EST 1979


For 42 years, The Mountain has provided enriching Unitarian Universalist youth summer camp programs filled with recreation, adventure, education and creativity. The low camper-to-counselor ratio and professionally trained staff create a safe environment where campers are treated with respect, kindness, consideration, and are celebrated for their individual talents.


The Mountain places a strong emphasis on being an inclusive, noncompetitive environment where youth can develop a deeper understanding of themselves and form lifelong friendships. Campers learn to advance their communication skills and resolve conflicts—skills they will use the rest of their lives.

Camping sessions are offered for youth aged 7-17, divided into age-appropriate groups. Some of the exciting activities and workshops campers experience while at Mountain Camp include: arts and crafts, drama, music, campfires, outdoor survival skills, field games, low-ropes challenge courses, whitewater rafting, swimming, canoeing and hiking.


Check out what’s going on at MountainCamp by liking us on Facebook!

Making Connections & Memories to Last Generations


June 13 - July 24



Six weeks

Elementary Camp

June 13 - 26


Age: 9-11 

Intermediate Camp

June 27 - July 10 


Age: 12-14 

Senior High Camp

July 11 - 24 


Age: 15-17 

Counselor in Training 

June 13 - July 24 


Age: 16-17 

Six weeks

Outdoor Skills & Adventure

June 13 - 26 


Age: 15-17

Farm Camp

June 27 - July 10 


Age: 12-14

Intergenerational Camp

July 25 - 30


All Ages!

MountainCamp Parent Information


Medication Form

Rock Climbing Waiver

NOC Rafting Waiver 


Frequently Asked Questions

What does my child need to pack?

You can review our camper packing list here. Please pay close attention to the items on the list – especially regarding clothing, for changing weather conditions create the need for multiple layers of clothing! The Outdoor Skills & Adventure has a separate packing list.

How does the packing list differ for youth coming to the CIT, ASCENDER, Outdoor Skills & Adventure, or multiple sessions?

CIT & ASCENDER program attendees should plan on packing the same items on the general packing lists. Extra items are not necessary due to the access to laundry facilities (an opportunity not available to other camp sessions), so please remember to have your camper bring laundry detergent! A packing list will be included with the welcome letter from the program mentors. Outdoor Skills & Adventure Program and Explorer attendees have a more detailed packing list. Campers that are coming for more than one session and are staying at The Mountain for a Stay-Over weekend will have access to washing machines on the Saturday between the sessions. If campers are attending more than one session and are NOT staying at The Mountain between sessions, dirty clothes will need to be taken elsewhere to launder because they will not have access to the machines.

How many campers live in each cabin?

There are no more than 4 youth per cabin with 2 conselors.

Where do the counselors sleep at night?

Two counselors sleep in the cabin with the youth, however they do have their own room.

What happens if my child gets sick while at camp?

MountainCamp has medical staff on duty. The MountainCamp Director or the medical staff will contact parents/guardians if any concerns arise.

How will my child maintain their medication schedule?

When checking into camp, all medications with their forms will be turned into the Health Care Coordinator. A schedule is created for each camper for when medications are to be dispensed, and a log is kept in order to track each medication given to your child.

What if my child needs medications other than prescribed meds while at camp?

When filling out the registration information you will be asked specific medical questions including what over-the-counter meds can be given to your child. If needed, the camper will be permitted to receive the medication for a specific condition – however, we will ONLY give that medication if it is checked off on the medical questionnaire sheet or if it is left for the camper at check-in.

How do you deal with a homesick child?

Homesickness is a common “ailment” for youth in general – not just at camp! We take homesickness seriously: All camp staff are trained to respond appropriately to homesick youth, and are required to keep the camp leadership informed. If homesickness persists, parents are contacted in order to be kept informed and can often provide staff with ideas about how to make the experience more fulfilling for the child. Having the camper call home is NOT the first option for treating homesickness because this has the tendency to make the situation more difficult for the child.

What if there is a family emergency – how do we contact our child?

In the case of a true emergency, contact The Mountain Guest Services Office during the day (or the emergency on-call number at night). Staff will alert Camp Leadership, and we will make the arrangements for your child to contact you as soon as possible. Please give us as much information as you can so that we can help your child understand the nature of the emergency. We want to support you and your child as you deal with your emergency situation.

Will my child be permitted to call home while at camp?

Not generally. Camp is intended to be a time away from home for the camper, and it is our preference that modern technology does not trespass on this experience. However, we do occasionally have campers call home under specific circumstances (family emergencies, etc.). Camp Leadership staff will work directly with your child to make these arrangements if the situation arises. We do encourage campers to write letters! When parents/guardians provide self addressed envelopes for the campers, they feel like they have the tools to stay connected.

May I come visit my child when s/he is at camp?

While we understand that you might want to see your child, we do not offer parental visiting days during MountainCamp. This is a wonderful time for your child to be fully immersed in the camp community experience.

Do I have the ability to contact or visit my child participating in the ASCENDER or CIT (Counselor-in-Training) program?

While participating in the program, the ASCENDER’s and CIT’s can make phone calls at certain times of the day. Although the CIT’s and ASCENDER’s are here for an extended amount of time, visits from family and friends are not encouraged. The daily schedules for these programs are extremely full and when family/friends come up, the youth generally end up missing parts of their program.

Where do I send letters and care packages to my child?

The main address for sending letters is: Child’s Name and Cabin # MountainCamp P.O. Box 1299 Highlands, NC 28741-1299 For sending packages, the services that deliver directly to The Mountain are UPS, Fed Ex, and DHL. PLEASE DO NOT SEND FOOD

Please send them to the street address of:

Child’s Name MountainCamp 3872 Dillard Rd. Highlands, NC 28741 Please make sure that you include your child’s name, and, if possible, cabin number and session. Do not rely on “overnight” delivery options – small town postal services generally end up receiving those deliveries within 2 days time. It takes approximately 4 days for mail to reach The Mountain so plan ahead when sending mail!!

How will my child be supervised during daily and evening activities?

MountainCamp is proud to maintain a four-to-one camper-to-counselor ratio for most activities and in the cabins. All activities are supervised by staff to assure the safety of every camper. When free time options are offered for our Senior High Campers, they are still required to be in spaces with counselors.

What kind of activities will my child be involved in and how do they choose them?

One of the unique aspects of MountainCamp is that each camper has the opportunity to choose some of his/her activities each day. During Intermediate, Elementary and Senior High camps, there are “activity sign-up days” at the beginning of each week. In “lottery” fashion, cabins draw a number for the order for sign-up (the next week the order is flip-flopped). The campers will then sign up for a variety of activities – off-Mountain trips, workshops, arts & crafts, etc., are a part of the multiple options available. These change every year to give returning campers new experiences. Look below for examples of trips and activities offered in the past. Rafting (Intermediate & Senior High) International Field Games – High Ropes Course (Intermediate & Senior High) Hiking Beginning Knitting Gardening X-treme Knitting Potholes Rockslide Environmental Ethics – Anti-prejudice Cooking Over a Campfire Gender Issues Conversations – “Gross” Fun Edible & Medicinal Plants Team Building activities Service projects Boating on the lake

What do I need to know about camp check-in and pick-up days?

Check-in On Arrival Day is from 1:00pm-3:00pm. If you cannot be here between those specified times, please inform The Mountain as soon as possible. Check-out on Departure Day is from 10:00am-Noon. There will be signs directing you to the check-out station. Individuals picking up campers are required to present photo ID and their name must appear on the check-out card that is filled out at check-in in order for the camper to be released from Mountain custody. You will be directed to your camper’s cabin from that point. If for any reason you cannot arrive by noon, you must let the Guest Services Office know – you may be charged for extra supervision for your child if you arrive late. If you are unable to drop off or pick up your camper on the camp starting or ending date, you must make your own arrangements for your child’s supervision. The Mountain can only take responsibility for those staying for more than one session. Lunch is available for parents/guardians and non-campers for $8.00 (plus tax) per person. MountainCamp campers eat for free!

Why is the left-over camper bank money not refunded to my child?

Camper Bank money not spent is directly deposited into the Campership Fund – it’s a great way for your child to make a contribution so that other campers can attend camp in the future. If your child is staying for more than one camp, money not spent during the first camp will be rolled over to the next session. Please note: campers are given the option of NOT depositing their money into the camper bank. However, The Mountain cannot take responsibility if that money is lost.

Does MountainCamp provide transportation to and from camp?

You can review our directions page if you need assistance getting here. It is the responsibility of the parents/guardians to transport their camper to camp unless the camper.

How will my child maintain their medication schedule?

When checking into camp, all medications and forms will be turned into the Health Care Coordinator. A schedule is created for each camper for when medications are to be dispensed, and a log is kept in order to track each medication given to your child.

How can my child apply for the ASCENDER or CIT program?

The applications for the programs are online through The Mountain’s registration website. Applications and references must be received by March 15th in order to be considered for the program.

What kinds of discounts are available on payments?

10% discount for attending multiple sessions 5% Family Discounts off the second sibling registered 10% off the third the third sibling registered

Still not finding answers to your question?

Please Contact Us if you need further information!


MountainCamp Considering Covid

We will only be offering 2-week sessions (CIT/ASCENDER excepted, as they are summer-long programs).

This is to minimize camper contact and the influx of new campers on site, to help preserve the overall health of the camp group. With fewer instances of changeover and new arrivals, we can mitigate potential exposure, and will have an advantage in monitoring any symptoms that arise if campers are not leaving and arriving on a short schedule.

We have chosen to suspend the Explorers program.

Running Explorers would require more staff resources than we have available, and would put campers and staff in higher-risk situations because of the many off-site trips to crowded, public areas that are a part of that program. However, we do plan to incorporate more outdoor skills-based programming for all campers this summer, to preserve the intent of the Explorers program.

We have also chosen to suspend the Beginning Camp program.

This decision was also made due to staffing constraints, and with the best interest of future programming in mind.

Campers will be in cabins of no more than 4 campers total, with 2 counselors to supervise.

This cabin group will be considered a “household” or “bubble.” Masks will not be required for sleeping, but will be required at all other camp activities.

We will require that campers and staff have a negative COVID test within 48 hours of their arrival to The Mountain.

This measure is to help ensure the safety of these cabin bubbles and camp as a whole. We have not yet made a decision on requiring vaccinations, as the vaccination roll-out plan is in flux and it is unclear what will be available for youth by June.

We will cross-train each counselor in how to instruct all activities, to minimize contact.

Instead of having leadership who oversee discrete activity areas that they instruct for all campers, such as arts and crafts or athletics.

We will hold as much programming outside as possible.

We will be Encouraging distancing and air flow, making more use of open-air spaces such as the Amphitheater, the fire ring behind the Rec Hall, the Crafts Barn, etc.

We will implement a new sanitization protocol.

Incorporating it as a part of daily cabin inspections to promote enhanced health and safety.

We will be employing a zero-tolerance policy for flagrant, purposeful, and repeated COVID protocol violations.

This will be communicated to campers upon their arrival and reiterated throughout their session.

Waiting list for 2021

Enrollment for camp this year is first come first serve. Many sessions are already full and you may be asked to enroll in a waiting list. Open spots are dependent on other campers on the waiting list relinquishing their spots. We thank you for your support and cooperation. We hope that we will have many more camper spots available in 2022!



We are committed to creating an emotionally and physically safe environment through our interpersonal relationships, our activities and within the larger Mountain Retreat & Learning Center community. We do this by promoting the Unitarian Universalist Seven Principles and The Mountain’s Big Four Rules for youth programs. All participants of youth programs are expected to abide by this commitment to our community.


MountainCamp Cares very much about the health and wellness of your camper and in an environment with a lot of children we want to be proactive about keeping our campers, staff and volunteers as healthy as possible. We have created this healthy camper policy to keep you informed on how you can help us before you drop your camper off for the summer camp experience of a lifetime.

This policy includes specific information on how we ensure your camper arrives healthy, enjoys camp and leaves camp after having a great experience.


  • Cancellation 15+ days before start of session: Payments made minus the non-refundable deposit and a $35 per camper administration fee

  • Cancellation 1 – 14 days before start of session: 50% of payments made minus the nonrefundable deposit and a $35 per camper administration fee

  • Select Cancel Registration from the dropdown list on our Contact Us page

  • No refunds will be available* if a camper cancels on arrival day, fails to attend their session or has to leave early under any circumstance

* If you need to cancel for a medical reason, please contact us with a valid doctor's note. If your cancellation is due to possible exposure to COVID, we will work with you on a case-to-case basis

Help Kids Go To Camp Through Our Camperships

We strive to make Mountain programs affordable for everyone to enjoy this special place.  This is especially important for MountainCamp families. The Mountain Campership Fund provides a number of camperships annually to help make summer camp possible for children and youth who may not be able to participate without the financial support. Camperships are awarded based upon applicant need and the amount of funding available. Typically, Campership awards are 50% of a one week session.

Learn more & apply for a Mountain Campership, or help raise the fund! 


Become MountainCamp Staff

Positions Available

Are you interested in changing the life of a youth by being a positive Unitarian Universalist role model? Do you want to motivate and inspire a camper to be the best that they can be? If you are, then you may be a good fit for a Summer Staff position at MountainCamp!


MountainCamp is one of several youth programs offered by The Mountain Retreat and Learning Centers Inc. At The Mountain, each camper is treated with respect, kindness, and consideration; we celebrate their individual gifts. A balance is maintained between establishing structure and boundaries to keep youth safe and creating opportunities for them to “test their wings.” MountainCamp fosters belonging and acceptance.

During MountainCamp, several opportunities for rewarding experiences and possibilities for personal growth exist. Salaries run from $145 to $250 per week, dependent on position and experience, plus room and board.

Counselors and Program Staff

  • Cabin Counselors

  • Lifeguards

  • Outdoor Adventure Staff    (Will work with Outdoor Adventure Lead, apply as Outdoor Adventure Lead)

  • Kitchen Staff

Program Leads (21+)

  • Health Center Coordinator (EMT certification or Higher)

  • Outdoor Adventure Lead

  • Programs Coordinator 

Training for the Program Leads begins May 31, 2021. All staff training will begin on June 5, 2021. Our first campers will arrive on June 13th. Summer camp ends for most staff on July 24. Some staff will be invited for a voluntary opportunity to join us for Intergenerational Camp based on summer performance and needs of MountainCamp. Employment will end on July 26th. There are only a limited number of positions available for qualified individuals, to apply as soon as possible.


A Youth CONference is a gathering of Unitarian Universalist youth and advisors from congregations all over the southeast (and sometimes beyond!) for a weekend program filled with a variety of workshops, activities, good food, a safe environment and warm, cozy cabins. Youth participate in all the activities, share with new friends in small get-to-know-you groups, bond during free time, contribute to times of fun and reflection and grow spiritually through worship.

Children and youth participating in Youth CONferences attend as a part of a congregational sponsored group. Volunteering adult advisors, volunteering Peer Advocate Leaders (PALs), volunteering PAL Mentors, and Mountain Staff work together to supervise the youth.

Peer Advocate Leaders

The Mountain Youth CONferences also offer leadership experiences for teens and young adults ages 16– 24 as Peer Advocate Leaders and Mentors.

Youth CON Dates: 

UPDATE SpringYouth CONs Have Canceled

Spring PAL Planning


Spring Intermediate 

Youth CON


Fall PAL Planning



Fall Intermediate Youth CON



Spring Elementary CON


In Person Senior High Bridging CON

May 21 - 23


Fall Elementary CON



Fall High School CON



What Should I Know Before Coming?

Advisor Participation Form – Required

In compliance with our Youth Protection Policy, a congregational staff member must complete an advisor participation form for the advisors to attend our Youth CONs.

  • Download the Advisor Participation Form (PDF)

  • Print the form

  • Complete all the information

  • Submit to The Mountain via Mail or Fax no later than 2 weeks prior to the CON

Youth Protection Policy

The Mountain recognizes the importance of fostering and creating communities where everyone, especially our most vulnerable populations such as children and youth, are protected.

We seek to preserve that spirit of welcome, respect, and trust in balance with our concern for the safety of our children, applying the test of “reasonable precaution” to any policies or guidelines we adopt. We further acknowledge that institutions operating in the best possible manner with all due concern still cannot guarantee an absolutely risk-free setting.

In this spirit, we adopt this policy statement and apply it to all events conducted under the purview of The Mountain.

Read The Mountain’s Youth Protection Policy

The PAL program is a leadership experience for youth and young adults to gain experience in program planning, implementation and leadership.

Applications must be filled out completely and PALs / Mentors will initially be added to a “waiting list” in which the Program Director and CON Leadership will choose PALs /Mentors based on their application and need based on the CON registration numbers. PAL /Mentors should apply early and will be notified of acceptance no later than 3 weeks prior to their chosen CON.

PAL /Mentors pay no fee to attend a CON but must follow certain expectations while volunteering their time during the CON.


In our registration system,

select Mountain Program

The Mountain’s Youth Protection Policy requires a background check for anyone age 18 and over working with youth. Each PAL Mentor MUST go through a background check to participate in Youth CONs. See the steps below.

  • Download the Authorization for Consumer Report (PDF)

  • Print the form

  • Complete all the information

  • Sign

  • Send to Program Director via Mail or Fax

  • Learn what is involved with participating as an advisor 

Becoming a PAL and PAL Mentors

Peer Advocate Leaders ages 16-17 and Mentors ages 18- up

Becoming a Youth Con Advisor & Pertinent Information

You’re the ones that make participation in the CONs possible! This link contains important information regarding The Mountain’s Youth CONferences and your role in the success of the weekend.

Thank YOU 

for Making


Sign up for Mountain Matters


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