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Connecting Youth to Our Community Through Meaningful Programs


“It takes a village to raise a child”


You’re working hard to raise your kids and give them as many opportunities as you can. Let TCA help you give your kids the unique opportunities they deserve.


The Community Academy connects kids with our community through long-term community projects in collaboration with their peers, mentors, and community leaders so that kids grow up happy and healthy because they become an integral part of our community.



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Kids that are…




It is hard being a parent

You want your kids to grow up with all the experiences that can mold them into successful adults, but too many kids are struggling to find meaning in their lives with all of the adversities they face each day.

  • Bullying
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Disengagement from school and family
  • Turning to more risk-taking behavior
  • Choosing to end their life.


Sign up for a TCA program and start connecting your child to our community today!

Ruby’s Story

Ruby is an amazing friend who really loves other people. She is curious and loves learning. Her transition from an active, play-based preschool to a more traditional public school classroom was challenging. She has a difficult time sitting at a desk doing worksheets all day and wishes she could do more things outside and have more active educational experiences. Ruby’s family had heard of The Community Academy and were eager for her to try something new. She registered for one week of 2023 Summer Experience with TCA after completing first grade. 


After that first week was complete, Ruby and her parents knew this was the right environment for her to be successful! She met new friends, increased her confidence and sense of belonging, and learned about water testing and conservation, native plants, and canoeing. They registered her for three more weeks later in the summer. 


Overall, the four weeks Ruby spent in Summer Experience were wonderful. She was an advocate for her peers, a leader in trying new things, and connected easily with people of all ages. Her presence cheered those around her, even on hot, potentially cranky days. Staff were so touched on the last day when she lingered after her parents arrived for pickup. Ruby insisted on making personal contact with each adult present, not just those who led her own small group, and many peers, for hugs and a tearful farewell.

Our Programs

TCA offers several types of unique programming in order to provide more nature, more authentic and more community experiences to youth in preschool through 12th grade.

We strive to make all programs accessible to all kids, so that all kids know they belong in our community. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions about specific programs and the needs of your children.

Community projects are the overarching focus of TCA’s programming in the long run. These adaptive projects connect youth to each other and their community through meaningful work that they are partners in directing.

Community-based Projects

Weekly Sessions

These projects take place over the course of at least one year, but are often multiple years, or ongoing in nature. The outcomes and objectives for each project are NOT developed ahead of time by staff, but are determined through adaptive work with community stakeholders and youth over the course of the project.

Experience Sessions

Weekly or Single Session

These sessions focus on giving students unique experiences with phenomena, places, and events. The Ames Explorers visit local businesses and organizations for behind the scenes tours. We also offer camping, canoeing, indigenous culture experiences, etc.

Skill Building Sessions

Weekly or Single Sessions

These sessions focus on students developing their skills in areas they are curious about. Art, woodworking, electronics, etc.