Adventure for all: Outdoor camp for youth with special needs builds friendships and confidence

Intermittent breeze ripples the water atop Lake Junaluska as the sky vacillates between sun and cloud, but the wind can’t quite carry away the excited shouts and chatter of the 60 kids and teens strung out along the dock, casting lines in the water or paddling its surface in red canoes. 

“There goes Maggie!” somebody shouts, pointing to a little girl whose head just barely rises above the top of the canoe as she reclines between two teenage volunteers and another young girl, who supports Maggie carefully from behind. 

Nonprofit forms to teach survival skills during summer camp

out frThe wilderness is where one can find peace and clarity while also finding inner strength and determination. 

That is the basis for Radical Inclusion, a new nonprofit formed by Waynesville couple Nicole Taylor and Jess Dunlap to provide an affordable summer camp experience for youth while teaching them survival skills.

YMCA camp gets ready to open in Swain

fr watiaA little more than a year ago it was nothing more than an open grassy field surrounded by forest, but by next month it will be an impressive, state-of-the-art YMCA summer camp.

Franklin outdoors camp helps military kids heal from loss

coverIt was an intense few days for Virginia Beach, Virginia, resident Seth. Eight miles of hiking, 4.5 of those bushwhacking, all with an overnight pack on his back. A couple of hours of rock climbing. Three more miles of hiking. And that was just day one.  

Before the week was out, he’d log 6 more miles of hiking, 5 of canoeing and hours more of survival skill classes and drills. An impressive feat for most people, and Seth is only 14.

A land of possibilities: YMCA breaks ground on Swain summer camp

fr ymcacampIt’s a land with a rich past and a hopeful future. 

As YMCA employees, volunteers and future campers walked the Watia Creek Farms property along the western corner of Swain County last Friday, they could see the future. They could see children playing in nature, learning about the great outdoors and making lifelong friendships at the future home of YMCA’s Camp Watia.

YMCA summer camp coming to Swain

fr watiaYMCA of Western North Carolina is getting ready to break ground on Camp Watia, a summer camp in Swain County to serve children in the region. 

Ken and Nancy Glass of Buncombe County purchased the pristine 900 acres near Fontana Lake about 10 years ago and donated it to the YMCA of WNC with conservation in mind.

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.