By Natasha Anderson
According to the American Camp Association, summer camp provides fundamental benefits for children, including increased confidence, self-esteem, social skills, independence, adventurousness and spiritual growth. And, with programs geared toward everything from sports to visual and performing arts, there is something to suit nearly any interest. Additionally, many camps offer opportunities for children to be physically active and connect with the natural world in ways that are more and more rare.
“While at Rockmont, kids are free to engage in fun and adventure through the outdoors and without the distractions of technology,” says Andrew Ginn, assistant director of Camp Rockmont for Boys. “This is something that parents recognize as contributing deeply to their sons’ growth.”
Camp Rockmont, located on 600 acres in Black Mountain, is a nature-based experience focused on male development in an intentional Christian community. Overnight programs range from one to four weeks in length. Father and son weekends and co-ed day camps are also offered. During overnight camp, boys live in cabins that sleep 8–12, select skills to develop and master, and participate in large-group activities. Choices include hiking, kayaking, blacksmithing, homesteading, canoeing, crafts, guitar, Bible study, outdoor skills, woodcarving, disc golf and mountain biking. An over-the-water aquatic ropes course will open in summer 2019.
“I loved getting to be with kids just like me, having big dinners and going down the zip line,” says Victor Ursin, age ten, who attended Rockmont’s one-week starter camp last year. “We always got to be a part of something.”
Rockmont’s sister organization, Camp Hollymont, provides a similar experience for girls. The camp is located on The Asheville School’s 300-acre campus and strives to create a refuge where youth can disconnect from the outside world, try new activities, practice traditions and reconnect with God.
“I think our girls appreciate having the summer camp experience with some comforts,” says Hollymont’s administrative director Gail Mashburn. “We have lodging with 2–4 girls per room, good food in an air-conditioned dining hall, an athletic facility with a large indoor pool and a fine arts center.”
Hollymont offers a mix of small and large group activities. Small group activities include cluster devotions, horseback riding, cooking, Zumba, arts and crafts, dance, drama and swimming. Large group activities feature camp fires, cookouts, talent shows, competitions and chapel worship. The programming is designed to allow girls to showcase their talents and to work, play and share experiences.
“I made lots of new friends and my counselors were really fun to play with,” says eight-year-old Aurelia Ursin. “I was nervous about staying at overnight camp for the first time, but I had so much fun and can’t wait to go back!”