Girls can begin their Girls Empowered by Mountain Shepherd (GEMS) journey during this five-day overnight experience hosted at Mountain Shepherd Survival School. This introductory session is designed for girls going into grades 6-8. During Shining Bright, girls discover the seven survival priorities: positive mental attitude, first aid, shelter, firecraft, signaling, water, and food. This experience introduces girls to the parallels between each survival priority and their lives in the “front country.” Girls are also encouraged to explore their own personalities and communication styles, through which they gain an appreciation for teamwork and positive social interactions with their peers. GEMS 1 enables girls to find courage, build confidence, and show compassion for others through exciting and educational activities, such as night hikes, team-building games, and the practice of survival skills. Girls will be Shining Bright and ready for more empowerment when they leave!

Girls Empowered who are ready for more adventures can embark on the next stage of their GEMS journey during GEMS 2: Digging Deeper! GEMS 1 & 2 can be completed during the same summer, and back-to-back when concurrent sessions are offered. Find our schedule here.

June 22-26, 2020

July 13-17, 2020

Course Price: $595

What else should I know?

What is the age requirement of this camp? This is a course for rising 6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls.  Camp size is limited to 12 to maximize the learning and fun while keeping a low counselor to camper ratio.

What outdoor experience does my daughter need to attend this camp? Outdoor experience levels do not matter. Your daughter will benefit from time outside in nature leave an empowered leader prepared to help yourself and others while on any adventure whether it’s outside, in the classroom or at a social event.

Will my daughter get to eat bugs? She will learn which bugs are edible and how to find them.  Eating them is optional!  All food is included.  Meals are prepared in our commercial kitchen. Please let us know if you daughter has allergies or special diet requirements.

What time does the camp start and end? Drop off time is 7:00 am to 9:00 am  Monday morning.  Pick up time on Friday is 4:00 – 6:00pm.   Arrangements can be made for a Sunday drop off and Friday evening or Saturday morning pick ups. Airport pick-up and drop off can also be arranged.

Will my daughter sleep under the stars? This is her adventure!  The camp is designed for challenge-by-choice.  Camping options are available as is sleeping in the lodge.  Camp counselors are available for both options every night.  The choice is hers.

What should she bring? Click on the Gear List/Directions button on this page for the required and optional items needed for a week at GEMS camp. No special gear is required beyond personal items.

Is the camp taught outside? Yes!  The benefits of learning in nature are astounding.  More information on that is included in the information.  Training camps are setup outside held under parachute canopies. We also have a large indoor space to use for inclement weather.  Mountain Shepherd’s gorgeous 100-acre property bordering the Jefferson National Forest. Please check out more on our Facility tab.

Does my daughter need to bring a friend?  If she comes alone she is guaranteed to leave with new friends!  Of course, her friends are always welcome – please share with her friend’s parents.