Caves & Mining

Ages 14 - 17
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Caves & Mining

Attention rockhounds! Did you know that the first ever gold rush in the United States happened here in North Carolina?  This program is a great way to explore new depths and geology this summer.  Exploration of several caves across the Southeast will focus on proper technique, environmental education, and the geology and biology of caves.  The second part of the trip will have the campers exploring rock and gem mines to learn, practice, and pan for gemstones.  Visits may include both commercial mines and panning in nearby mountain streams.  No prior caving and mining experience is necessary; however, participants are encouraged to do some physical fitness preparation prior to camp.

Personal Growth

This teen group will travel many miles together as they explore the rocks and caves of Southern Appalachia.  They will learn how to get along in small spaces (vans and caves) and high places, where communication is key.  They will undoubtedly share a bit of anxiety as they stretch their limits trying new things, and will be guided by staff in expressing their own emotions and encouragement for each other.  Daily goal-setting and group problem-solving allow campers to participate in community-building and to develop a greater sense of personal responsibility.


Campers will visit several of popular caves in the southern Appalachians, including Tennessee and Kentucky.  This part of the adventure culminates in spending a fascinating overnight in a cave.  The group will also learn the history and geography of and explore regional gold- and gem-mining sites.  They will have the opportunity to search for their own treasure just like the prospectors of yore.  The group will travel by bus, and do a good bit of hiking and camping out along the way.