Camp High Rocks and other North Carolina Summer Camps are Crucial to Kids and the Economy

Backpacking with awesome friends at camp!

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of being part of a seminar on the impact of summer camp that was hosted by the North Carolina Youth Camp Association (NCYCA) and the Hendersonville Young Leaders Program.  The outcome was two-fold.  First we were able to show how important summer camps are to the local economy, and then we also focused on how crucial summer camp is for kids.

The NCYCA has been working with North Carolina State University and local summer camps in Hendersonville, Transylvania, Buncombe, and Jackson Counties to measure the economic impact of summer camps in the four-county region.  Initial findings were presented as an introduction to the IMPACT seminar.  The results were amazing!  The total economic impact of summer camps on these four North Carolina counties is 365 million dollars. This is the total of direct, indirect spending by summer camps, their camper families and employees over one year.

The full results of the study will soon be reported on the North Carolina Youth Camp Association’s Web site, but here are a few points from the executive summary:

  • 53,238 families were surveyed for the study
  • $33 million in annual tax revenues are created by camps
  • 49,665 families visited the region specifically for camp
  • $2,096 is the average expenditure per non-resident family while in the area

The effect of summer camps on local economies is far greater and more significant than most people would likely guess. With this study, we can finally quantify the crucial role camps play in western North Carolina.

As if that was not enough, the seminar continued with the important role summer camps are playing for our children.  Steve Baskin, a board member of the American Camp Association, presented some key findings that quantify the growth in resilience, self-esteem, confidence, and optimism that is measured in children who attend summer camp.  Of course, all of our High Rocks families know the importance or a great summer camp.  

A great day in the life of a camp director!!!  Can’t wait to see y’all this summer!

Don Gentle

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