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Adventure Camps Connect Urban Youth with National Treasures

Adventure Camps Connect Urban Youth with National Treasures

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.”

Powell Halls Boys and Girls Club visit with Little Greenbriar Schoolhouse to learn about life growing up in Little Greenbriar Cove with in-costume interpreter, Robin Goddard, and Park Ranger Jared Ownby. NPS Photo.

Powell Halls Boys and Girls Club visit with Little Greenbriar Schoolhouse to learn about life growing up in Little Greenbriar Cove with in-costume interpreter, Robin Goddard, and Park Ranger Jared Ownby. NPS Photo.

Carter Boys and Girls Club stand in the footsteps of pioneers in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park with Carol Borneman, Chief of Interpretation. NPS Photo.

Carter Boys and Girls Club stand in the footsteps of pioneers in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park with Carol Borneman, Chief of Interpretation. NPS Photo.

National Park Adventure Campers shares artifacts found within Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Parks as Classroom Coordinator, Melissa Crisp. NPS Photo.

National Park Adventure Campers shares artifacts found within Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Parks as Classroom Coordinator, Melissa Crisp. NPS Photo.

National Park Adventure Campers assist park staff look for artifacts while excavating archaeological test pits with Park Archaeologist Heath Bailey and Student Conservation Association Intern, Josephine Smith. NPS Photo.

National Park Adventure Campers assist park staff look for artifacts while excavating archaeological test pits with Park Archaeologist Heath Bailey and Student Conservation Association Intern, Josephine Smith. NPS Photo.

Carter Boys and Girls Club visit Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. NPS Photo.

Carter Boys and Girls Club visit Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. NPS Photo.

Vestal Boys and Girls Club takes in the scenery at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. NPS Photo.

Vestal Boys and Girls Club takes in the scenery at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. NPS Photo.

Powell Boys and Girls Club listen to mountain tales as Park Ranger Jared Ownby plays mountain music on the dulcimer. NPS Photo.

Powell Boys and Girls Club listen to mountain tales as Park Ranger Jared Ownby plays mountain music on the dulcimer. NPS Photo.

Vestal Boys and Girls Club visit Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Park Ranger Misty Benton. NPS Photo.

Vestal Boys and Girls Club visit Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Park Ranger Misty Benton. NPS Photo.

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]

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