Camp Appalachia is a yearlong camp whose target camper is a child between the ages of 7 and 17 and is at a high risk for destructive life choices. We currently have summer day camp available and are in the process of bringing our ten residential cabins up to code so that we can be a resident camp as well. We will be providing a little to no cost resident camp experience to children who are directly affected by the opioid epidemic, are in the foster care system, or who have one or more parents incarcerated. We operate year-round with our focus being opioid prevention, outdoor education, leadership, and resiliency building. We have targeted Kanawha, Putnam, Lincoln, Jackson, and Cabell counties as our primary areas of focus.
To address the substance abuse prevention aspect of our mission, we are partnered with Bill Odell and the Putnam Wellness Coalition to provide the substance abuse prevention portion of our programming and with West Virginia State University and their Health and Human Performance department to make our programs dynamic and full of impact. Our counselors and staff are trained to beyond First Aid and CPR to provide trauma informed care as well.
At Camp Appalachia we teach resiliency from a strength-based model. When campers arrive on their first day, they are placed in their respective groups. These groups are together at most times throughout the day and will participate in activities that make all campers work toward a common goal. This could be anything from a simple scavenger hunt to acting out a skit. The camp is programmed to build a strong “camp family” bond early on. Once these bonds are formed, activities move from being group based to individual based. At this point, the camper is more comfortable and feels part of a camp community; therefore, it can be easier to try new things. If they are initially unsuccessful, staff and other campers offer support and encouragement until an activity is mastered. This builds self-confidence by showing the camper that although a task is hard or intimidating at first, it is possible. This change in thought process can be taken away from camp and applied to all areas of life and build resiliency and confidence for them to pursue other activities in school, at home, and in their respective communities.
In the non-summer months, we offer Outdoor Education, in partnership with the West Virginia Department of Forestry and Project Learning Tree. We are looking to partner with West Virginia Schools to have field trips at our property for a fun day of learning at camp.
Camp Appalachia’s vision to be a safe space for kids where they can learn a new normal despite their life experience, build confidence, and have fun doing it, is one that we want you to be a part of. Please consider giving to help us make Camp Appalachia a beacon of hope for our community.