15101 Seneca Road
“Valley Mill campers can achieve anything they set their minds to”, says Evelyn McEwan, whose parents Bob and May founded the camp in 1956. Through a myriad of fun and challenging activities—kayaking, canoeing, gymnastics, horseback riding, archery and air rifle and more—“Valley Millers” spend their days communing with nature in the rugged outdoors, learning about self-sufficiency and resilience. Those qualities translate into self-confidence in all walks of life. Some campers have gone on to compete in kayaking and canoeing on National and Olympic Teams!
“We offer many challenges for young people to try, to experience and be successful,” says McEwan. “When you’re ready to try something, we’re ready to help you learn. It’s a casual atmosphere, but we’re always eager to have people try something they think they can’t do and watch them succeed and feel wonderful about themselves.”
The core values of the camp are the same as they were 61 years ago, says McEwan, who now runs Valley Mill with other family members.
“There’s a consistency about our camp that I find very important,” McEwan says. “The traditions my mother and father had, the values of why they started the camp—love and stewardship of the natural environment and a community that’s all for one and one for all—and what they wanted it to be, that’s what makes Valley Mill so special.”
With second and third generation campers, many young ones arrive for their first day ready to jump in on all the old songs they learned from their parents. And while campers pursue mostly individual goals, they never lose their sense of community.
“If one person reaches the top of the wall, we’ve all had success,” says McEwan.