50 Reasons to Choose Camp Stevens

  1. Bragging rights: Every day at Camp Stevens, we’re willing to bet you’ll try something you’ve never done before. Whether it’s climbing to the top of our 4-level treehouse, or waking up to see the sunrise, we aim to give you experiences you can be proud of.
  2. New friends are waiting: Whether in your Adventure Group, or around the lunch table, every camper makes a new friend during their time at Camp Stevens.
  3. The great outdoors are…well, great! How much time do you normally spend outdoors? We think you’re lucky if it’s more than a few hours a week. But at Camp Stevens, almost every hour of every day will be spent outdoors, and we’ll help you learn that the outdoors are safe, comfortable, welcoming, and exciting.
  4. One word: Archery. Our 6-target archery range is open for both hours of freetime each and every day, and it’s an excellent place to try something new, and get better throughout the week.
  5. Some more words: Pigs, chickens, tie-dye, treehouse, s’mores… We can’t rave about our activities enough. With 256 acres, including three acres of farm/gardens, you’ll see and do something new every day. There will be “classic” camp activities, like s’mores around the campfire, some uniquely Camp Stevens ones, like the pigs you’ll have a chance to feed, and modern ones, like making smoothies on a bike blender (You just have to trust us on this one.).
  6. Be a part of something.: Your cabin will be matched with a second cabin to form an Adventure Group. It’s Adventure Groups that make the Camp Stevens experience unlike any other summer camp. You’ll hike, play, build, cook, and laugh with your Adventure Group, as you become a unit, a team, a family that can never be recreated.
  7. Eat good food: Try something new, or rely on an old standby. Our kitchen staff makes food that’s kid-friendly, and that will give you the energy you need for full days of camp activities. Favorites include spaghetti, grilled cheese, and chicken stir fry. Do you have a special dietary need? That’s no problem: Our kitchen is well-equipped for providing options for allergen-free, gluten-free and vegetarian diets.
  8. The lawn: This space in the middle of main camp offers room for running around, shade-providing trees for lounging beneath, and picnic tables and other spots for sitting and chatting with friends.
  9. Open-air cabins: We know that full-out camping isn’t for everyone. Our open-air cabins mean you can see the night sky and breathe fresh air, from the comfort of a bed, with modern bathrooms just a stone’s throw away.
  10. Caring counselors: Every cabin has a devoted counselor, who will spend every moment of the week with you – with the exception of their two hours of time off each day. This counselor will be your guide, and confidante, helping keep you safe and entertained all week long.
  11. Super staff: In addition to your cabin counselor, and the counselor of the other cabin in your Adventure Group, a Resident Staff member will spend the week with you. They’re First Aid/CPR certified, and have lots of experience working with kids and in the outdoors, and they will work hard to craft a special, fun, and meaningful week or you.
  12. Overnights: At least once during the week, and probably twice, you’ll have a chance to spend a real night under the stars with your Adventure Group. You’ll all pack up after snacktime, and head to one of seven overnight spots around camp, where you’ll prepare dinner, play games, make dessert, and sleep out under the stars. This is always one of the most special times of the whole week!
  13. Post-meal hang out time: A lot of camps focus on just entertaining campers, shuttling them from one activity to the next. We put more intentionality into our program, focusing on small group activities, and on giving every camper time to do their own thing. There’s at least 30 minutes after each meal for hanging out around the main camp area: Playing a game on the lawn, chatting with your new friends, or getting your sunscreen and water bottle ready to go for the adventures ahead.
  14. Freetime: Every afternoon, there are two hours of time where you can choose your own activity. Maybe you’ll want to spend some time in the cabin, writing a letter home, reading a book or playing cards. Maybe you’ll head for the pool or archery range, or maybe you’ll do one of the many creative activities offered daily – you’d look good in a homemade t-shirt headband!
  15. Song requests: The songs we sing at the nightly Community Gathering might not be what you expect. Our songbook has everything from Amazing Grace to Don’t Stop Believing (Yes, the Journey song.), and you can help choose what we sing each night! The Song Request “Box” will be in the Dining Hall every day, for you to put your requests in.
  16. Repeat-after-me songs: This is one of the things we do that’s classically campy. Our staff loves leading these, and campers love them because they’re an excuse to get loud and silly, and then get louder and sillier. When you hear, “This is a repeat after me song,” you know you’re in for a treat!
  17. Go tech-free: It’s easy to forget how fun it can be to be face-to-face with friends. Going without your phone, tablet or gaming device might sound like a challenge right now, but we can pretty much guarantee that you won’t miss it!
  18. Chaplains: Each week, there are 1-3 resident chaplains on-site. They will go on adventures with your group, sit at your table during meals, and lead an evening reflection each night. Above all, they’re another adult available to you – they’re great to joke around with, and always there if you need to talk about something more serious too.
  19. Nurse: Medical care is provided each week by a resident, registered nurse. This means that there’s care available 24/7, for distributing meds, taking temperatures, and checking in on campers.
  20. Joe: Our resident summer camp director, Joe, has been at Camp Stevens for 5 years. Your cabin counselor, staff person, the chaplain and nurse are all here to make your experience fun and safe, and if something’s not quite right, Joe will work to fix it.
  21. The Farmer: There aren’t many summer camps out there with a resident farmer. Our Farmer is in charge of the three acres of organic gardens and farm that we have here at Camp Stevens, and is busy during the summer, watering, weeding, planting, and planning, so that we all get to enjoy garden-grown cucumbers, melons, squash, raspberries, and much more.
  22. The Rest of our Staff: Our resident staff and year round staff are dedicated to making this summer the best summer ever. With interesting and diverse backgrounds, skills, and interests, you’re sure to meet people you can look up to and who will quickly become like family.
  23. Mulberry tree: Have you ever had a mulberry? Now’s your chance! The mulberry tree is right outside the Dining Hall, and over the course of the summer, the bright red berries darken to a perfectly ripe and sweet purple, meaning they are ready to be plucked right off the tree and eaten.
  24. Pool: It can get hot up in Julian during the summer, Plus, maybe your group will get a chance to have a pool activity during your Adventure Time
  25. Slackline: Try your hand (well, feet) at tight-rope walking, from the safety of a rope just two feet off the ground. The slackline is set-up on the lawn, and it’s a fun challenge, especially for skaters, snowboarders, gymnasts, or anyone with a knack (or hankering) for balancing.
  26. One-of-a-kind experiences: Camp Stevens is unlike any other camp out there, and no week here is ever the same. That means that, with your counselors and Adventure Group, as you explore, play, craft, laugh, and get dirty, you’re in for an experience that will only ever happen once.
  27. Climbing wall: Our 40-foot Rock Climbing Wall is open during free time, and offers 4 different routes, for all levels of experience.
  28. Community Gathering: You spend most of the day with your cabin or group-mates, and each evening, the whole camp gathers together to close out the day. We sing, we listen to stories, we share about our days, and we end with a closing prayer. It’s one of the ways that Camp Stevens works to build meaningful community – in addition to providing all these opportunities for fun!
  29. Toast!: The toast at Camp Stevens isn’t just “toast.” It’s homemade bread, soft and delicious, fed through a toasting contraption much different than what you have at home, that you get to slather with butter or jam. It’s available at every meal, and to say that it’s popular is something of an understatement.
  30. Eucharist: Camp Stevens is owned by the Episcopal Church. That means that all are welcome to Camp Stevens, and we are committed to inclusivity. It also means that one of the ways we celebrate and say thank you for a week’s worth of summer camp memories is with a church service called Eucharist. Each group leads part of the service, we sing songs, and we say thank you to one another and to God for our new friends and experiences. You are not required to participate in any song or prayer; you are only required to be respectful of those who are.
  31. Celebration: The end of the week is marked with a Celebration that kicks off with Eucharist (see above), and then moves into a classic party, with music, dancing, and snacks, before one final Community Gathering. It’s a way to be together as a community, celebrating an amazing week.
  32. Pizza oven: What’s better than homemade, freshly baked pizza? Not much!
  33. Upper Meadow: One of the most scenic places on property, from Upper Meadow, you can watch the sunset over the ocean, or gaze out over the Anza-Borrego desert.
  34. Volcan Mountain: Visible from throughout the property, Volcan Mountain is a popular destination for older groups searching for the sunrise. We have a special relationship with the Volcan Mountain Preserve, and are given access to the peak, which provides truly spectacular views.
  35. Habitat: Everyone’s favorite game, think of Habitat as a (ahem) more fun version of Hide & Seek. I’d tell you more, but we’d hate to ruin the surprise.
  36. Facepainting: It’s not unusual to see an Adventure Group running around camp, decorated with facepaint. Perhaps they used it to reflect on a game they played, or just wanted to get silly, but it’s always a fun way to bond with your group, and then broadcast it to the world.
  37. Orange cakes: My stomach’s rumbling just thinking of these treats! One of the desserts you might make over a campfire, an orange cake is a hollowed out orange, filled with cake batter, and baked into your own personal cake. Other campfire desserts include chimichangas (tortillas filled with melted chocolate), fondue (fruit and bread dipped in, wait for it, melted chocolate), banana boats (bananas decorated with your choice of toppings), or, of course, s’mores. Yum!
  38. Nitro-crossing: One of the ways we help your group get to know one another early in the week is through challenging and fun teambuilding activities. There are literally dozens that you might get a chance to do. One of our favorites is Nitro Crossing, where the group must use only a rope and one another to cross a wide space. Get swinging!
  39. Grace: Each meal is hosted by an Adventure Group, who are responsible for setting the tables, bringing out the hot food, and offering grace before the meal. There are songs, there are prayers, there are often costumes – Grace is a time to get creative, and share a little bit of your group with the rest of the camp community, and it’s another way that we bring some meaning into a week full of fun.
  40. Compost: Remember how we talked about adding meaning to fun experiences? At Camp Stevens, we encourage our campers and staff to think about how they engage with the earth. This might mean gathering eggs directly from the chicken coop, or using a refillable water bottle, and it will definitely mean learning some about compost. Any food left on your plate after each meal will go into a compost bucket, and those compost buckets eventually make it to Compost Castle, where it breaks down and eventually becomes soil.
  41. Glory Holes: There are 256-acres at Camp Stevens, and you’ll get a chance to see a new area each day. Glory Holes, like lichen-covered rocks, or an old gold mine, are ripe for the exploring!
  42. The Farm: Just a mile or so away from Camp Stevens is a small farm where we raise chickens and grow crops. There are field to explore, a station for making the perfect bite of salsa, plus a rope swing and treehouse. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon!
  43. Pinecones the size of your head.
  44. Memories: We welcome you to bring your camera to Camp Stevens, but we also hope you’ll use the camera in your head to take account of every new game your play, each new friend you make, and the beautiful things you see. The memories you make at summer camp can stick with you for your whole life.
  45. Real life experiences: With the exception of the end-of-week slideshow, your week at Camp Stevens will be blissfully screen-free. Without TV characters to watch, virtual characters to inhabit, or an online profile to maintain, you have the chance to just be and have fun as yourself.
  46. Friendship bracelets: Camp has a way of bringing out the creativity in even the un-craftiest of people. Our staff can teach you how to tie-dye, braid a t-shirt headband, or make a friendship bracelet.
  47. Burger buffet night: All of the food at camp is great (even better when you help make it yourself during an overnight), but campers have told us over and over again that burger night is The Best.
  48. Prisoner: Alongside the lawn is a volleyball court and basketball court, open after meals and during freetime for all sorts of games. Prisoner is one of our favorites. It’s like volleyball, except, well, not. There’s a ball, a net, and a whole lot of shouting. Did someone say “Jail break!”?
  49. Your meeting spot: This is where all the magic starts. When the bell rings, it’s time to meet your Adventure Group, counselors and staff people in your meeting spot. It’s just your group’s for the week, and it’s where you’ll get to know one another and make plans – plus it’s where you’ll have snack and get mail from home!
  50. Sidewalk chalk: We’re going to work hard to leave a mark on you, with a week of meaningful fun. And with activities like sidewalk chalk, you’ll have a chance to leave your mark on Camp Stevens too!

Fun, meaningful, and safe: Even now that we’re 50 reasons in, it feels impossible to summarize the magic of a week at Camp Stevens with just words. Check out this video to see it in action, and then register to get in on the fun yourself! Get a sneak peek at summer camp by following @CampStevens on Instagram.