Not Just Another Summer Camp
The Apple Ridge Farm Academic Summer Camp, founded in 1989, offers Roanoke’s inner-city youth ages 6-16 an opportunity to enjoy a mountain camp experience and gain life skills that will serve them in their home environments. Away from the heat and noise of inner-city streets, young people engage in activities designed to provide challenges, stimulate trust and cooperation, and build self-esteem.
Taking place over an 8 week period each summer, approximately 450 children annually are bused up the mountain via Roanoke City School buses to enjoy the cool green hills and take part in a classic summer camp fun like swimming, tennis, basketball and hiking. Through the simple joy of physical activity we utilize the lessons learned on the playing field to build self esteem, foster communication skills, and create a community of support for our children.
In addition to the four regular sessions, there are two special sessions for those who have attended one of our summer camp session:
- Swim Camp
- Tennis Camp
- Tennis Carnival and Fun Day
Our primary focus is strengthening the academic development of our campers. We use the great outdoors to develop interest in Reading, Math, Science, Nature Studies, Language Arts and Computer Science exploration. Summer camp also offers:
- Swimming Instruction
- Character Building
- Reading and Math Enrichment
- Science Explorations
- Team Building Activities
- Hiking On Our Mountain Trails
- Tennis Instruction
- College Prep & Career Focus (session 4)
- College Trips
- Oral Communication Skills
Please click on the links on the right for more information about each program.
|Session 1||June 6 – June 17||ages 6 – 8||9:00 – 3:00|
|Session 2||June 20 – July 1||ages 9 – 10||9:00 – 3:00|
|Session 3||July 5 – July 15||ages 11 – 13||9:00 – 3:00|
|Session 4||July 18 – July 29||ages 13 – 16||9:00 – 3:00|
|Event||Date||Times||Family Fun Day||Saturday, July 15, 2015||11:00am – 2:00pm|
Bus schedule will be announced soon.
Click here for camp schedule
Roanoke City School bus transportation provided.
Breakfast, lunch and snacks served daily!
Bring your child to a FREE HEALTH SCREENING between 5 and 7 pm in the Community Rooms at one of the following communities:
Parents: Bring Proof of Income, Insurance Cards, Social Security Cards and Student ID for Children:
|Jamestown Place||Tuesday, April 19|
|Blue Stone||Wednesday, April 20|
|St. Paul United Methodist Church
(502 Gilmer Avenue)
|Thursday, April 21|
|Hunt Manor||Tuesday, April 26|
|Ferncliff||Wednesday, April 27|
|Hurt Park||Thursday, April 28|
|The Villages at Lincoln||Tuesday, May 3|
|Community Action Center
1427 Melrose Ave NW
|Wednesday, May 4|
|Indian Rock Village||Thursday, May 5|
|Addison Middle School||Monday, May 9|
|Lansdowne Park||Tuesday, May 10|
|New Horizons Healthcare||Wednesday, May 11
Thursday, May 12
|Community Action Center
1427 Melrose Avenue, NW
|Wednesday, May 18|
All services free-of-charge. ~ No cost to any child.
Reading, Writing & Reality
Apple Ridge has a dedicated team of Virginia-certified educators to meet specific academic objectives linked to the Virginia Standards of Learning. Depending on grade level, these include:
- Reading and Math Enrichment
- Written and Oral Communication Skills
- Computer Literacy
- Environmental Education
- College Preparation and Career Focus
In the 3rd and 4th session of camp we provide instruction and opportunities to explore Career Focus and College Preparation for our older campers. We also look at:
- Setting Goals
- Resume Writing
- Job Searches
These teens are facing major life choices that will impact their entire future. We give them opportunities to:
- Experience career ideas through conversations withlocal professionals
- Take them to visit universities and colleges (see chart on the left for schools we have visited)
- Offer 3 to 4 of our teen-aged youngsters employment as Junior Counselors
- Ten to 15 younger children are also awarded the opportunity to assist as Junior Counselors-In-Training.
This work experience recycles our resources within the community as it increases our children’s self-esteem and enables them to earn money.
We hold an annual parent night to encourage family involvement in education. There is no fee to campers in our Summer Academic Camp.
Natural Science Studies
Apple Ridge uses an exploratory approach to developing an appreciation and understanding of the natural world and the systems within it to school children kindergarten through seventh grade. We choose interactive activities that utilize skills of observation, discovery and investigation.
Equally important, natural science activities are integrated with opportunities for team-building and cooperation. Using the natural environment as a lens for viewing interdependence, the curriculum seeks to create an awareness of human impact on the environment and the importance of individual responsibility in conservation efforts. Our camp kids love learning about where their food comes from by growing their own in our garden project.
Apple Ridge consists of 96 acres of woodland and aquatic ecosystems including a stream and pond where we collect and study:
- Over 40 species of aquatic organisms
- Forest Ecology
- Aquatic Ecology
- Audacious Adaptations
- Habitats and Communities
- Incredible Insects
- Power Plants and Conservation of Natural Resources.
Children are introduced to tennis as “pee-wee” age campers. The program design helps us to recruit new players to the sport and to retain players year after year.
The USTA sponsored tennis program at Apple Ridge Farm has many facets:
- Daily Tennis Lessons
- Tennis Week intensive camp session
- Tennis Carnival/Rally
- Tennis Program with Roanoke City Public Schools
The annual Tennis Camp and Tennis Carnival supports our desire to increase the number of frequent players. Apple Ridge supports the USTA resolve and commitment to include underrepresented groups in tennis.
YMCA collaborates with Apple Ridge Farm on
the camp’s Aquatic Program
The Kirk Family YMCA and its Aquatic Program continues to provide collaborative support and professional safety training sessions to our certified swimming instructors and life guards
William S. Hubard Swimming Pool
Many inner-city children are not exposed to summer swimming and water safety and retain a fear or belief that they are not able to learn to swim. This lack of ability is one that has a greater risk of accidental drowning, and may further isolate them from others. Apple Ridge Farm seeks to assist youth in overcoming this fear thus removing another social barrier in their lives.
Our Jr. Olympic size pool is available to all our Apple Ridge campers and visitors when lifeguards are on duty. The pool is located off the lower level of the James A. Meador Natural Science Center.
Fun facts about our pool:
- It can be rented for parties or picnics.
- It features a pool side water element with flowing water tumbling over rocks allowing wheel chair bound or reluctant swimmers to play in the water while their friends swim. It is part of our goal to meet the abilities and needs of all our children.
- It is named in memory of Apple Ridge’s first Board Chairman, Bill Hubard, who was a timeless supporter of charitable and civic endeavors in the Roanoke Valley as well as the Commonwealth.
- Although the pool provides fun activities for our campers, it was added to Apple Ridge primarily to offer swimming and water safety instruction to our campers.
Character building opportunities abound for campers through our Outdoor Adventure Program.
The rural mountainous location of Apple Ridge Farm provides the ideal setting for our Outdoor Adventure Program. Supported by professional leaders and certified instructors, our campers develop team building skills as they are challenged in activities that require cooperation and communication to achieve specific goals.
Team Challenge Course
Featuring 18 stations with names like “Wild Woozy” and “The Mohawk Walk” the course demonstrates with hands-on activities the necessity of teamwork in all areas of life, how to develop those skills and how to apply them in real life situations.
High Ropes Challenge Course
This course, located high off the ground in mature stands of native trees, challenges the individual and thus the team to rely on each other to overcome obstacles and complete a task. Campers gain confidence in their own skills which enables them to develop appropriate risk taking skills. More Info>
Carilion Climbing Tower and Observation Deck
Thanks to Carilion Community Health Partnership and many other supporters we built the premier climbing tower in our region of Southwest Virginia, drawing the attention of many groups and climbing enthusiasts seeking this type of challenging activity. More Info>
Bandy Athletic Field
The Bandy Athletic Field, built by a generous in-kind donation from Joe Bandy and Sons Contracting serves as a focal point for team sporting events like soft ball, soccer & football.
Created with over 5,000 hours of local businesses and individuals labor, our Wilderness Trail System offers approximately 5 miles of hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty and includes a handicapped access trail constructed to meet the National Forest Service Universal Access to Outdoor Recreation Design Guidelines.
GE Dark Sky Observatory
Thanks to a partnership between the GE Volunteer Foundation and Apple Ridge, our campers are able to take advantage of star gazing through the telescopes of the GE Dark Sky Observatory. Created and designed by Michael Good, the astronomical observatory sits just below the summit of Mt. Lews (2700’ elevation) giving a night sky view with minimal ambient light intrusion.
Volunteers from the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society and GE Volunteer Foundation constructed the observatory to be made available to campers as well as a community educational outreach facility available to civic groups.
- First light for the observatory occurred in May, 2007.
- It contains two Schmidt-Cassegrain observatory caliber telescopes with motorized clock drive computer controls. The larger 12” telescope allows automatic slewing and finding of thousands of objects in the pristine dark skies of Apple Ridge.
- GE has designed this equipment to work with a solar collector and battery, hence environmentally friendly.
- Superb lunar, planetary, and deep sky objects come into the view of our students.
- On overcast nights our students attend classroom presentations in the Meador Natural Science Building
Gardening at Apple Ridge
An old favorite that has been “perennially” popular among our campers – a gardening program in which each camper is given his or her own garden plot. Everyone gets to transplant seedlings as well as plant seeds. Every day campers spend time watering, weeding, and noting the changes in their garden plot. It is very exciting around camp when seeds germinate and begin poking their first leaves up out of the soil.
Activities and games are conducted which help campers learn important science concepts through their gardening experience. Campers learn about the many insects that both help and hurt a garden, about the life cycles and needs of both plants and insects, and how these needs are met in the garden.
Through these lessons campers begin to use terms such as: interdependence, beneficial relationships, soil conservation, predator, prey, herbivores, and food chain. While the deer sometimes beat us to some of the produce, campers most of the time can enjoy nibbling cherry tomatoes or lettuce and making lemon balm tea for our end-of-camp cookout. Each camper also plants seeds in their own flower pot to take home and care for.
Assessment, Attention and Adventure
Apple Ridge Farm extends its programs throughout the school year with The Reading Adventure Program (RAP), providing opportunities after school for selected elementary schools to improve their students reading performance. Tutored individually, students are coached in oral reading, word knowledge, alphabetic and phonetic awareness. The overall goals of RAP include advancing the reading skills of the children involved as well helping the parents assist the children at home with reading.
Students attend tutoring sessions twice a week for two hours. They meet with their reading teacher for one-on-one tutoring and receive homework assistance from the assistant teacher. Students work individually and in groups, and they are expected to demonstrate respect for their teachers, parents, selves and peers.
In order to be enrolled in the program, parents and students must:
- Complete an application
- Provide a teacher referral
- Sign contracts that detail expectations
- Parents are asked to commit to supporting the program through two hours of volunteer work each month. Volunteer opportunities center around developing family literacy and supporting students in their education. For example, a parent might attend PTA meetings, create materials for the Reading Adventure Program, or take a class to further his or her education in order to satisfy volunteer requirements.
Improving Scores and Self-Esteem
The results, both anecdotal and statistical, speak for themselves. Many parents report that their children, after taking part in Reading Adventure, are more interested in picking up a book to read and enjoy going to school more. One mother even attributes her child’s making honor roll for the first time to Reading Adventure. In every case, children regularly participating in the Reading Adventure Program during its pilot year had marked increases in post-program test scores.
Perhaps more important than these particular scores themselves, however, is the opportunity that exists for Apple Ridge to offer individualized instruction to these children over a number of years. Certainly, with that kind of help, their scores – and their self esteem – will continue to rise.
Connecting With Children And Families
Aspire Connect 2016 students participate in an after school program where reading enrichment is the core focus. In addition to working with the students, we work with the student’s families in monthly workshops, preparing them to support their children’s academic growth.
Aspire Connect 2016 Objectives:
- Advance the educational achievement of youth through learning activities and mentoring relationships that promote success in school
- Promote the social development of youth through activities that increase self-esteem, goal setting, personal accountability for their behavior and their school and family relationships
- Support families in their initiatives to help their children succeed in school
- Partner with community organizations and groups to link youth and families to needed resources.
Environmental Education Center
The Environmental Education Center at Apple Ridge Farm offers exciting hands-on nature and life science programs for kids of all ages. Each program includes discovery of live animals seen in their real habitats and interactive games that make the science of the natural world easy to understand and fun to learn about. We offer a variety of programs that cover a wide range of science and environmental topics. Using the natural environment as a lens for viewing interdependence, our programs seek to create an awareness of human impact on the environment and the importance of individual responsibility in conservation efforts. Click on the Field Study Menu button on the right to see more about our programs.
Our programs are visited by:
- Public and Private Schools
- Scout Troops
- Nature Clubs
- Environmental Clubs
- Birthday Parties
For Schools – Standards of (Really Fun) Learning
All of the Environmental Education Center’s school programs focus on developing a direct appreciation and understanding of our natural world while teaching and reinforcing Virginia’s Standards of Learning “SOLs.” Seeing SOL concepts and vocabulary come to life right before their eyes makes a lasting impression on students and gives and experience that is useful to draw upon back in the classroom. We work closely with each school to provide an experience which supports the lessons being taught in the classroom. To see more about the Science SOLs our programs cover click the SOLs button on the right.
Indoor And Outdoor Opportunities Abound
At Apple Ridge Farm
At Apple Ridge we transform learning into exploration via the exhibits, wet labs and classes in our Environmental Center and the ponds and ecosystems throughout our 96 acres of woodland and aquatic ecosystems.
On site is a beautiful stream and pond where students can collect and study over forty species of aquatic organisms.
James A. Meador Natural Science Center
Expanding the curriculum possibilities for rainy days and winter season, sessions here consist of a combination of indoor and outdoor activities. One of the teaching tools is a 24 ft. mural by Joan H. Henley that depicts the flora and fauna of our region.
Environmental Center Field Study Activities
We offer teachers a selection of study areas to structure their day at Apple Ridge. Each study area is taught through games and hands-on activities. These options could be used as a day-long theme or combined to create a series of classes. All of the menu options can be adapted to any grade level.
Hiking Trail System
We have seven trails which offer almost five miles of hiking through a wide variety of regional ecological communities, including a 300 yard universal access trail.
Putting the Field in Field Trip
In addition to serving Apple Ridge campers, The Environmental Education Center offers Science and Nature field trips to over 40 paying schools throughout the SW Virginia region. Field studies investigate the ecology of our biological communities and the wildlife habitats found at Apple Ridge Farm. Since its inception in November of 1995, over 30,000 students from 51 schools have attended the center located on the Copper Hill camp location. See below for our field study activities.
Aquatic Ecology (K-12)
Through this general overview we will collect a wide diversity of aquatic animals – like macroscopic invertebrates, salamanders, tadpoles, and fish – from our pond and/or stream. We will study life cycles, adaptations, camouflage, habitat, movement, growth, food webs and more.
Forest Ecology (K-12)
In this general overview students will discover first hand about the habitats and communities of the forest. We cover a wide variety of concepts appropriate for the grade level including: producers, consumers, decomposers, predator-prey relationships, food webs, life cycles, camouflage, and interdependency.
Audacious Adaptations (3-12)
This is an in-depth exploration of the behavioral and physical adaptations of plants and animals in both the woods and the water. We’ll play games to show the importance of adaptaions for survival and look at live animals as well as bones to see adaptations at work.
Skull Studies (3-12) (Field Trip or In-School)
Here we examine our extensive skull collection of native Appalachian animals. We learn how to decipher from the bones what each animal ate and if it was a prey or predator. By looking at the physical adaptations of skulls and other parts of the body we can discover many things about where and how an animal lived.
Conservation of Natural Resources (K-12)
(Field Trip or In-School)
Let’s explore the influence of human activity on ecosystems. We will learn the differences in renewable and nonrenewable resources and about the management of these resources. Through interactive activities we’ll explore how to conserve and protect our precious natural resources.
Wondrous Watersheds (3-12)
Life would not exist without water. Let’s study the water cycle and how it connects all life on this planet. We’ll look at our local watershed, what threatens it and how we can protect it. We will also discover what critters live in our local aquatic habitats and how water pollution affects them.
Power Plants! (4-8)
Study the only organisms on Earth that can make their own food! Learn about the characteristics, adaptations, life cycles, and importance of plants in the wild and in our own lives.