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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.



Trips Everywhere!

Today was an eventful and beautiful day at camp Timberlake! To start off the day we had our regularly scheduled activities where campers worked on certain skills in their classes and some pursued bars. Campers that had waterfront activities first and second period were able to enjoy watermelons before activities began! Also, while on the waterfront, campers in Kayaking were able to work on their rolls and T-rescues! These are the campers that were able to get bars in their activities; we’ll start with fencing: Alistair S., Charlie H., E.J B., Chip, and Ethan H. received their bronze! Next, Chase R. received his bronze in archery, Davis B., and Gresham C. received their silver in soccer while Henri F.P., received his gold in soccer! And last but not least Charlie D. got another grouping towards his silver bar in riflery today and was able to clinch his silver in climbing! We also had some awesome trips go out today such as a climbing trip to the Linville Gorge area, a water skiing trip to Lake James, and a rafting trip near Waynesville! These were the campers that went on the climbing trip: Tommy A., Will G., Byers N., Keegan K., Theo T., Tyler S., Tamon H., and Tomas G.! For the water skiing trip: Sam H., Chip B., Spencer V., Corey H., Carter H., and Aaron S.! Finally for the rafting trip: Braden C., Ryland K., Shailen Z., Peter B., Mitchell B., Declan Q., and Dale G.! They seemed to all really enjoy there trip and it was a great opportunity for the campers to experience!

Stealing Socks and Solo 13s

Today at camp, the boys woke up to a hearty and delicious breakfast of pancakes and sausage.

After downing the breakfast at lightning speeds, they ran to do the morning yell and went to chapel, where Flynn spoke to us about being lost and having God guide our way. Energized and full of faith, the guys went to the cabins to clean, with Graybeard scoring a perfect 10.
A few of the guys took a trip to the Lower Green today, where Charlie D. mastered his combat roll, a huge feat that takes lots of practice!
Back at camp, Charlie O. got his roll in kayaking. Even in still water like Lake Doris, still a difficult task. Over up at the guitar hut, Preston taught a class in a lesson about how to identify keys of songs.
At lunchtime, the boys dug into a meal of chicken pitas. After finding out that the Seminoles had won both Upper Cabins and Lower Cabins battleball and having a subsequent celebration, they headed off to rest time and free time.
In afternoon classes, Ben A. worked on his bronze in backpacking with Neil. In other backpacking news, last night Henri P., Tomas G., Brandon P., Ben A., and Edward C. did their Solo 13s last night, where they stayed up and camped alone a little ways above camp on Tomahawk Mountain for the night.
The guys enjoyed a delicious dinner of pot roast with mashed potatoes before learning that the evening activity for the night is Stealing Skins, a camp favorite. Another undoubtedly great day at camp. Until next time.
Kennon Saad

Battleball and Bars

Good evening from another fantastic day here at Camp Timberlake! Today vwas definitely one of our most beautiful days this summer, and we made sure to take advantage of that. Starting the day of strong, baked oatmeal and blueberry muffins soared out of the kitchen window into to bellies of excited and hungry campers. Today’s daily and free-time activities were something special, with archery, riflery, climbing, and a free-swim being some of the highlights of the day. Many campers were able to work towards their bronze, silver, and gold bars, making today not only a day of fun, but a day of progress.

Mountain biking took the reigns on trips today, being the only trip that went out. However, this trip to Dupont was exhilarating, with Magne E., Keegan K., Daniel A., Ben A., Chip B., Jonathan H., and Brayden C. crushing the trails all day.

At camp, the campers enjoyed the first activities without safety-talks, which certainly helped many campers receive and work towards bars, including: Dylan C. shot one more grouping towards silver, Dylan C. and Gresham C. worked on their bronze in climbing, and Charlie O. and Harry B. received their bronze in archery.

While these rockstars were working on bars, everyone else was still having a great time, especially Rawson B. and Daniel H. killing it in canoeing, Tomas G. helping out the younger guys in guitar, Enrique D. and Andres D. loving pottery, and Dash V. making backflips look easy on the diving boards.

Although the daily activities hold the majority of the day, the evening activity is always the most sought-after part of the day. As we speak, the Iroquois and the Seminoles are going head-to-head in a game of Battleball, perhaps the most exciting evening activity here at camp.

It’s easy to tell that today was an amazing day at camp, but looking back on all of our days here, every day is amazing. Rest easy knowing that these campers are having the time of their life, and from my personal experience, they’ll spend the next 48-50 weeks at home dreaming of this place.

Stay tuned,

Quinn Martin

Mighty Iroquois

Big Piney Counselor

Canoeing Extraordinaire

Elon University ‘21

Happy Monday!

Amidst amazing Monday weather (High of 80 degrees with sunshine), campers started their day with excitement as they ate a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, and breakfast potatoes. This excitement was present all throughout the day as campers went to their Monday/Wednesday/Friday activities for the first time. Activities included climbing at the Upper Tower, kayaking and swimming in Lake Doris, mountain biking at Spencer’s Green, working on their marksmanship at archery and riflery, and cooking biscuits in the Wishing Well. Many campers were able to work on bars and grow more proficient in the skills required for all of these activities.

A great way for campers to practice the skills they acquire in their activities is to apply them to the real activities outside of camp by taking trips. Three such trips went out today. Campers such as Tomas G., Edward C., Zach C., Gresham C., and Elias D. fished Humble Hole in the morning and worked their way back down river to fish Siren Flats after having lunch at the Davidson River Hatchery Pavilion on their fly fishing trip. Connor D., Ethan H., Gary M., Byers N., Theodore T., and Peter Q. earned some quality turns at Lake James on their water skiing trip. And on the third trip, Michael A., Henry S., Alex C., Scott S., Magna E., Keegan K., and Charley O. hiked to the top of Babel Tower where they enjoyed the one of the many incredible views and swimming holes that the Linville Gorge has to offer.

Tonight’s evening activity is The Great Escape, a camper favorite. In this activity, the goal is to find a hidden flag, and the first tribe to find the flag wins. Each tribe is first divided into groups of 7. A camper from every cabin must be included in each group. These groups then look for hidden counselors who hold clues that are necessary to find the hidden flag. Campers love this game because of its fast paced nature and the complexities that come with trying to decipher the given clues. As the post evening activity wraps up, campers will be heading to their cabins for the post-evening activities. These post-evening activities include the slip’n’slide, s’mores, laser tag, free swim, s’mores, and a possible trading post raid.

It has been great day here at Camp Timberlake! Stay posted for more news and photos of the campers as the week goes on.

Tim Miller