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 with extensive wilderness tripping components. There’s also tennis & pickleball, a nature program, fishing, boatbuilding & woodworking, and of course, arts & crafts. The emphasis in all of the above activities is on building both skills and character over the course of the camp session. To spice things up, we have a variety of super fun minor activities boys can play between major activities. Note: 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.
Fishing fits well in our program as a lifelong outdoor skill that teaches patience and a deeper understanding of the natural world. 650-acre Lake Summit is home to several species of fish such as bluegill, sunfish, catfish and a few different bass.
Boys can learn the skill of cast fishing as well as the technique of throwing a cast net. Skills such as knot tying, choosing bait, and learning where to try your luck go along with it!
Hands on carpentry and learning the patience required in this art is a hit with many of the boys. The centerpiece of the program is Boat Shop in which boys are involved in the building of traditional canvas-covered wooden canoes. From “steaming” wood for bending, to painstakingly sanding and tacking ribs in place - they get to be a part of it all. The shop is also for shorter and simpler woodworking projects from making mini-boats to engraving a cabin sign.
Crafts at Mondamin is meant as a way to let the boys use the creative part of their brain and relax and learn a different set of talents in between our more high energy activities. A typical summer might see them doing crafts such as tie-day, clay, copper enameling, painting, drawing, candle making, and turning items found on hikes in to projects. We almost always find something new to do every year.
We like racket sports for their long-term value – they are lifelong games for young and old. Lessons are offered daily. We play mixed doubles occasionally with our sister camp, Green Cove.
Minor activities include a zipline, archery, riflery, disc golf, gaga ball, and a plethora of ball games. There is a gymnasium, beach volleyball pit, and plenty of open space for a variety of games. We are not a sports camp — our focus is on outdoor skill-based activities. But, we love mixing it up, and lasting camp friendships can be built while having a blast anytime!
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.