“We all feel the stresses of today’s society….for the kids it could be grades, popularity, sports, looks, sexuality….and for the adults it could be jobs, money, comparisons, relationships. At Keystone you can leave all that behind and be yourself.”
Keystone is the oldest private girls’ summer camp in the southeast, located in the mountains of western North Carolina. The most common thing that campers, parents, and staff all emphasize and agree on is that Keystone is “a place where you can be yourself.” The camp is small by design to allow the campers and staff to form a close community where the girls can be whoever they want without fear of failing or looking silly.
Keystone’s small size allows for individual attention to each child and for the staff to get to know their interests, what their skills are, and what trips they want to go on. A former camper turned staff says, “From the day she gets to camp, there is no chance that she will slip through the cracks; everywhere she goes, someone will know her name and be invested in her well-being and success.”
The daily schedule consists of seven activity periods, where the girls may choose the activities that they take in those spaces of time. This allows them to challenge themselves and choose their own schedule. They have freedom away from their normal structure of school. There is still structure, but they get to choose it and decide what they want to do with their time at camp.
Keystone offers high-adventure activities like rock climbing and canoeing, and features an all-female staff to provide strong female role models for the campers. Seeing their activities of choice done by other females inspires confidence that they can do it too, and it encourages them to try new things and step out of their comfort zone.
As the girls grow older, they become part of Keystone’s Leadership program where they begin helping with the operation of the program. The counselors teach the Leadership girls, and in turn the younger campers see the older ones stepping up and being amazing, which passes the inspiration on. This program is also the first step towards converting campers into staff, which explains why so many campers come back to work at Keystone.
The staff at Keystone are committed to providing a positive and encouraging environment for the campers to feel comfortable in and to be who they want to be. They prefer positive messages like “Walk Please” rather than “Don’t Run”, and that positivity spreads to set the tone for all of camp. A former staffer says in advice to future staff, “The key to a great summer is to approach everything with a positive attitude. Spend time with your campers, lead evening programs, take an activity you’ve never taught before, dress crazily, get involved!”
Another Keystone alumnus says, “Keystone is an amazing place where girls can truly be themselves. They can get away from technology and experience nature. They become well-rounded, independent girls who excel at things like canoeing, horseback riding, arts and crafts, rock climbing, and archery, just to name a few.”
Whether you come as a camper or staff, a summer at Keystone is a one-of-a-kind experience that will be with you for the rest of your life.
- Address: Keystone Camp, Inc. 101 Keystone Camp Rd. Brevard, NC 28712
- Gender: Girls
- Activities: A Cappella, Arts and Crafts, Archery, Canoeing, Dance, Drama, Golf, Gymnastics & Cheer, Hardcore, Hiking & Camping, Horseback Riding, Horsemanship, Nature, Riflery, Rock Climbing, Swimming, Team Sports, Tennis & Badminton, Ziplining, Yoga
- Ages: 6-15
- Website: www.KeystoneCamp.com
- Director: Page Lemel
- Phone: (828) 884-9125