I began a long relationship with summer camp when I was 9 and my parents sent me to camp along the coast of North Carolina. As a child, I was very shy and not comfortable around people I didn’t immediately know. I vividly remember running after my parents car as they drove away that first day and crying for the remainder of the day despite being surrounded by other girls who were in the same situation. My cabin counselors tried very hard to make me feel at home but I moped around a few more days regardless. Prior to attending camp, I really hadn’t found a personal passion other than cartoons and Barbie dolls. Sailing was an elective at camp and through the urging of my cabin counselor, I chose to take it. We were taught the basics of sailing, nautical navigation and water safety and I quickly excelled in the sport. I was soon crowned boat captain and was made responsible for a small crew, a responsibility that I carried all summer. I also started to open up to people and quickly found myself surrounded by an awesome group of new friends. Before I knew it, half the summer had passed and it was time for parents weekend. Needless to say my parents were shocked to see how well I had adjusted to camp life and were pleasantly surprised by my interest and skill in sailing. As the second half of the summer progressed, I continued to make new friends and got even more active in camp life. I had no idea then that the bonds I was creating that summer would literally last a lifetime. As the end of summer neared I was already making plans with my new friends to return the next summer. Upon returning home my parents surprised me with a small sailboat so I could continue sailing away from camp. After 6 more summers as a camper and an avid sailor, I was hired as a sailing instructor at the same camp and enjoyed the opportunity to help other girls realize their passion for the sport. I remained on as a summer sailing instructor for 5 more years. My passion for aquatic sports also helped me make the rowing team in college where I rowed all 4 years. Looking back at it, I realize that my first year of summer camp set all of this in motion. I have remained close with my very first cabin counselors over the last 25 years and I have taken every opportunity to thank them for nudging me in the right direction that summer. It literally changed my life.
—Miranda Kinney Daves
Few childhood experiences are as memorable as the hot, activity-packed days that I spent at summer camp. Even as an adult I often reflect back on the four weeks I spent lakeside every summer with envy, wishing I could relive even just one day of it. Each summer, for an all too brief time, I was introduced to a new circle of amazing friends who helped ease the awkwardness and insecurities that adolescence often ushers into our lives. The camaraderie I experienced within those camp gates was palpable but more importantly the relationships I formed were lifelong. Each year as Spring crashes into Summer, I think about the bubbling excitement I felt as the first day of camp approached. Shorts, bug spray, swim trunks and wide-eyed anticipation were sealed up in my camp trunk and loaded up in the car for the journey. My summer camping experiences taught me important lessons about humanity, trust, faithfulness and most importantly friendship.
—Jason D. McQueen, Austin Texas
What Parents Have to Say…
Camp has given my kids an opportunity to grow on the outside, but most importantly on the inside! They were a bit nervous the first time they left home for a week or two, but once they got there, they experienced a surge of self-confidence and independence that they just would not have gained had they stayed home with mom all summer. Camp teaches kids new skills and stretches their boundaries.
The value of sending your kids to camp is that it’s a fun way to make them personally responsible for their time and materials. They also learn skills at camp, from survival to personal communication, that are useful outside of camp.
My husband and I both grew up going to camp every summer and we send all four of our children because in our minds it’s a quintessential part of childhood. The happy memories they make at camp will last them a lifetime.
I never went to camp as a camper, but spent five summers as a camp counselor. Those summers were so much fun and hold some of my most dear memories. The campers, camp directors and lifelong friendships with other counselors have shaped who I am today. As the mother of a 1 year old, my husband and I already talk about which camp we will send our son to. We want him to have the same exposure to the outdoors, community living and lasting friendships.
I am a parent of 2 teens who have enjoyed attending summer camp for the last 5 summers. I can tell you that their camp experiences have helped shape them into the fantastic young people they have become. Every year during our car ride home I am amazed by the many ways they have grown during their time away. I get to hear all about the fun and challenging times they shared with their new camp friends and I love learning a little more about my own kids, through their camp stories. I know when I drop them off at camp, they will be well taken care of and surrounded by positive influences. Unfortunately I can’t always be assured of that here in our small town, so I have pledged to do whatever it takes to afford my kids the summer camping experience as long as they are willing to participate.
—Charlie D. Ray
“My favorite thing from last summer was going on the 3-day overnight backpacking trip in the mountains. It was the first time I ever hiked 8 miles with all my stuff on my back.”
“Week long climbing trips in Linville Gorge!”
“My best friends in the world are my camp friends. We still keep in touch after all these years and we are all planning to send our kids to the same camp in just a few years.” -J Lewis
“The dining hall was my favorite camp place. We spent lots of time there…eating as much as we wanted, learning camp songs and it’s where we had the dances too.” -Ben E.
“I was a counselor at Camp Kahdalea and I will never forget the day I walked into my cabin and found one of my campers sitting on the floor with hair all around her and 2 of my other campers bending over her with scissors in hand.” -Amy A.
“Going tubing down the Davidson River.”
“I’m 36 years old and I’ll never forget the day I completed the damn swim across the Lake at Camp Merrie-Woode!!” -Martha Evans
“I really loved my camp counselor Kate. We had the best cabin and she was really awesome when we got homesick, and she also taught us how to rock climb!”
The first day of camp…seeing everyone from last summer, finding out who was in your cabin and meeting your counselor.
Located in a secluded 500-acre Appalachian wildlife sanctuary, this unique camp offers overnight nature studies interwoven with hikes, music, arts and games. Caring, knowledgeable, dynamic staff and 32 campers develop a lasting community that promotes high quality education, individual growth and challenge.
Year Founded: 1963
Staff/Camper Ratio: 1:2
Directors: Lavinia Schoene
Address: HC 83 Box 38DD, Capon Bridge, WV 26711
Phone: (703) 842-0470
WHAT A DAY!! BOY AM I ENTHUSIASTIC! Since 1924 the overall purpose of Camp Carolina is to make a boy’s summer experience safe, fun, memorable and a valuable factor in his complete development. The key to camp is the staff. Our counselor’s most important characteristic is being a positive role model. We offer a large variety of activities including traditional American, international sports, music, arts and outdoor adventure. Our emphasis is to promote, inspire and reward good citizenship and sportsmanship.
Year Founded: 1924
Staff/Camper Ratio: 3:1
Director: Alfred Thompson
Address: PO Box 919, Brevard, NC 28712
Phone: (800) 551-9136
A small family farm camp in the North Carolina mountains. Under Quaker leadership for over 50 years. Boys and Girls ages 7-10/ 11-12. Farm chores, hiking and camping, crafts, skits, nature study, games, swimming, tubing. Warm relaxed atmosphere.
Year Founded: 1951
Staff/Camper Ratio: 1:3
Directors: Barbara Perrin and Gib and Annie Barrus
Address: 775 Hannah Branch Rd, Burnsville, NC 28714
Phone: (828) 675-4323
Camp Hidden Meadows
Spectacular location and quality program. Coed, 1, 2, 3 & 4 weeks. Horses, Rock Climbing, Caving, Arts, White-water rafting, Organic Farm, Biking, 1,000 foot zip line and more!
Year Founded: 1992
Staff/Camper Ratio: 1:6
Director: Tom Bryant
Address: HC 77 Box 117, Bartow, WV 24920
Phone: (800) 600-4752
Camp Juliette Low
Located in NW Georgia on Lookout Mountain and celebrating our 85th year of camping! A traditional girls camp which is ACA accredited and features swimming & diving, sailing & canoeing, ropes course & climbing wall, archery, tennis, outdoor living skills, horseback, crafts, singing, campfires, tent living and friendship!
Year Founded: 1922
Staff/Camper Ratio: 1:4
Directors: Nancy Brim and Kappy Kelly, Owned & Managed by a Board of Trustees
Address: Located In Cloudland, GA (Off-season Address: P.O. Box 5113, Marietta, GA 30061)
Phone: (770) 428-1062
Camp Merrie-Woode is a rustic, traditional girls camp in western North Carolina. We are a noncompetitive camp focused on fun, growth, and instruction. The 93 year old camp sits beside a lake, beneath a 1000 foot rock face. Camp’s programs are comprehensive with emphasis on backpacking, rock climbing, horseback riding, canoeing, and kayaking.
Year Founded: 1919
Staff/Camper Ratio: 3:1
Directors: Denice and Jim Dunn
Address: 100 Merrie-Woode Road, Sapphire, NC 28774
Phone: (828) 743-3300
Camp Mondamin for Boys & Camp Green Cove for Girls
Since 1922, these residential summer camps in North Carolina have emphasized horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, swimming, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and tennis. Numerous wilderness trips are offered. The program is non-competitive and has an individualized focus. Join the adventure!
Year Founded: 1922
Staff/Camper Ratio: 4:1
Directors: Frank Bell and Nancy Bell
Address:PO Box 8 Tuxedo, NC 28784
Phone: (800) 688-5789
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: mondamin.com or greencove.com
Green River Preserve
Summer Camp for Bright, Curious and Creative children who love to explore nature. Daily field trips with professional naturalists – 3,400 acre wildlife preserve in Western North Carolina. Climbing, canoeing, painting, fencing, gardening and much more. Small, non-competitive, co-ed, rising 2nd through 9th graders. One, two, three week sessions, June 5th through August 8th. Expedition programs for rising 9th through 12th graders. American Camp Association Accredited.
Year Founded: 1987
Staff/Camper Ratio: 3 to 1
Directors: Missy and Sandy Schenck, Executive Directors
Address: 301 Green River Road, Cedar Mountain, NC 28718
Phone: (828) 698-8828
Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre summer camp
Address: 4000 Candlers Mountain Rd, Lynchburg, VA 24503
Phone: (866) 504-7541
North Carolina Outward Bound
As the oldest independent outdoor education program in the U.S., we deliver challenging wilderness adventures designed to teach more than just outdoor skills. Weaving teamwork, leadership, communication, environmental stewardship, service, self-reliance and compassion into all our courses, students will feel a sense of accomplishment.
Year Founded: 1967
Staff/Camper Ratio: 1:6
Address: 2582 Riceville Road, Asheville, NC 28805
Phone: (866) 282-6262 ext. 1
Rockbrook Camp for Girls
An all-girls overnight summer camp located in the mountains of western North Carolina. Established in 1921, it provides a diverse program of horseback riding, outdoor adventure activities, whitewater rafting, ceramics, crafts, and many other activities. Girls ages 6-16 attend for 2-, 3- or 4-week sessions.
Staff/Camper Ratio: 1:3
Directors: Sarah and Jeff Carter
Address: P.O. Box 792, Brevard, NC 28712
Phone: (828) 884-6151