Hi, my name is Carter and I am from Meredith, New Hampshire! This will be my second summer at Camp Alta Mons and I am so excited to go back to camp as the Cookout Coordinator! Because c’mon who wouldn't want to deliver preacher cookies. I just recently graduated from Roanoke College with a degree in Psychology and after camp I am going to be serving in the Peace Corps as an English teacher and teacher trainer in Indonesia!
My favorite thing about summer camp? Wow that’s a hard one to pin down - there are so many! I love singing songs in the dining hall and shouting at the top of our lungs to wake one another up in the morning. I love it when a unit finally stabilizes the four way whale watch and sings row row row your boat as fast as they possibly can. I love watching the funny skits units come up with, and laughing when people get shaving cream shoved in their faces. I love it when Christmas Tree Mountain is lit up with lightning bugs and you can see every star in the sky on the back 400. I love all camp swim and signing tie-dye shirts, but most of all I love the connections I make at camp. Alta Mons has this special quality about it that allows everyone on their different walks of life to connect in nature. This is where I have made some of my lifelong friends and memories that I will never forget. So I guess it’s safe to say that my favorite thing about camp is that it became a second home.
Yours in love of 3 bears (cha cha cha),
Hey Y’all! My name is Billy Ferguson, and I am from Roanoke, Virginia. This is my fourth summer working at Alta Mons. Two summers as a counselor and this summer will be my second as the Media Coordinator. I graduated from George Mason University this spring majoring in Film and Video Studies. I am so excited to return to camp! There are so many opportunities for great stories at camp, and as Media Coordinator I get to document them in photos and video.
My favorite thing about summer camp is that you are able to fully embrace nature. When I am on camp property, I feel as if I am receiving a big leafy hug from the outdoors itself. It’s just great being able to get back to the basics and enjoy living in the moment. Alta Mons is a place where life moves a little slower. I recall being on a wagon ride and looking up into the night sky. The night sky was crystal clear when suddenly a shooting star zapped into the air. Its white streak was extremely visible. Everyone in the wagon caught a glimpse of the star’s tail. Even though it only lasted for a second, I remember feeling like it happened in slow motion. Moments like this are the reason I love Alta Mons. It happened in the Back 400 where camp is the darkest. Anywhere else the star would have been too dim to see due to street lights and other distractions. When living in the moment, you get to appreciate the little things that God gives us.
Yours in Home in the Woods Wagon Rides,
Hello, it’s me – Daniel Moore (aka Danimals, Daniel Tiger, Dan the Man).
I had so much fun as a counselor last year and I’m excited to come back this summer as Worship Coordinator!
My family is from Chesapeake, VA, but we’ve also lived in Tennessee and Japan – in fact, I was born in Japan. Currently, I’m at Virginia Tech (Let’s Go!) studying Math Education, as well as Asian Studies. I’m involved with Chi Alpha Campus Ministry, helping out with worship and media for them. I’m also involved with the Asian American Coalition as Director of Marketing and the We Suck at Art Club as Vice President. I hope to someday teach internationally.
My favorite thing about summer camp is the songs – and I’m not just saying that because I’m the Worship Coordinator. I really really really really really really like camp songs. For me, music has always been a way for me to have fun, find comfort, and express my love for God. So, it’s an honor to share that experience with the campers this summer. There’s something amazing about singing a song together (whether it be a silly song or a worship song) that makes the Alta Mons family feel like… well, a family. I love singing along with the campers and doing crazy hand motions. It’s super fun and is a great way to share the joy of the Lord.
I can’t wait to see you all and sing some oldies, some goodies, and maybe make up some new songs.
Yours in love of swimming, swimming, in the swimming pool,
My name is Sam Ream and I am from Virginia Beach, VA. I may have grown up just 10 minutes away from the beach, but I am a mountain man all the way. With that being said, I have found home these lase three years to be tucked away in the valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains, for I am going into my senior year at Roanoke College. I am majoring in Sociology and concentrating in crime and deviance with hopes to go into nonprofit and/or search and rescue.
Anyhow, this will be my first year at Alta Mons and I am SUPER ecstatic! As the Trips Coordinator this year, I think it is important to know that there is nothing more I love than exploring this beautiful planet. From kayaking with the dolphins to stargazing on top of mountains, there is nothing more freeing and spiritual to me. The wilderness is my favorite place to not only be with God, but to find a connection closer than ever before. In my most recent expedition of section hiking the Appalachian Trail, there was something about being alone and vulnerable that made my trust in God just that much stronger. I am very passionate about nature and I love to share it with others!
I have heard many of the magical places here at Alta Mons, such as the Back 400 and Christmas Tree Mountain. I am excited to learn, grow, and share my Alta Mons experience with all of you!
Yours in love of tie-dye shirts and bandannas,
Hello Everyone! My name is Emily Duralia, and this is my second year working at Camp Alta Mons. I loved being a camp counselor last year and I am extremely excited to come back to camp as the Pool Coordinator this year!
I am a student at Radford University studying business. I work for the Radford University Outdoor Program and I am a member of a professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. I love being outdoors and camp is one of my all-time favorite places!
My favorite thing about summer camp is the community and memories I have made. Either as a camper or as staff. I was a camper for around seven years at Camp Alta Mons. Each week I was at camp I felt my unit being built into a little family. I felt this as a camper and as a counselor. The feeling of family flows from Stiles Falls down to the intersection and throughout camp. This camp has been my home away from home and has helped me grow into the person I am today.
My whole family loves Camp Alta Mons. My family heard about Camp Alta Mons through my cousins who were working at camp as counselors and coordinators. Both of my brothers have been campers as well. The oldest of the two will be working as a CIT this year and my mom is going to be the camp nurse one week. Camp Alta Mons is always the highlight of our summers! My goal is to make it the highlight of every camper’s summer.
Yours in Love of the Back 400,
Hey Everyone! My name is Emily Bush and I’m so excited to be the Resource Coordinator again this summer!
A little bit about me, I’m a Junior at William and Mary doubling majoring in Gender Sexuality and Women’s Studies and Psychology. I’m a member of the community service fraternity APO, I’m the Volunteer Coordinator at Wesley’s Campus Food Pantry and I’m a data management intern at Housing Partnerships. Serving others is what fulfills me and what I believe is my purpose and makes me my best self. That is why I am so excited to have the opportunity to serve at camp!
Choosing my favorite camp memory is no easy task. How do you pick a favorite out of all the campfire sing-a-longs, s’mores, creek hikes, games, and shenanigans of camp? It’s a tough call, so I’ll just tell you a good one.
On Wednesday nights at camp, every unit does what we like to call Home In the Woods. This is where all the kids and counselors get tarps to set up in the woods, and cook their dinner over a fire, and spend the night under the stars. It’s a truly wonderful experience, but it can be a little daunting for campers who aren’t as comfortable in the outdoors at night. We offer an opt-out of HIW, and two girls in a Junior High Bridge Unit, although they had done HIW before, were considering opting out. This was something that I wanted to help with, as someone who had been their counselor before and knew how special and bonding HIW can be for a unit. They were afraid to spend the night in the woods again, getting up close and personal with the bugs and the dirt. Luckily, the only real requirement for a HIW site is that there must be a fire pit. Great news! Our beloved Pirate Ship playground is close enough to a fire pit that we were able to transform the playground into a tarp fort structure. Watching those girls conquer their fears again, and be enabled to participate comfortably in one of our most beloved camp traditions just warmed my heart. Watching kids grow more comfortable in themselves and the outdoors is one of the many reasons I keep finding myself drawn to camp.
On behalf of myself, Meredith, and all the coordinators and counselors at camp, see you soon!
Yours in love of nights under the stars,
Hello! My name is Jennie, and this is my second summer as Program Coordinator and fourth summer working at Alta Mons. I’m getting ready for my senior of college as an Elementary Education Major and have been blessed with my many summers spent at camp over the past few years.
Sometimes people ask me,
“Why do you work at camp every summer?”,
“Aren’t the late nights and crazy days exhausting?”,
“Why would you want to work so hard during your time off while being a college student?”
I think the only way to answer these questions is with honesty and explaining my favorite thing about camp. Yes, working at camp is exhausting, but it is worth the late nights creating weekly schedules and plunging the elementary bath house with Emily and Meredith and making sure everything about night ropes goes perfectly because all of that work creates my favorite thing about camp. Which, it may not be a physical thing, but it is the most important thing—memories.
The memories made at camp (any camp) are my favorite thing. My fond memories of laughing around a campfire, backpacking through the woods, canoeing down the New River, and rappelling for the first time are what led me to become a camp counselor. Even though Alta Mons isn’t the camp I grew up going to, the same type of camp memories can be made anywhere the camp spirit lives. And the camp spirit thrives at Alta Mons.
Singing songs in the Dining Hall, Home in the Woods, all-camp-swim, Night Owl and Tri-Challenge units, big games, worship, skit night, and so many other activities are full of energy, fun, and love that allows camp to grow and thrive. Just as a plant needs sun, water, and support, the camp spirit needs the energy, fun, and love that Alta Mons so graciously provides.
The camp spirit allows for memories to be formed, so to further explain how the memories created (no matter where) are the best thing about camp, I think I should share my favorite memory from the past three years of my time at Alta Mons.
It is hard to pick a favorite because I love everything about camp, but my second summer at Alta Mons created some of my most prized memories. In a funny way, my favorite memory doesn’t actually take place on camp property.
It’s Week Two of Summer Camp 2018 and I am co-counselors with Drew for the Tri-Challenge Unit. It’s a small unit, so we were able to grow close during our week of camp. What some people may not know, is that I had just spent the previous week helping lead the camp I grew up going to—Trec Camp. This is a week of camp that my youth pastor created for our youth group, and this is where my love of camp began.
Anyways, one of the “challenges” for the Tri-Challenge unit is camping out and then canoeing down the New River. Ironically, I had just spent the previous week canoeing and white-water rafting on another section of the New River. So, as we pull up to our camp site in Jolene, I recognize where we are. We are literally camping out where I, for the past six years, had started my canoeing journeys with my youth group. It may not seem that important, but my two camps, that hold such special places in my heart, have now come together.
To add to the importance of this memory at the camp site, it just so happened to be the 4th of July, and I was surrounded by an amazing unit of campers and staff members. To this day, that unit photo hangs on the walls of my college dorm room because it reminds me of the memories made at camp.
In adventurous Summer Camp Love,
Two words I wasn’t sure I would ever love together as I didn’t grow up going to camp and the cold, dark winter season is not my favorite.
But here we are, five years after my first experience with winter camp, and it’s changed how I feel about both.
There is something about the time of the season, the magic, at the end of December. The kids come home from school and they are wired with anticipation of the arrival of the fat man in a red suit in just a few nights. The sugar highs from the treats in abundance often have the kids bouncing around unable to sit still. Adults have different reactions and most focus on running around trying to locate the perfect gift, hide presents, be present at one or two (or more!) Christmas parties, all while attempting to carry on with the normal duties we have the rest of the year. At least, that’s how it is in my world and I consider myself an average wife, mom, employee and friend. Every year, I vow that next year won’t be as busy.
While I know I should slow down and enjoy the season and all it represents, I don’t. And because I don’t, my kids don’t.
Until we arrive at Winter Camp. Suddenly, the world disappears behind us. The busyness and the chaos stop. A peace comes over me that I can’t understand, especially because there are 60 plus kids in the dining hall all excited to meet new friends or reconnect with friends from past camp sessions. There are no cell phones. There are no electronics. It’s just me and Jesus and the stillness of camp (and 60 plus kids!)
In the same way, the kids feel it, too. It’s different for them as I know the shock of the lack of communication with the outside world is scary, but it allows them to be kids for 48 hours. Forty-eight hours of four-square, hiking, crafts, singing, playing, and friends. Forty-eight hours they don’t have to worry about life outside of camp. Forty-eight hours of Jesus and counselors and staff who want to make sure the kids at camp encounter Him in a real way. Isn’t that the greatest gift we can give our kids just days before we celebrate His birth?
My kids and I began attending camp five years ago. I’ve served in the kitchen and as chaplain and have watched Winter Camp grow these last few years. My children have attended as campers, CITs, and now one as a counselor. Last year, after walking through a particularly tough situation, I looked at my son and said, “aren’t you glad Winter Camp is this weekend?” His emphatic nod was all the proof I needed to know the profound effects Winter Camp has had on my own kids as well as the kids I bring from the neighborhood.
Due to life and changes in seasons, I won’t find myself at camp this December. While I won’t be, my kids will. Given the choice of the annual Christmas Party with the youth group or Winter Camp, Winter Camp won. I knew it would. Even though I won’t be at camp, I’ve promised myself I’ll take that time without the kids (which, hello? They take your kids for the whole weekend before Christmas – what a gift for you!!) and spend time with him. I’ve already blocked off time on the back deck, under the stars, with the fire going for my “Winter Camp at Home” experience. Winter Camp has taught me so many things, but the biggest is to slow down and rest so that I can truly prepare my heart for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Hello Blog Readers!
This summer flew by and I can’t believe that it is already over. Our theme this year was “Hope In The Valley” and we served 227 campers over the course of 4 weeks of camp. From creek hiking to canoeing to roasting s’mores at Home in the Woods, this summer was full of memories that will last forever. We had a record 9 CITs (Counselors in Training) this summer that will hopefully become camp counselors in the coming years!
We were blessed by the service of Alan Combs, Pat Jones, Jeff Wilson, and Amanda Garber as camp chaplains who shared with us their time, faith, love, and teachings. Daphne Huffman, Debbie Jones, Jean Broyles, Sherry Basham, and Stefanie Hawkins loved on our whole camp with their nursing skills and words of kindness. Jennie Battaglia and Emily Bush served as our Program and Resource Coordinators and did a wonderful job leading our staff and campers. We are already in the process of planning summer camp 2020 and I can’t wait to share more with everyone as the time becomes closer.
Right after summer camp ended, we were VERY busy with retreat groups hosting their own camps here at Alta Mons! From band practice to swimming in the pool to late nights at the Dining Hall, it was a pleasure to see so many people enjoying the beauty of Alta Mons.
In mid-August we welcomed our new Guest Services Coordinator, Sarah Yoder! Sarah is a former camper and camp counselor (Summer Staff 2016) and grew up in the area around Alta Mons. She has already been a huge help to Alta Mons and we look forward to seeing what all she brings to our ministry!
We are still looking for a Maintenance Coordinator, so if you or someone you know is interested, please contact the office.
Thanks to everyone who attended the District Cookout on August 24th. We enjoyed having so many people here at camp for worship, fellowship, pool time, high ropes and more! We appreciate the support of the Roanoke District and are so thankful for all of the people who love Alta Mons.
As we transition into the end of the summer and fall, we are excited about all of the groups that have scheduled retreats with us. We are always trying to grow our retreat ministry, so if you or someone you know if looking for a place to get away, give us a call! We are always willing to answer questions and help you plan your retreat. You can check out all of our options online at: http://www.altamons.org/accommodations.html
Yours in Christ,