Roll Tide

Representative moms are committed to the camp because of the positive experiences of their sons. The Representative Manual helps these moms talk effectively about camp with prospective families. Director Rob Hammond says, “I’d rather have one new representative than go to three camp fairs.”

This is the most efficient and effective way he has discovered in promoting his camp and signing up new campers.

Friends & Family

Although fun experiences and high adventure are at the forefront, Camp Laney has a well-defined mission to enhance relationships with each other and with God. “The main thing is that they make great friends,” emphasizes Chapman.

The emphasis on relationship building is also evident during staff training. “We do a lot of the same type of team building stuff we do with our campers,” says Chapman. “When they get here they are a little nervous just like the campers are, and we want them to feel at ease and let them know they will have a great summer.”

Staff educators who are extremely well-versed in various aspects of the camp experience put the staff through rigorous learning exercises. For the 30-40 summer staffers to get to know one another and begin feeling comfortable with each other is of utmost concern and it’s evident by the specialists who are hired.

Professors, authors, certified trainers and others teach everything from life guarding and archery, to teamwork and psychology. The amply-trained staff thrives on giving each boy personal attention, which is why the camper counselor ratio is 4-1.

One challenge has been to keep the summer staff motivated and fatigue-free. As the summer goes on, they must be reminded that every session is important and deserves the best experience possible. “There’s no big secret that I know of to keep them motivated. Hopefully you have some key counselors to keep the others fired up,” admits Chapman.

The ability to stay enthusiastic for the entire summer is a counselor attribute that comes few and far between for most camps, but using the Laney network has benefited in this area. Finding and keeping them is an asset because their excitement rubs off on the entire staff.

Another effective tool used by the camp has been the on-line resources provided by Bunk1. Parents have been put at ease by being able to login daily and read newsletters, updates, announcements and even a menu of what is being ingested by their offspring.

Last summer Chapman was busy posting over 8,000 pictures with the intent of photographing “every boy, every day,” he states. “Parents like to see their son smiling, and one dad even noticed that his boy wasn’t wearing his glasses.”

After a call from the concerned father, the staff discovered that the boy had broken his glasses and didn’t inform anyone. The problem was resolved immediately, and everyone was thankful for the cyberspace one-way window.

Rock On

Camp Laney is a traditional camp that programs four two-week summer sessions for boys ages 8 through 14 who come from several states throughout the Southeast United States.

“We do a little bit of everything; we don’t specialize in any one thing,” was Chapman’s answer to describing his type of camp. “We want them to get a taste of the overall camping experience and give them a chance to do a lot of things they don’t get to do back home.”

Although traditional boyhood pastimes are offered, the programming maximizes their rugged natural surroundings. A ropes course, horses, water sports, climbing wall and a bouldering complex are several of the activities offered at this mountain hideaway.

Bouldering is similar to a climbing wall, but it uses three 10-foot tall pods that are different sizes, shapes and have various handholds. It’s used to develop climbing skills prior to taking on the 32-foot climbing tower.

Moreover, when a boy completes the sixth grade, they are allowed to participate in offsite natural rock climbing trips.

In additional to the climbing excursions, the boys are taken on charted bus white-water rafting trips to nearby rivers. The age of the boy depends on the level of rafting and the severity of the rapids.

Each year director Rob Hammond brings in a new feature to get the kids excited. A 100-foot water slide was added a few years ago, and last year they added a new program within their ropes course. Each climbing and bouldering route was given a name and a point value. The campers were given a check-off card and challenged to complete each route, and earn points toward receiving one of three climbing patches.

Also, a one-week long starter camp within their regular schedule, called Junior Camp, was opened for second graders to prepare the younger boys for the future.

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