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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Camp Unalayee Association

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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 Story



Rating: 5

Camp Unalayee was one of the great experiences of my childhood, teens and adulthood. The impact it had on my life and the foundation it provided is profound and hard to put into words.

Plus it was a lot of fun. I went the first time when I was 10 and cried for a week - tried to go home. After that I didn't want to leave and went back every summer for 10 years for all 3 sessions, became a CIT at 17 and a counselor at 18. I went back last summer after 30 years of being away, and in a virtual world of texting and computer relationships realized these kinds of wilderness experiences are more important than ever.

Our youth is so far removed from the "real" world with their iPhones and IMing and instantaneous virtual/visual stimulation and computer graphics that to travel to the Trinity Alps is truly like a journey into another era.

And from what I saw last summer, it is having the same positive impact on teens in the 21st century as it did on us oldsters from the 1970s - it opens your eyes to a world that is fast disappearing, and the skills it gives you translate into everyday life, giving new confidence, awareness, appreciation and compassion.

The wilderness experience forces kids to draw on reserves of strength they never realized they possessed - which will carry on into other areas of life when faced with situations that call for that same strength. Except after Camp they will know that strength is there, and bring it forth.

I cannot emphasize enough my deep appreciation for Camp Unalayee and how it has helped me through life to this day.