When you look around for a summer camp, you can find a lot that offer archery, hiking, canoeing, and dozens of other activities that are common at camps for kids. How many camps can say that their campers participate in growing and harvesting 70% of what they eat at camp? Gwynn Valley can! One parent commented that “My children still talk about gathering eggs, making cornmeal and picking vegetables. They have a strong work ethic and a sense of responsibility that I attribute to their time at Gwynn Valley.”
Gwynn Valley is located in southwestern North Carolina in a region that is home to over 50 summer camps of all types. If you ask camp directors from those camps where they sent their children to camp, many will respond that Gwynn Valley was their choice. There is a reason those other camp directors choose Gwynn Valley for their kids. Since 1935 the camp philosophy has focused on being a nurturing place for kids to experience “simplicity, acceptance, a non-competitive program, and an appreciation of the natural world”. According to one mom, “Gwynn Valley is as special to me as it is to the kids. I relish the fact that this time is theirs; they grow in character, life skills and let’s face it, it’s a ton of fun.
Activities at Gwynn Valley include horseback riding; rock climbing; pioneer crafts like basketry, weaving, gourd art, and pottery; texture crafts like tie-dye, batik, and candle making; mountain biking; outdoor living skills (OLS) and environmental education (Web of Life); sports; archery; fine arts including play and musical writing; natural history; kayaking; swimming; drama; and many more traditional camp activities. The farm program and 1892 grist mill, however, are in a category by themselves!
Gwynn Valley is perhaps the first summer camp in the nation to have developed a fully functioning farm that is completely integrated into the educational programming and food system,” Dale said. And integrated it is. Gwynn Valley campers milk the cows and goats, pick vegetables, gather eggs, feed the animals, and learn through a hands-on experience about where our food comes from. Corn is grown on the farm and taken to the Mill to be ground into cornmeal which the kitchen uses to make their cornbread.
In addition to the 320-acre camp property protected by a conservation easement, Gwynn Valley has use of thousands of acres in nearby state and national forests. Dupont State forest, just 5 miles from the camp, has over 90 miles of hiking and mountain bike trails. The State Forest is known for its waterfalls and beautiful scenery. Two movies, “Last of the Mohicans” and “Hunger Games” both filmed scenes at Dupont. Gwynn Valley also utilizes Pisgah National Forest: 10 miles from Gwynn Valley, and home to outstanding rock climbing areas and hundreds of miles of trails.
The camp program starts with “Main Camp” for children completing K-6th grade. The smaller “Mountainside” and “Riverside” programs are wilderness based adventure programs for older campers who have finished 5th – 8th grades. Gwynn Valley also runs a small Day Camp program for children finishing K – 4th grade for a portion of the summer.
A farm, wilderness, and traditional program that nurtures the child while fostering a connection with the land and the simple joys of childhood.
Gwynn Valley details:
- Location: 301 Gwynn Valley Trail, Brevard, NC 28712
- Type: Residential, Day
- Focus: Farm Program, Wilderness, General Adventure
- Activities: Archery, Basketball, Soccer, Volleyball, Swimming, Aquatic Activities, Farming, Grist Mill, Nature Studies, Hiking, Wilderness Adventure, Mountain Biking, Rock and Tree Climbing, Backpacking, Camping, Canoeing, Kayaking, Rope Course, Horseback Riding, Arts & Crafts, Woodworking, Pottery, Dance, Drama, Fine Arts, Music, Community Service
- Age Range: 5-14
- Gender: Coed
- Camp Capacity: 220
- Accreditation: ACA, AIC
- Directors: Grant & Anne Bullard
- Sponsoring Organization: Private Independent
- Nearest Large City: Asheville, NC
- Website: gwynnvalley.com
- Phone: (828) 885-2900