Deer Valley Family Camp

If you know us- you know how much our family LOVES Deer Valley Family Camp. I’ve had a few friends ask about going. I finally sat down and wrote one of them a guide. I thought I’d repurpose it 🙂


As promised here’s the lowdown on Family Camp-I’m glad to have a reason to actually sit down and type this out-people are always asking me about it.

Here’s great video a family put together:
-Our experience is different in that I think they are week 9-and it is much warmer by then in our week 0. They also go rock climbing which we do not although the kids do.  
The bad:
Weather at Week 0: Week 0 (that has the shortest wait list-I think because most schools in the north aren’t out yet)-it is only in the 70’s during the day and always rains at least a part of couple of days. Which feels cooler than it sounds after 90 degree days. I personally like a break from the heat but you may not. And the warmth just might be an issue if you like to swim. We still sail/kayak, etc. just not swim although my kids do no matter what. The cost may be a con depending on your budget. 
Cost: We pay about $2500 but that’s for 7 days/6 nights and includes all food etc. That’s also for a cabin with a full bath. The first year we paid less for a cabin that only had a toilet/sink and we had to walk to the showers but they were right next to our cabin. We spread out payments over the year so it’s not a big deal. Everyone gets pretty dirty from all the activities so a shower a day is a necessity and walking even 100 ft with all your shower stuff and the kids’ was a pain, YMMV.
It’s in PA: Like I said it’s a 10 hour drive that we split over 2 days. Some families from far away like us (Chicago) do it and one long day. Also, because of the proximity most families are from PA and have been going for years (the camp has a 98% return rate) and it’s easy to feel excluded the first year. But that’s alleviated if you get involved in activities like volleyball, craft groups, book club etc. The camp will also put you at a table for meals with a family that’s been there awhile to help you get the go of things. Your teens wouldn’t likely be the only new teen campers but they would def. be one of a few. I don’t know how that would play out-DV teens wouldn’t intentionally exclude them or be rude but they may be so excited to see the friends they’ve been seeing once a year for 10 years or so. Teens also don’t have to do any group or activity so they could just hang with you guys or each other? There’s also a new $$$ teen center that’s awesome. 
The pros:
Philosophy: Going to camp has been awesome for our family. DV instills the “I Am Third” philosophy-God, Community, Self that my children benefit from for sure. 
Kids have freedom:The kids have so much freedom for once in their lives-the camp is so safe and secluded. The kids go in packs to ride bikes to swings and the trails etc. 10 or older can even sail by themselves after they take a class-they have to wear a life jacket. There are days when I am only close enough to talk to my kids during meals. I usually have a general sense of where they are or they will come find me to take them canoeing, etc. Or go to the snack shop to get ice cream. (the only time you’ll use any money)
Kids live for camp and there are no screens go figure!
Parents have alone time: As I said the kids go with their age group after breakfast until  lunch at 1p.m. so K and I usually go sailing, read or nap or I paint pottery. lol That reminds me-there are a few things you have to pay extra for-you have to pay for the pottery that you paint but it’s pretty cheap. A vase is $8 for example. You also have to pay for special activities like a round the lake horse rides with s’mores that takes most of the afternoon. It’s pretty inexpensive still-like $30 a person. This past year was the first year we did it. They also offer a zip-line once a week (the really high one-there’s a lower one that’s free 24/7) that’s $8. They just add it to your tab. We usually just have a pottery bill. lol
Great Kid/Parent Time: So in the afternoons Kyle and I often end up with one on one time with one of the kids doing archery, sailing, hiking etc. Rosie and Emmett like to do archery with K and Rosie likes to go canoeing with me and Cate and I paint pottery. 
It’s so safe: There are counselors/campers everywhere and you’ll find your kids will be one of 3 places-GaGa pit, swings, or the Adventure Trails. 
Typical Day:
Sometime btwn 7:30-8:30 kids up and out on bikes and doing whatever they want. 
at 8 there’s a “first watch” faith meeting in the chapel. They talk about a bible verse etc. 
There’s also some activity for adults-like swimming across the lake etc. 
9:00 am  Breakfast, we’ll all sing a funny prayer first. There’s a hot breakfast or you can make waffles or have oatmeal/cereal
After breakfast- kids meet at the campfire dock to sing camp songs and get in group. 
9-12:30 kids in kid group. They’ll go boating or hiking or do the ropes course or horseback riding or craft shop(all free of course) depending on the day. 
12:30-Kids and counselors sit outside the dining hall to sing camp songs. 
1:00 p.m. lunch, funny sung prayer before
After lunch its parents with kids are parents with other parents. They’ll be tons of things to do or not do.I only see some people at activities -I think there’ s a lot of napping in cabins which is awesome too!
6pm -dinner
After dinner there’s something different every night. There’s “family games” one night-where families are put into groups of other families to do games to see what groups of families will win this year. Another night there’s a talent show for campers, etc. You don’t have to go of course but most people do. 
After activity- The snack shop is open which is in a building with a huge deck overlooking the lake. Also where the craft shop is. So, people will get ice cream and sit by the fire and hang out. Some people play cards etc. Teens are usually there are in the teen center. Teens have activities available  all day from 7a.m.-11p.m.
If I had more time this would be more concise but like all moms I’m stretched thin. Let me know if you have any questions. We’d love to have another GA family-esp.  you guys. 

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