Catoctin offers campers a chance to live their summer to the fullest by combining lively in-camp days with meaningful out-of-camp adventures. On in-camp days, your camper will enjoy a full schedule of boisterous games, arts and crafts, swimming, singing, and reflection against the scenic backdrop of a mountain bog. All of this is led by counselors who are dedicated to truly listening to each camper, pushing them when they need encouragement and supporting them when they need guidance and structure.
Once each week, these counselors lead small groups out on two-night trips away from camp, with each camper carrying their own bedding, clothes, mess kit, toiletries, and group food and gear. Trips vary based on age and interest, with some groups hiking and others canoeing or rock climbing. But all of our trips are designed with the same goals in mind: introducing campers to the exciting challenges of the outdoors and promoting the types of connection – both with nature and with one another – that happen so thrillingly on an outdoor trip with friends.
Campers in their final year go on a Ten Day, an extended trip that serves as a capstone to their time at Catoctin.
As with the other residential camps, Catoctin operates in three different two-week sessions:
Saturday, June 29 – Saturday, July 13
Sunday, July 14 – Saturday, July 27
Sunday, July 28 – Sunday, August 11
Drop Off: 2-4pm of the first day of each session
Pick Up: 10am-12pm of the last day of each session.
You may come at the start of pick up to join campers at the Fire Circle for singing and Meeting.
Please take note of whether you have a Saturday or Sunday drop off/pick up as each session is different.
Catoctin lies outside the town of Thurmont, MD. It takes its name from nearby Catoctin Mountain, under whose ridge our campers fill each day with laughter, activity and reflection. The camp is on 383 acres of woods and features a small lodge, a dining hall, a state of the art eco bathhouse, an infirmary, and the cabins in which our campers start their day…
After the 7:45am wake up bell, the entire camp bustles to the dining hall for breakfast. Once breakfast chores are concluded, the community gathers at the Fire Circle for silent worship and reflection. From there, campers head to Unit Time, where they play and work with their cabin- and unit-mates. Finally, everyone gets a half hour of General Swim to jump in the water before lunch.
After lunch, campers get a rest period to relax, read, and recharge. This is followed by Afternoon Activity, during which campers can float freely between different staff-run activities that range from the artistic to the athletic. Once activities wrap up, campers get another hour of General Swim to escape the afternoon heat.
The whole camp comes together for dinner and, after cleanup, reconvenes for a boisterous night of games and fun. Evening Activity is a great opportunity for the entire camp to to laugh, play, and sing as one big mixed-age community. And when it’s done, everyone heads back to their cabins for bed by 9:30pm.
Each in-camp day’s three activity periods are balanced to nurture everyone’s creative, athletic, and outdoorsy sides. During the day, campers might do candle-making, go stream-wading or play a huge game of capture the flag. At night, they might sing around a campfire or perform skits they’ve created in mixed-age groups.
Lifeguard-supervised General Swim happens twice a day at Catoctin, where campers can jump in “The Lagoon,” relax in an inner-tube, or improve their swimming skills with the help of a counselor.
There’s nothing like setting out into the wilderness with nothing but the pack on your back. Campers on our two-night backpacking trips hike between two and twelve miles of the Appalachian Trail each day, exploring both trails and backroads.
Led by at least one lifeguard and certified instructor, Catoctin sends canoe trips down the Antietam, Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Campers on these trips get a chance to learn canoeing, play in the water, and enjoy a different pace of life.
Led by a certified climbing instructor, these trips introduce campers to technical climbing skills. While optional, climbing provides a safe space for campers to experience their own strength and explore nature in a different way.
Dyresha Harris, Co-Director of Catoctin, first joined the BYM Camps community as a staff child in 1988. She was a camper for 8 years, and worked as Counselor and Assistant Director for 11 years. In 2010 she started the Working Group on Diversity at Catoctin. Outside of the camping program Dyresha has worked with young people of all different backgrounds and ages for over 10 years. Originally hailing from the heart of Washington DC, she now works in a community center in her West Philadelphia neighborhood. She has been studying and practicing diversity education for seven years and facilitates professional development trainings throughout Philadelphia. Dyresha earned her BA with a double major in Sociology & Political Science and a Master’s in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. In her free time, Dyresha enjoys travel, crafts, dance, creative writing and spending time with her partner, camp alum, Eo Trueblood.