On Sale Now: Limited Edition T-shirt and Annual Alum Fundraiser!

Tis the season for a Camp Carysbrook Alumnae Association fundraiser! Sale ends Saturday! Youth sizes available, just click the drop down menu! Get yours, buy it as a gift or put it on your wishlist to support the CCAA Scholarship Fund! Sale ends December 10, 2016!

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Get your limited edition t-shirt to benefit the CCAA Scholarship Fund

International Wear Your Summer Camp T-Shirt Day: November 15th

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The annual International Wear Your Summer Camp T-Shirt Day is Tuesday, November 15!

To participate, wear your favorite camp gear on November 15 repping Camp Carysbrook; take a photo of you and your friends in your camp gear and post or tweet @camptshirtday using the hashtag #camptshirtday. Don’t forget to tag Camp Carysbrook for Girls and we will share it on social media!

Women’s Outdoor Adventure Happenings September 23-25, 2016

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Camp Carysbrook
is pleased to announce:

WOAH!

Women’s Outdoor Adventure Happenings
September 23-25, 2016

Join us for a weekend of outdoor activities for women led by women. Develop your outdoor living skills and gain valuable and fun outdoor adventure experience! Hosted by Camp Carysbrook with  guest instructor Anja Whittington, Professor at Radford University Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism.

Participant (18+) $50.00
Participant (18+) and 1 Camper (5-18) $75.00
Participant (18+) and 2 Campers (5-18) $100.00

Meals will be served in the Dining Hall. Cabins will be available for accommodations or bring a tent to camp out.

Participants must be accompanied by an adult (18+). The event will be held rain or shine! Payment is due in full at the time of registration. Refunds will not be given if the participant withdraws. Refunds will only be given if Camp Carysbrook cancels the event. Payment may be applied to a future event if participant must withdraw.

Unplug and get outside for a mother-daughter/female mentor-mentee weekend of outdoor activities. A great way to check out the facilities at Camp Carysbrook or have your camper introduce you to outdoor living skills and many other activities at Carysbrook in keeping with the gender-specific focus for women.

Click below to register today! Space is limited!

Register Here

That’s How It Is At Carysbrook: A New Staff Member Perspective by Lucy Muller

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All Throughout middle school and high school my schedule stayed the same. School, club meetings, swim practice, homework, sleep. Yet the time had come to decide if I wanted to do that for the next four years or if I wanted to take what I have learned from it and try to apply those qualities elsewhere and grow even more from new experiences. Change. It’s something that can be frightening for some people but it was something I was desperately seeking by the time I was a senior in high school. For the first summer in years, it wasn’t going to be spent at swim practice. I needed a change of scenery, a change of life and a change of purpose. And becoming a counselor at Camp Carysbrook brought me exactly that.

Carysbrook has taught me so much about myself but also about others. Megan and Savannah both previously touched on how it feels to arrive at camp for your first time, and I too felt that as an 18-year-old first time counselor. I was nervous because I didn’t know anyone, didn’t know how to get around, and didn’t know really what to expect. I quickly learned that the group of women I was going to have by my side for the next two months were some of the most incredible people that I, still to this day, have ever met. We all come from different states, countries, backgrounds, etc. but at Carysbrook we are all one in the same. We come to camp because we love to see friendships blossom, goals achieved, and confidence gained. We sometimes get told by parents that we have changed their little girl’s life, but really they changed ours in more ways than they even think is possible.

Camp teaches life lessons for everyone no matter what age. I am thankful that through being a counselor I have learned the importance of flexibility, honesty, and integrity. Mother Nature can always throw the staff for a whirlwind when it decides to rain for five nights straight during evening program. Yet it’s trials like that, which allow us to come together, make a plan, and execute it. Now instead of freaking out about a change of plans even outside of camp, I know that I can use what I learned and apply it to any situation. Honesty can be shielded in so many different ways through social media and texting, as it allows someone to sit behind a screen and say whatever they want- no matter the truth of it. At camp, we all learn how important and valuable truth is. The type of honesty that I have learned is that it is equally important to be honest with yourself as it is with others. Lastly, I have learned how rewarding it is to have integrity; doing the right thing when no one is watching. You don’t need an audience to perform an act of kindness, and you don’t have to be rewarded whenever you do. Kindness is what we as humans are supposed to treat other humans with, without the thought of a personal benefit coming from it.

One of the most rewarding aspects that comes with being a counselor is seeing young girls become confident and proud of who they are. There are so many false “social media set” expectations and standards that adolescents at any age feel the pressure to meet. At camp it doesn’t matter what you look like, how tall you are, or what color hair you have. Camp Carysbrook creates a safe haven that promotes lifting one another up, celebrating eachother’s interests, and accepting everyone. Age doesn’t matter when it comes to friendship at camp nor does popularity. The overwhelming sense of pride that fills my heart comes when your shy camper on Day 1 of their session, is helping one of her cabin-mates nail that dance move for Rock Concert because she can tell she is nervous. Or when you see an older camper take a younger camper under their wing because they had experienced that feeling once too. They change each other’s lives. I feel that it is an absolute privilege that I get to witness and be part of it in the most beautiful place in the world.

Camp Carysbrook Go To Girls: Creating a Community Actively Caring for People by Savannah Devereux

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There is a moment that Megan Shuford describes perfectly in her blog post … the moment your parents pull away from the parking lot in front of the office and you are standing in the field watching their car drive off and you realize you are in a place where you know no one, and you have a choice, to push yourself right out of your comfort zone and approach that group of girls walking down the archery hill, or you can go back to your cabin and hide out until the next new camper arrives. This is the moment when you wish you had a friend that came along, or a sister, or even just a familiar face. This past summer I had the chance to work with an amazing group of girls who volunteered to be a part of the new program called the Go to Girls. The main goal of this program was to alleviate this feeling of uncertainty that Megan described and help make the step out of their comfort zone a little easier. Not only did this program accomplish that, but also it brought so much more.

The feeling of community at Carysbrook is like no other. Everyone knows each others name. Those who have been coming for years make new friends every year with those who have just arrived for the first time. With the Go to Girl program new campers meet a senior camper the moment that they arrive at camp, and from then on they have a familiar face for the rest of their time at Carysbrook. Not only do they have one familiar face but a whole group of new friends looking out for them and making sure that they experience the love for Carysbrook that so many of us have come to find. After their parents pull away down Camp Carysbrook Road, their Go to Girl will show them around to all the activities, introducing them to campers and counselors as they go. Not only does this allow the new camper to meet a network of new friends, it really strengthens the community at Carysbrook. It models social responsibility and acceptance by showing younger campers who may have only been coming for the past few summers that they can do the same; they can walk up to the new campers and introduce themselves and show them their favorite things about camp. It allows the older campers who have been coming for years to see what a difference they can make in a girls experience at camp with just a simple “hey want to come to arts and crafts with me?”.

In my psychology class this past semester my professor described a campaign that he started a few years back called “Actively Caring for People”. He said that it was an attempt to try and create real community where even if you don’t know the person sitting next to you in class, you would introduce yourself, or if someone had dropped their books on their way to class you would stop and help, or if someone seemed upset in the hallways of your dorm you would stop to make sure they were okay. To me, this was all common sense, I knew I should all do all these things, but I also knew that when it came to 30,000 people on the campus of Virginia Tech, not everyone knew that this is how they should strive to act. I knew this because the community at Camp Carysbrook is a perfect example of a place where the community is Actively Caring. I can not find one example of a time like the ones listed above where people at Carysbrook would not stop to help. The girls involved in the Go to Girl program exemplify an Actively Caring for People environment by setting the standard high, and making everyone feel welcome into the Carysbrook community.

Carysbrook has always been a place for people to be their true self, and feel completely comfortable in their own skin. Toni Baughman, who was the director at Carysbrook from 1980-2001 would always say that, there is a place for all girls at Carysbrook. There is nothing truer than that and she would love to see the way this is being facilitated by the Go to Girl program. The way that even if the Go to Girl has nothing in common with the new camper, she knows that if she welcomes her into the Carysbrook community the way that she herself was welcomed, there is no way that this girl would have trouble finding her place at Carysbrook. The girls who volunteered to be a part of this program piloted last year had an opportunity to experience the magic that transpires when you see a camper arrive at camp and struggle with homesickness for the first few days, and by the end of her time at camp, call home begging to stay an extra week and know that they were a part of making that happen. Erin Rose who was a Go to Girl last summer sums this up perfectly when she describes her favorite part of the program, “The first two weeks that I was there I had two girls who had come together, and I really liked seeing them first grow independent from me and having to ask places of where to go, and then also branching off and making new friends. Towards the end of the session I felt as though they didn’t need me and that they were happy with their cabin mates and it felt good to be a part of that process.” It’s the magic of Carysbrook coming full circle; developing a healthy sense of self-awareness and the impact even the smallest of actions can have on someone and the same feeling that all of the staff experience on a day-to-day basis all summer long.

The Go to Girl program strives to continue to foster the strong sense of community at Carysbrook. Carysbrook is a special place and continues to grow amazing girls into amazing women who continue to do great things everywhere they go. The Go to Girl program creates a logical leadership step before the CIT summer that helps with the transition. Soon the Go to Girls will become counselors and the counselors, strengthened by this bottom up leadership will go on to become strong women in their communities beyond camp and those new campers, maybe one day they will be Go to Girls. That’s part of what makes Carysbrook special, those powerful mentors in and outside of camp making significant contributions to the world around them, many of whom credit who they have been become to this special place in Riner, Virginia by the Little River where they were once just a little girl watching their parents pull away down Camp Carysbrook Road.

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A Moment of Gratitude by Megan Shuford

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I walked out of the Dining Hall, the sunlight greeted my eyes and I began blinking rapidly as I adjusted to both the bright light and to the idea that my family was driving away. I was an eleven year old with two vast weeks of complete and utter unknown staring me dead on. As I stood outside, adjusting to my surroundings, I was also faced with a choice. My options were: r run up to my cabin and hide my pooling tears, or walk over to Front Fire Patrol and say hello to a girl who I remembered meeting in my cabin earlier that day. I chose to chase after that girl, and when she noticed my blinking eyes, she grabbed my hand and took me down the hill to archery where we learned to shoot our first bow and arrow. It was a big moment and a big day for my eleven year old self—full of choices, independence, learning, and new experiences. In that moment, of that day, I fell in love with Camp Carysbrook. When I reflect upon that day I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Through my summers at Carysbrook I have become the person I am today, and for each of those summer days I will be forever grateful.

As I approach my tenth summer I have compiled a list of the top 10 things I am grateful to have experienced, learned and developed during my time at Carysbrook.

1.) Friendship – At Carysbrook I learned the true value of friendship—friendship that is based purely off common interest and sincere similarity. Because camp friends represent a different kind of friendship—you do not get to see each other for 9 months out of the year, age, race, and beliefs are not factors of importance and camp friends know more about you than any of your other friends. Camp friends love camp just as much as you do, and I am grateful to have made lifelong friendships at Camp Carysbrook.

2.) Outdoor skills – It never ceases to make me laugh when I return home, share stories about my summer and watch my friend’s and family’s faces of disbelief. I can be simply discussing the harmless black snake that slithered through the field or describing the bat I saw flying through the trees; they are always surprised by the rustic nature of camp. But I am proud that I know how to remove a moth from a building and build a fire— I am grateful that camp gave me the chance to develop practical skills.

3.) Confidence – Every year I return Camp has helped to shape my confidence further. During my years as a camper I learned to have confidence in myself, in my own personal skills, and in my voice. I found when I was able to identify with others over our shared love of Carysbrook that it was easy to be myself. As a counselor I have found confidence is sharing myself, skills and voice with our camp community. I am grateful to have been a confident camper and now a confident counselor.

4.) Creativity –No matter the time of day or weather camp boasts a gorgeous natural environment. The land is a common denominator whose constant change prompts campers and staff alike to embrace creativity. Whether it is in a new Arts & Crafts project or the colors of a friendship bracelet, the natural world of camp is reflected. I am grateful to have spent time in a beautiful environment that fosters pursuing creative endeavors.

5.) Passion –Ask almost any camper what they look forward to most, and they will tell you, without skipping a beat, that they absolutely cannot wait until camp this summer. And the same is true for staff members and the parents of campers. We all understand the importance and the magic of Camp Carysbrook. I am grateful that at the age of eleven I found a place that inspires passion.

6.) Compassion – Every member of our community brings their own story to the summer. We not only welcome each story, but we celebrate them. Carysbrook is a place that celebrates differences; it is a safe place to both express and explore those differences. I am grateful that Carysbrook offers an atmosphere of understanding and compassion.

7.) Flexibility –Even though camp’s schedule is the same from day to day every moment of every day is very different. People come and go, activities change, and it can be raining one minute and sunny the next. We adapt as a whole to our surroundings and the forever changing situations. I am grateful that I understand the importance change, both big and small—and that change is okay.

8.) Communication – Every member of our community brings their own skills to the table and each of those skills is an integral part of the summer. We need everyone to be a cohesive unit and so at camp I have learned to ask for help. We can learn so much for those surrounding us. I am grateful to understand the value of clear and direct communication.

9.) Leadership –The people that I admire most I met at Camp Carysbrook. As I progressed through my years at Carysbrook I learned how to be a good and effective leader by observing and listening to those around me. I am grateful to have mentors with high leadership standards.

10.) Purpose – As a current senior in college the question “so what are you going to do when you graduate?” is constantly being asked of me. To that particular question I do not yet have a long-term response. However typically the follow-up question is, “well, what do you like to do?” and to that I am sure of my response. I love to work with people and I learned that about myself at camp. I am grateful to have discovered what I love to do.

One of a kind Carysbrook sweatshirt to benefit the CCAA Scholarship Fund

Camper-designed sweatshirt helps raise awareness and funds for the Camp Carysbrook Alumnae Association Scholarship Fund! Limited time offer. Makes a great gift and keeps on giving! Get yours here:
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A Place for Everyone: Reflections on Diversity at Carysbrook by Erika Schlichter

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“We are all the same and we are all different. What great friends we will be…” – Kelly Moran

Like generations of Carysbrook alumnae, my very best friends are overwhelmingly my camp friends. And, like many other alums, I’m quite certain that these strong, authentic friendships would never have been forged were it not for camp. I am also convinced that my capacity to live successfully with random college and grad school roommates, to make a meaningful experience of studying abroad in Senegal, Africa, and to cooperate and collaborate with people who have held different opinions from me in various academic and professional settings would be far weaker were it not for the many summers I spent in the 24149.

The camp experience is a unique one in terms of its ability to successfully bring together individuals from varying geographic, cultural, racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. At camp, kids have the chance to step outside the confines of social cliques and academic pressures at school to forge new meaningful relationships and discover opportunities for growth in a safe, nurturing environment that promotes diversity, understanding, cooperation, and collaboration in pursuit of a common goal: fun and friendship.

Whether long-standing friendship-bracelet-status buddies, new cabin-mates, or proud teammates at Carysbrook, all campers are encouraged and ultimately expected to recognize, respect, and value the different beliefs, culture, and life experiences that everyone contributes to our camp community. And this intentional promotion and development of diversity, which begins with actively recruiting campers from a variety of cultural, social, and economic backgrounds, is one of our most critical goals as an organization, one that is essential to upholding our philosophy.

We are deeply committed to the belief that understanding, respecting, and valuing difference, while seeking commonalities and creating shared experience in the overnight camping context is a worthy endeavor that reaps lifelong benefits for our campers.

And we are especially proud of the rich geographic and cultural diversity that has become a hallmark of our summers to remember. Last summer, we had campers from Spain and France, and staff from six different countries outside the U.S.

Another way we contribute to being intentional about diversity is through the Camp Carysbrook Alumnae Association Scholarship Fund, which makes us able to assist families from varying socioeconomic backgrounds and further enrich diversity at camp. The alumnae provide the framework for the fund, but anyone can donate, and it’s tax deductible. For more information or to contribute to enriching your camper’s experience as well as that of another camper, click here.

As Carysbrook alum and CCAA President Whitney Mitchell puts it, “Camp is about meeting and having a community with people you wouldn’t otherwise cross paths with. It’s such an important experience in terms of expanding your worldview and learning tolerance and acceptance. At camp, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, what school you go to, what your parents do for a job—everyone is a camper!” And everyone who wants to should have the opportunity to be just that—a camper in arguably the most special place in the world.

In the words of Toni M. Baughman, “there is a place at Carysbrook for all girls – bold, shy, athletic, musical and those who can’t carry a tune,” and when these girls are encouraged “to believe and trust in themselves and discover their unique abilities,” magical things begin to happen: the whole of Carysbrook becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

The unique synergy and one-of-a-kind community that result from the diversity of our campers and staff are what make camp such a special, sacred place, a place where strong values and steadfast friendships are forged not just for summer, but for life.

The Magic of the Summer We Never Wanted to End

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It’s official. The summer is over and fall is here.

The summer that none of us wanted to end. Thank you for being a part of that by choosing to make Camp Carysbrook a part of your lives and your campers’. The 92nd summer was as perfect as any living thing can be. It was perfect for so many reasons: we had a tremendously dedicated and talented staff; an incredible cross-section of campers from different backgrounds, states and around the world; and the facilities while still rustic received a lot of TLC in the off season providing a safe and natural environment in which to play and learn. Yet, it was perfect in its imperfections as well because even when things went wrong, everyone pulled together to make it right. Campers were homesick and left camp at the end of a session already planning to return. The power went out and we turned on our flashlights and had one of the most memorable “Dancing with the Stars” evening programs in history. It thundered and lightning lit up the sky and cabins huddled on the floor playing S-P-I-T and Go Fish until peace and quiet and the sound of the bullfrogs at the lake lulled everyone back to sleep.

In the winter office, Erika and I have revisited every memory to try to understand what made this summer so remarkable. And if you are one of the parents who asked me how the summer went, you will know that I was quick to attribute much of the success to our 2015 staff. And I still do. They were competent and professional and they were all there for the same reasons and we believe that this is what had a significant impact. The 2015 staff made it their mission to mentor and empower the girls at camp regardless of their backgrounds, cultures or abilities in an effort to be their best selves.

And that’s it. We all practiced the Carysbrook philosophy and it permeated everything we did from the hiring to orientation of staff to cabin assignments and activities and evening program.

“Camp Carysbrook strives to provide a social and physical environment that promotes, develops and enhances the emotional, social, and spiritual potential of each camper and assists them in the discovery and enjoyment of themselves and the richness of life as they grow and develop.”

And the most rewarding thing we have experienced is to see this philosophy trickle down and see the campers live by it as well. The positive energy that was the outcome of helping each other despite our differences fuelled an unforgettable summer. We learned and grew and made mistakes and bounced back together. We faced challenges out of our control and we coped and learned what we were made of… with each other to lean on. Camp Carysbrook girls know how meaningful this synergy is and what it means to be resilient. We are a special community that defies time and age in order to find connection in this world. We established ties. Just like the Little Prince said.

“If you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….”

The richness of life.

A summer to remember.

And the impossibility of putting the magic into words. But then again, “the most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.” Antoine de St. Exupery

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Limited offer Camp Carysbrook T-shirt Ships Directly to YOU for the Holidays!

Please consider supporting the Camp Carysbrook Alumnae Association in a special promotion to benefit the Scholarship Fund. Purchase a long-sleeved white, cotton t-shirt in your choice of print colors (green, brown, blue or purple for staff) and the proceeds will go directly to provide financial assistance to a camper in need. The t-shirt ships directly to you and comes in both youth and adult sizes. Offer expires 12/10/14 and product is estimated to ship by 12/24/14 directly to you.

Order yours today and give a gift that keeps on giving:

www.booster.com/campcarysbrookalum