Summer Camp & Guided Trips with APEX

With summer just around the corner, Appalachian Expeditions is gearing up for an exciting season of experiences in the outdoors for people of all ages. APEX opened their doors, or should we say packed their first backpacks, in 2018. As they enter their 7th operating season, leading backpacking and boating trips for people of all ages, the staff at APEX are thrilled about the myriad of ways in which this non-profit, outdoor education program has grown over the years, reaching more people each summer. In 2024, APEX will offer day camps for 5-11 year olds, overnight trips for 10-17 year olds, as well as day trips and overnight trips for adults. As people spend less time outdoors, APEX finds their mission to be more important than ever and is looking forward to another summer of inspiring awareness and appreciation of the region through adventure, community, and sustainable living skills.

Through their day camps alone, APEX will reach as many as 150 grade school aged kids, striving to make lifelong impressions of this special place in West Virginia. Benefits to camp are two fold; participants experience the benefits of spending time outdoors and leave APEX camp inspired to care more for their communities and the environment. 

The benefits of spending time in nature are well researched. While the average American child spends 5-8 hours a day in front of a screen, they only spend 4-7 minutes on average per day in unstructured outdoor play. During days spent outside at camp kids will experience more joy, and have opportunities to interact with a diverse group of people and make new friends. They will learn new skills they can apply at home or in school, and they will get a ton of exercise which helps them focus and feel less stress. APEX hopes that a few days at camp, playing in the woods, will be a catalyst for all of these benefits. 

More Than Just the Outdoors

APEX programs prioritize safety, followed by fun, and then learning. Small groups and intentional community building emphasize a learning environment where each kid can feel supported physically and emotionally, so participants are set up to thrive. When people feel safe and supported it’s easier for them to have fun with their peers and challenge themselves. All of this leads to more opportunities for personal growth and new insights about the people and world around them. As face to face interactions become less frequent for young people, outdoor programs are an excellent way to engage with new people. Ideally, these shared experiences of adventure and laughter will create friendships that carry on beyond APEX, but, without a doubt, the communication and leadership skills taught will carry over into participant’s lives at home and school. Further community engagement happens through partnerships with local environmental organizations. Participants will interact with Friends of Blackwater exploring wildlife in Blackwater Falls State Park and Friends of Cheat Snorkel Club learning about the ecology and creatures below the surface of the Cheat River. Participants expand their environmental understanding of the area through these activities and leave APEX with a growing awareness and appreciation of this unique corner of WV. 

To learn more about Appalachian Expeditions check out their 2024 programs for kids and adults. APEX raises funds throughout the year to be able to offer programs to people from local communities as well as surrounding rural and urban areas. For more information on needs based scholarships visit their scholarship application