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Iconic summer camp opportunities in WNC

Jun 20, 2023 02:56PM ● By Randee Brown
Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont, a branch of the Girl Scouts organization started in 1912, have summer camp programs that have been in operation in Western North Carolina since 1944. All three of their locations have been operating for over 70 years and will be celebrating milestone anniversaries in the coming years:
  • Camp Pisgah in Brevard – 70th Anniversary in 2022
  • Camp Ginger Cascades in Lenoir – 75th Anniversary in 2026
  • Keyauwee Program Center in Sophia – 80th Anniversary in 2024

Within more than 1,000 acres of camp property, their summer camp programs host 130 children in their busiest weeks of the summer, and staff more than 18 people at each camp. Staff includes camp directors, course support, lifeguards, instructors, and maintenance crews.

In addition to their 10 weeks of summer camps, Peaks to Piedmont also offers weekend retreats and ‘School’s Out’ camps during Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, and spring break.

Camp attendees range from kindergarteners to seniors in high school, and onsite activities are offered to suit the wide range of ages. For example, younger girls have the opportunity to learn archery, and older girls can learn archery on horseback and riflery. Their programs also partner with other local organizations to offer even more opportunities on other properties, adding another level of depth to their camp programs as well as supporting other local businesses such as the Nantahala Outdoor Center.

“There is magic in getting these girls outside,” Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont CEO Jennifer Wilcox said. “They are getting the opportunity to try new things and experience nature, as well as grow their confidence and ability to lead.”

Wilcox also believes that the progression of the programming keeps the girls interested, engaged, and excited to return year after year.

“We provide the opportunity for success in each proper developmental stage,” Wilcox said. “Seeing the older girls participating in advanced activities seeds the pot, and the younger girls want to continue to work their way up and continue girl scouting.”

The Outdoor Team creates further advancement opportunities by creating pathways and pipelines as the girls cross into high school years, and may offer opportunities to join the Outdoor Experience Team themselves. 

“They do a fantastic job of cultivating relationships all year long,” Wilcox said. “The girls are kept ‘in the fold’, maintaining a level of engagement with activities of the camp all year long.”

This level of communication helps the camp retain staff and maintain a pipeline of new talent that is excited to come and work at the camp after attending themselves.

“Our staff is excited to come back and work,” Anna Reese, Outdoor Experience Specialist for Peaks to Piedmont said. “Many were campers who joined the leadership team and joined the staff. We have a great retention rate, and have quite a few names of those who want to be a part of the program.”

According to Wilcox, the unique location of these camps in Western North Carolina is one of the reasons for the camp’s popularity. With about 25% of attendees coming from outside of the region, she said that people come here to be immersed in the mountainous environment.

Peaks to Piedmont plans to offer the opportunity for even more people to travel to WNC. They will be a part of Girl Scout Destinations - a program for girls in grades six through 12 to travel to different parts of the country and participate in programs at a variety of locations.

“Each time a new Destination is created, it’s unique,” Wilcox said. “The Destinations program will bring even more people to WNC, as parents and caregivers may also come and vacation while their girls are at camp. This provides an increased opportunity to really help drive the local economy.”

Learn more about Girl Scouts Peaks to Piedmont Camps at