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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 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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Five years ago one of my children's best friends convinced my 3 boys to go to Camp U. Their lives have been forever changed and a summer has not gone by without them attending. They have enjoyed a combination of base camp and trail tribe. For them, the surrounding mountains are their most beloved landscape. As teenagers they describe that there is no other time in the year that they feel so at home with who they are and what is important in life. Strong friendships and beautiful views are the backdrop for them to discover who they are and how they relate to the world. Could there be a better gift we could give our kids? With three sons, Camp U is a financial burden for my family but their generous scholarship fund has helped us to make it happen every year. My family will forever be grateful for everything that Camp U does for our kids and all the children who have the chance to feel the magic of the basin. We are committed to contributing to Camp U long after our kids have grown.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has this to say about Camp Unalayee, "The camp counselors were really kind and humorous, the adventures were nature-filled and challenging, the arts and crafts were creative and fun. My favorite part was living with nature for two weeks. I sure hope my parents will let me return to Camp Unalayee!"

Lynn87

Client Served

Rating: 5

What an amazing camp! My kids all went there and grew so much, both in self confidence and socially. They learned to love the wilderness, and they learned how to backpack and they were away from screens for two weeks at a time, which is really important. The camp is well run and the counselors are very well trained so that kids both have a good time and learn how to work collaboratively. I have nothing but good things to say about Camp Unalayee!

Adrienne8

Client Served

Rating: 5

My ten year old daughter enjoyed 15 days at Camp Unalayee last summer - what a terrific experience! She did not go with a friend, but was welcomed by a warm group of kids and counselors. It was her first backpacking experience and despite some difficult hikes, she came home feeling strong and empowered. The experience has stayed with her and she often refers to the summer, continuing to reflect and revisit the camp weeks. I would recommend this to any parent of an adventurous kid!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The most thoughtful and considerate group of people you and your child will ever meet. As a single mother of a son, I couldn't be more pleased with Camp Unalayee. Imagine a child spending summers in the natural world- priceless!

Jessica180

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our boys began attending Unalayee over 10 years ago. Our daughter just finished her third year in the basin. I can't begin to tell you all what this camp environment does for young people. For over 10 years I have dropped my kids off at Scott Summit, truly amazing kids. However the transformation that takes place in those 14 days, is truly breathtaking. Our conversations during the four hour car ride home, are some of the best times I've had with my kids. Please continue to do what you do. Because The self-esteem, self awareness, and a general sense of gratitude are all great qualities that you seamlessly insert into these campers. And on top of all that, you make it seem effortless and have endless fun while you're doing it.

Client Served

Rating: 5

A group of families from our Navigators USA chapter attended a family camp at Camp Unalayee this summer. The wilderness setting is magnificent as are the camp's facilities and activities such as archery, boating, fishing, hiking, crafting and more. However what really made it an unforgettable experience for our group was the warmth and camaraderie of the counselors and staff, and the connection they made with our group. At the end of our visit, the kids were asking how soon we can come back!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Unalayee is an amazing experience. You can hike, swim, fish and live outdoors for two weeks every summer. The friends you make there can be lifelong and camp is always the highlight of my summer.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This place has changed my life for the better. Being exposed to so many foreign things has been a truly valuable life learning experience. All the kind and nurturing support that I received from the friendly staff was amazing. I have been a camper since I was ten years old, I am now fourteen and plan on continuing my pursuit of broad education in this incredibly place. the wilderness has always spoken to me and being submerged in it is obviously the best way to experience and appreciate it. I love camp Unalayee!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a parent who sent her kids to Camp Unalayee. My son then sent his kids. It is a wonderful camp and wilderness experience. I was lucky enough to be able to camp nearby when my kids were there, so I walked into camp to see them. They had the best time. All the counselors were excellent, professional, and extremely caring. The kids come home dirty, and very very happy. I am now a donor every year because this is such an important experience for all our city kids, particularly the disadvantaged ones.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My children loved Unalayee. Their friends and my nephew also did. All my dealings with this Camp have been excellent. I recommend it highly.