TAP Fundamentals

ANNOUNCING for Spring 2025!

3 Weekends in the Spring + Early Registration for Earth Roots Overnight Week!

Have you heard about the TAP program and wondered if it would be a good fit for your child?  Now’s your chance to find out!  We are launching a program for you!  Students will learn basic survival skills, craft the beginnings of their kit (a forged knife, pack basket, sandals, and basic bow are all potential crafts), and the basics of foraging from the land and living cohesively with the land.  In this Fundamentals program, there will be more structure and an emphasis on learning to be in community. Students will begin to lay a foundation of independence, community living, and gatherer-hunter skills.  After a year (or more!) with TAP Fundamentals, students will be encouraged to deepen their skills and knowledge through TAP!

Anybody and everybody is welcome into TAP Fundamentals! 

Teen Apprentice Program (TAP)

One weekend a month. Eight months.
Hunter-gatherer skills in the modern world.

The Teen Apprentice Program is designed as a multi-year journey, advancing wilderness survival, tracking, and making skills, eventually leading to individualized paths of a specialized, self-sufficient lifestyle. The goal, over the course of several years, is to guide participants in a quest to find their niche in life where they can take the skills learned at TAP and practically apply them to real-world situations. Participants will leave the course empowered to connect with nature outside of programs, find and build community where they live, and develop the skills to earn a living from their experience.

We see the teens walking down one of three paths eventually: bushcraft/naturalist (outdoor ed), permaculture/homesteading, and craftsmanship. TAP students will be exposed to these three topics to varying degrees and eventually begin to learn more of one or the other as they learn where their interests and talents lie in terms of providing for themselves and community. As students progress in their skills, they will be provided with opportunities to use and challenge their strongest skills to benefit the TAP community.

Students of all levels will camp, cook, and craft together. This will create a community of diverse experience, giving the less experienced individuals a chance to be inspired by their more experienced peers, and those with more experience a chance to mentor those who are up and coming. That means a chance to increase leadership and mentoring skills for our second-year students.

Here are some of the skills we may be practicing throughout the years of TAP:

  • Bow and arrows and quiver

  • Knife or hatchet
  • Leather shoes
  • Fire-making kit
  • Wooden pack frame
  • Wooden bowl and spoon
  • Oilcloth tarp for shelter
  • Bags for the pack frame
  • Pack basket/bark pack
  • advanced campfire cooking
  • Food preservation
  • Primitive traps and their ethical use
  • Fire by friction
  • Oil cloth ponchos
  • Hand forged arrowheads
  • Tracking journals
  • Hand forged cooking implements
  • Advanced archery techniques

In addition to crafting, there is a survival layer of the program. Students will expand upon their fire-making skills, set up reliable tarp shelters, and learn techniques for hunting, trapping, and fishing using traditional gatherer-hunter methods.  They will also learn to forage edibles with the seasons, and some basic wilderness first aid.

There is also an awareness and movement layer of the program. Through games, natural movement, martial arts, and challenges, students learn how to move their bodies with stealth, agility, and strength.

Being in a tight community with other teens and instructors, teens will learn a lot about themselves, conflict resolution, and communication.

As skill level increases, we increase the difficulty level of bushcraft, food gathering and processing, and making skills. They will be given many challenges that will strengthen their ability to make decisions independently, work together as a community with less guidance from the instructors, and delve into some more intense introspection around their interests, talents, and future desires.  More experienced students will take the lead on some tasks such as cooking and clean up, always with the oversight of instructors.

These ways of being don’t magically appear. The Apprenticeship is not for everyone. Apprenticeships used to be common—a way for a motivated person to commit to more rigorous learning. An apprentice puts their whole heart into their learning and their work. Apprentices need to be up for challenge, failure, and trying again. The Apprenticeship is not a program where you’ll just hang out with friends, or be bossed around by your instructors. As individuals and as a community, you will take responsibility, you’ll experiment, you’ll feel sweet successes and you’ll feel natural consequences like hunger or cold or conflict. You’ll be challenged to see the rain and the sun, the tension and the smoothness, all as valuable parts of the human experience. This is what it means to be truly alive—super-living.

Instructors: Camille Thionville, Peter Yenken, and  Jack Antes/David Kehoe

Join us, one weekend a month. Come and dive into challenges, into connection, into resourcefulness, into learning, into what feels real. Answer “Yes!” to the call to adventure!

Details & Application for the Teen Apprentice Program

  • 2024 – 2025 Weekends:

    Sep: 21-22
    Oct: 26-27
    Nov: 23-24
    Dec: BREAK (make-up if needed)
    Jan: 25-26
    Feb: 22-23
    March: 22-23
    April: 26-27
    May: 24-25
    June: weeklong TBA

  • Arrival Saturday morning at 9 am. Camping overnight on Saturday. Pick up on Sunday at 4 pm.

  • Ages 13 – 17
  • Multiple sites around the Charlottesville area

  • Teen Apprentice Program Pricing: Payment plans are available.

    Full Year Sept 2024 – June 2025: $3,150.


    Application required. We are accepting applications for the 2024 – 2025 program now

    Applications will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis so don’t wait to apply.

  • All project materials and meals are provided and included in the tuition cost.

  • Free T-shirt included

Details for the Teen Apprentice Program Fundamentals

  • Spring 2025 Weekends:

    March: 15 – 16
    April: 12 – 13
    May: 10 – 11

  • Arrival Saturday morning at 9 am. Camping overnight on Saturday. Pick up on Sunday at 4 pm.

  • Ages 12 – 16

  • Multiple sites around the Charlottesville area

  • Teen Apprentice Program Fundamentals Pricing: Payment plans are available.

    Spring 2025: $860.

    No Application required.

  • All project materials and meals are provided and included in the tuition cost.

  • Free T-shirt included