The following is a selection of thoughts and reflections from Stone Mountain Adventure campers. At the end of each session we collect "reflections" from our campers and staff and create a "Memory Book" for each session. Click Here to see one.
This is my first year at SMA and I am definitely planning on coming back. Two hours after I arrived at camp I had already made friends. Every day there is something fun to do. I love that you can choose your activities every day. Because it is a small camp everyone gets to know each other immediately. We’re like a family. But this has been one of the best summers of my life and I won’t forget the great friends, counselors, and memories I’ve made here! ~Olivia, 14, Yardley, PA
My first year here has been amazing. I can’t believe how nice everybody here has been. I love how everybody here knows each other. All of the activities were awesome. I was really excited to learn how to wakeboard. The campers and the staff here are all really encouraging. Everybody helps each other out and creates a community at camp. The friends I have made will last forever. These have definitely been the best 3 and a half weeks of my life and I will definitely come back next year.
~Jackson, 14, Manhattan, NY
I had a wonderful time here at my first year of SMA. At first, I thought I would have a hard time meeting people and making friends, but I turned out to be seriously mistaken. This is one reasons why having a small camp is awesome. I think it’s really cool how everyone here knows everyone else not only by name but also by personality and characteristics. The activities to choose from here are amazing. They vary from arts and crafts to caving in the underground wonders. There is more than one thing for everyone. I don’t think anyone regretted coming here this summer.
~ Luca, 12, Greenwich, CT
This is my first year at SMA and it was amazing. At first when I came here, I thought it was going to be a rough time, getting to know different people and connecting with them. I was very wrong. The people here were great. From the campers to the counselors, everyone was great. I connected with everyone like they were family. The activities here were great. From lemonade to volleyball, it was all very fun. My favorite activities were Hershey Park, the Arts Fest, and the Yough . I have realized that I am not going home, I’m leaving home.
< -Andres, 13, Darien, CT
This is my first year at SMA and it was so much fun. I learned so much this year. Before I came to SMA I was really shy and never really talked a lot. But then after a couple days at SMA I became more talkative and really opened up. Also, I learned to get along with everyone in my bunk. In the beginning we had a couple of arguments but then we worked it all out and we became closer. When I arrived as SMA I was really scared because it was my first time going to sleep away camp. But, after I got up to the bunk and met a few counselors and Jud I felt at home. I realized I shouldn’t be scared and just have fun. Everyone was very welcoming. I hope I’ll be able to come back next year.
-Katie, 14, Bethesda, MD
This was my first summer at SMA. I came here to do something new and try sleep away camp. What I learned was that this place is a second home for me, and the memories I’ve made will stay with me forever. I’ve had a blast with all of my friends, the counselors, and especially with my bunkmates. I had so much fun learning how to wakeboard, waterski, and kneeboard rockclimb, mountain bike and horseback ride! I will never forget this place and I am counting on coming back next year! SMA is the best!
~Natalie, 14, Cabin John, MD
I have had so many amazing experiences and everlasting memories this year at SMA. Have done so many things that range from crazy white water rafting to talking physics in Arts & Crafts. Everyone here is so kind and accepting that you can make a best friend in an hour. SMA is the only place I know of where you be exactly who you are and be accepted and supported by everyone around you.
~Matt, 15, Simpsonville, SC
Wow, this is my 2nd year at SMA and again it was great. Although 50% of the camp was new this year, I still made friends. I love the way how you always feel like you’re a part of a big family and you get to know everyone. This year I’ve reached new goals from jumping better while wakeboarding to discovering new talents.
~Lars, 14, Chappaqua, NY
This was my first year at SMA and it was awesome! It was so much different from my other camp experiences. I hope to come back next year because I had such a good time. I became friends with all the counselors and campers here and every one was very friendly. All the activities were fun including caving & ultimate Frisbee. ~Willie, 14, Woodmere, NY
I left home apprehensive. My expectations weren’t high – all the other camps I had been to advertised perfection but ended up being…um…crap. But when I walked into my bunk with two helpful, fairly good looking counselors carrying my luggage, instead of judgmental, scrutinizing faces I was greeted by smiles and music blasting from a corner. I shed my armor because my instinct told me I was in a good place. In the next few days I learned to love new things. I loved the enthusiasm of the counselors.
I laughed here more than I have at any other place. I learned many new things, and had a blast doing it. I’ll always remember the overnights and learning how to waterski. Now, when I think of SMA, I think about rivers and corn and beauty. I think about drama and craziness and fun. But most of all, I think of happiness. Now, instead of going home, I feel like I’m leaving it. ~ Grace, 13, Philadelphia, PA
SMA has been an amazing experience. Even though it was my first summer here, I was welcomed and started making friends from the first minute I arrived. People at SMA have been so encouraging and have helped me do things I never thought I could do (i.e. white water rafting). I’ve had so much fun here at the best camp EVER and I hope I can come back for another incredible summer next year!
~ Maddie, 13, Paoli, PA
Coming to this camp was not my decision. I originally didn’t want to come, but I am very glad I did. SMA is one of the most amazing places I think I will ever find. There are so many wonderful people around you all the time. Everyone cares about you whether you believe it or not. People are always smiling and having fun. I have met and become friends with people here who I most likely would have never spoken to at school. Being here reminded me that there are still so many things out there that I haven’t experiences and that I’m still young. I never really liked who I was until now. Being here helped me so much and I can’t wait to come back. I never thought I could become so attached to so many people and one big place in just three weeks. But I have. I love SMA.
~ Sarah, 14, Gaithersburg, MD
This was my first year at SMA and it was beyond belief! My cabin was wonderful and we mostly got along. The counselors were great. I have met so many amazing people here and they are so real. love this camp beyond words! This was my best summer yet!
~ Anna, 13, Chicago, IL
This summer was not only my first at SMA, but my first time at an overnight camp. I had no idea what to expect of the people, activities, and food here. I couldn’t imagine that I could enjoy, or even last 3.5 weeks away from my friends, family and comfortable lifestyle. After a few nights in Lower Boys, I could see the effect that this camp had on its campers. It opens people’s minds and souls and makes people fee like brothers after a relatively short time. No one is afraid to speak their minds and be themselves; a quality that is rare anywhere other than camp.
Over the past 3.5 weeks, I have met incredible people. I have been surrounded by diversity and kindness, and absorbed as much of it as I could. The activities (and especially the van rides) filled my days with excitement and my head with experience. This has been one of the most valuable experiences of my life, and the memories will last a lifetime.
~ Jake, 14, Wynnewood, PA
When I first got to camp I didn’t believe that I would have a good time because I didn’t know anyone or what it would be like on activities. I really kept to myself then the fun and relaxation started to happen. Camp turned out to be a great experience that I very much very enjoyed. This camp has taught me how to rock climb, water ski, play ultimate Frisbee, extreme mountain bike, rugby, whitewater rafting and really how to relax and have a good time with others. Camp was amazing this year, for my first year of camp I loved it a lot. This experience was so good I couldn’t have imagined accomplishing all these activities in one summer (amazing). This summer has got to be one of the best summers of my life.
~ Erik, 15, Olmstead Township, OH
My time here at SMA has been amazing and everything that I hoped it would be. This is my first time ever at sleep away camp and now I am 100% sure I chose the right place. I came here in search of new friends and of course adventure and that is what I got. The relationships I have made here I know will last. I feel closer to the people here that I’ve known for 3 ½ weeks than I do to many people I’ve known for 3 or more years. All in all, my time at SMA this summer was unforgettable and a blast.
~ Regan, 14, Baltimore, MD
This being my third year, it could be an understatement if I said that this camp was just fun and exciting. A more appropriate wording could be that this camp is simply amazing, pretty much to the point of indescribable. This place offers an amazing environment for us to just be ourselves and have fun. The people, the activities, the bunks (and even the food) all make this place seem like my home and everyone here my family. Days turn into weeks into months, but always at the end of each stay here I look back as if it were yesterday and remember what SMA has given to me and my life.
~Alexi, 15, Elmhurst, NY