Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park rangers are leading a variety of summer programs for youth from the Knoxville’s Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley including Adventure Camps. Youth participating in the camps will spend three days in the Great Smoky Mountains and one day in Cumberland Gap learning about the unparalleled diversity of plant and animal life, rich cultural history, and numerous opportunities for recreation in our national parks.
“These camps are great opportunities to experience the Appalachian Mountains up-close and for our youth to make a connection with two national parks right in their backyards,” said Joy Absher, Great Smoky Mountains Acting Education Branch Chief. “The national parks belong to them and we hope to inspire them to make a connection with these special places. The future of our parks is in their hands and we are ready to pass it to our next generation.”
The camps provide a unique range of opportunities including a visit to Clingmans Dome – the highest mountain peak in Great Smoky Mountains National Park – along with the exploration of mountain streams for salamanders, walking in the footsteps of early pioneers in Cumberland Gap, and assisting park staff excavate archaeological sites. Campers have the opportunity to soak up spectacular views, breathe in the lush Appalachian forests, listen to mountain music, and make national park memories lasting a lifetime.
“The Adventure Camps offer our members an opportunity to explore the parks and interact with rangers,” said a Vestal Boys and Girls Club Camp Counselor through a post-site evaluation. “Each year our members become more and more interested in going to the mountains. Most of our members only access to the mountains is through (these) trips. The kids are more excited to be outside and more interested in career fields relating to outdoor preservation.”
For more information on future National Park Adventure Camps, please contact Joy Absher, Great Smoky Mountains National Park Acting Education Branch Chief at [email protected] or Carol Borneman, Cumberland Gap National Historic Park Chief of Interpretation at [email protected]