Director Jud's Blog

'17 Session 3 Reflections: SMA Mountain Biking Summer Camp

Posted by Jud Millar on Mon, Dec 4, 2017

Ruben Matell

This session at SMA was probably the best two weeks of my life. Last year, I was so shy and insecure when I came here. This year however, I felt instantly at home when I stepped out of the car. SMA helped me to completely come out of my shell and be who I really am. I am so happy that I was able to be myself, be happy and be confident for the most part. I hope I am able to take it home with me.

As far as activities go, I had so much fun on the wakeboard and I was far better at it than I expected. I also really enjoyed the Yough; it was such a crazy experience with the water that high. I also really enjoyed getting to know everyone here. I made such close friends. It always astounds me that in two weeks I am closer to the people here than I am to people I’ve known my whole life. I love this place with all my heart 



Aiden McAleer

My time at Stone Mountain was amazing, I will 100% be coming back for next year. I found my better self. I have went outside of my comfort zone so many times, I have taken care of a bunny during my time here, I don’t know if I’m taking him home with me but it was fun! I stood up on a wakeboard for the first time and it was the best thing ever! I have met many people at this camp that I will never forget.  Im not very good at writing but this is the best I could do to explain my time here! If  you could draw a line for how good it was, the longer the better


Meghan Lewis

I could not have asked for a better last session. I got to meet many new great people and spend time with old friends. There was not a single time this session where I was unhappy. All of the amazing activities and people made this a session I will never forget. I am going to bring home with me all of the memories I have made and the happiness of myself and others around me!


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Aaron Marsh

This session I continued to feel like a part of the SMA family. I tried so many new things and had so many great and crazy experiences that will always stick with me. What Ive realised however, is that SMA is really about the people with whom you share your life with for two weeks. I met amazing people and built even stronger relationships with the people I already knew. Certain people, such as Ben D, have truly inspired me to be myself and to live life in the moment.  These people will always have a special place in my heart and I will miss them a tonne. I am so glad I was here this session and I am so grateful for the amazing people and fantastic experiences. I cant wait to come back next year!


William Brandes

This session at camp I learned to be open minded. There were many activities offered that I have never done before, and that I tried. Also, there was a wide variety of people that all differed so much.  Meeting all these types of people for the first time, I thought I would just stay with the people like me, but after just a few days I realised that the different people here at SMA are interesting and can be fun! I tried rock climbing for the first time and  really enjoyed it, climbing was something I never thought I would do and I ended up going on an overnight for it! The people here are great!



 Paul Silverstein

Whilst I spent my valuable time at the most wonderful place on earth, I have once again made memories  I will keep forever. The activities I did and the friends I made have shaped and moulded me as a person and I was able to have some of the most amazing experiences of my life. I will take home the social skills and new talents I have learned with pride and a fulfillment only made possible by SMA. Some memorable experiences I have are laughing and crying with friends, paddling for my life on the yough, chilling and relaxing on the swing during power hour and running with the boys and big daddy Ben! The overnights however were probably the funnest or most fun of the activities because the group really becomes a family. Camp is something that has been a big factor in my life and I am forever grateful!


Graham Engel

This session at camp I learned a lot about myself as a person and I learned a lot about many camp activities too. I found that I can sort of roller blade, and that rock climbing outside is much different than in a gym.  Being outside while rock climbing is amazing because of all the views, the air and the rocks.  It was an amazing experience to meet so many new people and role models. For example I made many new friends like Aidan and Finn.  Plus, I met many role models like Julian and Owen.  Overall, its been an amazing session!


Marina Brooks

During my time at camp I met so many wonderful and peculiar people. I also got to become friends with about 2 people  and every activity was super fun!  I enjoyed the outings to the Armish market and the yough. All the activities were fun and most of them yielded unforgettable and hysterical memories. I loved all the counselors and ill miss them all during the year.  I enjoyed the company of the two canine companions: Piggy and Comet. Frisbee was really hilarious whenever she graced us with her prescence! I look forward to next summer!


Emma Parker

Things I have learned during session 3 2017:

  • Sometimes you need to put on a cape (or dress or leather jacket, or diaper) and go out and live your life.  Because bunk junk makes everything better¸.
  • To take things as they come and to go with the flow on whatever activity we do
  • To try my hardest at everything , even when im not so great at the thing.


I have made so many friends and met so many different types of people. The climbing overnight brought me closer to a lot of these people.  Every van ride I sang along to music with different people and the Yough trip taught me teamwork whilst shooting down crazy big rapids. From canoeing to disco rollerblading, every one of my days here has been filled with awesome!


A group of female Campers pose for a picture in SMA T-shirt 


Abbey Scott

I had an amazing year at camp. As a 3rd year I was so excited to see what this year had in store. I couldn’t wait to see all of the returners and meet all the 1st years.  I got really close with a lot of the campers and counselors. I went on the boat for the first time and did the overnights, the memories I made will last a lifetime!  I will carry them with me throughout the year, I will miss my home and family so much. I cant wait for next year, I love you guys so much!


Daniel Cosgrove

I have to say session 3 was a blast! There were some highs and lows of course but all together my experience was awesome! I met old friends like Paul, Jack, Deanna, Ben, Owen and Ruben which was awesome because they are all great people. But like everywhere you always want to meet new people and make new bonds. Some of these great people were Aaron, Aidan, Will B, Graham and many other great people. Sadly I think this is my last year at SMA but I think this was one of the best summers ive ever had!



Anna Raffaelli

During the 2 weeks I spent at SMA for the 2nd year, I had an amazing amount of fun that you couldn’t get anywhere else! I have only come to this camp for 2 years yet I already feel like this is home. I love all of the activities we do and the group of people are exceptionally amazing. SMA would not be SMA without this amazing group of people.  I am extremely sad to be leaving here after 2 weeks that felt like a day but im excited to be coming back next year to reunite with everyone!


Livia Boulding

In the full 2 weeks ive been here ive learned a lot from both other camper and the counselors.  At the beginning of the session I thought that after the 1st week I would be really excited to go home but now it’s the last day and I don’t want to go home and I am even more excited for next year. I think that I spent my time at SMA this year well, but I wish I had gotten to know some of the older campers better. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate my experience this year at 9.5 (the last 0.5 was only because I got sick so didn’t get to go rafting with everyone else)


Ellie Creedon

Over the past 2 weeks I had so much fun. Im very upset since I have to leave tomorrow, but I know I will remember this summer forever.

From going on the boat for the first time to travelling the Yough in just over an hour, this session was such a unique experience.

I was thrilled to reconnect with my friends from last year that I hadn’t seen in a year. I was also so happy to meet all of the first year campers and the people who usually go to a different session.

Coming back as a second year knew how camp works and works and what to expect. However, the people here make camp so special.

Thank you to all the staff for dedicating their summer for us. Im already counting down the

days until next year!




Jack McDermott

This session has been a great experience for me this year. Many of my friends who I have come to know and love came for this session and made everything that much better. I came into this session with the longest hair ive ever had and now im leaving with the shortest haircut ive ever had. It was a very interesting session!


Marshmallow (Anna Kauffman)

This session has been the best two weeks of my life. It is my last year and it devastates me to have to leave. SMA has truly changed my life for the better. I have made so many friendships that I hope to have forever! Jud, the counselors and all the staff have been so involved in making my summer amazing. Jud has influenced my life so much, he is much more then just the camp director, he is now a big part of the family. All of the campers here have been so friendly and I couldn’t imagine camp without a single one of them. I cant wait to come back as a counsellor!!


Zach Luzius

During my time at camp I met new people and got closer to the people I met last year in session 2.  There were many good time when we drew closer together as a group and got to know each other better. Cam p activities were great fun and challenged everyone to work together better. By the end of camp everyone grew closer to the friends we had made at camp.



Faye Mulder

SMA was an amazing experience for me. Since there are so few campers, it only takes a little bit of time until you not only know everyone’s name but can also grow a strong relationship with almost half of the campers and counselors.  The white water rafting was a great bonding experience and many fun memories came with the raft that will stay with me forever.  Secret friends is amazing because I makes you have to find out more about someone without them knowing. Everyone was wonderful and I will definitely be coming back next year! The hikes were hard but I felt so much stronger then before, what a wonderful time!  Roller blading helped wonderfully with my skills and in all I loved every bit of camp!


Sara Wein

During my time here at camp, ive learned a multitude of new skills and have created new goals as well as heights to reach in the coming years.  During wakeboarding, I finally stood up (after much practice). This was a new experience to me and will hopefully become a long lasting memory. I learned to practice and continue pursuing a goal, even after failing so so so many times!


Also while being here I got to practice being in a large community which I would normally try to avoid. Being in a large community has given me a really good chance to make an impression on others and due to this it has given me the chance to grow within myself. I have become more confident and willing to take chances. Although I did not want  to be here at first, SMA has given me a chance to grow and become better as a person for myself and the people around me.

(also this is super cheesy  but in all the session was really good!)




Calvin  Kuwahara

I enjoyed wakeboarding, all the overnights, sleeping in the cabins and all my friends. I really enjoyed my time here, I made friends with Owen and I got to sleep in a hammock. I got to stand up on the wake board!! I was surprised that Owen was my secret friend and it made sense after a little bit



Ben Gelfond

These last two weeks definitely had lots of ups and downs. I had lots of fun on the wakeboarding overnight with the boys and sharing stories inside the Furnace. The staff team was good this year! I had a great time at camp even though I hit my head. I had fun doing activities I could never do at home because I don`t have access to the items required to do so. I made new friends this session and continued several friendships from last year. Since this is probably my last session as a camper, I want to return as a counselor here and continue the traditions here at SMA.


William Serlin

My 2nd year and my 4th session was a blast for me. I had a great time doing amazing activities and had a lot of fun. This session went by incredibly fast and I can not believe I have already been here for a month. Time flies when you are having fun is a very truthful statement. At the beginning of the session I was fearful that it would not be as good as second session. But it was just as good, if not better, and I loved every minute of it.


Jordan Hill

This has been a mixed session for me. It all started with the `Lifestraw` that gave me a bacterial infection. I guess I have learnt not to trust `Lifestraws` that you buy off Amazon for $10! Other than that this session has been great! I made a good group of friends that I enjoyed, Crow`s Nest was great! I did miss out on White Water Rafting but spent the day adventuring with Timothy Bailey. To end this, I shall say, long live the “Bros” nest.


Sam Wien

I had a 10/10 time here at SMA. I love the activities and I love hanging out in the Nest J. This session my secret friend was a bit mean, but that’s OK! I really enjoyed going to Walmart in a Diaper.


Emily Stroud

SMA Wakeboarding Camp was really fun. I had lots of fun with all the activities and especially the evening activities. I loved meeting new people and making new friends.


Jordyn Bitton

This session was weird. I feel like I say that every session. I love everyone here at camp, but especially Deanna and Lily. I really enjoyed my time in the barn on Horsemasters, I love spending time with the horses and I`m so glad that I get to do it every morning. White Water Rafting was so much fun this session and my boat was great. I got sick at the end of the session and my voice sounds like a goose, but I still had fun. I Love SMA Horseback Riding Summer Camp.  I really hope I`m in Mattawanna next session!


Lily Jenkins

Throughout these two weeks of this session I have; hiked, SUP `n`sailed, White Water Rafted, and rekindled old friendships from last year. After three years of coming to SMA I can confidently say that this is one of my favourite places on earth. No words can truly describe how special this place is to me. You can only sincerely appreciate it by living here for 2 weeks. Over the past few summers, I`ve met and gotten close to some of the most beautiful and genuine people I have ever known. Unfortunately for me, this was my last summer and I won`t be able to return to Stone Mountain for quite some time.  Saying goodbye to this place and to the faces I`ve come to love hurts a lot, but I know that because of this place we will always share an unbreakable connection. All the deep conversations, laughter and tears that we shared will echo throughout this camp and within us forever.




Noe Durmont

This session as great, the first day was really strange because all my friends from session 2 left, but I made some new friends like Kyle. I found some friends from last year like Julian and Sam. I`m going to miss everyone, the campers and the fantastic counselors. Thank you SMA.



Kyle Nord

Here at SMA I learned a lot. About myself, the world, and most importantly, other people. 2 weeks with some of the best people I`ve ever met has taught me more about myself than anything else I`ve ever done. I`ve tried so many new things. I have found things that I love and things that I don`t. SMA has been one of the best experiences of my life. Thank you SMA Mountain Biking Summer Camp.


Griffin Lee

I had an amazing time during session 3 at SMA Rock Climbing Summer Camp. Thi is my 3rd year here and once agai, it did not disappoint. It was great to reunite with Abbey and everyone else. This year I got to try new activities like Wakeboarding and Canoeing. I didn`t get to climb as much this year but it let me try other things. I got SMAM (Stone Mountain Activities Master) this year and its my first time! I really hate how fast it went by and I`m going to miss this place.

Till next year!


Jessica Axelson

This is my last session of my last year at SMA at least as a camper. As such, I feel like I should make this reflection extra special but because this is the seventh reflection I have written as a camper and I feel like talking about how this camp has gotten repetitive. Basically this year at camp has been really great and has gone by impossibly fast. Being a fourth year has been amazing, getting to do ‘what they say what they mean’ and being the camper who has been here the longest.

I got to see a lot of people, both campers and councilors that id thought id never see again. I also got to meet new, great people and create stronger bonds with people ive known from previous years. The councilors  here are truly amazing. Every year when I come back I wonder how im going to have a good time without the councilors that have left, but a few days into camp I always find that I have fallen in love with the new councilors and have as good of a time as ever. Its incredible how SMA Summer Camp for Teensattracts such great councilors and campers and I hope that the friendships ive made here last forever!



Chris Johns

This year at SMA topped last year by a lot. My transitions to camp this year was much easier than last. It made it easier that I got to see my old friends. While I had my old friends I also made lots of new friends, such as Paul, Kyle and others. I love SMA Summer Camps for Teenagers because it is a way to disconnect from the rest of the world. Also the staff this year were outstanding. There was not a single member of staff I had an issue with. I really like my cabin this year. Everybody was very relaxed and we were all very close. Im going to be sad to see my friends go, but I am also excited to see some of them next year over all this was a great session and im excited to return next year.


Owen Gelfond

This was my last session at SMA Summer Camps for Teens and it was a good one. At first I was hesitant about singing up because I wanted to work but I signed up and it was a great decision. I had heaps of fun cracking jokes with the furnace boys and ,aking new friends. Stone Mountain Adventures will always be with me.


Finn North

Over my tme at SMA Teen Summer Camp my confidence grew thorough doing different activities. I also had lots of fun rock climbing and on the overnight!


Sebastian Gornecki

This session was a blast! I had so much fun this year. This summer went by in a instant and I wish I could have stayed longer. I met even more people from this year and I hope to stay in touch with them. I wish to come back another year and make even more friends and have an even better time! My summers are always the best when I have SMA!


Deanna Delore

This session was so much fun. I moved up to Mattawanna and met three new people that were in my cabin. I went on the wakeboarding overnight and got up on the water-skis but ended up falling seconds after every time. Later in the session I got up for at least 20 seconds and im still improving. On the yough nobody fell out of my raft and we were the SS. Laxatives. One night when we did the dating game I was picked to play and it was fun. Also my ‘what they say what they mean was, ‘when Deanna says ‘oily’ what she really means is I don’t understand how commitment works. Lastly I connected with so many people this session and I can’t wait to come back as a super camper. 




Julien Raffaelli

On the first day half the people were already like family to me even though the other half I did not know yet. However, as time progressed I found that SMA began as a whole to feel like home too. Activities became easier and time flew by when I realized how much SMA began to affect me as a person. At times I might not feel like myself at home, so when I come to SMA with the new and old people I would always find who I was again. On top of the unimaginable fun we have here at camp the emotional connection always seems to make you want to stay forever, which is quite unique to Stone Mountain Adventures.


Gillian Stingley

In the beginning of these two weeks I knew nothing but a few names and stories that id heard from old campers. I was so excited to learn my own names and have my own stories. When I walked down to the board room on the first day I was confused and I didn’t know what it would be like at SMA but now that these two weeks are almost over I know what SMA is like and that I want to come back every year. I know im going to miss my friends but I hope to keep in touch and see everyone next year.


SMA Session 3 Staff Reflections, 2017





3rd session has been a blast, from the first moment campers arrived; I knew it was going to be awesome!


The vibe this session has been incredible; it’s been so great to watch everyone get along so well with everyone else. From playing knockout on the basketball court to all the activities I have loved every minute.


The Yough was most definitely my favorite day this session! The river was huge and made for some impressive white water. The best Yough trip I’ve ever been on! My boat worked so well together, even though you all (including the raft guide) tried to pull me in; I managed to stay dry! Cucumber falls was so beautiful to see and the dance party in McDonalds was so fun. Another highlight for me was candle making, even though it wasn’t my vision it was fun and we made some awesome candles!


I had an amazing two weeks and I hope you all did too. Have a super sizzling summer ’17!



So this session has gone by so fast. It’s been crazy! It started off by seeing all the returners and meeting all the new campers who found their way to SMA.


The rock climbing overnight was so much fun because it was the first time that we have been to this spot for an overnight. The climbing was so amazing there with all new routes for people to climb, and we all got great experience climbing in a new area. The camping was a little rough but we all pulled together and all had a sweet time by the fire.

All in all it was another amazing session and I’m so glad I got to meet all new campers and the returners because we all had a great summer!



I really enjoyed this session! As soon as everybody arrived I knew it would be a loud one. The vibe you all brought with you was fantastic and you carried it through the whole session, even when we got super lost on the canoeing overnight.

I loved the Yough; it was my favorite of my three years here. The waves were huge and you and our raft guide were awesome. The dance party in McDonalds was an accidental dream: everybody threw so many shapes it was like a geometry lesson.


Both overnight were so fun! Hanging off the cliffs taking photos of all the climbers was scary but I loved it! As much as the canoeing overnight went wrong you all kept it together, making it one of the best overnights I have been on, especially because we had glow sticks and balloons.


Thank you all for a great session. It really is becoming a super sizzling summer of 2017!




Woah… Session 3 is over already! What a crazy two weeks, I have had so so much fun!!  As soon as the first few campers started rolling into camp, I knew it was going to be a great one!  I was so happy to see so many returners and then to also meet so many awesome new campers was amazing too, everyone got along so well and there was an amazing atmosphere and buzz right from the first evening meeting in the barn!


I had some amazing horse masters in the barn which made every morning an absolute blast and then the fun continued into the afternoon everyday too! All the campers completely blew me away with their passion and energy that they brought to every activity!

The best day of the session obviously had to be the yough day with its crazily high water, our raft was amazing (even if our raft guide didn’t really like us!) the entire day was just amazing from start to finish, the mcdonalds dance party at the end was a particular highlight, im not going to forget that one in a hurry!


Its going to be so hard to say goodbye to everyone, Ive made some amazing friends who im never going to forget, see all you guys next year!



Third session has been amazing! It is crazy to think the summer is almost over. You all have made these past two weeks so fun! I’ve laughed every day. Thanks to you I spent most of my time laughing at Paul in his stylish diapers, which I loved but he hated (secretly loved).


Our Yough boat was amazing and thankfully we didn’t have anyone fall in. Watching the wakemasters advance on their skills was incredible and I’m proud of you all.

Thank you for an unforgettable two weeks.



Will Hooton

Session 3 has now come to an end and the summer has seriously flown by. This must be because we are all having copious amounts of fun. The campers again this session have been great and extremely well-behaved and helpful on all activities. As well as this there was not a single camper that didn’t make the activity enjoyable.


Highlights of the session have been the wakeboarding overnight, sleeping in a hammock under the starts right by the water’s edge with the moon and the stars reflecting off the water’s surface before an early start and every camper managing to achieve their goal on the boat was definitely my favorite memory of the session.


The second highlight which I will really remember is working alongside some extremely talented musicians with a real gift. Personally I have been playing music myself for seven years, and having the opportunity to play in a band for the first time with these campers was amazing. As young as the campers are and the level they are playing at, they really do have potential to do well. Again, another great session with great personalities.



Session 3 was incredible! There was a great mix of new and returning campers which made for a great atmosphere.


Camp started with get-to-know you games and bunk meetings. I was bunk captain for the furnace this session and we all got along great! The kids were all awesome when we were making bunk rules and it really helped create a positive atmosphere in the cabin.

My crew this session was so good! From polebarn fun to doing dishes, they all contributed loads!


Some of my favorite activities this session were soccer, canoeing, fishing and being out on the boat. The wakeboarding overnight was amazing and with only seven campers, we could all go out on the boat at the same time. This meant everyone got loads of time on the water. The night was amazing. We built a great fire, made mountain pies, and then went stargazing.

Overall it was a great session, and it will be hard to say goodbye to everyone. Thank you everyone for making this an amazing session!



This session has been the best session yet with all the amazing returning campers setting the vibe and encouraging the first years out of their shells and into the camp spirit. By the end of the first couple days, it was impossible to tell who was a first year and who was a fourth year. This alone made the vibe of the session amazing.

The activities were absolutely superb with highly encouraging campers committing to their activities and getting the most out of their experience. I’m always so impressed by how strong, outgoing and passionate campers are about their lives and how it comes out during the activities.


For me though, the best day is always white water rafting, especially this session with 6.7 high water. The float was amazing with waves and holes trying to knock us into the white water. Even though it only took 1 hour 14 minutes, it was non-stop fun!

Thank you to all the campers who made 3rd session great. For all the laughs, hugs, paddle board tackling fights, games of volleyball and knockout, and all the memories!



I asked these campers on day one how to fight a bear. They said you get big, and become the bear. Well, they DID become the bear in these past two weeks. I watched 40 campers scale the climbing wall like a walk in the park, and waterski/wakeboard/kneeboard/bellywhomp like they had fur, four paws, and claws. This session flew by beary fast, and sitting here at the end of it, I can’t roar-member this place without these people. I just want time to paws so this session lasts forever. Thank you to all the campers and counselors who make SMA so grrrrrreat. Thanks for bearing with me through many crew dance parties and attempts to juggle. Please have a good hibernation, and come back next year fur more fun and memories that will last a lifetime.


Ben Dillard

Out of my five years and thirteen sessions at SMA, 3rd session 2017 truly was some of the best two weeks that I’ve ever had here; and I’ve grown to have very high expectations about this place.


One may think that the staff team would be exhausted so far into the summer. Truth is, we would if it wasn’t for you all feeding us the energy that keeps us loving this job. You really make it so easy for us. On opening day, everyone would shout “NEW CAMPER” and rush down the hill every time a new car would pull in. The energy did not wane through the day, and first years fit right in.

As I said during the candlelight meeting, an indicator of how good a session is is how well we move from being individuals to becoming a single group, where everyone feels part of a community, surrounded by friends. How close we all got one to another allowed for these fantastic, improvised, memorable moments. The dance party at the McDonald’s parking lot, never ending evening meetings caused by the huge amount of warm fuzzies, songs on the way back from the Yough are all moments that I will treasure.


Thanks to your enthusiasm and positivity, every single activity brought its share of laugher. 12 people wrestling on a paddleboard and flipping each other, intense volleyball tournaments with the Ben’s squad, races in the water during swim check, Hannah appearing from behind a rock dressed as a nun at Donation, getting completely lost on the canoeing overnight, running sessions during power hour with the boys (and Helen), dares to walk around Walmart wearing adult diapers...this session has seen it all.

I want to thank each and every one of you who made these two weeks possible. You truly make being a counselor the best job in the world, and as I move on in life I will look back fondly on these memories. I hope you will too.


Topics: 2 Week Summer Camp, Reflection packets

About Director Jud's Blog

This blog will give you the "411" about everything that is Stone Mountain Adventures Teen Summer Camp!  Everything from "Summer Updates" to useful family and camp resources.  Check it out! 

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