General Summer Camp Event Information

Summer Camp for Educators!

Join us for the ULTIMATE professional development experience!

 2014-06-21 22.14.09

Summer camp isn’t just for kids anymore!  Come experience Alaska in a totally unique adventure while immersing yourself in the Iditarod for nine days!  2020 Summer camp:  $875

Campers spend a minimum of four days at the Dream a Dream Dog Homestead, home of Iditarod mushers Vern Halter and Susan Whiton.  Not only has Vern run the Iditarod eighteen times, he regularly trains and prepares mushers for the trail as they embark on their own Iditarod adventures.  At the homestead, campers will get a taste of what it is like to live at a premier Iditarod kennel…. from dog yard chores, to puppy walks, to harnessing dogs, to training runs…. campers will experience it all! Well, this all does depend on mother nature –  the weather will dictate changes in schedules and changes in general…  and puppies, well, let’s just say, there are usually puppies at the kennel. *2019 Camp spent 6 days at this location before moving on to Wasilla.  2020- exact schedule is yet to be finalized.

The town of Wasilla is home base for the rest of the camp session.  Educational sessions or experiences for the campers will be presented by mushers, authors, master teachers, volunteers, and more.  Campers will have the chance to explore the surrounding area by taking field trips as a group, as well as having some time to explore on their own.  Special projects and opportunities for campers and their classes to be involved in the race will be introduced and started!  Camp is just the beginning of your journey down the trail!

A highlight of the summer camp session is attending the Volunteer Picnic at Iditarod Headquarters that coincides with the first day of signups for the next Iditarod.  Meet mushers, get autographs, and collect artifacts to take back and share with your students!

*Camp fee does not include lodging at the Dream a Dream or lodging in Wasilla for the remainder of the camp experience. Please contact us directly for further information on this.

Camp dates:  (Starts at noon the day of camp, ends about 2:00 pm on the last day of camp.)

  • 2020:  June 20 – 29
  • 2021:  June 19 – 28

Pay for Camp by clicking here.

Register for 2020 Summer Camp by clicking here.

Why attend?  Annie Kelley says….


Summer Camp provides educators

2014-06-23 10.08.15

Katie Mangelsdorf

with the opportunity

to grow their teaching toolbox!

Our mission is to help teachers be better educators and engage students in achieving academic success by implementing curriculum and activities based around the Iditarod.  The outcome of attending our summer camp is a stronger and highly qualified instructional team that will provide students graduating from high school a path to further their education with better preparation entering the fields of science, math, engineering, & technology as true world problem solvers, critical thinkers and resourceful citizens.  Iditarod based lessons and activities add rigor to your lessons and are highly engaging!  Join us at summer camp!  You’ll be glad you did!

Sessions at camp not only build a knowledge base about Iditarod and Alaska but challenge educators to use best practices of education and improve curriculum writing skills to directly impact student success through Iditarod based experiential learning opportunities.

  • Educators can receive up to 6 University credits
  • Iditarod based learning is aligned to educational standards and best practices.  (Common Core or state/national standards and 21st Century Learning)
  • Iditarod based learning lessons are developed by teachers for teachers and designed to impact academic success for learners of all ages.  What we do is driven by the needs of the teachers and students.

A Testimonial about Summer Camp and Iditarod as a Classroom Tool – Kari Hanson, Wisconsin, 2015 Summer Camp Attendee

tumblr_nus8w50Z6u1qmvwn3o1_r2_1280Whether it’s the universal love of animals, the lure of a great adventure story, or learning about a culture so different from their own, the Iditarod is a topic of study that has always appealed to my students. I’ve utilized the race as a teaching tool in my classroom for 17 years and each year I’m amazed at the level of enthusiasm the race inspires in my students who will likely not travel beyond our county (where the poverty rate exceeds 15 percent) or our state.

Personally, the Iditarod has grown from a mere topic of interest to the focus of my Capstone Project when I obtained my Master’s Degree in 2001. I’ve put a great deal of study into enhancing my knowledge of Alaska’s history, the Iditarod and dog sledding in general. I’ve attended a race in a nearby state, planned three dog sledding excursions for small groups of students and found hard-to-come by guest speakers who shared their knowledge with our class. I also scoured garage sales and nearby auctions to obtain related objects that enhance my classroom atmosphere. I had exhausted all of the resources available to me, so I applied for a Fund for Teachers grant to take part in the 2015 Iditarod Summer Camp for Educators.

The opportunity to travel to the remote state of Alaska for this workshop was a dream come true. Not only did it provide me with materials, resources and valuable collaboration, the fellowship also gave me the opportunity to learn and challenge myself. I tried many new things, stretched as an educator and witnessed different cultural traditions alive and well in the land of the midnight sun.

I am more excited for this coming school year than I can ever remember; my fellowship is going to make a huge difference in how I approach teaching.  I plan to pair my students with third graders in our district to complete the Web Ranger program managed by the U.S. National Parks Service.  This opportunity allows my seventh graders a chance to not only perfect their close reading skills while helping younger students, but also gives them the chance to be a role model. I will incorporate some higher-level technology projects to challenge those gifted and talented students who work at a quicker pace. Once my students have helped the third graders complete the Web Ranger program, they will advance to studying a national park in Alaska.  My hope is to schedule a park ranger visit to our school on National Junior Ranger Day in April or Skype with a ranger to discuss the importance of 2016’s National Park Centennial.

During my visit to the Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, I learned about the Ten Universal Values practiced by Alaska’s native groups: show respect to others, share what you have, know who you are, accept what life brings, have patience, live carefully, take care of others, honor your elder, pray for guidance, and see connections. I immediately considered how many of students lacked these values. Therefore, we are focusing on one value each month through activities and lessons that highlight the importance of each one. This will also provide great opportunities for community service projects.

Three months post-fellowship, I am still amazed that I was awarded this grant. Teaching in a small, rural district comes with many challenges and budget constrictions, but attending the Iditarod Summer Camp is by far the best professional development experience I have ever had. Words, videos, pictures, etc. can never fully explain my experience to others. No matter how I try, words do not do justice to the nine incredible days I spent on this endeavor.

To be honest with you, it is very easy to get discouraged in education today. We are working in a field where we are constantly asked to do more with less. Our dedication and professionalism is constantly called into question by people who have never stood before a group of students. At camp, I met teachers from all across the country. Although some of our circumstances were very different, our views on education were very similar:

  • We love kids.
  • We love what we do.
  • We see the value in a good education.

But many times the decisions that affect schools the most have nothing to do with any of these things. It is because of this, that I want you to know how important it is that Fund for Teachers keeps supporting teachers, students and schools.

Kari Hanson (Viroqua Middle School Viroqua, WI) has taught language arts to seventh graders for 22 years. In addition to being a 2015 FFT Fellow, she is also a previous winner of the A&E Network Idea Book for Educators grant.

2014-06-26 10.19.50 What Happens at Summer  Camp… doesn’t stay at summer camp!  You’ll learn so much and have many adventures you’ll want to share!



  • Plan to arrive in Anchorage on or before Friday and be ready to hop on the sled Saturday at noon. 
  • Campers will be meeting at the Lakefront Hotel to meet drivers and be transported to our summer camp.
  • Travel from your location to Anchorage and back is your own financial responsibility.
  • We recommend planning to leave Anchorage after six pm on Monday, the last day of camp. We will return you from camp to the Lakefront Millennium Hotel – our drop off location.  ALL campers will be dropped off at this location on Monday afternoon. (no exceptions)
  • Car rental is not recommended or required, however you may wish to rent a car especially if you are wanting to explore on your own once we reach Wasilla & if you extend your stay.  Should you rent a car and be driving it to camp, please note that you are NOT required to be a driver to our camp events.  We have transportation provided to our campers.  Should you wish to be a volunteer driver, contact us prior to your arrival in Alaska.  All expenses are your own responsibility, however.

**There are many things to see and places to explore… if you would like to explore on your own we suggest staying a few days after summer camp concludes.  You will not have time to explore on your own during our 9 day event.  You’ll be following our schedule.


Lodging expenses are ADDITIONAL to the camp registration fee. 

  • Dream a Dream Homestead:  We will take care of making your reservations for you!  No need for you to contact Vern Halter.  We do that for everyone in one camp reservation. You will pay the Dream a Dream  for your stay at the rate of about $55 per night.  We will be staying a minimum of 4 nights at this location.
  • Anchorage:  We recommend the Lakefront Anchorage, A Millennium  Hotel.  The Lakefront serves as Iditarod Headquarters during the race!  You may stay anywhere you want, however, this is just our suggestion.
  • Wasilla: Recommendation:  Grand View Inn and Suites.  Room share situations may be arranged between campers to help decrease camper costs.  Let us know, and then the other campers know if you are interested in sharing a room to cut your own costs.  About two weeks before camp, watch for a group email to campers.  This email will allow you to reply to all and ask if someone is interested in sharing a room with you before camp, after our experience at the Dream a Dream, or once back in Anchorage before your departure for home.  We do recommend you make hotel reservations well in advance of this email, however.  Most hotels allow cancellations within 24 hours of your arrival to their hotel, so even making arrangements to room share once you meet campers in person, is a possibility.
  • These recommended hotels are our pickup/drop off locations.  Should you stay elsewhere, you will need to provide your own transportation to and from our pickup  locations.  *These are our drop off and pick up locations and it is rare that we can accommodate other arrangements on the pick up and departure days.   If you are renting a vehicle, please note that since we provide transportation to and from our events, you may park and ride with our designated drivers.  However you are welcome to be a volunteer driver should you wish to do so, please speak with Diane Johnson about your volunteer decision prior to arriving at camp.


Most, but not all, meals are included in the event.

While at the Dream a Dream , except for one evening meal, all meals are included in your camp fee, unless we are off property and on field trips.  (Light breakfast, lunch, evening meal, and snacks.)  One meal will be your responsibility on the night we travel to Talkeetna.

Meals are planned with a healthy lifestyle in mind. Please inform us of any dietary restrictions and/or allergies at registration.  You may also bring snacks or special drinks to camp should you desire to supplement our meal plan.


Sorry, no free puppies…..  but:

don’t worry, we’ll have some great goodies for you!



The weather can be fickle in Alaska so it is good to prepare for multiple temperatures and types of precipitation.  You know best if you run hot or cold…but here’s a quick list of suggested items:

  • Warm jacket
  • Sweatshirt/ Sweater
  • Rain Jacket
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Bug Spray
  • Shoes/Sneakers
  • Slippers or indoor shoes to wear at the Dream a Dream facility.
  • Boots
  • CAMERA! 

We will be spending lots of time in the dog kennel.  Bring boots or shoes appropriate for helping with chores (if you choose to have a hands on experience and the opportunity to help is available) or wandering around the kennel, and hiking on roughed out trails in the woods.  Muck boots or knee high rubber boots are great for rainy weather and chores at the kennel, but not essential.  *Hiking is not required, however, this is all up to your own judgment and personal health.  Vern also has gear you can borrow.  No worries!  If you forget something or suddenly need something, we’ll help you!  Also, there is a wash machine on sight at the Dream a Dream facility for your use should you need it.

Most years, we go on early morning walks through damp wooded areas with the puppies.  (Of course, there aren’t always puppies, that’s up to mother nature.) If you wish to participate on these walks, and we hope you do, you’ll be most comfortable and enjoy this experience if you are properly dressed!




Laptop computer:  

•  We will demonstrate how technology can be used in the classroom before, during, and after the Iditarod.   

• A lap top is also a great resource for you to journal or begin working on your own curriculum. 

• There is Internet service at the Dream a Dream Dog Farm but it is sometimes a little ‘iffy’.  

Cell Phone:  

• Most have service at the Dream a Dream, but you might need to find a place outside, on the driveway, for best reception. Check with your cell phone service for specific information about reception in Alaska.  

• If you have a portable hotspot, you can bring it.  Keep in mind that it may or may not work.  

• You may also want to consider increasing your data plan for June/July so that you can easily send images or video without worry.

An empty suitcase:  

  • Many summer campers buy a suitcase or they simply mail items home! In other words, pack light if you like to shop!
  • Check air line regulations about luggage and discover what works best for your individual situation!
  • OK, we’ve got post offices in Alaska, so you can always mail a box or two from the post office to your home!   (Seriously… you will end up with all sorts of Iditarod goodies and treasures that you will want to bring back for your classrooms! ) 
  • On our ‘sight seeing adventures’, we can point you in the direction of the post office! 

Sharpie markers:  

  • The Volunteer Picnic and Sign-Up, sessions with mushers and authors, and many other activities will provide you with loads opportunities for collecting autographs! 
  • Some teachers bring their favorite Iditarod related books to collect autographs.   We’ll also give you some tips on items that make terrific classroom decorations once covered in autographs that you can purchase while you are here!


  • Bring questions you’d like answers to or topics you’d like to know more about! We will share with you as much information as possible for you to bring back to your students. 
  • All you ever wanted to learn about Iditarod is waiting for you at Summer Camp making this workshop an amazing opportunity!



* Each camp event is unique, but looking at this summary gives you and idea of a typical camp day and what you might expect.

Day One:   (1/2 Day, We start at noon! Saturday)

  • We meet campers in Anchorage and transport the campers to the Dream a Dream Dog Farm.  Campers gather at the Dream a Dream Dog Farm to meet the Iditarod camp staff and the Dream a Dream Dog Farm team!  (This is a half day session, starting at noon.)  Afternoon and evening sessions are designed to acquaint campers with the facility, get to know each other, and to start us all on an Iditarod learning journey.  Meeting the dogs in the dog yard and the puppies, taking a hike, and enjoying Alaska are top of the schedule!

Day Two:   Sunday

  • Mornings at the kennel start are always the same.  Campers rise and shine and get ready for the day.  After a light breakfast, campers can assist with dog yard chores and go on puppy walks, followed by a dog cart ride, weather providing.  Exact times are determined by the weather and other things on the kennel agenda.
  • Morning Session:  (After the dog yard adventures)  Vern Halter takes us through Iditarod 101 training.  Who better to learn about the race from then an 18 time finisher?  We’ll learn all about living at a kennel, raising these incredible athletes, training, and racing a team.  Iditarod 101 provides you with everything you need to know.
  • Speakers in the afternoon are designed to provide us with basic information about using the race as a theme in the classroom to connect content learning.

Day 3:  (Monday)

Breakfast and Puppy walks plus cart rides.  (Weather providing!)

Speakers in the morning and the afternoon are designed to build on the knowledge we’ve gained so far about the race, Alaska, and of course, using this information in your classroom.

Day Four:  Tuesday

  • Breakfast, puppy walks, and cart rides are a great start to any morning!  By now, most campers have memorized the names of the puppies and have made friends with the dogs in the kennel.
  • On our final full day at the kennel, our sessions include opportunity to fine tune our own curriculum, share ideas, and develop new projects.  Speakers and sessions provide a great deal of information to help everyone gain knowledge and begin to develop ideas for practical application in the classroom.

*Speakers and presenters at Dream a Dream Dog Homestead include the Dream a Dream team, ITC EDU Staff, including past and current Iditarod Teacher on the Trail, and other presenters including at least one musher.  You never know who will drop by to visit us.

*Light breakfasts are served daily, continental style.  Lunches and all but one evening meal are included while at camp.  (One meal is generally in the village of Talkeetna – and campers are responsible for this meal.)  

Day Five:   Wednesday :  Departure Day!  Start Fresh in Wasilla

  • We wrap up our kennel visit and head to Wasilla
  • We generally visit the Dorothy Page Museum prior to checking into hotel lodging in Wasilla.
  • Late afternoon or evening:  Visit the home and studio of Jon Van Zyle, official Iditarod artist where you  drool over his artwork, his wife Jona’s textile work, and love on their purebred Siberians! Artwork is available for purchase… what a great gift for yourself or someone back in the lower 48! 

Day Six:   Thursday

  • The Native Heritage Center introduces us to the five native culture areas found in Alaska.  We witness an amazing display of athleticism in the games of the Native Youth Olympics.  
  • Recess!  In the afternoon we follow our own passions and explore Anchorage! 

Day Seven:   Friday

  • Back to the classroom to put it all together.  Education staff members share ideas, lessons, and projects for using the race as an educational tool in all classrooms.  
  • Chief Vet, Stu Nelson, visits and share information about the true athletes – the dogs!  We learn about the attention to detail employed while caring for the teams.  
  • Teachers complete the paper work for earning college credit if they wish to earn credit.

Day Eight:   Saturday 

  • Head to headquarters for the Annual Volunteer Picnic and Sign Up Event.    Mushers stop by to sign up for the next race, sign autographs, and shoot the breeze! Teachers become groupies, win prizes, have an amazing lunch, and officially welcome the newest Iditarod Teacher on the Trail! This event takes up much of the day.  Campers are on their own in the evening.

Day Nine:   

  • Adventure ON! This day is a day of exploration.  We will provide two or three options for you to choose from and campers are responsible financially for this part of the event. 

Day Ten:  (1/2 day)

  • Our final session as we wrap it all up!  We describe how our individual explorations yesterday relate to the race and we make plans about how to implement all we have learned!  (This is a half day session)
  • We vow to keep in touch, support each other, stay calm, and mush on!  We feel refreshed, energized, and eager to ride into the new school year on a sled pulled by sixteen charging huskies!!!
  • We’ll return you to Anchorage.

*  Please note, our 9 day event is a full schedule — We put in long days because 1.  We want you to get the most adventure and knowledge out of your experience.  2.  We need to put in a specific amount of hours to maintain our university status for credits.  Although there will be some scheduled ‘down’ time, much of our schedule will keep you going for a good part of the day. 

For Further Information email: CLICK HERE

Travel / Lodging Info

Download Registration Materials at this Link!