Camp Hanes creating lifelong memories

By Amanda Dodson -

YMCA Camp Hanes has been an integral part of Stokes County dating back to 1927. Nestled at the base of the beautiful Sauratown Mountain, campers are invited to unplug and explore. With over 400 acres of scenic terrain the property offers a variety of aquatic activities, hiking, archery, slingshot, rifle, shotgun ranges, ziplines, and a 40-acre equestrian course.

In 2015 Camp Hanes set a record of serving 1,656 campers throughout the summer months.

“We saw the most kids we’ve ever had here, so we began looking at ways to expand. One of the things we did was start two new adventure programs,” said Camp Hanes Director Val Elliott. “We’re offering one that’s all about rock climbing. From what rock climbers have told me we have some of the best rock climbing on the east coast in our backyard.”

Elliott said they’ve also added a paddling expedition set to begin at River Road Park near Wilmington, N.C. The adventure for 12-15 year olds will explore three primitive islands in the Cape River, including one that was home to European settlers and pirates.

The traditional resident camp for ages 6-15 continues to be a favorite year after year, according to the director.

Campers are offered a plethora of activities, both indoor and outdoor, chocked full of opportunities to learn and grow.

“We have an amazing staff that really has a deep desire to help kids reach their God-given potential,” Elliott said.

As in years past, Camp Hanes partnered with Camp Corral to provide camp for children of military families.

“We also worked with Forsyth County’s Autism Society and Camp Carolina which includes children with diabetes. We had 275 participants during that time,” Elliott said.

Camp Hanes staff is passionate about providing the camp experience to all children and offer scholarship opportunities for individual campers.

“Last year we provided $297,704 in financial assistance and we raised $213,755. I think one thing that separates us from other camps is that we don’t want finances to keep anyone from being here,” Elliott said.

While Camp Hanes is bustling throughout the summer months, it stays equally busy in the spring, winter, and fall. The property hosted 58 schools in 2015 and worked with over 6,000 students teaching hands-on outdoor education courses.

They also offer family camps, winter camps, alumni weekends, and Christian leadership conferences.

While the camp continues to develop and improve, its deep-rooted traditions remain the same.

“We’ve been around a long time, but we still have things we’ve been doing since 1927. We’ve been singing a song, ‘Follow the Gleam’ before campers go to bed since the very beginning. This is a place where we want to develop a culture of being your very best self. We’re excited we get to see it happen.”

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Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.

By Amanda Dodson

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