Ages 15-17 – Lexington, VA
Ages 15-17 – Lexington, VA
Teen Adventure is founded on the belief that group wilderness trips offer teens the unique opportunity to disconnect from the world and create unforgettable experiences centered around the outdoors, teamwork, and self-discovery. Originating from a base camp in Lexington, VA, trips of twelve campers and two leaders embark for three weeks of hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, and service projects.
First-year campers will participate in the core Teen Adventure Program (TAP), which includes hiking on the Appalachian Trail, whitewater canoeing on the New River, and rock climbing in Goshen Pass. The second-year program, Teen Adventure Leadership Training (TALT) includes the same trip elements as TAP, but it places a special emphasis on leadership skills and includes a service project. In both programs, campers have considerable responsibility for the day-to-day planning and management of their trips, meals, and group activities. Campers are encouraged in their emotional and spiritual development as they grow through these wilderness challenges in collaboration with their peers.
TA Farm & Art (TAFA) is based on the idea that when teens connect with food and land, they also find meaningful connections with one another and within themselves. TAFA uses farming and creative expression as the backdrop for leadership training and skill development, leaving campers with both real skills and enduring memories. Any camper eligible for TA can sign up for TA Farm & Art, and you can do so within the registration system.
Teen Adventure operates in one three week session:
Saturday, July 1 – Sunday July 23
Drop Off: 1-3pm on the first day of the session.
We would love for you to drop your camper off at the start site of Teen Adventure so you can meet the staff, talk with the directors, and see where the magic begins! If you have campers going to another BYM camp on the same day, we ask that you drop off your TA camper first.
Pick Up: 10:30-11:30am on the last day of the session.
Life at Teen Adventure differs from that of the other camps because almost every day begins in a different place than the last. Each trip is broken up into one or two hiking sections, a canoeing section, a day or two of rock climbing, and for TALT a service day. But no matter what part of the trip they’re on, our campers are almost always on the move!
Campers wake around 7:30 to enjoy a group activity such as stretching, singing, or games. The campsite is taken down, belongings are packed up and, after breakfast, the day’s voyage begins. Campers pull on their packs, load their canoes, or put on their climbing harnesses. And off they go, taking breaks for games, overlooks, songs, and snacks.
After resting for lunch, the trips resume a rigorous day of hiking, canoeing, or climbing. Additional breaks allow the group to come together, rest, and play. When the trip arrives at their campsite, the campers break up into chore groups to set up camp: erecting tarps, gathering firewood, filtering water, and preparing dinner.
After enjoying dinner as a group, trips finish meal clean-up and unwind from a long day with a group activity such as reflective sharing and collective singing around the Fire Circle, group games, and check-ins or discussions. Finally, everyone finds a spot beneath a tarp or under the stars for a well-deserved night’s rest
The centerpiece of each trip is the hiking section, which is spent on gorgeous stretches of the Appalachian Trail. Here campers learn how to set up a campsite, cook over portable stoves, start a campfire, and overcome physical challenges to take in all that the Appalachian Trail has to offer.
The New River’s gentle flow and periodic whitewater rapids make it a perfect stretch both for learning basic canoeing skills and meeting exciting challenges on the water with one another.
Trips spend one or two days rock climbing at beautiful Goshen Pass. This section introduces campers to basic technical climbing skills in an environment of physical challenges and group support.
On both TAP and TALT trips, campers get opportunities to serve as the “Leaders of the Day.” On these days, they’re responsible for rallying and organizing their trip, helping them grow more comfortable and confident in a leadership role. TALT campers get two opportunities to be Leader of the Day, along with more structured and in-depth feedback from their trip leaders and the group.
Service projects might include running a day of activities and games for young campers at Lexington area day camps, working on an organic farm, or helping with maintenance projects at Boxerwood Nature Center.
TAFA campers might build a new chicken co-op, sell the veggies they harvested at a pop-up stand in town, and gain inspiration from visiting local farms and learning from local artists and activists.
Jesse Austell, Co-Director of Teen Adventure, began working for BYM Camps in 2003. He has worked as a Counselor, Trip Leader, Trip Manager and starting in 2010 as a Director of TA. When not at camp, Jesse is a research and financial consultant for nonprofit organizations. He has an MA in Applied Sociology and Nonprofit Management and a BA in Nonprofit Finance. Jesse enjoys biking and urban agriculture and recently completed a cross-country bike trip from Florida to San Francisco. In the past Jesse has also helped lead an outdoor adventure and experiential learning program for inner city youth in DC.
Rosie Eck, Co-Director of Teen Adventure, was a camper at Catoctin and Teen Adventure starting in 1999. After TA, she worked as a counselor and staff at Catoctin for five summers and as a trip leader at TA for two, spending one summer away in Chile, but returning in time to cook at Catoctin! She has been a Director at TA since 2016. She majored in Studio Art and Hispanic Studies at Oberlin College and especially enjoyed painting animals. In 2013, she moved to Baltimore where she facilitates art-making among various groups, including Make Studio, an art studio for adult artists with disabilities. She also enjoys fiber arts, reading, volleyball, and spending lots of time outside with friends.
Amelia Bird, originally from north central Florida, has a background in environmental studies, nonfiction writing, teaching, graphic design, book arts, and summer camps. For the last decade, she has worked with Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, managing a program that teaches children at four schools to make healthy connections through food and the natural world. When she’s not working with ESYNOLA or BYM or volunteering to support ethical, sustainable deathcare in her city of New Orleans, Amelia might be creating something with her hands, working in her home garden, running, or swimming underwater with her daughter Indigo, but most likely she’s making some kind of list.