Honeybee’s Adventure Time aims to help children gain confidence, independence, friendships, and lifelong, magical memories

By Hilary Dartt

At first glance, an observer of Honeybee’s Adventure Time programs would see a bunch of kids playing outside: climbing rocks, trees, and mountains; building forts; jumping over (or splashing in) creeks.

But Honeybee Slayton, founder, knows that while they’re engaged in the simple act of playing, the children she spends time with are gaining invaluable experience.

“Children need to experience the world through their own eyes,” she said during a recent interview.

In today’s world, she said, children have everything decided for them, and lots of things done for them. Activities and lessons are so planned and structured.

“Children need to be wild and free,” Honeybee said. “Truly wild and free. These days there are so many rules that kids don’t get that anymore.”

Adults often tell children, “Be careful,” or, “Don’t do that,” which undermines children’s self-esteem and stops them from discovering what they’re truly capable of..

Having the opportunity to explore the world in their way, at their pace, empowers children to develop confidence, get to know themselves and their boundaries, and use their imagination.

Professionally, Honeybee has done a little bit of everything. But she found her calling when she started working at a camp a decade ago; she loved being outside with the kids, and frequently, the teachers and principals who brought students there told her she needed to work with children.

“I’ve always wanted to start an adventure program for kids,” she said. “I just love being outside with kids.”

Later, when she worked as the garden teacher at Mountain Oak School, Honeybee started a weekly after-school hiking club. Interest was great, and she soon added days to the schedule. When Covid hit, Honeybee took a leap and launched her business, Honeybee’s Adventure Time.

After-school hikes now take place Wednesday through Friday, with a longer hike on Saturdays. Honeybee offers all-day adventures on Fridays, as well as rock climbing classes for children, teens, and adults, slacklining, watercraft adventures, campouts, sledding, and more. There are also camps for spring, winter, and summer break. Parents can always join the activities, or they can drop off their children (Honeybee offers drop-in and monthly rates). She’ll be adding archery to the schedule soon.

Although activities are planned in terms of time and location, Honeybee follows the kids’ leads, allowing them to decide what they want to do each session, whether that’s run as far up a mountainside as they can, build a fairy house, turn a giant log into a seesaw, or build a fort.

“To watch these kids rock climb for the first time, and they’re so scared, but by the third or fourth time they’re at the top,” Honeybee said, “just seeing their confidence go up. It’s amazing. So many parents say I’ve changed their kids’ lives.”

In addition to giving children the freedom to explore and play, she said, her most important value is loving, accepting, and cherishing the children. By doing so, and meeting them where they are, she can help them build their confidence, become more independent, and connect with the earth, each other, and themselves.

“I’m trying to bring about children who will change the world, not just be part of it,” Honeybee said. And, “I get to be part of these amazing lifelong memories for these kids. What a gift that is.”

Honeybee’s Adventure Time is an LLC and insured. Honeybee is certified as a Wilderness First Responder and has her Prescott National Forest Outfitters permit and fingerprint clearance card.

This year’s summer camps are tentatively scheduled to take place 7:45 a.m.–3:00 p.m. each day May 30–June 3, June 6–10, June 20–24, July 4–8, July 18–22, and July 25–29, 7:45–3:00 p.m. each day. The cost is $250 per week or $75 per day for drop in. Children are welcome to stay from 3:00–6:00 p.m. for an additional $25 per day or $75 per week.

Learn more at www.honeybeesadventuretime.com or on Facebook @honeybeesadventuretime. Email [email protected] with questions.