Photo by Tegan Mierle

Central Asian Summer Camp for Children

Stacy and I have had this dream to open a camp for children in Central Asia for several years now.

We have traveled into the area many times over the years and are on our way back in about 2 weeks from now (Alex motivated me to make time to blog this adventure) with a group of children.

As many of you know Stacy (PhD) has co-authored a textbook about Child Psychology (thank you Barb), in the process of writing her second and I like boasting about her. Besides that, I’m just a big boy and like to play with other kids.

The Camp will likely have many aspects to it (we have tested a few concepts) and we have prioritized them but the first thing is to find the right piece of land that fits our needs. Besides the children’s camp (Sets of A-Frames and a Lodge) we have also talked about having: a university and private research center on the land (which it appears we can receive grants to build once we own the land); clinic; library; chapel; Art citadel for Stacy (which I’m thinking I might just build a tree fort with a roof for her to paint under), Yurts for Rich and other adults; Sauna for Ron; horses and more (at this rate there’ll be no space for the kids).

We have three general areas that we like (each hundred’s of miles apart) but we have narrowed it down to the border (the red line in the river on the map below) of the Altai Krai and Altai Republic along the Katun River near Manscherok Russia in southern Siberia, Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan and other small countries in the area. Not far from this area is where Genghis Khan kept his hordes, the gold mines of Genghis Khan (hence the name Altai “gold”) and his brother’s burial pyramid (a big mound of well-cut rocks a few hundred feet tall with shrubs growing on it).

Photo by Ron of the map he carries everywhere in his pocket

We have seen (drove by slowly) the two pieces in yellow but we plan to take a look at a few other pieces that are near these two and inspect/explore all of them more thoroughly and maybe camp at each site after the children get tired of us.

Yes, the Katun river is turquoise like the Lech river that runs through Füssen in Bavaria and the Altai mountains are very similar to the Alps or Cascade mountains.

The northern piece on the map (top) is just under 10 acres and the southern piece is just under 16 acres and the flooding happens on the east side of the river. The trees you see to the west side of the map is a little hill that raises up some 500 feet. I did want more acreage like 50+ but these two pieces border state land (i.e., forest) and not far away is the UNESCO site of Shambhala. If it is these 2 pieces the southern area could be the camp but we’ll figure this out later.

After we see the different pieces it becomes a question of negotiating for the land (this is Wil’s job) and if all goes well maybe by the end of summer we’ll have some land or be in the process of buying it. No homesteading the land or no grants for a research center for several years and this center is one of the main ways we plan to pay for the maintenance of the camp.

We’ll be home on 16 July so we’ll take lots of pictures and share them when we get back but maybe a few pics might slip out when we’re near WiFi.

If you have questions, ideas, or want to be involved somehow just highlight this area and write us a little something or write a comment below.

Ron the Siberian

Photo by Wil Stewart