Director Jud's Blog

SMA Teen Summer Camp Featured in Huntingdon Daily News Front Page!

Posted by Jud Millar on Mon, Apr 11, 2016

Huntingdon County has a wide array of scenic beauty and natural wonders, but it also has some hidden treasures that fly under the radar.  Stone Mountain Adventures in Oneida Township is a private summer teen camp where teens ages 12-17 from across the U.S. and world are able to explore and take advantage of what the area has to offer.

The camp, located on Old Hawn Road at the same site as the Horsepower Farm therapeutic riding program,was started by Biff and Pam Hayes-Houldin in 1983. The founders continued operations until son Judson Millar and his wife, Anne, and his wife, Anne, assumed operations in 2007.  One of the most important things Millar hopes to impress upon the campers and counselors is family, which isn’t simply a concept that’s touted in brochures, but executed daily. “The kids see me and my wife, and Biff and Pam, who no longer run it, but they still help out, and they see my kids, Wyatt and Molly, they see a three-generation family,” said Millar. “We want to be a positive role model for the teens.”

For Stone Mountain Adventures camper turned counselor Ali Sanzo, the area and the camp is “literally the best place” she’s ever known.  “It’s small and everyone feels like family,” said Sanzo. “Jud and his family make it a point to make it feel like family.”


When Millar came in 2001 to work at the camp after spending time in California and Montana as an Outward Bound instructor, he saw opportunity.“I saw this as an opportunity to make a difference by working in the family business,” said Millar. “I wanted to pass that on to folks.”

Campers who attend Stone Mountain Adventures can go for two-week sessions for eight weeks in the summer, but Sanzo said many stay for more than one session, because two weeks simply isn’t enough.
Since the camp is smaller than most traditional summer camps, having around 60 kids per session, those who attend have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of things off the grounds, including many for which Huntingdon County is known.

“We leave camp all the time; you’re not stuck in the same place,” said Sanzo. “We go out on a boat on Raystown Lake, we go to Whipple Dam, Greenwood Furnace, do a disco bowling night at Holiday Bowl, we go to the Amish market (Belleville Livestock sale) and we also go on college visits to Juniata College and Penn State. We offer so many activities, you can find something you love here.”

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Though many of teens and counselors at Stone Mountain Adventures aren’t local, with some hailing from locations as far away as Australia, Ireland, France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, Millar said when they spend time here, they understand the beauty of Huntingdon County. “We do get a handful of kids from the area,” said Millar. “We had kids this summer from Alexandria, State College, Altoona and Hollidaysburg, but those kids live here and they can experience some of the things we see every day. For those who come from far away, they definitely understand this place is special.”



However, with people from all over the U.S. and the world, teens who come  are able to experience diversity.  Teens who attend the SMA summer camp for teenagers are required to give counselors their mobile devices on the first day of camp, but Sanzo said it’s not as difficult as one may think to disconnect from the world of social media.  “They may whine a little bit on the first day, but kids are so busy here, so it’s not long before they forget,” said Sanzo.  “A day at camp is like a week in regular time,” said Millar.


Sanzo even spoke about a recent day during the first session in which campers were greeted with torrential downpours.  “There was not a camper without a smile, and since the kids kept up their energy, we were able to able to keep up our energy,” said Sanzo. “Everyone was really happy to be here.”

Those who never attended summer camp might have stereotypes of what camp is like, but when teens come to Stone Mountain Adventures Teen Summer Camp, those stereotypes are blown out of the water.  “The food here is really, really good,” said Sanzo, as they pride themselves on providing buffet meals that are quality. “We have a team here that puts together a really good menu that goes over well with kids.”


Another perception is that parents are forcing their kids to come to camp, when, in reality, Millar said kids choose to go there.“About half of the people who come are first-time campers and half are returning campers,” said Sanzo. “By the end of the first day, you can’t tell who’s a first-time camper and who’s a returning camper. That’s one of the strengths we have as a teen camp, not a camp where you can start going when you’re very young.”

Being a teenager is a difficult time for anyone, but Millar believes teens can learn to be who they are while experiencing the importance of family values and the scenic treasures of Huntingdon County.
“This is what keeps me going, being able to make a difference,” said Millar. “Being a teen has always been hard, but never as hard as it is now.”

Teen Rock Climbing Summer Camp 

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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