In 2019 Rising Appalachia hosted 182 children for 221 camper weeks. Of those attending
$5,850 in scholarships were provided.
2019 saw a continued trend of lower ages filling camps more successfully. The age 13 and up dropoff was significant. Likewise Movement camp which was open to all ages was less popular than expected with boffer swords for programming Monday through Friday.
Exit Survey Responses indicated high approval.
Women of RAW
Women of RAW was sponsored by OhioHealth in 2019, which provided scholarships for almost all of the 21 girls between ages 8 and 12 attending that week. The goals and objectives we set out dictated specific offerings such as guitar and music lessons, self defense classes, and stories and quiet reflective time focused on competency and courage. These activities were in addition to Rising Appalachia’s adventure education programming, and pre and post camp surveys were given out to measure their success at reducing constraints found in community survey results for local women. Though the survey pool was small with only 10 completing both pre and post camp responses, the below results aligned with the expected outcomes of the week’s programming.
When asked about their favorite part of the programming offered for the week, parents listed such things as “being outside, even in the rain,” “Lots of outdoor exploration time, including learning about local plants,” and the “self defense portion because it [was] very important to [them] as a parent.”
When asked if there were any noticeable changes in their daughter’s behavior, one parent responded that her daughter was “more confident and brave about being outside. She is also more ready for bigger adventures!”
Of note this summer was the Columbus Dispatch which ran the story of Women of RAW through multiple mediums. Video, print, and online articles were part of an ongoing coverage of Appalachian Ohio.
Amazon Warriors was a new offering in response to 2018 participants in Women of RAW looking for a 12 and up option that brought bigger challenges and adventure to the Women of RAW programming. The Clif Bar Family Foundation provided a grant of $3,000 to develop this program in conjunction with Women of RAW day camps. With the help of Big Agnes and Mountain Safety Research, program equipment was purchased to pave the way for all female off camp trips. Local 501c3 Raccoon Creek Partnership provided canoes and a trailer to be used for the purposes of the Amazon Warriors Canoe Trip.
In light of receiving funding for this program, Rising Appalachia chose to open enrollment free of cost to local girls and young women who wanted to participate. Those attending were largely Women of RAW participants, and the trip ran with 6 participants and 2 guides. The trip was a two night, three day flat water paddling trip on Lake Vesuvius in the Ironton Ranger District of the Wayne National Forest.
In a post trip debrief, the following was found amongst participants:
- 33% had never set their own tent before
- 50% were overnight camping for their first time
- 100% of participants were receiving specific instruction on how to paddle for the first time
Participants engaged in cliff top yoga with the sunrise, created songs to paddle to on the lake, and ate enough marshmallows that the guide staff reported the empty bags of mallows with a sheepish and sly grin.
Clif Bar Family Foundation Grant
In total, Rising Appalachia has made use of $1,833 of the $3,000 Clif Bar Family Foundation Grant. By summer operations 2020 we intend to use the remainder of funds to acquire backpacks and a satellite phone in conjunction with special use permits in the nearby Wayne National Forest. This equipment will enable year round guide services and plans are being made for an all girl’s backpacking in Spring 2020.
RAW Leaders was a blend of overnight offerings and day camp. 14 participants ages 12 and up participated in a week long camp that included an overnight trip on the nearby Hocking River to instill leadership and a sense of agency for long time campers. Participants were selected upon completion to join the Counselor in Training (CIT) program that would return on weeks with younger aged participants to assist camp staff in delivering programming.
The overnight trip was the first of its kind for Rising Appalachia and camper development was evident by the end of summer. One parent unasked spoke via email about how their son “had grown up significantly during their time at camp this summer.” Looking forward, Rising Appalachia intends to continue to develop the program to provide an overarching leadership experience for youth in Athens county.
Stuart’s Opera House
Returning to the RAW roster this year was the great help of Stuart’s Opera House for providing music lessons during the full week of Women of RAW. Campers enjoyed learning guitar, creating their own songs, and finding their voice in the farm house Monday through Friday. Special thanks to Emily Prince, Director of Education for Stuart’s. Also thanks to Tessa Evanosky for coming out to provide lessons.
Cheryl Cesta of Cheryl’s Trainings provided self defense and empowerment lessons for the girls attending Women of RAW. Her programs were inspiring to watch and powerful for those in attendance.
Community Food Initiatives
Community Food Initiatives came out to camp every Tuesday to provide nutrition lessons for camp. Children got to be hands on with creating their snacks from scratch throughout the week. Everything from no bake cookies to farm fresh produce went through the children’s hands and to their table each week as they learned recipes and ingredients for a healthier life.
Raccoon Creek Partnership
The Raccoon Creek Partnership was invaluable this year as a resource for canoes, equipment, and a trailer. Their donation of the use of their equipment made Trips and Expeditions possible. Special thanks goes out to Molly Gurien and Jessica Makosky for coordinating to assist us with launching our expedition programs.
South Eastern Ohio Trail Runners
Michael Owens of Sout Eastern Ohio Trail Runners (SEOTR) came out during our movement week to teach the basics of trail running to campers. Proper technique, an eye for the trails, and a whole lot of fun had children requesting to do multiple activity hours with SEOTR.
Rural Action Zero Waste Initiative
Rising Appalachia is proud to have gotten the opportunity to work with Rural Action’s Zero Waste Initiative to do an accounting of our waste, composting, and recycling on camp. With on site visits and careful picking through of waste, we worked together to develop a waste reduction plan for RAW programming. As of 2019 Rising Appalachia has taken the Zero Waste Pledge.
Sponsors and Donors
Clif Bar Family Foundation
This year the Clif Bar Family Foundation provided a $3,000 grant for the purchase of trips and expeditions equipment for all female trips and expeditions. Our purchases included tents, stoves, sleeping pads, camp cookware, and a trailer hitch for our camp vehicle.
OhioHealth provided $2,000 to fund campers attending Women of RAW. Special thanks goes to Jane and Mike Broecker along with Sydney Webber for believing in the potential and power of our all female offerings. We could not have made Women of RAW happen without you.
Integrated Services provided $2,000 to fund Rising Appalachia programs and pay or the transport and tuition of campers from The Hive in Nelsonville. Special thanks goes out to Kimberly Jackson and Dottie Fromal for making this happen.
- Clif Bar Family Foundation
- Integrated Services
- Live Healthy Appalachia
- Raccoon Creek Partnership
- Cheryl Cesta
- Stuart’s Opera House
- Solid Ground Farm
- Zero Waste Initiative
New Program Development
In line with a dwindling market for 13 and up day camps, and demand for more high adventure trips, Rising Appalachia will be taking steps to further develop Trips and Expeditions while expanding day camp offerings to younger campers. Teen camp offerings will be replaced with new 6-12 year old appropriate programming.
New for 2020 will be:
- RAW Splashdown will replace RAW Teens. Similar to young adventure in scope but focusing on all water activities and including a trip to a local waterpark.
- Steps are being taken to redevelop RAW Survivors to include an overnight portion on the farm, allowing campers to hone their skills with a multi-day survivor challenge.
- Trips and Expeditions will consist of at minimum two, 5 day overnight trips, and equipment will be expanded to include backpacks to develop variance in the activities offered.
- Family Camp will kick off the season with parents coming out to the farm each evening to enjoy the obstacles, games, and fun of RAW camp with their children.
The following will be made into regular additions to camp programming:
- Night on the Farm
- One night overnights on weekends where campers can get the basics and introductions to pitching a tent and back country cooking
- Trips and Expeditions
- Current plans are being made for a cross country ski trip, backpacking in Wayne National Forest, and more
- Community Programming
- Library programs, festival children’s areas, and more are being developed to take camp off the farm and directly into the community
Improvements for 2020
The following items we hope to acquire in the year 2020:
- 1 additional staff member for summer programs
- Backpacks for expedition programming
- Funds for a new camp vehicle
The following are program measures we hope to implement in 2020:
- Redesign of drop off and pickup to funnel entry and exit to a singular point.
- Add-on of overnights to end of day camp weeks.