The world and American society have changed so rapidly in the digital age that you may be wondering what this means for a traditional girls summer camp. So we’ve set this page up for parents to evaluate on behalf of younger campers, and for campers who are ready to self-assess, whether we’re the right camp for you.
To that end the language goes back and forth between parent and child — please read with your own role in mind.
As parents you might wonder:
- Is camp like it was when you were a child?
- What can you expect for your daughter, granddaughter, or niece today?
- Will camp be right for your child?
As a camper you might ask yourself:
- What are my expectations of summer camp today?
We want to bring clarity to these questions for you as you explore being at camp for a weekend, week, three weeks, or all summer. (And all the below applies if it’s a camper herself who is reviewing this.)
Camp Alleghany has been a growing, evolving outdoor education institution for 100 years. As such, we’ve seen our fair share of change over the century. Naturally this means that we have grown and changed, too. We’re committed to being open-minded, loving, and compassionate to all children and families, and to evolving and adapting as and where needed while ensuring that societal changes fit within our mission to support the values, needs, and traditions of single-sex outdoor education and recreation for females.
Even in the 21st century, girls still face entrenched societal pressures that can affect their ability to thrive into their full selves.
Yet we’ve spent 100 summers empowering girls and young women to do just that! And we want to continue to do what we know best, and do best!
Our wholehearted commitment to work within this special and even sacred space for girls and young women remains, since 1922, the core mission of Camp Alleghany for Girls.
To come to camp with us is to join our century-old way of daily camp life, with its traditions, festivals, natural environment, camp culture, and more. New girls and women from diverse backgrounds join us every year as campers. Welcoming them, and helping make them part of our camp world is a delight every summer!
To that end, the most successful outcomes for campers happen when you know more about some of our unique conditions, environment, facilities, and culture. (Also see our Essential Eligibility Criteria for attending camp.)
So we ask you to dive in to the list below as you assess how your child — or your child self-assesses — whether Camp Alleghany for Girls is right for you.
The Rustic Nature of How and Where We Live
Camp Alleghany is rustic. While some buildings, like the Camp Office, Infirmary, and Dining Hall have electricity, many do not, including the tents where the campers and counselors live. There is no air conditioning. We have a beautiful, newly built bathroom and shower building, but it is also rustic, built out of wood by a local builder. The showers feel like you’re taking an outdoor shower, some even with mountain views!
Campers and staff live together — up to four campers and a counselor, or counselors with other counselors — in white canvas flap 14′ x 14′ tents atop wooden platforms a few feet off of the ground. Our two camp tent areas — Junior and Senior Camps — are set in an open field, within 100 yards of the Greenbrier River, and are lit at night by lanterns.
Every day is spent primarily in the beautiful outdoors in a vibrant relationship with Mother Nature. We swim in the river, do most of our work outside, have most Evening Activities, nighttime campfires, Free Time and more, all outside. When we walk between events or activities, it’s outdoors.
Rain or shine, hot or chilly, we make it to meals, to the bathrooms, and to activities, by moving through the glorious outdoors.
Campers don’t have cell phones, Internet-connected devices, or access to the Internet or phone (except in a TRUE emergency).
For ‘Ghany Girls, this is paradise, building grit, resilience, and a meaningful appreciation of our natural world.
But it’s not for everyone. It’s so important that you ask yourself whether one- to three- to six-weeks outdoors and unplugged is right for you.
Breaking the Sound Barrier!
‘Ghany Girls are bursting with joy to be at camp, and it shows! They’ll sing, scream, and laugh all day. Camp Alleghany can be loud (and that’s not even counting the crickets chirping, birds cooing, owls hooting, and occasionally a strong wind blowing!)
From our morning Assembly, to our bustling meals in the Dining Hall where everyone spontaneously bursts into song, to our friendly but fierce Blue/Gray competitions, to many, many of our goofy traditions, to simply living with 300 other people in a shared camp setting and, well…it’s not exactly the library!
Not. Even. Close.
Similarly, the pace of camp is energetic (though it has Rest Hour, Taps, and other opportunities to chillax). When something super exciting is going on, like a Carnival Day, or a wild and crazy performance, things can get pretty high energy!
And this is not for everyone. It’s so important that you ask yourself whether one- to three- to six-weeks in a space and culture that can often be loud, and often indulges in high energy, is right for you.
We’re Soulful Spirits
Since its founding, Camp Alleghany has had mild religious undertones.
While we’re not affiliated with any specific denomination, and we’re not a Christian Camp, we were founded with the enduring Christian values of love, compassion, generosity, community, and individual self worth. These spiritual facets come into play in our reflective and introspective Vespers gatherings, our brief non-denominational Sunday outdoor chapel service (optional), and in the values of Camp Alleghany, which include recognizing the soulful humanity within everyone.
More directly, we sing a blessing before each meal, and the word God appears in some of our treasured Campfire and Vespers songs.
We welcome campers of ALL religious backgrounds, including no religion, and we don’t discriminate or push any theology or doctrine on anyone. At all.
Campers and staff may individually choose to abstain from singing the blessings or specific Campfire and Vespers songs, and may opt out of church. But this spiritual and even mildly Christian element is a part of our culture that you will experience at Alleghany.
And this is not for everyone. It’s so important that you ask yourself whether one- to three- to six-weeks in a space and culture that will, in very small doses, include spiritual acknowledgements, some non-denominational religion, or mention of God, is right for you.
Friendship, Friendship, Just the PERFECT Blendship
Camp Alleghany is for platonic relationships. We value friendships, deep friendships. In fact, one enduring element over our 100 years is how much campers say they made lifelong friends that began at Camp Alleghany for Girls.
We encourage deep, close bonding. But if it’s anything more than platonic, save that for when you get home. We do not condone, allow, or encourage ANY sort of romantic relationships at camp between campers.
If you’re coming to camp to find a romantic relationship, Alleghany is not the place for you.
A Girl’s Place, a Girl’s Space
Camp Alleghany’s mission is tied to gender — it is a camp for females. We have been for 100 years in large part because at its founding, and even now, there were — and are — inequitable opportunities for females in outdoor recreation and education.
We take great joy, pride, and enthusiasm in providing compelling summer camp programming that’s all about girls!
We understand that among the changes in society, there has been rapid public change around the gender spectrum in the last few years. Our team believes wholeheartedly that all children, whatever their gender orientation, have a place in the summer camp world. We want to make sure that children who are focused on a gender-exploration journey are at the right camp for them.
To be fully candid, our little slice of the summer camp world is about girls — their needs, their voices, the unique pressures they face in society and culture, and all that they can achieve within both the obstacles and avenues to progress in our times. We’re fully committed to this mission as it is, and are not planning to change our culture on this issue as girls’ needs — and the spaces to accommodate them — remain crucial to society even today.
If you identify as other than female or are exploring other gender identifications, we ask that you realistically consider your comfort level within our camp culture:
- We regularly and proudly use the pronouns she/her.*
- We happily say “Ghany Girls” as we call campers, begin meetings, and describe ourselves. This is a core part of our identity that has brought joy to generations of campers and is a tone that speaks to our campers today.
- We celebrate female culture, female ties, and the unique needs of females.
*Naturally, many of our songs use the words “girls” or use “she” and “her.” We are unable to accommodate he/him pronouns at Alleghany for anyone outside of our male staff. We will do our best to accommodate they/them pronouns for individuals as desired, but collectively (songs, announcements, large group settings, etc.) we will use she/her.
If female language, she/her pronouns, single-sex culture, elevation of female values and needs, or any of the above makes you feel uncomfortable, Alleghany may not be the right fit for you.
Is Alleghany Right for You?
After exploring these questions, if you feel that Alleghany is a good fit, we’d love for you to get in touch with us. In the meantime, we welcome you to also look at our basic eligibility requirements, elements that don’t encompass our camp culture but simply the conditions at camp and the scope of our services.
If you feel ‘Ghany wouldn’t be right for you or your camper you can also get in touch with us — in our commitment to the values of summer camp for all children, we’re happy to help you find a camp that would be a better fit.
One final note is that we ask our counselors to also self-assess across these areas and we touch on these subjects in our interview process in an effort to get the best-prepared and best-fit counselors for camp.