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A Summer to Remember

Every day at Camp Rockmont for Boys, a Christian summer camp located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, holds the promise of a different adventure, whether the kids are participating in a favorite activity or trying a new one they never even dreamed was possible. 

Before that, however, the mornings start with a tradition that might seem a little unusual at first, but becomes an important symbol of the lifelong friendships they build during their time at Rockmont. Arm in arm with their fellow campers, with enthusiastic counselors leading the way, they get ready to seize the day by joining together in song.

“When I think about a group of boys at camp, I don’t often think of singing, but when they’re here they love to sing and be silly with one another,” says Daniel Weatherby, one of the camp’s directors. “The pressures that are on young people when they’re growing up, they don’t exist here in the same way: the social pressure, the pressure to be cool, the pressure to turn everything in on time. All of that makes sense in the academic setting, but those pressures aren’t present here. The kids get to come alive, have fun, let loose and be boys.”

Camp Rockmont has a rich history of making that kind of impact on young men for more than 60 years. Located on a picturesque, secluded property 15 miles east of Asheville, the site was formerly a family resort and then Black Mountain College before becoming a camp in 1956. Since then it has welcomed boys from all over the Southeast, including Florida, for a transformative experience centered around adventure, friendship and fun.

“The major benefits are self-confidence, leadership ability, even understanding how to be a friend at a young age and how to be a part of a community that supports you,” Weatherby says. “It’s really a profound experience.”

Weatherby knows that as well as anyone. He was a camper at Camp Rockmont before transitioning into a counselor during his college years and eventually joining the staff in a full-time role. It was the camaraderie and bonds with his fellow campers that brought him back every year, and also the chance to push his boundaries and grow as a young man.

One way he did that is with the camp’s thrilling zip line, which was intimidating to him in his first few years at Rockmont until he overcame his fears.

“Part of the customization of the experience for the camper is the counselors inviting them into these ‘challenges,’” he says. “But everything is a challenge by choice. We’re never going to make them go down the zip line. I didn’t go down the zip line for four years. I wanted to but it seemed high up there and I didn’t quite understand it. I had counselors every year who were inviting me to do it and I’d get closer and closer every year. But even when I wasn’t able to do it, my growth was still celebrated. I wasn’t made to be a failure because I didn’t do it, but they told me how awesome it was that I got close. Eventually I did go down the zip line and that was celebrated in a really powerful way.”

The fact that counselors are supportive through the entirety of each camper’s stay speaks volumes. “Our facility is wonderful and this has always been viewed as a beautiful place conducive to being able to roam with friends,” Weatherby says. “But what really sets Rockmont apart is the intentionality of the staff and how they know every single camper.

Campers get to drive their experience by choosing the skills and activities they focus on, from archery and rock climbing to disc golf, swimming and much more. There are ventures geared toward athletics, arts and crafts and science.

Rockmont is an inter-denominational Christian camp and incorporates cabin devotions each night featuring a short story and brief discussion. “No matter where the camper is coming from—if they’re Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, or if they’re not coming from a spiritual tradition at all—they’re going to be welcomed with open arms,” Weatherby says.

Put all of these aspects together and it’s easy to see why the return rate is so high and why campers often become counselors who want to continue being part of this special community. Weatherby encourages families to look into the different programs available, whether it’s a one-week starter camp for kids between 6 and 10 years old or a multiple-week session for boys up to 16 years old.

“One of the things I always tell families is that even if they don’t choose Rockmont, I really hope that they get to choose a summer camp, because it offers so many different resources and opportunities for campers to come alive in a different way than they’re able to do at home and the classic school setting,” Weatherby says.

“When they pick their son up from Rockmont, they’re going to see his individual growth. Most of our parents report an increased sense of self-confidence, independence, leadership ability and a greater ability to connect with others. We’re a summer camp for about three months, but we’re a 12-month resource for these families.”


Camp Rockmont for Boys

375 Lake Eden Road | Black Mountain, North Carolina

(828) 686-3885