Camp Life

Our Camp Counselors are Here!

Here's a group shot of our camp counselors during lifeguard training, which began June 5th and continues with general camp training right up until the last minute, when the campers arrive on June 15th. From near and far, we're overjoyed to have a stellar team this summer and can't wait to kick things off!


Why We Eat Family-Style at Camp


"When people come together for meals there is more than nourishment for the body," says local potter and friend Shane Mickey. "There is nourishment for the mind and heart."


We feel the same way, and when we asked Shane if he would make serving dishes for our family-style meals at camp, we were touched by his response. "Susie worked with my son while he attended Montessori and that work enabled him to learn at a higher level," recalls Shane. "When I was approached by the camp to make the serving pieces, I considered it an honor to have my work be the presentation platform for all those fortunate campers and caring tutors and camp counselors." Shane says that family-style meals allow for more sharing, because people can gather and discuss the day's events, triumphs, and failures and therefore gain a deeper understanding of one another. Understanding yields support, and for children with dyslexia who may have self-esteeem issues due to struggles in the classroom, that support is a balm. Slow and steady, this adds up to happier children that grow into successful adults who contribute to society--most often through the innovative thinking that dyslexics are known to achieve.

"To me, Camp Spring Creek is a wonderful asset to our community because it not only adds to the diversity of businesses, but what it's mission entails and what they accomplish is heart-warming and incredibly important to the broader context of our society."

Thanks, Shane!

Summer 2014 Scholarships

We're delighted to announce that this summer we're offering 5 scholarships to campers through our partnership with OpenDoors of Asheville. The 5 campers will have 4 weeks as boarding campers, fully funded. These scholarships will go to children living in multi-generational poverty as a joint effort between Camp Spring Creek and OpenDoors to make positive, life-altering learning experiences accessible to children of any economic means in Western North Carolina. Last year's scholarship recipients from this partnership had moving things to say after their camp experiences. You can read excerpts from their letters here. We were also able to offer 2 scholarships at 50% to local children and are aspiring to raise another $7700 to support one more scholarship to give a local child 4 weeks of boarding at camp.

If you missed our demographic breakdown by age, gender, and location for this summer season, you can check out who comes to Camp Spring Creek. Suffice it to say, we have a waiting list for the first time in 10 years and we're taking names for early registration for 2015 right now! Please be in touch if you have questions, would like to be considered for a scholarship, or feel inspired to donate money to help us bring one more local child to camp this season!

Who Attends Camp Spring Creek?

Ladies and gentlemen, we're pleased to announce that for the first time in Camp Spring Creek history, we are full to capacity with a noteworthy waiting list! Three cheers! Who comes to Camp Spring Creek? We have 19 new campers and 26 returning this year, for a total of 199 camper weeks. Here's the breakdown of our 29 boys and and 16 girls across the summer sessions:

Demo Boys age

Demo Boys age

Demo Girls age

Demo Girls age

And here's where everyone is from:

Camper Demo Location2

Camper Demo Location2

Job Openings at Camp Spring Creek

We're in need of several Certified and Associate Level Orton-Gillingham tutors for the Camp Spring Creek 2014 season. We only have a few openings left, but if qualified applicants are interested in working at camp from June 10 to August 10, please send your resume to our general email inbox: Applicants may also contact us at the office by calling 828-766-5032. OG Training with us in advance of employment is sometimes an option, so don't hesitate to inquire. We also have a few tutor positions for half the summer. Applicants to these positions that are not returning staff will need to attend staff training at the start of the summer. In general, we prefer individuals that have already been through training via the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Pracitioners & Educators, but we can provide practicum observations. For example, if an applicant is hired and works the entire 8 weeks, he or she can use up to 5 observations for their practicum. Please be in touch!

Steve Goes to Poland!

camp_america_logoThis week, Co-founder and Co-director Steve van der Vorst is in Krakow, Poland for the Camp America Camp Director's Fair, where he will get to hand-pick some of our counselors for this summer! "Our counselors have to be able to show initiative," says Steve. "That’s one reason we conduct many interviews...I can usually get an idea for how energetic someone is, and also, how enthusiastic. A lot of young people want to work at a camp, but most camps in America are large and hire counselors that focus on one specialty. We look for people with skills across the board and we're a small camp, so we want someone comfortable with our family-style dynamic."

In addition to hard skills such as a background in art our outdoor activities, Steve also looks for a sense of humor, experience traveling and being away from home, and a willingness to work hard. Safe travels, Steve, and come back with lots of top picks!

Win a Camp Spring Creek Chair!

Win this chair! We're holding a little contest on the blog, starting now through December 31, 2013: Like our page on Facebook and then send that page a Facebook message telling us which "Inspiring People" blog post inspired you the most. We'll enter you into a drawing to win this Camp Spring Creek chair!

Use the link above to read the posts, or access them using Categories on the right-hand side bar. Be sure to tell us why you felt inspired by what you read and feel free to share this contest with friends! Anyone can enter!

Winner will be notified via Facebook on New Year's Eve!


Ben's Story

BenBen is 10 years old and first attended Camp Spring Creek in 2012. In 2013, he and his family were delighted that he would be able to come back. Unfortunately, a change of plans in late spring prevented Ben from being able to attend. Ben and his family decided make his camp spot available to a Western North Carolina child. The silver lining is that, not only did a Mitchell County child get to experience Camp Spring Creek for the first time, but Ben will be able to return next summer. We can't wait to give him a warm welcome back!

Of his experience at camp last year, his mother shared: "Ben had a really great time. It was important for us to find a camp where he could continue the academic work he focused on during the school year, but still also be a kid. The thing we noticed the most was that his handwriting had vastly improved. He also gained a lot of confidence in reading."

Harlem Shake Meets Camp Spring Creek

Ladies and Gentlemen....drums, please... The Harlem Shake video has finally been accessed from our "archives" and is ready for public viewing. Help us celebrate the conclusion of another successful summer season at Camp Spring Creek by getting your groove on:


We're taking a week off (the blog). But posts will resume with a twice weekly schedule (occasional exceptions) next week. Thanks, as always, for following along!

Week 8 Reflections

The end of summer is always such a bittersweet time of year for us at Camp Spring Creek. We've saiStonesd our goodbyes and promised to keep in touch. We've cleaned and swept and cleaned some more. We've taken our last group photos and squeezed Mimi one last time (well, you guys did--we get to live with her all year!). But before all that, we did stick to business and wrap a few things up during Week 8 with:

  • Final testing
  • Making paste paper journals
  • Finishing up all our clay and woodshop projects
  • Selecting a Room Inspection winner daily (instead of at the end of the week) and rewarding them with freezy pops at lunchtime.

By now, our campers have headed down new paths...back home, readying for a new school year, dreaming of next summer. Our hearts are with you and please call or email us at any time!


Week 7 Reflections

CIT Greg at "Nerd Dance" We're in the home stretch of summer here at Camp Spring Creek and so much has happened, at times it feels like a blur. We said goodbye to campers Miles and Matthew last week and miss them both. Meanwhile, CIT Gregg (who came at the midpoint of summer), has been enjoying his new role and is thrilled that he got to overlap a little bit with Marco, who was our CIT for the first half of summer. These two first met a Camp Spring Creek as campers and have known each other for years! Greg has been helping out in the boy's cabins, assisting with lifeguarding, kitchen prep, and sometimes even woodshop and art. "I’ve been taking a lot of kids down to breakfast in the morning or helping them get ready for bed at night," Greg said. "I also make sure they brush their teeth and make their beds right."

Here's the run down of last week's news:

  • Rain, rain, and more rain. But still, we swim! We hike! We laugh!
  • Campers have been making ceramic mugs and vases in Art class and finishing up bird houses, doll houses, and bird feeders in the Woodshop.
  • We changed our Outdoors Class around a bit. Rather than having this class peppered throughout the day with small groups of campers, we now enjoy Outdoor Class together. For the final period of classes, everyone in camp gathers and chooses from several outdoor options, giving them exposure to more fun activities over a longer span of time. Lately, we've been offering rock climbing, paintballing, water polo, hiking, and basic lifeguarding skills. After Outdoor Class, everyone piles inside for Study Hall to wind down our day before dinnertime.
  • Epic games of Capture the Flag still continue...
  • And our "Announcements" song has gotten a makeover. We still have 7 verses going (one for every week of camp), but we've changed them up a bit and moved things around to keep it interesting. Phew! Just singing the song is a workout in and of itself!
  • This weekend we camped at the McDowell Nature Preserve, went wild with whitewater rafting, and even experimented with ziplining and mega jumping. Who knew there we so many different ways to have a roarin' good time--and with good friends, too!
  • Sunday, everyone went on the infamous hike to the top of the property, which involves 2-3 hours of brave bushwhacking through nettles and brambles (it's fun, we swear!). Up top, we took a break, then took the easy way home down an old logging road. Great job, everyone! Time to hit the showers!
  • Sunday night concluded with an impromptu game of poker between the boys' cabins. In the end, the winning camper earned his prize by deciding that the boys in the losing cabin would make his bed every morning for an entire week!
  • Another bonus has been Chef Kevin and Nurse Kelly's sweet, lab puppy named Oliver ("Ollie" for short). Mimi's a giant compared to this lil' pup but we have a feeling that by next summer, these two will be unstoppable giants. It's been delightful to watch them "growing up" together at camp this summer and we'll try to post a photo soon.

Week 6 Reflections

We're a day late getting last week's "reflections" to you, but hopefully camp photographer Anina van der Vorst's slide show kept you going while we were busy having fun. Here's the skinny on last week's adventures:

  • Our Trail of Pages is epic! During Week 6 of camp we read a total of 3,307 pages and 52 books!
  • Cabin Inspection continues to be a healthy rivalry. Week 6 went to the Senior Boys cabin and they haven't decided yet what they want their "treat" to be, but they're considering paintball.
  • We said our tearful goodbyes to tutor Chris, C.I.T. Marco, and campers Ana, Olivia, and Tyler last week. Safe travels home and keep us close to your hearts. We miss you already!
  • Buddy Beads have been effusive lately! For those who don't know, each day after lunch we take a moment to offer "Buddy Beads" to someone special. If someone made your day, or impressed you, or went out of their way to do extra work, or even just made you smile and gave you a hug at the right time, you can celebrate that person (camper, staff, tutor, counselor - even Mimi!) by offering them a "Buddy Bead" after lunch. You raise your hand and tell everyone in camp about the special act that someone did, and they get a bead and a round of applause.
  • It's also book mania particular, camper Miles and his tutor are totally hooked on Warrior's Apprentice, a novel. Camper Janusz can't keep his nose out of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Of course, both stopped long enough to partake in last weekend's adventures...
  • On Friday, we had an all-camp dance with a "Black & White" theme.
  • Saturday, we hiked to Wilson's Creek with high hopes of the great, natural swimming holes there. However, a last minute downpour saw the already high waters rise up and over the ledge we like to sit on (that's 4 feet higher than normal!), so we were rained out of the swimming hole. We made the best of it on the natural rock slides down into a lower, deep pool, however, and then hiked our wet selves back to the vans.
  • Sunday, we went to Tom's Creek and everyone washed their hair in the waterfall! We concluded our weekend with bowling at Lightning Lanes and our weekly ice cream sundaes, before ending with study hall.
  • Everyone continues to get different, private tutoring sessions with Orton-Gillingham methods--so it's difficult to explain who is doing what. Suffice it to say that everyone is still tapping for sounds and chunking for syllables, an exercise they'll take home with them and hopefully practice throughout the school year.
  • Last but not least: LETTERS! Some of the kids have started writing letters to the parents of their counselors and sending them all over the world. A few have even been at camp long enough to receive letters in reply. There's just barely enough time left to get real mail to us at camp, so send away! (If for some reason a camper misses your mail, we'll gladly forward it.)

Week 5 Reflections

Rain, rain, and more rain! Even if you don't live in this part of the United States, there's a good chance you've been hearing weather news broadcasts about the record-breaking precipitation we've experienced. Last week, we had one evening that wasn't pouring down...thankfully, our spirits aren't down at all. The "new" group of campers who arrived at the mid-point of summer have fit right into the routine and are cruising along without missing a beat. Here's a recap of some of last week's highlights:

  • The great thing about the rain is that we're getting really creative with ways to spend our time indoors. We've had Bingo night and board game night already! The skies did part once this week, and we snuck in a rousing outdoor game of Capture the Flag.
  • It's been a bit too wet to mow and weed whack, so Olson has been keeping busy moving things around with the tractor and doing trash runs to town.
  • The Harlem Shake found its way to...the Camp Spring Creek pool. There's rumor of a video, but with no Internet access at the camp and closed roads in town, getting to a wi-fi connection strong enough for video is a bit tricky this summer, so you'll have to use your imagination on this one...
  • Lilja is seeing great progress in the pool with daily swimming lessons. There has even been an early morning swim crew that meets from 6-6:30am for a little exercise. Way to go, campers!
  • Those who aren't swimming first thing in the morning have been going on runs along one of the wooded trails...and a few even race down the gravel road on the mountain (and back up) to get their hearts going as the sun rises. Wow!
  • We started telling a joke a day at breakfast and the campers have been cracking up at their own, cleverly created dyslexia jokes. Here's one from a few days ago: "Somebody just heard that ten out of two people have numerical dyslexia..."
  • On Friday, we headed to Parkway Playhouse for some live theatre and received four compliments on the campers' polite behavior.
  • We spent Saturday at Lake James, hosted by camper Emily's family (they are so gracious!). We played and splashed all day long, doing every kind of water sport you can imagine: paddle boarding, paddle boating, wake boarding, you name it! We had lunch and dinner together on the lake, and came home delightfully exhausted.
  • On Sunday, we faced another huge downpour, so we drove to town to catch up on laundry (no use using the clotheslines!). Some campers decided to stay at camp and bake cookies with Chef Kevin. The evening ended with movie night and a slide show by camp photographer, Nina van der Vorst.
  • Last but not least, Mimi the camp dog looked like a tie-dye t-shirt all week because, as we were painting the walls of the new dance area, she kept rubbing up against the wet paint.