Any girl who has attended GEMS Camp knows about the magic that happens at camp. We’re already gearing up for another summer of fun, and we want you to join us! Whether you are a returning GEM, or you are thinking about coming for your first experience, you’re bound to have the best week ever! Each GEMS camp week has a different theme, and different activities, as well as our core themes of courage, confidence, and compassion reflected upon each week. Keep reading to learn about our different options!

GEMS: Shining Bright is a five-day overnight experience designed for girls going into grades 6th-9th, with backcountry survival skills training, environmental education, and adventure activities. During Shining Bright, girls discover the seven survival priorities: positive mental attitude, first aid, shelter, firecraft, signaling, water, and food. This experience introduces girls to the parallels between each survival priority and their lives in the “front country,” while also encouraging girls to find courage, build confidence, and show compassion for others.

GEMS: Digging Deeper is a five-day overnight experience during which GEMS will be challenged to step outside their comfort zones. This program is designed for girls entering grades 7 and up. This experience begins with a review of the seven survival priorities, then preparation begins for a 2-night backpacking expedition along the nearby Appalachian Trail. The week concludes with canoeing on Craig Creek, which allows girls to explore and prepare for situations that may be out of their element. At the end of the week, GEMS will move forward with a deepened sense of courage, confidence, and compassion.

GEMS: Rock On, also designed for girls entering grades 7 and up, is an intensive five-day overnight experience focused on encouraging GEMS to take on leadership roles among their peers while exploring new outdoor activities. While canoeing, camping, rappelling, stand up paddleboarding, and hiking, girls will discover parallels to their ever-changing lives. Girls leave this inspiring and demanding week having grown into strong, compassionate, confident leaders, ready to Rock On in their communities!

GEMS: Be Genuine challenges campers with five days of personal growth and leadership development, plus plenty of outdoor adventures. Be Genuine campers (grades 8 and up) use the survival, communication, leadership, and safety skills they’ve gained to plan outdoor adventures. Additionally, GEMS in Be Genuine will take trips away from camp to enjoy a starry night hike to McAfee Knob, dive deeper into kayaking and tubing on the Jackson River, hit the trails on bikes on the Jackson River Trail, and practice their confidence pose in mid-air while zip-lining at Buffalo Mountain Adventures! GEMS will grow to be GEMuinely authentic, adventurous advocates.

For those GEMS who have spent many a summer (at least 2) at Mountain Shepherd, we present GEMS: Crowning Jewel! This session invites GEMS back to Mountain Shepherd for five days of new and exciting outdoor adventures, leadership development and self-sufficiency. Crowning Jewel challenges girls to use every skill they have learned at Mountain Shepherd over the past few summers to tackle their final challenge – confidence in planning their custom adventures. One example is base-camping at Hungry Mother State Park while adventuring to the highest point in Virginia – Mount Rogers, biking the famous Creeper Trail from Whitetop to Damascus, soaring over one of the longest ziplines in Virginia, and enjoy tubing on the New River. 

With five different camp options, we know there’s one right for you (or your loved one). We believe that camp truly changes lives, and builds girls into courageous, confident, and compassionate young women. Won’t you join us this summer? Register on our website or contact Dina at dina@mountainshepherd.com for more information or questions.