GEMS are Girls Empowered through exploration of seven survival priorities: positive mental attitude, first aid, shelter, fire, signaling, water, and food. During a five-day, overnight experience, GEMS will learn the practical skills associated with each priority. Girls will also discover the parallels between each survival priority and their lives in the “front country.” GEMS will gain an appreciation for their natural and social surroundings through fun — and deceptively educational — activities such as night hikes, team-building games, and biodiversity studies. After give days, GEMS leave with confidence and compassion, knowing more about themselves and how they interpret and interact with their world. GEMS: Girls Empowered at Mountain Shepherd! A fun week finding courage, developing confidence with compassion! Sign up your daughter today!

Price: $595

What else should I know?

Who chooses this adventure?

Outdoor experience levels do not matter. Campers with no experience, weekend day-hikers, and seasoned wilderness warriors are all welcome to partake in the Girls Empowered experience. No matter what experience you arrive with, we hope each girl leaves feeling empowered by the benefits of outdoor learning.

This program is designed for girls entering grades 6 and up. Each session is open to mixed age groups for a unique peer-to-peer experience. For example, GEMS: Shining Bright sessions are ideal for girls entering grades 6-8, while GEMS: Digging Deeper and GEMS: Rock On sessions may each have a combined group of girls entering grades 7 and up.

What’s Included?

Gear

The only required items are comfortable, weather and activity-appropriate clothing, a pair of walking/hiking shoes or hiking boots, and river-appropriate footwear. Closed-toe shoes are required; no flip flops, sandals, or other open-toe shoes. To avoid blisters and other injuries, we don’t recommend campers bring brand-new shoes or boots to wear during camp. Our packing list specifies required items and offers some suggestions for optional items. We provide basic toiletries, towels and linens, and all outdoor equipment (please review the Equipment and Property Care policy regarding all supplied outdoor equipment).

Meals

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are provided daily. Campers enjoy delicious, balanced home-cooked meals, and we can accommodate for allergies and dietary restrictions as needed. We prefer that campers do not keep their own food in bunkrooms.

Yes, campers will learn which bugs are edible and how to identify them – but eating them is optional!

Overnight accommodations

All GEMS campers are housed in Mountain Shepherd’s cozy bunk rooms with private bathrooms attached for a portion of the week. For GEMS campers going on adventures off-site, they will sleep in tents or hammocks.

Travel Arrangements

Each session begins on Sunday afternoon between 5:00 and 6:00 pm and wraps up on a Friday afternoon at 4:00pm.  Airport pick-up and drop-off from Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA) is also available with prior notice.

For directions to Mountain Shepherd, please visit our Contact page or check out the info sheet for this course.

GEMS: Shining Bright

June 11-June 16, 2023
July 16-21, 2023

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GEMS: Digging Deeper

June 18–23, 2023

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GEMS: Rock On

July 25-30, 2023

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GEMS: Crowning Jewel

July 30-August 4, 2023

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