“The best way I can think of to describe camp is to call it an “experiment.” Camp asks us to try giving up our fear of rejection, breaking down some of our walls, and treating every person at camp as a friend. The great result of this experiment; a community based on love instead of fear. This creation of a unique type of beauty never fails to amaze me summer, after summer. I don’t think I was really aware of this when I was little, when camp meant finding paint rocks in the creek and falling asleep each night to the sound of a few guitars accompanied by a hundred voices. But as I got older, and went on to childrens sessions, I realized that there is an intangible reason that compels me to return each year; I hear the spirit of this valley, this community, calling me home to a place where I am accepted and loved unconditionally. And I believe that there is no better gift in the world than this feeling of Camp.” A.D. – Santa Clara, CA
..." A.R.E. camp is a place for new things, awesome friends, great counselors and tons of fun! Every day you will experience new and wonderful things through singing songs, sports and group crafts! At camp you can take a break from all that confusing stuff going on in your life, the camp is so laid back you can't help but have an awesome time! This camp stands out to me because, at Camp, it's not about being the best; it's about being the best person you can be."
M.M. – Arlington, TX
“I would say that it (Camp) is the one place on earth where you can truly be yourself and be loved and accepted by others. It is where you find lifelong friendships that pick up every summer wherever they were left off even after 25 years of absence. It is home for my heart.” K.W. – Salem, WV
“I grew up in Rochester, NY. I spent at least half of my summers every year that I was a teenager at ARE Camp. My time there dramatically shaped who I am as a person, giving me the ability to quickly see the value in people, connect with them on a deep level, and build a love-based bond with them, which I use all the time in both my family life and my personal life. My business success is directly the result of my ability to build highly effective teams, and I got that ability from summers spent at ARE Camp.
As a result of attending ARE camp as a teenager, I knew that I wanted to do something involving leadership, teamwork, and contributing profoundly to the quality of life of as many people as possible. That is one of the things that led me to quickly go into management as a young engineer. Over the past 25 years, this has allowed me to meet and profoundly impact the lives of thousands of people, and brings me to where I am now, which is the CEO of an incredibly promising company.
Also, I met my wife at ARE Camp, and so that has of course shaped my life not just in terms of who I partnered with, but it gave us a common ground on which to base our marriage and our family life.
Because of the value my wife and I received from ARE Camp, we sent all three of our kids to camp for their whole teenage period, and they each benefitted massively as well, and consider ARE Camp their second home.” F.D. - Rochester, NY
“My name is John, and while I hail from Virginia Beach, I “grew up” at A.R.E. Camp, my home away from home. As a young camper from an impoverished, single-parent family, I was able to attend camp only due to the generous financial donations of Hugh Lynn Cayce, among others. I spent the entirety of my summers at A.R.E. Camp from ages 12-18, finding it to be a wonderful sandbox for creative expression, exploring nature and forging life-long friendships.
In my early twenties, I accepted a sales position with a small start-up retailer and enjoyed a 23 year career as it grew into a Fortune 500 company. My success at work was directly influenced by the communication skills and inquisitive nature fostered by the talented staff at A.R.E. Camp. As a camp cook, breaking the news that I had “Burned the soup….again,” taught me valuable lessons in humility and conflict resolution, lessons that I frequently leveraged in the corporate board room. Earlier this year I decided to leave the corporate world to pursue a dream of launching my own business in Virginia Beach. Rediscovering the joys of A.R.E. Camp over the last decade with my parents (now reunited), wife and two sons has been a blessing. My eldest son hopes to join the A.R.E. Camp staff this year and plans to avoid cooking soup altogether.” J.B. – Virginia Beach, Virginia
“Camp is a great place to get quiet in nature, have fun with good people, make friends of the (generally speaking) New Age persuasion, make music and eat wholesome good food together. We talk about ideals and one's spiritual work in the world, and get away from the world so that you're ready to go back you can give something good to it again.” A.W. – New York, New York