Leaving home to go to a new overnight summer camp can be an emotional experience. Some campers might feel anxious about fitting in at camp and feeling like a new camper. But don’t worry, these feelings are normal! Whether it’s a camper’s first overnight camp experience or a veteran overnighter attending a new camp, we know that it’s only natural for a teen to be apprehensive and uncertain. Thanks to our pre-camp outreach, small size, and culture of fun and acceptance, new campers at Stone Mountain Adventures easily feel connected to our wonderful summer community.
The journey to camp can sometimes be an apprehensive one, but our camp culture of acceptance is strong from the moment you arrive! Campers and staff run to greet each car and meet their new friends. It may sound overwhelming, but it’s hard to beat a genuine warm welcome. In fact, our first priority on the opening day of camp is making sure that campers and their families feel welcome.
Serving great food to hungry campers has been a cornerstone of our camp since our founding in 1983. We eat in our dining hall, a building we call “The Rhino,” and because we’re a small camp our exceptional kitchen staff and veteran cook can focus on the quality of the food rather than the quantity. We have fresh, healthy food (often local!), including a delicious vegetarian option at each meal. We’re also extremely accommodating of special dietary needs and restrictions. All meals are served buffet-style, so eat as much as you’d like. Plus, if you sign up for the cooking activity, you can help prepare dinner! Click here to learn more about food at SMA.
One of our greatest strengths at Stone Mountain Adventures is our amazing staff of camp counselors! They are dynamic, responsible, skillful, funny, and fair. Our staff listens, cares, and treats everyone with respect. Most of all, our counselors put the needs of our campers before their own. They are all over 21 years old, well trained and equipped to lead groups both outdoors and in the cabins, and excited to spend their summer with teen campers. Our awesome counselors specialize in cool things like wakeboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking, music, and horseback riding!
Thanks to our small number of campers (around 60 or so per session) and close-knit staff, Stone Mountain Adventures feels just like family. This ensures that campers connect with everybody at camp within just a few days! This feeling of connection is very powerful, and a central part of why we make the decision, year after year, to stay a small summer camp.
Each cabin at Stone Mountain Adventures has at least two counselors who serve as bunk captains, and one of them will sleep in the cabin each night. Having the same 2 counselors in a cabin throughout a session really helps our campers to bond with each other and the staff, which is an essential part of feeling comfortable at SMA.
Before each session starts, our staff makes sure to reach out to every camper individually to answer questions and address concerns. We find that it’s comforting for new campers to speak to our friendly staff just before camp. We love doing this because it makes opening day a little less stressful, as it gives each camper a connection at camp even before it begins.
Each summer at Stone Mountain Adventures we continue the tradition of giving interested campers the chance to adopt and care for a baby bunny during their time at camp. As bunny "parents," campers are responsible for giving their bunnies food and water, cleaning the cage every few days, and giving them exercise and attention, of course. Campers often hover around the bunny hutches, naming the bunnies and making signs for their cages. The bunnies we adopt are cuddly and cute and will return campers' affection if treated with care and respect. Adopting a bunny at SMA is a great way for new campers to bond over a shared experience and build responsibility. For many campers, adopting a bunny is the highlight of the summer!
Hearing a familiar voice on the other end of the phone line can be very comforting for both camper and parent. Parents are always eager to talk to their teens, who will usually have some great camp stories to share! Campers and parents can call each other once per session at a set date and time. Additionally, parents can email campers once a week, although campers do not have access to computers and therefore cannot reply. We know that it’s important to balance a healthy connection to home with in-the-moment engagement!
Stone Mountain Adventures was founded in 1983 by Pam and Biff Houldin. Current Camp Director Jud (son of Pam and Biff) grew up at the farm, attending SMA as a camper and later working as a counselor. Jud and his wife Anne bring a combined 40+ years of experience teaching in traditional and non-traditional school settings, coaching youth sports, leading international trips for high school students, and leading wilderness and mountaineering trips. They live at camp with their two children Wyatt and Molly, and a whole bunch of playful animals. We find this family atmosphere helps to create an intimate and comfortable vibe at camp each session.
Telephone calls are made by camp staff to each camper’s family prior to the opening day of camp to answer any questions and address any particular concerns.
At the parents’ request we are happy to put your child in touch with a veteran camper who will be returning to camp that session. Often, excitement is contagious!
Camp counselors and Directors work to meet the needs of our campers each day with the goal of helping our campers to feel like they have a “summer home away from home.”
Campers are assigned to cabins, in which one of a consistent group of Bunk Captains sleeps every night.
New campers can call home once per session, and parents can email campers once per week to balance connections to home and engagement at camp.
Jud and Anne Millar foster a nurturing environment that encourages campers to be kind to each other, challenge themselves, and broaden their horizons.
We send each camper a Reflection Packet from camp to remind them of all the wonderful summertime memories!
CD Slide Shows are sent to each camper.
Newsletters keep campers in touch with fellow campers and up-to-date with improvements and changes occurring at the camp.
Our attention to each camper’s individual needs, especially those of first-time campers, assists with the transition of being away from home and helps to ensure a positive experience and summer they will never forget.