10 Things to Know about Camp Carolina

January 20th, 2023

10 Things to Know About Camp Carolina


1. We’re a Boys’ Summer Camp In Brevard, North Carolina

As the premier summer camp in North Carolina, we’re proud to call Brevard our home. 

Camp Carolina is located on 220 acres, with a private lake, nestled in Lamb’s Creek Valley and bordered by over 2 million acres of public lands that include Pisgah, Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests, Dupont and Gorges State Parks and The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. 

We are allowed access to more than 400 thousand acres of hardwood forest, mile-high mountain peaks, whitewater rivers, thundering waterfalls and hundreds of miles of top hiking trails through commercial use permits. Under careful supervision and constant encouragement, boys discover new frontiers on whitewater rivers, mountain lakes, ancient trails and rocky summits. These experiences are to be remembered for a lifetime. 

2. We’ve Been in Business for Almost 100 Years

Started in 1924, Camp Carolina has been home to generations of young campers who leave with unforgettable memories.

Alfred Thompson is the Owner and Director of Camp Carolina. He lives on the property year-round with his wife, Mary Eccles, alongside his son Alfred Jr with his wife Emily, and daughter Bren with her husband Alex. Alfred has been a Manager and Director since 1993; his wife, Mary Eccles, has been the Office Manager since 2007. His children Alfred Jr. and Bren have been Associate Directors since the fall of 2021. The Thompson Family has over 100 years of combined experience running a private summer camp.

In 1924 Camp Carolina was started by Professor David Meade Bernard who was Co-owner and Director of Camp Carolina from 1924 – 1945. In 1958 Joe McConnell, owner of the camp at the time, felt it was apparent the camp had to have a full-time director and manager. Alfred's father, Nath Thompson, heard in the spring of 1959 that Camp Carolina was looking for a full-time director. Nath reached Joe McConnell in Florida and after a short telephone conversation, Nath and his wife Mary were asked to come to Florida for an interview. Shortly thereafter he was employed and came to work in May 1959. Nath was the Director and General Manager from 1959 – 1982. In 1982 Nath became the owner, and decided to move the camp to the other side of the mountain, he then proceeded to move the business to the new land where the camp is currently located. It is his determination and love of camp that has been so important to his family, Camp Carolina, and the larger camp community. 

3. We have 15+ Camp Activities to Try

No matter your child’s interest, we have the perfect activities for them to spend their time with at Camp Carolina. From athletics to the arts, there is no shortage of things to do during the day.

The diversity of our In-Camp program gives boys an experience they can only get at Camp Carolina. We ensure that our younger campers are given as much opportunity to develop skills and excel in any chosen activity as our older campers. We have a lesson plan for every activity for each age group so that all the boys can be safe and successful. We do all the team sports that boys do at home and put camaraderie and sportsmanship first over competition.

We allow the campers to make their own choices for what they want to do and to take responsibility for their own learning and experience.

In-camp activities include archery, arts and crafts, fencing, golf, hangliding, kayaking, low ropes, music, riflery, skateboarding, team sports, tennis, video production, waterfront, and yoga. 

4. Just as Many Out of Camp Trips

Campers don’t just spend time on our 220 acres of land, they also get to explore the surrounding area with out-of-camp trips!

We have an impressive off-camp adventure program with 12 trips heading off-site daily into the beautiful Appalachian mountains giving campers the chance to experience high adventure and independence daily. Every activity at Camp Carolina is available to all age campers on a level specifically designed for their age group except for wakeboarding, surfing and paintball which are offered to boys who have completed the 5th grade and above.

The water-based sports we offer out of camp on local streams, creeks, rivers, lakes, sounds, and oceans are whitewater rafting, whitewater kayaking, fly fishing, tubing, surfing, wakeboarding, paddle boarding and sea kayaking. 

The land-based sports we offer out of camp on local mountains, trails, ridges, rocks and caves are backpacking, hiking, caving, mountain biking, mountain boarding, rock climbing, paintball and horseback riding. 

5. Overnight Camps Offer Valuable Experiences

Overnight summer camps aren’t just a fun place to spend time. They also offer important lessons and life skills for young boys.

Attending an overnight camp provides an extraordinary opportunity for the camper to gain the self-reliance, self-confidence, and independence important to a young boy’s development. 

We believe, and many educators agree, that more teachable moments arise during the long-term camping experience than during comparable stays at other types of educational institutions. Camp Carolina is about being independent through adventure and meeting challenges head-on. It’s about the simple faith that anything can be accomplished through determination and enthusiasm. It’s about living fully, setting personal goals, making friends, and enjoying accomplishments. 

6. We Host an Annual Father-Son Weekend

This is a great opportunity to introduce your son to Camp Carolina while spending a fun and rewarding time together. 

You and your son will get the choice to try other awesome trips such as Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Fly Fishing, Rock Climbing, Tubing, and Hiking. If all of that isn't enough, you will have free time to try out the waterfront and fill your evenings with a Night Hike, Dodgeball, and a unique Camp Carolina Campfire experience. 

The weekend gives the 1st-time parent an opportunity to meet the staff, see how we operate, and check out the facility! Our aim is to provide a fun, safe, and distraction-free environment that allows you to spend vital time with your son in the beautiful Western North Carolina region under the guidance of our trained and professional staff.

7. Our Campers Make Lifelong Friends

Making friends at school can be tough, but at Camp Carolina, our campers form bonds that last long after the summer has ended. 

We believe in campers experiencing Camp Carolina with independence and living with new friends encourages and supports this philosophy. 

We value safety, respect and selflessness toward others. We work hard to maintain a well-rounded experience of health, fun and growth. Our camp leaders are guided to focus on the “teachable moment” – that time when a boy is enthusiastic, interested, searching for answers and having fun. 

Camp gives you a space to be who you want to be, it brings a learning experience with others which can create bonds with others that will last a lifetime. 

8. We have an Amazing Team of Camp Staff

One of the main reasons we’ve been in operation for almost 100 years is with the help of an amazing camp staff!

We travel the globe to find the most qualified and enthusiastic staff to help campers progress their skills or learn something new. Every staff member goes through additional training in their specific activity so that every lesson can focus on the campers and reflect the Camp Carolina goals.

We look for staff with positive attitudes, great work ethic, passion, and a high level of skill for their activity, excitement, community spirit, kind-heartedness, tolerance, selflessness, and respectfulness.  Most of all we are looking for incredible role models for our campers!

We hold the Backcountry Institute at Camp Carolina each spring. We offer courses by American Canoe Association, American Red Cross, National Archery Association, Civil Marksmanship, United States Youth Soccer Association and Wilderness Medical Association, to name a few! We offer these courses to the general public, other camps and provide these courses for our staff, allowing us to have the most medically and professionally trained, certified camp counselors in the country. The average age of our staff is 23 years old. 98% of our program staff take advantage of Backcountry Institute courses. Our overall ratio: camper/staff is 2.5/1.

9. The Fun Doesn’t Stop on the Weekends

No weekend is the same here at Camp Carolina!

The weekend starts on Friday night with the very important and traditional Camp Fire. Campers grab their crazy creek chairs and paddles and head to the Camp Fire after dinner. Everyone sings rousing songs, campers share trip reports of their most exciting adventures from the week, and we get entertained by our storytellers and singers. Campers get to sleep in an extra hour on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday campers participate in one of the many activities that we hold including the waterfront, low ropes, climbing wall and many team sports all which offer games for the boys to compete in as teams. In the afternoon we hold whole camp games such as Commando Capers, Amazing Race, Capture the Flag, and Color War. We finish up Saturday with a dance with a local girls camp.  On Sunday any boys wanting to attend a religious service can do so after breakfast. The other campers play games such as International Rules Dodge Ball and are entertained by Nature Man or one of our inspirational storytellers. Sunday afternoon is another whole camp game.  An example of a Sunday afternoon is our Gold Rush game where the boys forage all over camp in search of “gold” which is then exchanged for Carolina Dollars. They get to spend the Carolina Dollars on one of the many carnival games which include a dunk tank and an inflatable maze or spend it in the Camp Carolina Saloon.

10. A One-of-a-Kind Philosophy

At Camp Carolina, we believe that we’re more than just a fun place to be.

Camp Carolina is a camp in which boys learn to feel with their hearts, do with their hands and live together in the spirit of brotherhood. Our boys are taught to appreciate the simplicity of life, value of human relations, wonders of nature, importance of self-reliance, respect for each other and our natural environment and the thrill of high adventure. A special effort is made to send every boy back home stronger in body, keener in mind, more appreciative of nature, nobler in character and more confident in themselves.

There are many things you can do at Camp Carolina, but the only award you can receive here is The Old Man of The Mountain Award which is given out for good citizenship. Boys do not receive awards of any significant merit for athletic prowess or excellence in any activity. At Camp Carolina you learn to be a good citizen which means that you treat all campers and counselors respectfully and considerately, do voluntary work, and work on self-improvement under the guidance of your cabin counselor.
Want to learn more about what makes Camp Carolina special? Request a catalog or register today!

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