thewanderingswordsmenllc@gmail.com to register for this camp.


Visions USA

  • July 1 – August 2, 9:00 – 5:00 (M-F), for ages 8-17
  • Location: Rainbow Community School
  • Camp Cost: $145/week (Free for Host Families) – includes all language lessons and activities
  • Led by Katie Wilson
  • Website: VisionsUSA

Throughout July and August, Visions USA welcomes students from Europe and Asia to visit the US! Local families can participate in the multicultural fun by either hosting an international student for 2 to 4 weeks, or attending Day Camp alongside students from countries such as Germany, Cambodia, and Spain!

Students will have the opportunity to learn a foreign language (language options depend on the nationalities of our visiting students, on a week by week rotation throughout the summer, in an attempt to offer as many languages as our visiting students speak), participate in local service projects, and activities such as White Water Rafting, Carrowinds, and more!

If you decide to host, we offer one free week of day camp for American host siblings. However, you don’t have to host to take advantage of our summer day camp.


ESL Immersion Program

Visions USA is an ESL immersion program in Asheville, with students visiting April 15-27th, our visiting students participate in English classes a few mornings a week, and explore what Asheville has to offer during the afternoons, from hiking to waterfalls, volunteering with local organizations like Manna food bank and Conserving Carolina, games and more. Visiting students also have the chance to participate in full day programming at local Asheville schools.

The goal is to get a fully comprehensive experience of what Asheville has to offer, from exploring and enjoying our amazing local wilderness, engaging in typical team-building American camp games and activities, and giving back to the community through service. It’s a wonderful opportunity for mutually beneficial cultural exchange: our exchange students and their host siblings learn so much about language and culture from one another, and often form lasting life-long friendships. Each year since we first welcomed international students we have been surprised and satisfied to observe the instant connections between the visiting students and their host families.

But why not let an experienced host family tell you about their own impressions of their short-term student hosting and the effects this adventure has had for their family?: “Our family has hosted two international students over the past two summers. It was a truly enriching experience for our own children. Not only did they bond and make lifelong friends, but they now have a connection to Norway and Germany that will broaden their understanding of the world as they grow into adulthood.”

About the Instructor

staffHi, I’m Katie! I grew up in Asheville, graduated from Appalachian State University, and have taught in WNC for the last 8 years. Throughout my teaching career, I have taught everything from Spanish to Yoga, and across all ages, from PreK through highschool. I have worked in a variety of roles at RCS for the past 3 years. I absolutely love the RCS community and am thrilled to be able to bring this opportunity for multicultural learning to our students and families.

Teaching and learning languages is my first passion. I have a degree in Spanish and Applied Linguistics (Teaching English to speakers of foreign languages). It has been a great honor to develop my passion for cultural immersion and experiential learning with an ESL intensive summer camp program in my home town, Asheville NC. Starting in 2017, I developed the ESL curriculum, acted as Program Director, taking care of everything from planning activities and over seeing staff members to coordinating with local organizations, and taught as lead ESL instructor. As of 2018 I was proud to take on the entire company as Director of Operations

Looking for something meaningful to get your family involved in? Maybe you’ve always wanted to travel abroad with your family, but this year the timing just doesn’t work out. Visions USA runs short-term school year programs and all summer long as a home-stay program for students from Spain, Germany, China, even Cambodia, and YOU can host one of our visiting students! Why not bring the vacation to your home, and try a little bit of cultural exchange for your family!

Contact Director Katie Wilson at Katie.wilson@visionsusa.org with questions.