Did you go to summer camp as a kid? Many adults say some of their fondest memories were formed during those early get-aways. Be it riding horses, swimming in the lake, or telling ghost stories in the cabin after dark, summer sleep-away camps always foster fun. 

The registration deadline for one of the Southeast’s most unusual– and rave review-garnering– camps is fast approaching. Between now and May 1, parents of 12- and 13-year olds are invited to apply for a spot in the Billy Lancaster Forestry Youth Camp at Lake Jackson. The camp is in its 35th year and is named in memory of its founder, who was a Georgia forest industry leader. This year it will be held July 14-18. 

Planning activities for youth while they’re on summer break has gotten a lot easier over the years, thanks to the internet. That’s where formal descriptions are posted to give families an overview of basic facts about camp dates, offerings, lodging, and much more. 

At you’ll see that this camp gives middle school students an opportunity to investigate the wonders of forest and wildlife ecology, learn how to identify trees, and discover the value and importance of forests in their daily lives. A variety of adventures bring that importance to life as campers visit a harvesting site and a paper production mill. They get to see up close the equipment used by professional foresters, including specialized heavy equipment, drones, and tools. Campers are given the chance to shoot archery, enjoy water sports, and engage in team building activities. One of those exercises involves an obstacle course and lots and lots of mud! 

The very best reviews we get, however, are often the informal ones. The ones that come from those who’ve spent time at camp. That includes students, field trip leaders, and counselors. And that is why we want you to hear their assessments – straight from the horses’ mouths! 

First, here are some comments we’ve gotten from previous campers, reflecting on their experiences at Billy Lancaster Forestry Youth Camp:  

“The mud run was my favorite part!” 

“I have never seen some of the remarkable equipment at the logging site.” 

“Making paper was interesting and full of pulpy fun!” 

“My shoes were full of mud and so I took them and dumped the mud into my friend’s shoes!” 

Yea, getting muddy is a highlight, but the cardboard boat regatta is a close second.

Even for this former leader, a professional forester from GFC: “It’s an absolute blast, igniting an explosion of creativity and excitement among campers. Armed with nothing but cardboard, tape, and their imaginations, campers transform simple materials into innovative and hilariously quirky race vehicles. Laughter fills the air, creating an atmosphere of friendly competition and pure joy.” 

Counselors like how camp activities foster teamwork, problem-solving, and a deep appreciation for the power of ingenuity. They say camp cultivates a sense of responsibility towards the environment and teaches crucial attributes such as adaptability and critical thinking, which sets them on a path to excel in diverse career opportunities. 

Who could ask for more?  

Oh, and did we mention this boatload of fun only costs $40? Yup, it’s time to register! 🙂

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