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ASCENDER Application

ASCENDERs get a unique experience while at MountainCamp. As this is a Leadership Experience, applications are required. Campers should be 16 - 17 years old (rising 10th - 12th graders).

Starting in 1981, the ASCENDERs (All Summer Campers Exploring Nature's Delights and Experiencing Recreation) program allows for older youth to give back to our camp and conference center through work study in each Mountain department, gaining experience in our larger community through volunteer work and enjoying nature's splendor on the beautiful Highlands Plateau.


The ASCENDER campers will begin their all-summer experience working with the ASCENDER mentor to learn about each department of The Mountain, discovering their passion and potential along the way. For the last week of their summer, ASCENDERS will join campers from the CIT program for an OSA-style out-trip to celebrate their work and to debrief their experience. By the end of 6 weeks each camper will have earned over 100 hours of work service while also enjoying time for relaxing by rivers, hiking to record peaks, and rafting the thrilling Nantahala river.

Space is limited for ASCENDERS. Applications and references should be completed no later than March 15th to be considered. Applicants may be contacted for a phone or Zoom interview. Program participants will be chosen no later than March 31st. We are holding spaces in the Senior High Camp for anyone who does not get accepted into the ASCENDER or CIT program.

This summer will be exciting and rewarding as always! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out:

Programs office 828.526.5838,


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ASCENDER Participant Overview 


Desired Qualifications:


  • Interested in developing knowledge and skills in a rotating work environment 

  • Interest in developing interpersonal skills with the rest of the program participants 

  • Ability and willingness to place the needs to peers and camp above personal interest 

  • Ability to follow directions and accept guidance and supervision 

  • Good judgment, integrity, maturity and flexibility 

  • Enthusiasm, sense of humor, patience and self control 

  • Ability to work as part of a team 

  • Understanding, acceptance and implementation of The Mountain's Youth expectations, overall mission, and core values. 


General Responsibilities (may include, but are not limited to:

  • Kitchen: Dishwashing, meal prep for camp community, involvement in the cleaning of the dining hall and storage spaces in preparation for yearly health inspection 

  • Housekeeping: Assisting in the cleaning of public spaces and bathrooms, preparing sheets/towels/cleaning supplies

  • Youth Camp/Programs: Assisting with daily youth camp actives

  • Being a positive role model, setting good examples for peers and campers 

  • Participate fully in assigned activities 

  • Learn to respond appropriately to opportunities for problem solving 

  • At all times, model and practice the philosophies and values of The Mountain citizenship and community standards

  • Set a good example for campers and others including cleanliness, punctuality, care for shared camp spaces, patience and table manners 

  • Respect others' personal property, camp equipment and Mountain facilities 

  • Clean your living space throughout the entire 6-week session

  • Assume other responsibilities as assigned by the Ascender mentors or others 

  • Possess mobility and agility over varying types of terrain throughout campus 

  • Participate actively in the Ascender program training and activities 

  • Follow all camper and staff rules and regulations

  • Ability to attend the full session (not arriving late or leaving early ) 

  • Understanding, acceptance and implementation of The Mountain's Youth expectations, overall mission, and core values. 

ASCENDER Agreement:

If selected to participate in this program, I would strive to carry out a program within the framework derived from the 7 Principles of the Unitarian Universalism:

The inherent worth and digitnty of every individual 

Justice, equity and compassion in all relations 

Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth 

A free and responsible search for truth and meaning 

The right of conscience ad the use of the democratic process 

The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all 

Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part 


I understand that as an ASCENDER I am a program participant and NOT and employee of The Mountain and as such I will follow all program participant guidelines including: 


  • I will not use unlawful drugs, alcohol or tobacco products.

  • I will not engage in sexual relations. 

  • I will not bring or use firearms, fireworks or weapons of any kind. 

  • I will not use violence in my words or actions. 

  • That as an ASCENDER I am entrusted with the upholding of The Mountain’s Community standards and risk my current and future participation at The Mountain with my behavior. 

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