The Young Leaders Program is part of Gwynn Valley’s Older Program progression and is specifically designed for campers finishing 9th and 10th grades. This program focuses on leadership development and acts as a bridge between camper and staff roles at Gwynn Valley. Leadership skills developed in this program will serve campers in many aspects of young adulthood and beyond.

These are the key components of the Young Leaders Program.

  • Community Building: As in all programs at Gwynn Valley, we place a strong emphasis on community building with peers. Young Leaders are still campers and will have the opportunity to participate in uniquely designed evening programs, art projects, trips, activities, socializing and more. Young Leaders participate as a group in some Main Camp activities as interest, time and resources allow. In 2016, Young Leaders were able to participate at the farm, stables, crafts, mill, waterfront, and more.
  • Leadership Seminars: The exact list of seminars is always evolving based on the interests and specialties of both staff and campers at Gwynn Valley in a given summer. 2016 Leadership Seminar topics included exploring personal leadership styles, servant leadership, public speaking, gender and leadership, outdoor adventure and leadership, event planning, the FISH! philosophies, child development, conflict mediation, and among others.
  • First Aid & CPR Certification: Young Leaders participate in a full day of training and receive a certification in basic First Aid & CPR through the Red Cross. This certification is valid for 2 years.
  • Apprenticing with Main Camp Program Leaders: Young Leaders have the opportunity to participate in Main Camp activities as an apprentice by assisting with instruction during Morning Discoveries. Young Leaders are assigned to discoveries based on their interests and skills as well as the needs of camp.
  • Outdoor Adventure:  This aspect of Gwynn Valley is very much part of the YL Program, though it is emphasized less strongly than in Mountainside and Riverside. On camp, Young Leaders participate in hiking, swimming, and camping out as all Gwynn Valley campers do. Young Leaders also leave camp for a taste of outdoor adventure (day trips only) such as white water rafting, hiking and swimming in nearby National and State forests. Additional day trips in rock climbing or mountain biking could be added depending on the interests of the group.
  • Community Service and Chores: Young Leaders help the Gwynn Valley community by setting tables before each meal and helping out with all camp events such as Special Day and Tajar Ball. Young Leaders also engage in a few community service trips off camp such as volunteering at the Transylvania County Boys & Girls Club and donating surplus GV Farm produce to local food pantries and soup kitchens.

Much like on Riverside, the Young Leaders live together in single-gender cabins under the direct supervision of a staff member. In both the boy’s cabin and the girl’s cabin, there is a staff member living in the cabin as a designated YL cabin counselor and additional support staff such as program leaders who live in the physical space to provide support and coverage where needed. As in all program areas at camp, there is also a Head Counselor who oversees the Young Leaders program.

The Young Leaders Program was founded in 2016 and continues to evolve each summer. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Maggie Howe via email ( or phone (828-885-2900).

For more information about dates and rates, please visit the Sessions page.

301 Gwynn Valley Trail, Brevard, NC 28712 | (828) 885-2900