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Survey Says: Hearing from our families

What was the best thing about your child’s camp experience?

  • Both of our boys loved camp! They seemed to love joining a tribe and the fun competition between the tribes.
  • Friendships made
  • The opportunity to be in a semi-independent environment and learn how to face “risk” and new situations without relying on us to help them.
  • Being in a group setting with other boys learning to be in community.
  • TOO HARD TO SUM UP- Cabinmates, counselors, role models, chapel, rafting trip, tribe spirit!
  • They loved it all! Loved the freedom, the friendships
  • The independence they gain and the fun challenging adventures they have.
  • Commando – water balloon fight game and the counselors
  • Each child gains a growth in knowledge of self, confidence, and independence
  • He came home full of stories, but the most impactful was that his friend helped him not feel homesick anymore. We’re really excited he was supported not just by counselors, but by peers.
  • Everything.
  • Taking a break from technology that consumes kids’ lives these days…and just having a place where boys can be boys
  • Hanging out with friends in the cabin.
  • The whole experience is fantastic! He loves this camp so much he had us sign him up for two more weeks.
  • He had a ball and loved everything. What struck me most when chatting with him was his comment about how much he felt he grew as a person. He explained how much he enjoyed hanging out with his old buddies, but he quickly realized his group was very cliquey and closed off to others. That really bothered him. He said he gravitated to a different group of boys for the rest of the session because he realized that being a part of a “cool group, or group of guys unwilling to be friends with others” was not the kind of person he wanted to be. I’m so very proud of him and thankful that he has had these summers with you to explore who he is and what kind of man he wants to become.
  • Tribes and counselors
  • He this year loved his numerous trips – the two night hike up Mitchell, the rafting trip, and otherwise the activities.
  • Being able to see friends year after year
  • I think being able to experience things that he otherwise wouldn’t where we live and to meet with kids from around the country. In his second year, he enjoyed seeing many of the same kids from the prior year.
  • Making new friends.
  • Leadership opportunities, friendships, feeling included.
  • Everything. They love everything.
  • Being in a tribe.

Was there a Staff member or  activity that your camper especially enjoyed?

  • Cooper and Brian from his cabin. Guitar was his very favorite, but airsoft, rifle, and cooking always rank highly!
  • All their counselors are great.
  • Charlie Richards is his hero and he cried for 2 days because this was his last year. He also loved guitar and came home excited about practicing and getting better.
  • Quinn was his favorite!
  • Josh (Tomahawk cabin) Commando and water skiing, Fencing, Air Soft and Riflery
  • His favorite was pottery, he said Joshua made it fun and really encouraged him.
  • He loved it all and everyone!
  • He spoke of Jameson who was the swimming coach and also his cabin counselor. The activities he enjoys the most are airsoft and wrestling.
  • Charlie, Dandre, Dakota, Flynn, Calvin, Hunter. Climbing was his favorite activity
  • He loved soccer and climbing with Street
  • Josh from Tomahawk Cabin, Dakota from Rocketry
  • He loved all of his counselors and particularly loved fencing this year.
  • Cabin counselors were great in Little Piney — Dakota, Hunter and Hank.
  • Archery was tops. Bryan and Cooper.
  • Nick Leonard and, of course, soccer!
  • My son was determined that I meet his counselor, James as he was the one who really helped him during the nights when he was experiencing homesickness. Not only were my experiences in speaking with these counselors exceptional, but each and every other counselor and staff personnel I talked to was well-spoken, kind and exceedingly friendly.
  • Dandre, Cooper, Bryan and Tyler were awesome counselors and really made him feel welcome. His favorite activities were kayaking, cooking, rocketry and guitar.
  • Connor and Carter shared their passion of climbing with him. I think he now has a new passion also.
  • “James was my favorite” and Stealing Skins!
  • He loved the counselors in Tomahawk .Oh, and Flynn who helped him with swimming…I think he loved everyone!
  • Archery. His favorite councilors were Hank and Austin.
  • Pirate ball was a blast!
  • He has talked most about kayaking and tribal soccer! All of the staff members were wonderful.
  • Hank Boyd
  • Quinn. The kids loved all of their counselors
  • Kayaking, Kayaking & more Kayaking
  • Staff: Harris and Conner. Activity: Raiding the trading post
  • They both loved cooking!
  • He said he loved all the counselors but keeps talking about Josh and airsoft
  • Wrestling was his favorite activity and he really liked Dakota.
  • Austin and Tyler Snively
  • Everything

Is there anything else we should be aware of?

  • He said that he wants more bacon, and that the bacon should be crispier and not burned. He said that everything else was perfect.
  • Our experience from the outline to prep for camp, drop off, camp pictures, and pick up all exceeded our expectations!
  • Your pick up and drop of procedure is outstanding. Super smooth and I loved all the communications via email. Your directions were precise and helpful.
  • We’d love a way to contact kids who were in his cabin throughout the year or to send the counselors a thank you note. Ever thought of doing a simple directory?
  • Gets better and better every year!
  • I think the system of bars and levels they can accomplish in their activities pushes them to do their best. It gives them a great way to recognize achievement.
  • Overall, it was a great experience! One suggestion might be to have fans in the cabins (maybe mounted in the corners).
  • Thank you!!!! Camp Timberlake “made” his summer! He is already talking about what he is excited about doing next year. He has not uttered a single negative word about his week!
  • We believe you all do a great job helping the boys grow in so many different ways. Helping them explore new things in a safe environment is a wonderful thing. Thanks.
  • We loved the pickup process this year. The counselors were so organized and helpful! And we are shocked and so delighted that laundry was done! Thank you Mrs. Menendez for helping to fold and pack his clothes!
  • Would like the following added to Trade Post: Fanta Grape and Hershey Bars.
  • I love seeing all of the pictures of the kids and having a window into their fun.
  • It’s a special place to him and it’s incredible to see him grow more each summer. He really looks up to all of his counselors and it’s why we cherish it so much because there is no staff like the staff at camp TL!

See you next summer!

Fall Fun

As the North Carolina air turns crisp, there is a lot going on here at Timberlake. I often am asked by campers as they get ready to return home “so John, what do you even do when we’re not here?” And though solo games of tetherball, morning yells with myself, and John versus Bobby sock war are all popular theories, the reality is that the countdown to next summer is already on, and we’re getting ready to take 2018 to a whole new level.

Practically speaking, that means I’ll hit the road next week to visit families all over the region and spread the good news about camp. We watch the camp video, share stories and answer questions folks may have about what makes this place so special. It’s a fantastic way for me to catch up with camp families and meet new people interested in Timberlake. Take a look below check out some of the stops we’ll be making this fall.

Part two of every road trip for me is spending time on college campuses recruiting the next great Timberlake staff. I have the chance to visit this summer’s staff, many of whom are already signed on for next summer (be sure to check out our Instagram all fall to see which of your favorite counselors are coming back). I’ll also spend time getting to know well over 100 applicants to find the right guys to join the team for 2018.

Finally, we’re putting together a fantastic mountain biking adventure for this December. Check out our trip page, and if you’re interested in one of our four remaining spots let me know!

Timberlake Mountain Bike Southwest

Oh yeah, there’s also a little construction project going on down the road. The new Timberlake location is transforming before our very eyes. On Monday the dock and blob tower construction begins. Every week we get to see something new begin and it is a ton of fun.

It’s an exciting time to be at Timberlake and we’re so thankful that our amazing camp families are joining us for the journey. Until next time!

262 days until camp,


Camp Tour Fall 2017

Birmingham, AL

Montgomery, AL

Jacksonville, FL

Tampa, FL

West Palm Beach, FL

Atlanta, GA

St. Simons, GA

Valdosta, GA

Grand Rapids, MI

Jackson, MS

Oxford, MS

Chapel Hill, NC

Charlotte, NC

Durham, NC

Hickory, NC

Raleigh, NC

Salisbury, NC

Cincinnati, OH

Greenville, SC

Johns Island, SC

Dickson, TN

Memphis, TN

Nashville, TN

Richmond, VA


College campus recruiting stops

Appalachian State University

Clemson University

Furman University

Georgia Tech

Liberty University

Sewanee: University of the South

University of Alabama

University of Central Florida

University of Florida

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina at Wilmington

University of South Carolina

University of Tennessee

University of Virginia

Washington and Lee University

Western Carolina University

Vanderbilt University

Construction Update


Things are moving up here at camp. We are so excited and wanted to send along a few pictures of the progress at our new location.

The dining hall site has been graded and cleared and is looking ready to roll. Our 8 acre lake has been completely drained as we excavate in preparation for the waterfront and blob tower. And finally, our beautiful new council ring is already taking shape. Claire, our new intern, Catherine and I were so excited by the work being done. See for yourself!

Our prayers are going out to all our families bracing for the impact of the hurricane this weekend. Stay safe and know that our doors are open if you need a place to stay.








The future dining hall







Working on the Waterfront/blob tower.






New Council Ring


















Kneel AlwaysSee you soon!


a view of tomorrow






As August comes to a close and the first hints of fall starting blowing through our mountains, things are moving here at camp. Construction is underway at the new Timberlake location, and there is a LOT of action.

Some of the major aspects of the build already in motion include the dining hall, waterfront, playing fields, and council ring. Our 8-acre lake has been drained so that work can begin on the dock, swim lanes, beach, boathouse, and diving/blob tower.

The new Dining Hall, which will be nestled into the hillside overlooking the lake, is ready to have its foundations laid. It’s amazing how much dirt needs to be moved to prepare an area for that kind of a building. We’re taking the dirt excavated by the lake and using it to level our playing fields and build our new council ring (amphitheatre style) tucked back in the beautiful forest that envelops camp.

Sitting in the middle (or on top of) all the dirt and digging, I can’t help but close my eyes and imagine what the finished product will look like. We wanted you to be able to envision it too, so we had an artist draw a rendering of the future lake front.

In the top left across the lake is the new dining hall. The blob tower, beach and swim lanes sit on on the opposite side of the lake. The boathouse will be in the bottom left, but isn’t pictured here. The chapel overlooks the lake and you can see what will be our four youngest cabins in the top right. Oh, and don’t forget the trading post right by the volleyball court (and tetherball and thunderball).

It’s an incredible future we have in front of us, and we’re so thankful to have our wonderful Timberlake families helping us make it a reality. We’ll have some fun construction pictures to share in next week’s blog as well, so be sure to stay tuned!

277 days until camp,


Director, Camp Timberlake


A Note from the Director: Camp + School Success

Does going to camp really contribute to increased success in school? Our mission at camp is growth through friends and adventure, and we often talk about how growth at camp translates to growth back home, to the homes and schools of our campers. In addition to having fun and making lifelong friends, we believe Timberlake equips our campers with life skills that serve them well both inside and outside of the classroom.

It’s easy for us to say that as camping professionals, but what do our families say? We really wanted to know, so we decided to ask.

As a part of a North Carolina Youth Camps Association (NCYCA) outcomes study after the summer of 2015, we asked over 3,000 parents about their child’s experience at camp. The study reported, “An overwhelming majority of parents (91%) associated camp involvement with school success, and this association was reflected in how camp prepares youth for life transitions, how camp reinforces life lessons learned at home, and how camp prepares youth for independent living.” Additionally, our parents told us that camp led to “increases in developmental outcomes like resilience, cooperation, communication, critical thinking and decision making skills.”1

How can just a few weeks at camp really increase resilience cooperation and decision making? We believe it’s because camp provides our boys with a safe place to push themselves and try new things where those skills and habits are encouraged by outstanding role models. After all, nobody learns to roll a kayak without employing some resilience, you can’t win the Great Escape for your tribe without cooperation, and behind each successful rock climbing route or rocketry launch is a series of good decisions.

As we wind down our summer season, we are sad to see our campers go, but excited for the what they will take back home. You can have the confidence to make a new friend when you made 5 new friends in Little Piney this summer. And trying out for a team or new club isn’t quite so intimidating when you tried building model rockets or mountain biking the pump track. We’re excited about the role camp gets to play in the lives of our campers. Thank you for sharing them with us this summer.

John Menendez
Director, Camp Timberlake

1Source: Economic Impact Study of Organized Youth Camps in Western North Carolina, January 2011, NC State University. 

Water Balloons Everywhere

Camp Timberlake was veiled in mystic loveliness this morning as the sun rose over the mountain. A blanket of fog fell down from the seven sisters mountains (the mountains we are situated on. Our cabin each have one of their names) and settled on the Tucker Inn, where the boys made quick work of the pancakes and bacon we had for breakfast.

After breakfast, our last whitewater rafting trip headed to the Pigeon River for a big day on the water. Daniel Y, Edward C, Magne E, Presley M, Zach C, Gresham C, Brendan D, Charlie J, Noah W, Keegan K, Cole S, Whit P, Jack S, Corey H, and Carter H. all got to go on the trip and had a blast. Meanwhile back at camp, the boys were wasting no time taking full advantage of the last day of their Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday classes. Jonathan H notched his silver in wrestling. Harper C earned his silver in Archery and up at the climbing tower, Andres D got his silver and Dax M earned his bronze. At lunch there were huge cheers as we sat down to a camp favorite, Tacos in a Bag! We sang along to “Come on Eileen” and eagerly awaited the announcements that arrive each day at the end of lunch. Who won cabin clean up today? Tomahawk! Little Piney also turned in a stellar performance and took second place. And what about El Presidente? The winners were…the Iroquois! After the best time (rest time) and trading post, the guys enjoyed a rain-free afternoon free time. Some of the highlights included a free shoot in archery and roll class for kayakers in the lake. I (John) also challenged the whole camp in connect four down by the tether ball courts. We had a lot of fun playing (and some spirited and entertaining commentary from Grey B) and by the end of free time some boys had dethroned the director. Congrats are due to Gary M, Dax M and Mitchell B.

Dale G and Theo T worked on finishing up rockets in rocketry during 3 rd period, while Alex C worked on his roll in kayaking and Sam C, Michael A and Charlie D wowed cooking class with their delicious quesadillas.

We finished off the night with one of the most popular evening activities in history, COMANDO! Picture the world’s largest water balloon fight and you can kind of get the idea. As we close the books on another great day at camp the only sad part is that we only have a few days left together. Thank you for sharing your sons with us this summer.

John Menendez
Director, Camp Timberlake
Former Big Piney, Big Slaty, Greybeard Counselor
Proud Seminole

The Rain Can’t Stop Us!

The morning starts with the tap tap tap of light rain falling on our cabin roofs. Throw on your rain jackets boys! Our first rainy day!


Activities start undercover, except kayaking. “We kayak in the rain!” counselor Harris Cannon shouts. The kayakers hit the water for the class of their life. Across camp the indoor/ pavilion classes are in full swing. Shots ring out from the riflery hut. Arrows wizz out of the archery pavilion. Atop the hill, where field classes are held, everyone gathers on the wrestling mats for the largest game of Duck Duck Goose on this side of the Mississippi. Screams of laughter ring out over the hills from inside the game’s boiling pot.


About noon the rain breaks and we are back to our original activity locations. Airsoft was excited to hit the course once the rain stopped. Kayaking continued all day and Geoffrey M. got his Silver! In the Guitar hut Tomas G. worked on bar chords and Bryant W. Earned his silver Bar! Under the riflery pavilion today Zach C. got his bronze bar. And, Jack G. got multiple groupings earning his silver Bar in riflery!


After activites all the campers meet at Tucker Inn for a delicious meal of Jambalaya and fried Okra! Mmm! Until they learn the evening activity…


… El Presidente!!! The boys sprint up to their cabins to throw on their tribe jerseys and grab an extra shirt. Who will win? Yesterdays activity of tribal Ultimate Frisbee was won by both tribes Iroquois for upper cabins Seminoles in the younger. El Presidente can only have one victor. Tune in tomorrow to see who will nab the victory.


Happy Camping,


Andrew Daeger

(*go Iroquois*)

Everyone’s Favorite Day

After sleeping in an hour and delicious breakfast of cinnamon rolls and bagels, everyone knew: Sundays are different.

Sleeping in and a nice breakfast are, however, not the only special thing about Sundays here at Camp Timberlake. After the morning yell, the camp proceeded up to the chapel for a longer worship. Chapel on sundays is not only longer because we sing more songs, but because we also pray for everyone in the camp, and fulfill your son’s specific prayer requests.

Chapel leads us onto the next portion of the day; Cabin Cleanup! It may be sunday – a day of rest – but those cabins still need to be clean! After making the cabins impeccable, the boys participate in either sand castle building, dam building, frog catching or frisbee golf! All of them very fun.

Even though we had breakfast an hour late, we still have lunch at the normal time. After lunch, the camp heads up to the cabins for a glorious and well deserved rest hour. The next three hours are free time! The boys are able to do whatever they like; relax and spend time with each other, make new friends, play a match of tetherball or for those that need it, just continue sleeping.

The cookout is something everyone looks forward to on every Sunday. The camp gathers up at Spencer’s green to enjoy the afternoon sun, pass a couple balls or frisbees and relax with friends while enjoying hamburgers and hotdogs.

As the cookout came to a close, the boys headed down to the chapel for everyone’s favorite entertainment: Vespers! Vespers is a long-standing tradition at Timberlake, where we have several skits from the staff along with songs from the Black Mountain Oysters, where everyone signs along!

To wrap the day up, we played a game of tribal ultimate frisbee up at spencers. We had two games at the same time, one for lower cabins (Tomahawk, Little Piney and Big Piney) and one for upper cabins (Stomper’s Knob, Little Slaty, Big Slaty and Greybeard). They were both very close games so we’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to discover the winner!

As the camp headed back down to the cabins to shower and finish the day, they knew why sundays are special here at Camp Timberlake.


Signing Off,

Alex Staeding

Proud Seminole

Saturdays are for Slip ‘n’ Slides

Today was another great day at camp. A lot happened today across the board.

Xander E. Built a sweet spare parts rocket in Rocketry. A spare parts rocket is a difficult Gold requirement where someone must build a rocket with no instructions from a spare parts box.

Geoffrey M., Alex A., Ben A., Henri F-P., and Brian S. all went on a kayaking trip to Pigeon River. Pigeon River is the hardest river that campers are allowed to be on and Harris Cannon–the kayaking instructor–tells me that all 5 guys did really well.

A lot of guys made progress on bars in Climbing. Sam H., Connor B., and Gresham C. all showed up at free time to work on their silver bars, which includes learning to belay.

Pete B. learned how to T-rescue. T-rescuing in kayaking is when you use your boat to provide assistance to somebody who is flipped upside down.

Connor B. also received his silver in Fencing.

Tonight’s evening activity is Cabin Night. All the cabins hung out together and did separate activities. Tomahawk had a talent show, free swim, and will sleep at the Mark. Little Piney did slip ’n’ slide, free swim, and ice cream. Big Piney did slip ’n’ slide, free swim, and s’mores. Stomper’s Knob did archery tag (which is where each team gets bows with nerf arrows and they have to hit each with them) and slip ’n’ slide. Little Slaty did wiffleball against program staff at the archery range and slip ’n’ slide. Big Slaty did tree climbing and slip ’n’ slide. And last but not least, Greybeard drove to Craggy Pinnacle in Pisgah National Forest and camped out for a while. I personally love Craggy Pinnacle and believe that outside of camp, it is the most beautiful place in North Carolina.

From this haven,

Cooper Denning


A Fantastic Friday

The Day

It was a rainy day but nevertheless a beautiful one here at camp timberlake. It began with delicious chocolate chip pancakes which the boys downed very quickly because they were so good! Up at chapel we had a great true story from Street C., after which the boys headed out to clean the cabins for a good score in cabin cleanup.


Lunch today was a camp favorite: Corn Dogs with Mac & Cheese! After lunch, the boys went up to rest time to get their afternoon naps in, so that they have energy for the rest of the day.


Charlie R. announced at dinner today that we were going to Little Chief in the evening, which means we get to acknowledge all of the campers who went the extra mile to earn bars, promotions and commendations.

Little Chief


Good job to Xavier E. for his bronze in Climbing! Well done to Bryant W. for earning his silver down at Guitar! Up at paintball, Grey B. and Noah W. were able to shoot their way to their bronze bars! Daniel A, Elliot S. Chip B had a great time learning how to fly fish today on





Elijah B., Duncan S., Harry S.




Charlie H., Ryland K.




Brayden Collins., Shailen Z.




Sam H., Will S.




Alex C., Baran D., Magne E., Drew J., Fennell M., Logan M., Whit P., Eiji T., Lucas Z.




Ben A., Connor B., Gresham C., Noah W.




Henri F., Alex N




Alex A., Geoffrey M.


Little Chief


Charlie D., Brian S.