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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Camps, Children & Youth, Environment, Environmental Education, Recreation & Sports, Sports, Youth Development

Mission: Camp Unalayee is a wilderness camp for kids from all walks of life, begun in 1949. We are a community that cultivates a deep respect for the natural world. Our programs offer a balance of freedom and responsibility that generates self-confidence while creating a safe place for kids to discover their own creativity, new friendships and a unique sense of community. Our campers: · Grow through personal challenge and cooperative living · Develop respect for themselves and others · Develop a sense of self and the confidence to stand up for what they believe · Experience challenges and unexpected accomplishment · Have life changing experiences that stay with them forever · Become stewards of wild places We stand for: · A deep love of the wilderness · A commitment to self-discovery and responsibility · A dedication to transformation · Being a place of friends Camp provides a world away from technology where kids have fun working together and becoming a part of a community and a place they can always come home to.

Target demographics: Children age 10-17 from all economic, cultural, ethnic, and social backgrounds.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 145 campers per year come to summer camp on scholarship.

Programs: Unalayee operates a wilderness summer camp for children ages 10 -17. Campers live in small groups outdoors, prepare and cook their own meals. They spend 1/2 of the two week session on the trail exploring the natural world and learning wilderness skills. We also have a teen leadership program and a two-week backpacking program for more intensive primitive and outdoor skill development.

Community Stories

42 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Unalayee is the most life changing community I have ever been apart of. It is more than a summer camp; it is a powerful, loving family that is deeply passionate about showing children and families how sacred and beautiful nature is, as well as the importance of trust, respect, and courage. There is no place in the world I'd rather be. Camp Unalayee is the only place I can be my true self 100% of the time. I am accepted for who I am, I am challenged to be the best person I can be, and I am honored for expressing myself fully. Camp Unalayee encourages us to dig deep down into the depths of our hearts and souls and to celebrate growth, friendship, challenge, courage, music, laughter, wilderness, community, and FUN. The friendships I've made at Camp Unalayee are the strongest I've ever had. My friends, family and myself have all noticed what a positive impact Camp Unalayee has had on me these past 5 years. I'm more confidant, thoughtful, healthy, and compassionate. Camp has touched me and changed me in a way that I am eternally grateful for. In my first week up in those mountains, I felt like I had been grabbed by a hook and pulled deep into its core. I will forever be connected to Camp Unalayee. It's the closest to utopia I've ever been. I am so incredibly grateful for Camp Unalayee.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My boy Rio loves camp Unalayee like a home away from home. He would stay all summer if he could! He talks about it all year long and plans to become a CIT and then a counselor when he's old enough. He has gone for three summers straight since he turned 10, and each time he returns from camp, he seems different.....more grounded, mature and centered. We feel so blessed to have Camp Unalayee to help us raise a compassionate and generous-hearted boy!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Unalayee is a wonderful organization and I feel incredibly lucky to be connected with them. For me, the most outstanding feature is joy: so many people are always not only excited to be there but deep-down joyful. The beauty of the wilderness setting has a lot to do with this, of course, but it’s the air of confidence and calm that matters most: all the staff and many of the older campers seem to be thinking “we are capable and know what to do, it’s not complicated, we can live fully in this moment.”

Campers learn practical skills, get stronger, make friends, and build self-confidence - but in the end the experience is much more than that. Camp Unalayee strikes a rare balance between promoting group experience - with the goal that everyone helps out and everyone belongs - and honoring individuality - giving campers choices of activities, alone time when needed, and many opportunities to perform and create. And another balance comes to mind, between economy and exuberance: the economy of leaving few traces and living simply; the exuberance of the long hike and the high peak climbed, the all-out splashing game on the shore of the lake, the crazy performances improvised around the campfire. These essential social, ethical, and emotional lessons are not deliberately “taught” or forced, they just grow naturally out of the camp experience.

I am the parent of a camper who returned for many years, and I myself participated as an adult camper at family days and as a volunteer. We paid when we could, took advantage of camperships when we couldn’t, and plan to keep giving back for the rest of our lives.

Kirsten7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Every summer since 2010 (or was it 2009?) our boys have gone from campers to counselors in training, and then to work as counselors, first spending 2 weeks in the Trinities and Marbles, now about 9 weeks. Each step of the way, Camp U has been just an amazing community that manages to wrap together fun, growth, challenge, friendship and so much more. As a parent, I see camp from a gravel parking lot where we drop them off and pick them up - for me that lot is one of my favorite destinations, especially at pick-up when we see the kids emerge from the woods, dirty, scraped up, energized and calm at the same time. Ever grateful it's been a part of our lives, and quite certain it always will be! Thank you Camp U!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son who is now a senior in high school has attended Camp Unalayee ever summer from the time he was 12. It has become his special place to go every summer and he looks forward to it for months. Over the years my son has grown from a very timid shy kid to a very confident and driven young man. I credit a lot of that confidence to the time he spent at Camp. Time where he can hang out in the wilderness, with his people, and not worry about the stresses of everyday life. I can't say enough good things about this program.

Shirley U.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Unalayee gave my daughter the time and space to challenge herself and free herself. Her experience was beyond beautiful and energizing. She has muscles inside and out upon her return. She sled down a snowy mountain in July and had counselors who nurtured her freedom and skills. What a wonderful camp. So very grateful. A must do !

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

My child had SO much fun! She learned a lot about herself and the way she interacts with others. I felt that she grew much more here than in any other place.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Unalayee has been an amazing experience for my daughter. She has gained a confidence not only about hiking and camping but about her place in the world. She has made great friends and talks about camp year round!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Unilayee was an awesome experience for my shy reserved girl. She blossomed in good company and was positively radiant upon her return from camp. A real game changer for her self esteem! Thank you Camp Unalayee!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Best thing we've ever done for our kids. Our two boys have spent 2-6 weeks at Camp U each summer for the last 7 years. Unalayee is a welcoming, adventurous, creative community that is both peaceful and energetic. My kids have learned to appreciate nature, physical challenge, deep friendship and much more. The staff have high expectations for both learning responsibility and having fun. The location in the Trinity Alps is magnificent and offers a huge range of backpacking terrain.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son attended Camp U two years in a row. The worst thing about sending him there is that no other experiences have ever met the interest and fun factor of the camp. He LOVED IT! He was given responsibilities for helping with the cooking and the clean up. He helped other campers set up their camp sites. The counselors treated my 14 year old with great respect and positive regard . My child learned that he is a competent person and camper. He also learned that he has a very valuable skill--telling captivating stories around a campfire. The other campers were friendly, accepting and kind. Camp U should be given all the credit for building a positive community where all the campers are valued contibutors to the camp experience. I can't say enough nice things about this camp. It really did change my child's life.