Get campy!

YMCA of Western North Carolina

Arts and Academics

Enrollment is open for Appalachian Institute of Creative Learning’s Summer Enrichment Camp, held at scenic Warren Wilson College in two weeklong sessions: July 15-21 and July 22-28. Rising third- through rising 12th-graders are invited to attend either day camp or overnight sessions. Arts and academics are highlighted across a full schedule of daily activities. See or call (800) 951-7442.

The Asheville Arts Center promises a summer of “music, drama, dance and life!” Kids ages 3 to 14 can expect everything from “Superheroes to the Rescue — a camp for kids who “love to move around and save the world — to a full-on performance of a Winnie the Pooh musical, produced in just two weeks. The array of opportunities is rich, so see more at for dates, rates and the Arts Center’s many other programs. (All camps are at The Asheville Performing Arts Academy, 193 Charlotte St., Asheville.

Weekly sessions for Asheville Art Museum’s Summer Art Camp begin June 11 and run through July 30, with morning, afternoon and all-day programs for rising kindergarteners through rising 12th graders, presented in the museum’s newly expanded WNC Art Resource Center. A variety of classes and art media will be undertaken, including drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed-media and sculpture. This popular program fills up fast. Info at 253-3227, ext. 116, or email Kathleen Glass at

Do you want to send your kids to camp for a song? The Asheville Music School offers summer performance workshops, voice and instrumental, for kids ages 6 to 17. Designed for intermediate and advanced youth vocalists and instrumentalists, participants receive individual and group instruction in stage presence, music theory, studio recording and more. Groups include piano band, jazz and blues, classical, folk and popular music, string band and more. Placement auditions and registration start Saturday, April 21 (kids prepare one piece to perform for the faculty in order to be placed in the proper group). Workshops start June 12, and run through July 25, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and culminate in a performance at Bele Chere. Additionally, AMS has an all-ages Music Exploration and Family Workshop, June 11-July 13 (also ending with a a Bele Chere appearance. For more information, contact Asheville Music School contact at 252-6244, or visit

Carolina Day School presents a series of public, week-long day camps for pre-kindergarteners through rising 12th-graders, divided by age group into "Quests," "Explorations" and "Workshops." Activities include Big Messy Art, Glitter Girls, Art-ventures, and Art for Girls. Sportier elements include Jump, Jive & Dance, Multi-Sports Fun Camp and disc golf. For more information, dates and rates, visit

Dandelion Hill “adds the fairy dust to the summer magic” with its Creekside Nature Play Camp, for kids ages 3 to 8. The session runs June 26-28. Activities include creekside exploring, nature crafts and storytelling to “bring the natural world to life.” From July 10-12, Sandy Britches Beach Camp offers “lots of sandy playtime fun.” Lil Locavores Cooking Camp, for kids ages 3 to 8, runs Aug. 7-9. Campers work in an organic garden, cook from scratch (and send some home, too). Contact Rae Patton for more at, visit or call 298-4655.

Give your child an experience of Spanish immersion right here in Asheville at Camp Amiguitos, located at Evergreen Charter School. This camp brings authentic Latin American crafts, cooking and cultural activities. Campers spend the week singing, dancing, playing games, making amigos and building a cultural foundation. Session 1 is July 2-6 for 4 to 6-year-olds. Session 2 runs July 9-13 for kids ages 5-8. Session 3 is July 16-20 for 7 to 10-year-olds. Space is limited. Ask questions or register with Kari at, 301-7502 or Caroline at, 242-2688.

The First Stage Youth Theatre of Madison County presents its Summer Workshop Camp for area kids ages 8-18. The series of week-long programs — “by kids and for kids” — culminates in a production and after-play picnic. Workshops start mid-July and emphasize "the skills of discipline, concentration and teamwork so prominent in the theater and in real life." See for dates and rates.

This year, Flat Rock Playhouse, the official state theater of North Carolina now in its 60th year, teams up with Green River Preserve for its “Summer Theatre Arts Intensive,” a residential, co-ed camp that combines nature experiences with performing arts. The camp for rising sixth- through ninth-graders will take place at Green River Preserve — a 3,400-acre private wildlife preserve in the Blue Ridge Mountains — Aug. 5-10. Check for full postings on this year's themes and rates.

Green-minded Gwynn Valley in Brevard gets kids down to earth with an assortment of overnight (one to three weeks) and daylong programs geared strongly toward traditional crafts and survival skills. Basketry, gourd sculpture, tie-dyeing, leatherwork and candle making are among the artsy offerings. Way-cool sports include ultimate Frisbee and cricket. Older kids get to try wilderness training. And all attendees help out on the farm, a vital part of the Gwynn Valley experience (70 percent of the camp’s food is grown on-site). Sessions, running June 8 through Aug. 12 (in varying designations), are for kids who’ve finished kindergarten through eighth grade. Info at 885-2900 or at

John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C., rings the summer bell June 17-July 23, with the Little Middle Folk School for kids ages 7 to 17. Nearly 30 classes in dance and craft are offered. The all-things-Appalachian folk school also offers Intergenerational week, July 15-July 21. This session pairs kids ages 12 to 17 with a parent, grandparent or other guardian. Find updates and details at, or call 1-800-FOLK-SCH to get on the mailing list.

Roots + Wings School of Art, for preschoolers, families and adults is based at the Cathedral of All Souls at Biltmore Village and the Orange Peel. The camp offers a variety of workshops and sessions. The Asheville Community Design Lab Summer Studios run June 11-July 23, Monday through Friday. Kids ages 3 to rising 12th-graders explore drawing, comics, painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture and mixed media. This session takes place at the Cathedral of All Souls in Biltmore Village. The Orange Blossom Music Camp runs June 11- July 9, Monday through Friday. Rising first -through sixth-graders explore either music or art at the Orange Peel. Weekly themes include In the Sky, Life's a Zoo, Love and Peace and On the Go! The music camps will take place in the Pulp lounge, with students learning two songs on their instruments, as well as music theory, rhythm exercises and more. The art camps will be held in the main performance space. Both camps will end with a finale on the main stage. Info at

The Smith-McDowell House Museum brings the old to the young with its Hands-On History camp July 23-27 for rising second- through rising fifth-graders. The year’s theme, “A Victorian Life,” focuses on history and culture from 1837-1901. The program includes Victorian costumes (and a photo shoot), games, songs, toys, interpretive play, cooking and making ice cream the old-fashioned way — by hand. Camp runs Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is limited to 12 students. Call 253-9231 or email for registration information.

Tanglewood Youth Theatre, a division of Asheville Community Theatre, hosts many youth-oriented theater programs each year, including its well-known Tanglewood Summer Camp, which runs in two sessions: June 18-29 (for kids ages 8 to 15) and July 9-20 (for kids ages 5 through 7 and ages 8 through 15). Each series is capped with a performance on ACT’s Main Stage. See or contact camp director Janna Hoekema at

The Transylvania Community Arts Council invites youth ages 5-12 years old to explore visual arts, music, dance and pottery June 25-29. Morning and afternoon sessions available. Morning session runs 9 a.m. to noon, and the afternoon session runs 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. To register, call TCArts Council at -884-2787 or email 

True Ink’s summer camps are active and experiential, with a low teacher/student ratio. Most combine writing with other art forms including illustration and cartooning,  stop-action animation, puppetry, spoken word performance and radio plays. Of course, some camps focus completely on creative writing, including a special mystery-writing camp. Programs are held at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Site and other downtown-Asheville locations. Special guests will include cartoonist Jeff Kinzel, North Carolina touring artist Michael Beadle, author, screen- and radio-play writer and television personality, Maryedith Burrell and nationally renowned performer, author and poet Allan Wolf. Day programs begin June 12 for elementary, middle school and high school age writers and vary in hours and prices. (These camps have received great references from area teachers, parents and former students.) See or call Janet Hurley at (828) 215-9002. Spaces are limited. 

Nature, Adventure, Health and Science

The Little Gym of Asheville announces its Anytime Summertime Kids Camp for kids ages 3 to 8, an antidote to the "lazy days" of summer. Little Gym's programs combine physical fitness and gymnastics with arts, crafts, snacks and special events — a great blend of the body and the imagination. Another distinguishing characteristic of Anytime Summertime is the "anytime" part. Parents can schedule their children to attend the camps for several full weeks, a single week or a single day. In addition to their camp program, Little Gym maintains a full schedule of regular classes throughout the summer. For more information or to register, contact Bonnie Rappaport-Rouse at 667-9588 or email

Asheville Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts offers many initiatives throughout the summer, including the five programs for varying age ranges with its Outdoor Adventure Camp, such as the Eco-explorers Camp for 6- to 8-year-olds, the Adventure Camp for 8- to 12-year-olds and the Teen Canoe Trip for 12- to 15-year-olds. There are also a number of self-development camps, including therapeutic sessions for kids with cognitive or developmental delays, a tennis camp and a teen leadership program. Sessions run through June and July; rates vary. For more information, contact Amy Pruett Rickman at 251-4080 or email

An outgrowth of Black Mountain-based residential camps Merri-Mac and Timberlake, local Black Mountain Expeditions has taken teens far and wide — try Costa Rica, for one. There is also a leadership program for older students in the N.C. High Country. See or call 669-8766 for dates and rates.

Climbmax Climbing offers several summer camps for kids ages 6 to 16. The downtown-based camps start indoors at the Climbmax indoor rock-climbing facility and then move outdoors to one of the surrounding national forests. The camp is organized in three sessions: The first starts June 18 (kids ages 6 to 11). The second session, for kids 8 to 13, starts July 9. The third, for ages 12 to 16, begins Aug. 6. For more information, visit

The Colburn Earth Science Museum invites campers, kindergarten through fifth-grade, to experience science with their hands and imagination. In a variety of week-long sessions running June 11-Aug. 3, participants get “Wet ’n’ Wild exploring the science of water, “Rock ’n’ Roll” with geology and physics, along with activities, crafts and games. There are full day camps, in addition to half-day morning and afternoon sessions. The last two weeks of camp (July 23-Aug. 3) bring “Fun Days,” in which campers can register for day sessions. Find a brochure for this popular day-camp series at or call 254-7162.

The Health Adventure has several sessions with exciting programs for different age ranges. Young Adventurer’s Camps, for rising first- through second-graders, run June 18-22 and June 25-29. Girls’ Quest, for rising sixth- through eighth-grade girls, runs July 9-13. The Family Robotics Workshop invites the whole family (fourth-grade and up) to tinker and create on July 31. The core of the program, the beloved Discover Science Camp series, runs July 16-20 with a Gooey Science session and closes with a Surfin’ Safari July 23-27. In between, there’s Design Challenge (July 16 -20) and Pick Your Brain (July 23-27). Info and registration at or 254-6373, ext. 316. (Spaces fill up quickly.)

The North Carolina Arboretum’s Discovery Camp offers a plethora of nature-intensive day camps as varied as the vast expanse of biodiversity they explore. Programs — including “Animal Adventures,” “Camouflage Critters,” “Gone Buggy,” “Feathers, Fur and Scales,” “Boots, Pedals and Wheels,” “Aquatic Adventures” and “Woodland Ways”— start June 4 and run through August. Summer activities are geared for preschoolers through high schoolers. For full info, visit or call 665-2492.

The national Girl Scouts organization turns 100 this year, and the stalwart local Girl Scout camp is open to all girls ages 6 to 17. Camp Pisgah for Girls in Brevard, with day camp and overnight programs, offers authentic Scout experiences, such as swimming, canoeing and kayaking, and some twists, including rafting and a llama trek. Visit or call 252-4442.

Green River Preserve, a pristinely situated, conservation-minded residential camp in Cedar Mountain (south of Brevard), is dedicated to curtailing "nature-deficit disorder." Immersion in — and respect of — the outdoors is paramount, with one, two and three-week sessions designed for rising second- through rising 12th-graders. (Older kids get a chance to travel to the Outer Banks.) Naturalist “mentors” lead campers in wilderness exploration, and afternoon art might include pottery, drama or creative writing. Camps run June 10-August 5, plus a 21-day Trailblazers Expedition June 24-July 14 for high-school seniors and college freshmen. Sessions fill up fast.

A division of USA Raft, Mountain Adventure Guides sponsors five seven-day Adventure Camps, and 14-day sessions, starting June 10-August 4, for kids ages 10 to 16. Counselor/camper ratio is small and expectations are high. MAG camps feature rugged outdoor excursions in a wilderness area straddling the N.C./Tenn. state line — including caving, rafting, advanced hiking and outdoor cooking. No cabins here: The young adventurers are expected to make their beds under the stars every night. Gear is included in tuition, but kids have to bring their own true grit. See or call 866-813-5210.

Brother and sister camps, Mondamin and Green Cove, in lush Tuxedo, N.C., are geared respectively for boys and girls ages 6-17. Both camps celebrate the sporting life with kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking and extended wilderness excursions. Canoeing and horseback riding are options, too, rounding out an eclectic experience that draws campers from all 50 states and even from other countries. The first session is May 30-June 3, for kids ages 6 to 10. The main camp, for kids ages 8-17, runs June 29 -August 3. Visit and for dates and rates.

Area kids get to know the river in their backyard at RiverLink's French Broad Summer River Camps. The camp offers four sessions, from June 11-July 20, and welcomes rising third- through eighth-graders. Environmental education and service learning (including river cleanup and interpretive nature walks) are emphasized in this reasonably priced adventure. There’s plenty of water recreation, too, including multi-disciplinary Kids in the Creek and River of Words and Art. For more information, email or call 252-8474, ext. 18.

Founded in 1921, Brevard’s Rockbrook Camp for Girls guides a camper to a “deeper understanding of herself and of her relationship with other people and the natural world,” according to a release. Open to girls ages 6-16, Rockbrook is a traditional overnight camp; the three-week sessions run in three phases: early summer (June 3-21), mid-summer (June 10-21); and late summer (July 22-Aug. 9). There are also mini-sessions within each phase. Swimming, tennis, equestrian endeavors, yoga, journalism, visual art and musical theater are included in the activities. Full info at

The Swannanoa 4-H Center — the first 4-H program in the state — is the quintessential summer day camp, running three, six and ten days for kids ages 4-13. Specialty programs abound for those kids who want to pursue a particular skill (e.g., forestry and studying the solar system). But the menu also includes lots of all-around traditional fun. Prices vary based on length of camp and interests. Some sessions were already full at press time; check for updates or call 686-3196.

Serve and volley through the summer at UNCA’s volleyball camp. The first session, Individual Skills Camp, runs July 16-18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The July 20 program is for hitters, setters and liberos, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both programs include a T-shirt. For more information, email

The Waynesville Parks and Recreation Center puts on its jersey with the 21st annual Crossfire Basketball Camp, a half-day camp offered for boys and girls ages 6 to 12. Sessions run June 18-22, from 1 to 4 p.m. The rec center also offers a youth volleyball camp June 11-14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., for kids ages 8 to 14. Good news for the tuckered: the swimming pool will be available for all campers from 3 to 4 p.m. daily. The rec center has several other enticing sports programs as well. For an application or for more information, call the Waynesville Recreation Center at 456-2030 or email

Do you want to let the kids run wild for a few weeks? At Wild Weeks Summer Camp at the Western North Carolina Nature Center, campers can at least run with the wild. This comprehensive series of day camps offers programs for two age brackets: Pee Wee (pre-K through K) and the Wild Weeks (first-grade through ninth-grade). Pee Wee camps run June 11-August 3. Wild Weeks runs June 18 through Aug. 3. For more information, visit, or call -298-5600, ext. 5.


Camp Ton-a-Wandah for girls is located in a cozy cove in Hendersonville. Camp runs June 3-Aug. 10 in two- and three-week residential sessions, for girls ages 6-16. Ton-a-Wandah also offers a Starter Session for girls ages 5 to 8. The curriculum is particularly eclectic, including rappelling, whitewater rafting (its name means “by the fall of water”) on the Nantahala and Pigeon rivers and horseback riding. Find full info at

Boasting one of the most affordable — and popular — day-camp programs in the area, the 188-acre, five-star Eliada Summer Camp offers field trips, golfing, horseback riding, confidence-building exercises, conflict-resolution practices, mini-biking and swimming in a heated pool. Activities are geared for kids ages 5 to 12; the camp runs from June 4-Aug. 15. The related Eliada Summer Sports Academy, for kids ages 8 to 12, features focused instruction in lacrosse, basketball, baseball, soccer and more. See, or call Ashley Trimnal at 210-0224, to check out summer dates and rates for summer camp. Email for sports academy info. But be quick, registration is already in process.

Asheville Gymnastics’ Summer Gymnastics Fun Camp for kids ages 5 to 13 emphasizes fun physical activity: Think Indoor gymnastics, a climbing wall and walking field trips in the downtown area. Camp runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. See for specific dates and rates, or call 252-8746.

Odyssey Community School in Montford offers a playful summer camp starting June 11. Open to kids ages 5 to 12, weekly classes run 7:30 a.m. to5:30 p.m. Activities include weekly field trips, swimming, arts and crafts, games and more. For rates and more information, call 259-3653 or visit

YMCA of Western North Carolina facilitates a comprehensive selection of day-camp programs running June through Aug. Y camps are held at various area schools, and central pick-up and drop-off locations are available for parents' convenience. Theme programs and environmental awareness are emphasized. Around for more than 100 years, Y camps are always coveted, so don't delay in checking out for registration info.

At the YWCA Summer Day Camp, kindergarteners through sixth-graders enjoy weekly field trips, nature hikes, swimming lessons, music, art and much more. Camp starts June 15. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call CiCi Weston at 254-7206, ext. 111, or email


Camp Cedar Cliff, based in Asheville, has a simple mission: "communicating the truth of Christ’s love in word and deed." For kids grades K-12, with nine sessions starting June 18 and going until July 27, there is plenty of adventure and fun as well. Featuring Trailblazers (grades 2 to 4), Pioneers (grades 4 to 6) and Mountaineers (grades 6 to 9) are just a few. For more information, and to register, visit, call 450-3331 or email

Camp Celo is a scenic, noncompetitive overnight camp near Burnsville that has operated for more than 50 years. Though not overtly religious in its mission, the program seeks to teach boys and girls the Quaker values of nonviolence, simplicity and environmental awareness. The arts, including performance and traditional crafts, are a major element of the experience, as is animal stewardship and enjoying the nearby South Toe River. Sessions (June 10-Aug. 11) are designed for kids ages 7 to 12. A low counselor-to-camper ratio (3 to 1) is a hallmark of Camp Celo.

Camp Hollymont on Lake Eden in Black Mountain is a Christian residential camp for girls ages 6 to 15. An expansive list of activities includes digital photography, sewing, modeling, guitar, horseback riding, tennis, creative writing and “outdoor living.” Program options include one, two- and four-week sessions, June 17-Aug. 10.

Traditional overnight camps that emphasize visual arts, music, sports and high-octane outdoor adventure in a nondenominational Christian atmosphere, Camp Merri-Mac for girls ages 6 to 16 ( and Camp Timberlake for boys ages 7 to 16 ( also boast low camper-to-counselor ratios and special wilderness trips. Sessions run June 10-Aug. 11 in programs ranging from one to five weeks. Both camps are located in Black Mountain; registration is available online.

Camp Rockmont, a Christian residential camp for boys in Black Mountain, is better known locally as the site of the biannual Lake Eden Arts Festival. Like the festival, the camp draws kids from far and wide. A particularly gorgeous setting is one highlight, as is an ambitious roster of activities that includes disc golf, storytelling, lacrosse, zip-lining and rocketry. Sessions include day-camp options for grades K-4; the overnight programs run six days to a month, June 10-Aug. 10, for boys ages 6 to 16.

The Jewish Community Center’s five-star-rated Camp Ruach (Hebrew for "spirit") combines traditional day-camp activities for boys and girls with cooking, gardening, Israeli dance and instruction in Jewish principles and philosophies — including environmental stewardship and charitable deeds. Eight one-week sessions begin June 11 and run through Aug. 3. Each session focuses on a specific midot, or value, such as “the sacred spark in everyone,” “good deeds,” and “love of all things.” Other unique highlights include Israeli dance, archery, weekly Shabbat celebrations and guided nature expeditions. This year, Camp Tikvah (a program for kids with autism) will be included in two Ruach sessions, the weeks of June 18 and June 25. See for more details, including information on a counselor-in-training program for rising ninth- and 10th-graders.

Camp Wayfarer, a Christian overnight camp for boys and girls in Flat Rock, offers the typical summer-camp experience, including classes in such wide-ranging subjects as horseback riding and lacrosse, as well as journalism and culinary arts. Mini-sessions are available for kids as young as kindergarten age, while main camp (for kids ages 6 to 16) runs for various lengths up to five weeks, June 17-July 26.

Emmanuel Lutheran School in Asheville has all the cultural bases covered with its Summer Rocks! 2012 series of day camps running June 11 through Aug. 10. The long, varied list of programs, held on the school's 8-acre campus, are targeted for rising kindergarteners through rising sixth-graders. Highlights include gymnastics, taekwondo, a Cooking With Kids week and Adventures in Asheville: Olympic Games. For older campers, a two-week drama series will culminate with a performance of Disney’s Aladdin. For details on auditions for the play or for general camp information, see or call 281-8182.

Don’t see your camp or summer program listed here? Visit and add your details to the comments section.

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