My kids just finished the "best two weeks of their summer" at Camp Pinnacle and it was a powerful, wonderful, fun time. The benefits of outside time will ripple throughout their lives forever. - Gretchen Schott-Cummins, parent from Flat Rock, NC
We don't look at camp life the same way folks did 10 years ago. In order to engage the hearts and minds of digital age kids, we structure the daily life of campers to make the most of every minute with great role models and new friends. Camp Pinnacle immerses young people in a special world of fun and adventure in order to capture their complete attention. This fantastic environment makes it easier to gain confidence and take steps towards independence without even missing electronics. Even better than fun, you'll feel something different here. It's a feeling of being welcomed, important, valued and respected... and that feels pretty good.
Don't worry — we're not interested in wearing your child out! It's all about carefully balancing the program. Kids need structure, but they also need free play and appropriate downtime. We make space for all three. Your child will have lots of daily excitement and appropriate challenge in his/her two weeks with us, but every kid is different. We also make time to build a sandcastle on the beach, read a book, or concoct a crazy game with friends. Active kids need sleep, too. At Camp Pinnacle, they'll sleep between 9 and 10 hours a night.
American kids are growing up in an unprecedented era of luxury. Most kids have their own room, many with a television, computer, and video game system. Our cabins are clean and recently updated, but living in a screened cabin, sleeping in bunk beds, is very different from the comfortable (but often solitary) life in one's bedroom. For many kids, camp presents a whole new social dynamic and valuable experience from which they can learn and grow. Life lessons often come through the give and take of living and playing together 24/7. It can be an eye-opening experience when children realize they are having "the time of their lives" without modern technology. The real-world friendships, exciting activities, and time with great role models and friends more than compensate for the lack of familiar comforts.
Research shows that the more time kids spend in nature, the better off they will be. Besides the daily magic of our outdoor campus, we'll make sure every kid gets a few "I can't believe I did that!" moments. We want every camper to remain proud of their accomplishments long after they return home. These accomplishments build confidence, self-reliance, optimism, and lifelong memories. Stuff like climbing real rock faces, rafting down rivers, and standing atop a mountain peak subtly prove to kids that they are capable of a great deal, and that time spent outdoors is so much fun that it's worth incorporating into their lives at home.
We want campers to feel like Camp Pinnacle is not only their camp, but also their second home. That sense of ownership begins by providing a place where kids aren't judged, but rather respected, for whom they are. They're also given real responsibility for their experience — choosing some of their own activities, keeping their stuff neat and organized, and contributing to cabin and camp chores. Being an active member of a larger community beyond their family and stepping up and accepting responsibility resonate long after summer camp has ended. We try to bring out each child's "best self," and we want our campers to come home proud of themselves and all they have accomplished.
Campers are grouped in cabins with eight to 10 campers and two counselors. A division consists of the kids from two or three similarly aged cabins. Campers generally participate in daily activities with their cabin mates and cabin counselors. For evening activities and daily activities that require larger groups, like soccer or capture the flag, cabins will gather as a division. Off-Camp Adventure trips like rock climbing, backpacking, and mountain biking are usually done as a cabin, while Off-Camp Adventures like whitewater rafting or Sliding Rock are generally done as a division. There are also free-choice blocks where campers can choose the activities that interest them the most and share these activities with campers and counselors who have similar interests.
The cabin experience is a great way to become very close with a small group of friends and counselors. The division experience supplements this small group cabin experience by providing a larger universe of friends and counselor mentors. We've designed camp to make it super easy to make new friends here and the friendships made here last long beyond the summer.
Our cabins have been the summer homes for our campers for more than 85 years, and a wonderful sense of history permeates camp. Your child may be sleeping in a bunk where a U.S. Senator or decorated General slept (don't worry, we promise we've changed the sheets and done a little remodeling since then!)
Mealtime is always special at Camp Pinnacle. We eat breakfast and dinner family-style, and campers share these meals with their cabin mates and counselors. Lunch is served buffet-style, and campers may sit wherever they want (even outside) and with whomever they want (often with their little brother or big sister.)
We strive to make our food healthy, and much of it is locally sourced. Food is fun and plentiful, and we model healthy eating habits. There are always options for vegetarian, and nut- and gluten-free diets; however, we cannot provide Kosher or vegan meals. Like the kitchen table at home, we always keep fresh fruit available for campers to snack on during the day. We have intentionally chosen not to have a canteen where campers buy snacks. Healthy snacks are always included in the daily fare. If it's a hot afternoon, don't be surprised if a cold popsicle appears at just the right time!
Evening activities are a highlight of the day and every evening at Camp Pinnacle is exciting, different, and fun! Campers will alternate between division games like capture the flag or wolf (a version of hide and seek), and exciting all-camp games like gold rush, rainbow tag, or the hunger games. Many events are single-gender but there are also coed events like a dance party and luau night.
As evening activities wind down, students circle up in their cabin group for evening circle. This is a special time of the day where campers discuss the "pluses" and "deltas" of the day, and give feedback to make tomorrow even better. They plan ahead for the next day's activities, and celebrate their friendships and community. The special routines and the attention we spend with group facilitation make evening circle a place where growth and learning "sticks."
After brushing their teeth and showering, campers are usually in bed and listening to a story by 9:45 p.m. After lights out, the song of bullfrogs, crickets, and the waterfall fill the night air and lull the camp to sleep.