Camp Activities

A Summer of Exploration at Camp

There are many activities offered at camp.

We have something for everyone. There are sports, mountain biking, and horseback riding for those who want to be active, along with arts and crafts, blacksmithing, and fine arts for those who want a way to express themselves, the waterfront to cool off on those hot summer days, and the Farm and Mill to help teach the campers where our food comes from and get hands-on in the process.

Campers choose four activities to do throughout the week for morning activities that alternate, A day and B day. These activities help the campers build their skill in the area they choose, whether it be swimming and weaving on one day, and Farm and Mill on the other. During the afternoons, campers can sign up for any of the activities. They can choose a two hour activity or two one hour activities. Afternoon sign-ups allow campers to try a variety of activities and to broaden their knowledge and skill set.

The Farm

Participating Programs: All programs

Since 1981, the Farm has been an integral part of Gwynn Valley.

This unique program offers campers a fun and educational experience. As the children learn to milk a cow and goats, pick the many varieties of vegetables, feed the farm animals, , play with the baby goats, gather eggs, watch chicks hatch, and learn a little veterinary science, the Farm gives hands-on experience about where our food comes from. Gwynn Valley produces approximately 60 – 70% of its own food. Our farm-to-table dining experience provides a new window for enjoying good food.

The Mill

Participating Programs: Main Camp

The Mill is a unique program area that enables us to travel back in history.

The Mill is a unique program area that enables us to travel back in time. Our mill was built in 1890. By experiencing what it is like to run a mill, you will learn why grist mills were such an important part of a community years ago. The mill is a hub of activity where campers grind all of our cornmeal and grits, participate in fishing for trout, make ice cream from the power of the water wheel, and learn to cook over an open fire. The mill provides the camp with cornmeal and grits. In addition, the fishing portion of the mill program provides fish for our homegrown Gwynn Valley meals.

Arts & Crafts

Participating Programs: All programs

Our Arts & Crafts area encourages children to be creative and exposes them to projects utilizing a variety of textures, fibers and colors.

Tie-dyeing, batik, marbling, candle making, and paper making, are some of our favorite activities that we call “messy crafts”.

We also have a variety of fiber arts such as weaving, felt making, cordage bracelets, beading, nature crafts, basketry, leather work,  and gourd art. Pottery, whether hand building or wheel throwing, is another favorite crafts area. Our campers have lots of opportunities to be creative and participate in the many arts and crafts activities we offer!



Participating Programs: All programs

At Gwynn Valley we play games from all over the world, as well as traditional American sports.

Our sports program stresses fun, skill building, and good sportsmanship in addition to being non-competitive. You’ll find soccer, ultimate frisbee, basketball, archery, volleyball, team building/group games, cricket, touch rugby, and more. Everyone can participate and all campers will find something to their liking in sports.  


Participating Programs: Main Camp

Archery is one of our most popular activities and is available for all ages.  Campers learn archery safety and the basic technique for target shooting with recurve bows.

Mountain Biking

Participating Programs: Main Camp & Mountainside

Mountain biking is one of our fastest growing programs. We have bikes that fit most campers. Camp has many areas to ride in and challenge oneself, from a small skills course, to the wide open spaces where one can get the feel of shifting, braking, and getting use to a mountain bike. Our property has several miles of single track and a flow track.  We also utilize DuPont State Forest and its over 100 miles of trails. Campers learn to initially safety check their bike before each ride and basic maintenance over the course of their time here.


Participating Programs: All programs

Climbing at camp is open to all ages. We have a 50 foot climbing tower, climb our hemlock trees, and participate in arborist climbing as part of the program. There is a small rock face on the site that’s good for a real rock experience. Campers learn all aspects of signals and safety, how to put on and tie into a harness, how to properly fit a helmet and knots for climbing.  In our longer sessions campers may go off site to Pisgah National Forest to climb.  There’s no place but up at Gwynn Valley.

High Ropes Course

Participating Programs: Mountainside, Riverside & Young Leaders

Our High Ropes Course is a great place for our older campers to reach outside their comfort zones as they tackle the elements that make up our course.  It’s always a team effort with your partner on the ground and staff in the air to help with navigating the heights and challenges of the course.

White Water Canoeing

Participating Programs: Mountainside & Riverside

Our Mountainside and Riverside Campers learn the fine art of paddling on local rivers here in Western NC.  All groups start out on our lake and progress to more challenging moving water.  For those who have mastered the art of tandem paddling we can provide you with a solo experience in a smaller and more manageable boat.

White Water Kayaking

Participating Programs: Main Camp & Mountainside

Kayaking for campers 10 and up teaches the finer points of negotiating moving water on our local rivers. Our kayaks are deck boats with spray skirts made for whitewater. Everyone starts on the lake and learns to wet exit. This is a necessary skill as we move toward a trip on moving water. The lake helps us transfer those paddling skills to moving water where we learn about eddy turns, peel-outs, ferrying, and even surfing. Your confidence will soar along with your enthusiasm in this “rapid” moving environment.

Camping Skills & Nature

Participating Programs: All programs

This program area focuses on increasing your comfort level, competence, and confidence in the outdoors.

In Camping Skills you may learn how to choose a campsite, build and cook over an open fire, set up a tarp, read a map and compass, track one another through the forest, and practice the Leave No Trace camping and hiking ethics.

In our Nature activities, you can explore the land, plants, and critters on and around Gwynn Valley. Our cove offers many opportunities to experience and learn about the natural world. Streams, fields, rivers, and woods await young people in search of salamanders, beetles, sassafras, tadpoles, and blackberries. Learn how the web of life affects us all. There’s never a dull moment and you’ll be amazed at what’s right under your feet!

Performing Arts

Participating Programs: Main Camp

Act, Sing, & Dance

In Performing Arts you can learn about drama, perform on stage, have fun playing improv games, sing songs, act out a story, design and create the set, or participate in a play or musical during the session. 

Creative Writing

You may also write articles for the camp newspaper, practice drawing and painting, and write poetry. Let your imagination take you to new places.

Tajar Times

Participating Programs: Main Camp

Do you like talking to people and finding out their views? What about drawing? Do you enjoy writing and creating? At the Tajar Times, you can interview staff or other campers to find out what they think about camp and you will probably have one of your own pieces published in our camp newspaper.


Participating Programs: All programs

Cooling off at the waterfront is always a lot of fun.

You will enjoy swimming, boating and other activities offered daily at the lake and pool. To build and improve your skills, swim lessons and games on the waterfront are offered every other day for our non-swimmers. One morning or afternoon, your cabin group may choose to go tubing on the nearby French Broad River or go on a creek hike up to Connestee Falls via Carson Creek here on the property. Easy to paddle sit-on-top kayaks and stand up paddle boards are available at the lake and you may also choose to learn the basic foundations of canoeing while at camp. There is plenty of fun to be had on the waterfront!

Horseback Riding

Participating Programs: Main Camp

If you’ve never ridden a horse before or had some experience, this is a good place to learn and develop your riding skills.

Our program accommodates beginners to intermediates in hunt seat instruction. For those more experienced riders, advanced trail rides are offered during the 2 and 3 week sessions. Ring instruction, a trail ride, and lessons in horse care are offered during the morning activity times. In the afternoons, children can sign up for riding to improve their skills and may choose to go on a fun trail ride.

Our well schooled horses, experienced riding staff, stable, and large ring provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about our four legged friends.


Participating Programs: Main Camp

Campers learn some basic blacksmithing skills by hammering iron into a fine craft.  They create a craft such as a candlestick holder, pendant, or hook.   Hammer away and test your “metal”.


Participating Programs: Mountainside and Riverside

Our Mountainside and Riverside programs have Backpacking for adventures. They will spend a day or two in camp training for the adventure and strengthening the skills they will need while out.

My children still talk about gathering eggs, making cornmeal and picking vegetables. They have strong work ethics and a sense of responsibility that I attribute to their time at Gwynn Valley.