On the water side, we do a lot with swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and sailing. In the woods, we travel by foot, mountain bike, and horse. We also love to rock climb. These are the major activities. There’s also a tennis program, nature, and of course, crafts. Age is not a requirement for any activity or trip. Each camper progresses at his own rate, participating in the activities that he finds most stimulating, and is not tied to a cabin or age group.
“Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air, and to eat and sleep with the earth.”
Swimming is basic to safety on the waterfront, we want all campers to be at least at an intermediate level; those who are not take lessons at least once a day. Since ours is a non-competitive program, the emphasis is on form and endurance – not on speed. All swimming is supervised by lifeguards.
We begin on the lake, where we work on safety and basic strokes. When ready, campers take river trips, training at first on easy Class I and II rivers, then moving up in difficulty and challenge as they are able. We take easy river and lake trips for the inexperienced paddlers, and one to five day trips on Class III and IV rivers for those ready. We spend lots of time teaching how to read water, ferry, catch eddies, and play in the river’s many waves and hydraulics. We especially emphasize river safety and judgment.
Mountain Biking is a wonderful way to cover a lot of rugged country quickly, and lends itself to our trail system beautifully. We have 800 acres of woodland, with many miles of easy to difficult trails. Most children bring basic skills from home and can apply them to our environment quickly. We take lots of day trips, and quite a few overnights as well. There are BMX bikes also, for those not ready for 21 speeds.
The fleet includes Flying Scots, Snipes, Lidos, Lasers and Optis - many of the same boats a local sailing club is likely to use. We like a variety of boats, that way, you learn to manage different rigs and different handling characteristics. Experienced sailors often take a couple of the boats to other, larger lakes (like 9,000 acre Lake Jocassee) to sail and camp for several days.
Riding begins with a good string of school horses, good facilities and systematic instruction. We own almost all of our horses, and have trained many of them. This enables us to maintain a good balance of mounts suitable for the needs of beginning, intermediate and advanced level riders. Facilities include rings of varying sizes, fields equipped for intermediate to advanced instruction, and many trails. We teach forward seat, English riding.
For us, mountaineering includes backpacking and rock climbing – sometimes separately, sometimes hiking and climbing on the same trip. It also includes a climbing tower. We like to teach young people to be at home in the woods, rain or shine, on the trail or off. Pisgah Forest, the Great Smokies National Park and a number of other wilderness areas are nearby.
Backpacking is an activity that teaches a lot – but requires little skill to begin. Most trips go out for one to five nights. You carry everything you need with you, cook as a group, set up your own shelter, help find the trail and the campsite.
Climbing might begin at our 60 foot Climbing Tower, with challenges for all levels and progress to nearby areas such as Linville Gorge, Looking Glass, and many other less well-known areas. There are one day trips to nearby climbing sites, as well as week-long advanced expeditions to more remote areas. The Climbing Tower is an incredible builder of self-confidence as well as being a wonderful place to cheer on your friends.
Our “Nature Lab” aims to teach awareness and appreciation of the environment. The program bases its activities at the Nature Lab where we keep animals such as chickens, reptiles & amphibians, insects & spiders… - but spends quite a bit of time out of camp as well, observing, collecting, and learning.
We like tennis for its long-term value – it’s a game for young and old. Lessons are offered daily. We play mixed doubles occasionally with our sister camp, Green Cove. There are three courts.
Other, relatively minor activities include a hands-on wooden canoe carpentry shop, crafts, archery, riflery, and volleyball. There is a gymnasium also for a variety of games.
Minor activities include a Boat Shop (in which boys learn hands on the art of builing wooden canoes), archery, riflery, and a variety of ball games. We are not a sports camp though — these activities are offered on a limited basis.
More advanced levels of major activities (like advanced whitewater canoeing and kayaking, extended rock climbing trips, etc) are normally attainable only in the longer Main Session… and it may require more than one summer to fully experience these more advanced adventures. However, even the shorter session packs a lot of adventure and we believe, gives kids a great opportunity to develop some skill.
Evening Activities are varied. One night we have a campfire, another might be a cabin overnight. We have movies one night a week, and on Saturdays there’s a square dance or other co-ed event with our sister camp, Green Cove. Other evenings might include games, or special events like skit night or a special interest night, when we share our hobbies and unusual interests with each other.