We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikki Hudon and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nikki, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I am a teacher by trade and have always been inspired by the Forest schools they have in Europe. The inspiration to start JuneBugs came to me when I was doing part-time babysitting for some families around Wash Park over the summer. I would take the kids to the park, but we never quite made it to the playground because the kids were engrossed in playing in nature. We would climb trees, watch the ducks, catch crawfish, and play in the mud. I knew from studying different pedagogies, the social/emotional and intellectual benefits of outdoor play and learning for children. I also saw a need in my community for a small outdoor program, especially after a covid school year. I’m learning more and more about the ins and outs of running a business, but my true goal is to help children in Denver feel more connected to the natural world.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
JuneBugs is a forest-school-inspired camp that runs out of Washington Park for children ages 3-7. It started out as a summer camp, but is now being held during all school breaks! I think what makes JuneBugs unique is that it is a nature-based camp that caters to young children, it is held completely outdoors (all-weather), and it has a small group size (3-4 kids a day).

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I was born in Steamboat and grew up in the Denver Metro area, so we would have to explore both the mountains and the city. One of my favorite mountain activities is backpacking, so I would take them on an overnight trip to Telluride. Then, we would do some spooky car camping at the UFO Watch Tower in Saguache, followed by a day of sandboarding at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. In Denver, I would start the day with a bike ride around Sloan’s Lake. Then I would take them to Meow Wolf followed by a burrito at El Taco De Mexico.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I think my biggest shoutout should go to the Professors at MSU Denver’s Early Childhood Education Department. It’s because of the quality education I received there that I have such a strong foundation of understanding of what quality of care and education looks like in early childhood. I’d also like to shout out my parents for always letting me explore the woods as a young kid and my friends for believing in me, supporting me, and going on crazy hikes with me.

Website: JuneBugscamp.com

Instagram: junebugsoutdoorcamp

Facebook: Junebugs Summer Camp

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