Become A Man Of Integrity And Honor
Activities: Hiking, creek hikes, drumming, archery cooperative, and competitive games and ropes course. The young men will learn wilderness survival and bushcraft skills such as fire-making, tracking, plant and tree identification, knots, and primitive shelter building. Campers will experience team building and leadership training through interactive, cooperative activities and trust development exercises. Environmental conservation and nature awareness are essential and will help young men to connect to themselves and others
Cost - $600 Per Camper
Location - Tri-Mountain Retreat | Find Out More
Young Men's Camp Staff
Jay "Hawkeye" Zipperman - Director
My home is in the mountains of North Georgia, and I've been married for over 30 years. I have a love for the outdoors and have a lifelong passion for mentoring teens to live their full potential. These values are the foundation for Mountain Wisdom. I have extensive experience working with teens from wildlife camps to the Boys and Girls Club of America. My goal is to inspire all people to feel a sense of purpose and know that they make a difference in the world.
I am a degreed Chemist from West Georgia University, and I have been working in the chemical field for over 20 years. I have been happily married for 11 years, and my wife and I believe in eating healthy, sustaining healthy practices and teaching others to do the same. I love being outdoors. I also believe in giving back to our youth. Volunteering for Mountain Wisdom provides me the opportunity to connect with nature, foster self-esteem and most importantly mentor our youth to have a more wholesome, deeper connection to what matters.
I am a Project Facilitator for an Atlanta residential and commercial painting company, as well as an artist. I grew up the youngest of 3 boys in the suburbs of Georgia. I've always enjoyed the solitude of the woods and camping. I do a lot of volunteer work in my spare time. I have been a Staff member of this camp since its inception in 2003, and appreciate the positive impact it makes on the young men and the impact it makes on the staff who participate as well.
I have been affiliated with the YMUA Camp for a number of years but for the last 4 years has been on staff as a camp counselor. I love getting to know the young men and hearing the stories of their various backgrounds their hopes and dreams for the future. I am amazed by their intelligence, perspectives and energy. Spending time with these young men in the wilderness is a great experience that I hope to continue. I live in Midtown Atlanta with my wife and my daughter also lives in Atlanta. I retired from Federal Civil Service as a Supervisory Investigator for the Employee Benefits Security Administration where we enforced the law to keep employee's retirement funds safe and the employers properly following the law.
Camden Vancil is a Graduate Student of 25 years old at the University of West Georgia. Here, he is in pursuit of a Masters degree in Psychology. Camden shares a deep interest in community building along with the development of healthy relationships. On his free time he enjoys contemplative practices and spending time outdoors. Camden has volunteered for Hospice and facilitates a weekly meditation group on campus at the University. He looks forward to the camp with great excitement and humility for the opportunity to share space in such a beautiful environment.
I am currently an Outdoor Educator and Naturalist at Elachee Nature Science Center. I am also the former Education, Homework Center, and Character Development Director with Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Georgia. I have always felt a deep connection with nature and a strong desire to be of service.
Mountain Wisdom has had a powerful and profound impact on me that emanates throughout my life. The level of knowledge, compassion, support, and fun I experience at the YMUA from both the staff and campers remains unmatched. Often when asked about my time at Mountain Wisdom Camp I will respond, "I always learn more than I teach, and I always leave camp feeling Full Up with gratitude."
I've worked as an environmental educator, counselor, and teacher for over ten years. I currently work as an outdoor educator for an all-outdoor preschool, as well as for a 5th-grade science and nature-based educational nonprofit. I'm also a practicing writer, performer, storyteller, poet, and permaculture-certified landscape caretaker. In my teaching and mentoring practice, I'm keen on modeling learning, understanding, curiosity, awareness, playfulness, respect, and fun. I carry a sense of the multi-layered, natural and mythical nature of the world, and love telling and hearing stories and making up spontaneous songs and poetry. I'm initiated with The Mankind Project of Western North Carolina, and in my life, I advocate for social, ecological, political, and personal awareness, understanding, and change. My belief is that all voices need to be heard at the table and that everyone's story, once heard, can lead to compassion and a better world both now and into the future. My hope is that we will all share a sense of our greater purpose with one another, and together weave a world of beauty and abundance that honors ourselves, this life, and all beings now and to come.
Wassim "Sim" Mentouri
Hello, my name is Sim Mentouri and I am currently a High School Career-Tech Teacher. I teach many important topics ranging from money management, ethics, marketing, and employability skills. I value working with students and creating an open learning environment where ideas can be exchanged, and I personally believe what you put into your learning is exactly what you get out of it.
When I’m out of the classroom, I like to be around friends, loved ones, and my 3 cats that are my fur-babies; their names are Winnie, Nadine, and Emmett. I also practice Krav Maga, a form of self-defense and physical training that is so much fun and a good workout too. At camp, I look forward to learning more about each camper and participating in the beautiful mysteries of nature.
As a Licensed Psychologist, I have heard nothing but positive responses from the young men whom I have referred to the Mountain Wisdom Camps. The parents report numerous benefits gleaned from their sons participation. They are more reflective and considerate of others, willing to help around the house, and have a greater sense of direction in life.
In my private practice, I serve very few young ladies who see themselves as strong independent young women. The Girls Camp provides a maturational jump where they come away from the experience with a leap in self-confidence and connectedness with others beyond physical appearances and popularity. They are more centered and calm from having found themselves, as evolving young women.
The research into nature-based therapy is substantial and uniformly positive, and these programs are inexpensive, time-limited, well-organized, and have an excellent, well-trained, staff. You will not find a better, more professional and caring camp, with so many benefits offered than the Mountain Wisdom Camps.
— Dr. David Busch, PhD
Young Men's Camp FAQ's
Who staffs your camp?
Our staff is volunteers who bring passion, gifts, and life experiences.
All staff are CPR/First-aid certified and must have a criminal background check.
All staff participates in our MWI staff mentor training.
What's the ratio of camper to staff?
What is the cost?
6 days, 5 nights $600
Do you have scholarships?
We offer partial scholarships to those who need financial assistance. Scholarships are awarded through an application process and are based on availability and on the family’s need. We ask for a minimum of $150 per camper.
Can I pay online?
Yes, through our secure Paypal link on our website.
What do they need to bring?
We have a What to bring and not bring list on the website or they can be mailed to you if necessary.
Do they have to bring a tent?
If they have a tent bring it, but it is not necessary.
Do you provide transportation to camp?
Not generally, but we will do our best to help if needed.
Do they have to be experienced in the woods?
Is this a religious camp?
Our camps are not religious, but they are spiritual. We do not promote any specific religious path but embrace teachings from many paths.
What if my child does not want to participate in an activity?
All our activities and participation are by choice, although we do encourage campers to participate so they have the best possible experience.
Can I talk to my child during the week?
There is no communication between parent and camper during the week, except in an emergency.
An emergency phone number is provided for you to call, and a staff member will deliver the message for you.
Does my child need money during the week?
No. We prefer that they have no money or any valuables.
Can they bring snacks?
No. Snacks in tent area may attract animals. All snacks and food will be provided.
How do you handle medications?
The camp staff holds and dispenses meds. All meds taken by the camper are charted.
How do you handle a medical or weather-related emergency?
Minor medical needs will be handled by our trained camp staff. For serious injuries, we call 911 or take them to the nearest hospital which we will know where it is before each camp. We keep up with the weather each day using our cell phones and handheld radios. We have an emergency plan we will follow in case of severe weather.
What is the graduation ceremony?
This is an important part of the camper's experience. All family and friends are invited. The young men and women are honored and welcomed back into their family and community as young adults.
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Please Help Support
Together we will put a sense of purpose, self-worth and respect back into the hearts and minds of our youth.
Donate today by click the link here
You may also send a check to:
Mountain Wisdom, Inc.
131 Wind Wing Way
Ellijay, GA 30536
Mountain Wisdom Inc is a 501 (C) 3 Non-Profit