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Mountain Camp




Pollock Pines, CA
All bookings are free!
$1396
/ per session
Camp Category: ACA Accredited, Adventure, Archery, Arts, Arts and Crafts, Circus, CIT Program, Culinary, Dance, Drama, Fashion Design, Film, Journalism, Music, Paintball, Performing Arts, Rock Climbling, Rock Music, Science, Theater, Water Sports, Multi-activity
Camp Prices 2020

About Mountain Camp

Mountain Camp is a traditional co-ed summer overnight camp for campers entering 2nd – 12th grades. One of the premier summer camps in California, we are located near Lake Tahoe on the beautiful shore of Ice House Lake in the Eldorado National Forest.

Mountain Camp's minimal technology, non-competitive program is designed to make sure each child succeeds. We work to create a fun and safe environment that encourages independence while nurturing lasting friendships. At a time when children are increasingly surrounded by computers, televisions, and video games our goal is to get campers outside, actively creating, playing and learning lifelong outdoor skills.
Camp overview
Mountain Camp is a traditional co-ed summer resident camp for campers entering 2nd-12th grades.

Our program focuses on promoting a positive self-image, encouraging friendships and community, and practicing a healthy lifestyle. Mountain Camp seeks to illuminate the special and unique character in every camper; we want campers to shine. Ultimately, our goal is to have these experiences, friendships and laughter stay with campers the rest of their lives.

Camp is outstanding at teaching the values of self-reliance and resourcefulness. It facilitates relationships with a focus on collaboration and communication, it is full of opportunities for creativity as well as problem-solving and critical thinking, and it invites exploration, play and adventure. These are most commonly referred to as 21st Century Skills and educational experts believe they are critical for future success. At Mountain Camp we believe that camp is critical to the education and development of children, and it is the best possible "classroom" for learning these skills.

Our well-trained counselors and leadership staff foster camper engagement, a sense of well-being, and social and emotional skill development. The experience at Mountain Camp is enhanced by a strong climate of care, a structure and schedule that supports camper's physical and emotional needs, and activities and experiences that are purposefully designed to provide campers with opportunities to practice these skills.

In 2015 Mountain Camp partnered with the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and Challenge Success to conduct a 3-year study to measure the impact of the camp experience on child development. Our goal is to identify and improve how we provide children the opportunities to practice and the life skills we know will help children be successful. We are committed to ensuring that the best practices are in place so all campers have the opportunity for social and emotional learning at camp.
Curiosity, enthusiasm, self-control, gratitude, perseverance, optimism and social intelligence are just some of the important character traits we help develop in our campers.

History & Philosophy
Legendary Stanford University Athletic Director Chuck Taylor founded Mountain Camp in 1966. For twenty years the camp operated in the Santa Cruz Mountains before relocating to its current site on Ice House Lake in the Eldorado National Forest in 1986.

Over the years, what was once a small, modest, extremely rustic program has grown into one of the finest private resident camps in the western United States serving more than 1800 campers each summer. Our 26 acre lakefront facility now contains the historic main lodge, 22 newly renovated kids cabins, a complete infirmary, 3 large shower houses, full-sized sand volleyball and basketball courts, sports field, challenge ropes course, private waterfront area, camp office, covered open air dining hall, camp store, campfire stage, archery range and much more.

Although it has seen many changes over the past 50 years, the one thing that has remained consistent at Mountain Camp is our outstanding staff. Their commitment to creating a community where creativity, friendship and positive character development are nurtured through recreational challenges and experiential learning is what continues make Mountain Camp so special for generations of campers and staff.

Philosophy
The program at Mountain Camp is developed and structured around the following three core areas: Building Community, Healthy Lifestyle, and Positive Self-Image.
We create a fun and safe environment that encourages independence while nurturing lasting friendships. Now more than ever, when children are increasingly surrounded by computers, televisions, video games, and smart phones, our goal is to get campers outside, actively creating, playing, making friends and learning lifelong outdoor skills.
Mountain Camp seeks to illuminate the special and unique character in every camper; we want campers to shine. Ultimately, our goal is to create experiences, friendships and laughter that stay with campers the rest of their lives.

Mountain Camp is committed to creating an inclusive environment that supports equal participation opportunities for campers and equal employment opportunities for staff members. We enforce a nondiscrimination policy for all persons, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, marital status, national origin, or disability.

At Mountain Camp we make every reasonable accommodation to allow campers and staff to participate in the community in the way they feel most comfortable, while respecting individual privacy.
Location
We are located near Lake Tahoe on the shore of beautiful Ice House Lake in the Eldorado National Forest. Mountain Camp's minimal technology, non-competitive program is designed to make sure each child succeeds. We work to create a fun and safe environment that encourages independence while nurturing lasting friendships. At a time when children are increasingly surrounded by computers, televisions, and video games our goal is to get campers outside, actively creating, playing and learning lifelong outdoor skills.
Program
The program at Mountain Camp is developed and structured around the following three core areas:

Building Community
We teach that communities are formed on respect, trust, and acceptance. Cooperation and teamwork are promoted above a highly competitive program.

Healthy Lifestyle
A balance of new experiences, outdoor exercise, creative arts, and sense of independence exists in a safe environment surrounded by supportive role models.

Positive Self-Image
Activities are designed to build confidence by rewarding effort and enthusiasm over proficiency. Campers' sense of achievement is developed through setting and pursuing their individual goals.
A day at Camp
The Daily camp schedule is filled with fun and exciting activities. Each camper has the opportunity to choose the activities that interest them the most and will be able to participate in the wide variety of programs we offer. Because age groups vary by session, we divide our camper groups into three groups based on incoming grade level. During our Free Choice period campers are able to choose from a wide variety of our most popular activities. Many of our special activities are run during Free Choice.

7:30 Wake Up
8:00 Breakfast
8:45 Cabin Clean Up
9:00 Free choice
10:30 First Activity Period
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Rest Time
2:00 Second Activity Period
3:30 Third Activity Period
5:00 Hang Time
6:00 Dinner
7:00 Evening Program & Campfire
8:30 Night Life
9:00 Blazer Lights Out
9:30 Tracker Lights Out
10:00 Alpiner Lights Out
Waterfront Activities
Sailing
Sailing is one of the most popular waterfront activities. Trained instructors teach campers how to sail or even just take them out for a sail (if campers don't wish to learn how themselves). Campers learn quickly and start going out on their own on one of our lasers (small 3 person boat) or take a Hobie-cat out with a few friends (big 5-7 person boat). Ice House Lake offers a great area to learn how to sail with light winds perfect for the beginner early in the day and stronger winds in the afternoon for the more advanced.

Windsurfing
With light winds and very little powerboat traffic, Ice House Lake is an ideal location to learn windsurfing. Our lifeguards teach the basics to the beginners and advanced technique to the campers with more experience and we have the proper equipment for every sized camper.

Dock Activities

Dock Activities is our all-inclusive waterfront activity. It allows campers to explore our waterfront and try a little of everything. Some of the more popular activities include: snorkeling, paddle boards, playing on the dock, jumping on the water trampoline, playing beach games like Frisbee and smash-ball or just swimming around in our swimming area.

Kayaking
There is no better way to explore the miles of shoreline of Ice House Lake than in a kayak or canoe. Instructors lead excursions all around our beautiful lake while teaching campers proper paddling techniques and boating safety. After a little practice, it is up to the campers to decide where they want to go!

Paddleboarding
SUP, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, is said to be the fast growing water sport in the world and is a great way to explore our beautiful lake. It is easy to learn and lots of fun!

Fishing
Ice House Lake is the perfect place for campers to enjoy fishing. We provide the rods, reels, tackle and bait and campers provide the patience, skill and luck. Our lake is stocked annually with rainbow and brown trout but landing a fish can still be a big challenge. For those campers who are lucky enough to catch a fish, our kitchen is happy to clean it and cook it up for dinner.

Wakeboarding
Wakeboarding and waterskiing are two of our most popular activities at the waterfront. Our instructors have equipment for all for all sizes and skill levels and Ice House Lake is an ideal location with plenty of calm open water.

Waterskiing
Wakeboarding and waterskiing are two of our most popular activities at the waterfront. Our instructors have equipment for all for all sizes and skill levels and Ice House Lake is an ideal location with plenty of calm open water.

Tubing
Tubing may be most fun and exciting activity at our waterfront. No skill or experience is necessary - just hang on and have fun!

Kneeboarding
Kneeboarding is a popular waterfront activity. Our instructors have equipment for all sizes and skill levels and Ice House Lake is an ideal location with plenty of calm open water.

Water Trampoline
The only thing more fun than a trampoline is a trampoline on the water!
Land Activities
Archery
Trained counselors instruct campers in range safety, proper techniques and scoring. Bows and arrows of all weights and sizes are available for every sized camper and skill level.

Slingshots
Counselors guide campers through multiple stations and a wide range of targets and each week instructors hold tournaments and skills competitions.

Ropes Course
One of the most popular areas of camp is our Challenge Ropes Course. With over 30 different high and low elements, the Ropes Course offers something for everyone. Campers wear safety harnesses, climbing helmets and are connected to belay cables capable of supporting several tons, so although there is the perception of great risk, the Ropes Course is extremely safe. Highly trained facilitators guide participants each step of the way and the program is based on a system of "Challenge by Choice".

Mountain Bikes
Perhaps the best way to explore and enjoy the thousands of acres of National Forest that surround our site is with our Mountain Biking program. Miles and miles of singletrack and fire roads await the campers and we provide all the top of the line equipment that is needed. Our biking specialists select the proper sized bike and helmet for each participant and teach techniques and safety procedures before setting out. Beginning to advanced rides are available to accommodate every skill level.

Sports & Games
With a full sized basketball court, sand volleyball court and sports field we are able to offer almost any sport that campers can think of and even a few we invented ourselves. If they can dream it – we can play it.

Fencing
Safety comes first as campers are given the chance to compete against each other in duels and other fencing games. Fencing activities include 2 on 1 duels, Three Musketeers, and King of the Hill. Campers wear proper protection including professional mask, body suit, glove and rubber tipped sword.

Stage
This class allows our campers to write and rehearse skits and songs and perform them on our Campfire Stage. Campers are encouraged to create their own acts or they can choose a camp classic to reenact. Counselors help direct but this is the campers time to shine and be the stars.

Yoga
Our basic yoga and power stretching class is a great way for campers to relax and re-energize themselves. Classes are held outdoors under the towering pines and are appropriate for all ages and skill levels.

Foosball & Ping Pong
This area is where campers generally hang out in between activities or during breaks in the schedule. Six foosball tables and five ping pong tables ensure everyone who wants to play gets a chance to.

Fort Building
Fort Building is the perfect activity for the campers who love to create and construct. The instructors provide the building materials and helpful hints and the rest is up to the campers. Campers work on their forts throughout the week and the program culminates with a giant, just for fun, water balloon battle.

Disc Golf
Our new 9 hole course features professional disc baskets and discs. The National Forest provides plenty of beautiful but challenging terrain.

Survival Skills
Being located in the El Dorado National Forest, we feel that it is important to teach campers about wilderness living. OLS covers everything from fire making to compass navigation and wilderness survival. Kids are given the chance to cook food using simple ingredients and of course allowed to eat it, a big draw to the activity.

Parkour
Learn how to tumble and glide from one point to another in the most creative way possible! This activity is available to Trackers and Alpiners so they can learn vaulting, rolling, and jumping techniques to become parkour adventurers!
Arts & Crafts
Few activities are more popular than Arts and Crafts and we make sure that we offer something for everybody. Nestled under huge pine trees, our Arts and Crafts patio is one of the most peaceful areas of camp and the ideal place to enjoy the wide range of creative challenges we offer – lanyards, tie dye, candle making, jewelry, and fimo are just a few of the projects campers are able to try.

LARPing
Live Action Role Playing is one of our newest activities and is always a blast! Campers use their creativity and imaginations in a giant camp-wide game of Capture the Flag.

Radio
Mountain Camp has it's own radio station and campers get to DJ their own radio shows and broadcast out to the whole camp.

Photography

In our digital photography classes campers learn about composition, lighting, basic editing and have the chance to practice photography in our beautiful natural environment. Campers bring home a thumb drive of their work to share with family and friends.

Rock Band

Available during Free Choice time, Rock Band is a great place for campers to get creative, learn multiple instruments and enjoy music with other campers. Keyboards, drums and guitars are available and after a little practice, campers may even perform at campfire.
CIT Program
The Counselor in Training program is available for campers entering 10-12th grade who are attending our two-week sessions 3, 4 or 5. The program emphasizes leadership skills, creativity, team building, self-compassion, and most importantly fun! By acting as role models for younger campers and assisting in leading different aspects of the camp program, it is our goal that the C.I.T.'s walk away having learned new leadership skills and have formed lasting memories with our youngest campers.

The daily schedule of a C.I.T. is very similar to that of an Alpiner camper. During 3 out of the 4 activity periods, the C.I.T.'s participate in regular camp activities. This gives the group a chance to enjoy all of the great activities that Mountain Camp has to offer along with their peers. The remaining activity period is spent doing fun leadership activities as a C.I.T. group. Other activities that are offered to the C.I.T.'s include, but are not limited to:

  • A White Water Rafting trip or Kayak Tour of Lake Tahoe
  • Two wilderness overnight trips
  • Hosting an All Camp Evening Program and Campfire Playing a large role in our Mountaineer Program
  • Assisting with the Age Group Dances

There is a short application that must be completed by the camper in order to be considered for the C.I.T. program. After you have applied your camper for the C.I.T. program you will receive an email directing you to the C.I.T application within your Mountain Camp account. We have changed the C.I.T. application process from previous years and have a limited number of spots in the program. The application deadline is February 1st. We will review all applications and make our decisions based on past performance, application answers, and counselor references. Regardless, applicants will receive an email with final decisions by February 16th.
Food & Nutrition
Mountain Camp takes pride in our excellent food. Our Food Service Director brings more than three decades of experience as a chef and certified nutritionist to our program. She has designed menus that meet camper's tastes while still providing wholesome, healthy nourishment.

A vegetarian, vegan, dairy free or gluten free option can be made available at every meal and a complete salad bar is available at every lunch and dinner. Plenty of choices are offered including fresh fruit and vegetables, a cereal bar and yogurt at every breakfast, and a peanut butter and jelly table is available at every meal. We have a snack table in our Main Lodge with locally grown fresh fruit and healthy snacks that are available for campers whenever they like.

Meals are selected to provide nutritious, delicious options that appeal to a nearly any taste. We serve our meals Family Style and our counselors serve campers individually at their tables. There is salad bar at every lunch and dinner and a breakfast bar at every breakfast that campers can choose from in addition to the main courses. Below is a sample menu. Please note that options are subject to change but this will give you a good sense for the meals at Mountain Camp.
Staff
Check back later to meet the 2020 Mountain Camp staff!
Health & Safety
At Mountain Camp, the health and safety of our campers and staff is our top priority and we have an excellent safety record. We are accredited by the American Camp Association and we adhere to their strict guidelines. Camper's health and safety is stressed at our Staff Training Week and our Infirmary is staffed round the clock by two health care professionals (MDs, RNs or EMTs). Our counselors are certified in First Aid/ CPR and AED and Waterfront staff are also certified as lifeguards. Staff are encouraged to and rewarded for specialized medical certifications including EMT, WFA, WFR.

In the event that a child suffers anything more than a minor injury or illness, the nurse will contact the camper's parents or guardians. Our Infirmary is located in the center of camp and is fully supplied to address most camper or staff medical needs.

Mountain Camp works closely with the National Forest Service, ACA, local police and fire departments and the Health Department to be certain that we are doing everything possible to ensure the wellbeing of all of our campers and staff. Hospital service is available in Placerville (33 miles away), if it should be required.
Facilities
Our 26 acre lakefront facility is surrounded by thousands of acres of National Forest. While we are remote, access is easy on well paved and maintained roads. Mountain Camp operates under a Special Use Permit from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service and, although we do not own Ice House Lake, we are the only buildings near the shore and there is very little public use of the lake. We have our own well for water, generators for power and satellites for internet and communications.

Our camp is rustic and simple so as not to take away from the natural beauty of our setting, but all of our cabins and main buildings have been recently renovated. Our facilities include the historic main lodge, more than 22 camper cabins, 3 large shower houses, sand volleyball and basketball courts, sports fields, challenge ropes course, private waterfront area, covered open air dining hall, camp store, infirmary, campfire stage, archery range, camp offices and much more.

Campers stay in open air cabins that house 10 to 14 campers in wooden bunk beds. There are no dressers or closets in the cabins. Campers keep their clothes and belongings in trunks or luggage that slides under their bunks. Cabins do not have bathrooms but they do have electricity and shower houses with bathrooms located nearby.
Directions & Transportation
Car Transportation:
Drop off for campers on Sunday is between 2pm and 4pm. Pick up for campers on Saturday is between 9:30am and 11:30am. If using a GPS device and coming from the Bay Area, type in Ice House Lake and follow signs to Mountain Camp. If you're driving to camp from the Tahoe area, there is a shortcut that you can use as long as the roads are clear.

Directions from South Lake Tahoe:
Heading west on HWY 50 from South Lake Tahoe, you'll turn right on Wrights Road. Follow that road for 6 miles, then take a left turn – road name is not posted, but there will be a sign for Ice House Reservoir pointing to that left turn. Follow road for 6 miles and Mountain Camp is on the left, although the sign is hard to see from that direction. If you come to a T intersection, you've gone just about a half block too far. Turn around and Mountain Camp entrance will be on your right.

Airport Transportation:
We coordinate campers to be picked up and dropped off at the Sacramento International Airport (SMF).
  • Campers flight should arrive between 12pm and 2pm on Sunday.
  • Campers flight should depart between 12pm and 2pm on Saturday.
  • Airport transportation to and from camp is provided free of charge and is ONLY for campers flying to or from camp.

Bus Transportation:

We coordinate buses picking up and dropping off in 3 bay area locations. The bus charge is $90 per camper, each way.
  • Lafayette, Lafayette Bart Station, Main bus circle (3601 Deer Hill Road)
  • Larkspur, Redwood High School, East Parking Lot (corner of Lucky Drive & Doherty Drive)
  • Palo Alto, Ellen Fletcher Middle School (655 Arastradero Road)
FAQ
What are the pick up/drop off times for campers?
Campers all arrive on Sunday and drop off is between 2pm and 4pm. Campers depart on a Saturday and pick up is between 9:30am and 11:30am.

What is your camper and staff return rate?
Over 60% of our campers return to camp each year and approximately 50% of our staff return each year.

What is the weather like and the typical lake temperature?
The weather during the day ranges from the low 70s to the high 80s. At night it can cool down to the mid-50s, but is typically in the mid-60s. The water temperature is typically in the mid 60s. It's a little cooler in the beginning of summer and a bit warmer in the end of the summer.

What is the ratio of staff to campers?

Our staff to camper ratio is 1:4.

Where do campers sleep?
The campers sleep in cabins of their same age and gender. Cabins sleep 8-14 campers per cabin with 2-3 counselors. The cabins have wooden style bunks with a twin mattress that has a plastic cover on it. Campers will need a sleeping bag and pillow.

Can campers request to be in a bunk with their friends?
When filling out the application, you will be asked to enter up to 3 bunk or cabin mate requests. In order to ensure cabin mate requests, BOTH campers must request one another and be no more than one school grade apart. Cabin mate requests can can also be sent via email after you've completed your camper application.

What is the shower situation?
There are three shower houses at camp. A boys only shower house on the boy's side of camp which has 8 showers, toilets and sinks. A girls only shower house on the girl's side of camp with 8 showers, toilets and sinks. And our main shower house located in our Main Lodge which has 4 showers, toilets and sinks for each gender. The showers in all of the houses are individual curtained shower stalls.

What if my camper is a vegetarian or has dietary needs?
We offer a vegetarian and gluten free option at every meal. Campers will sign up to be on the vegetarian list or gluten free list at the beginning of camp. We also have a salad bar at every lunch and dinner. Any other dietary needs should be discussed with the office before your camper comes to camp.

What are the camper age groups?
We offer a vegetarian and gluten free option at every meal. Campers will sign up to be on the vegetarian list or gluten free list at the beginning of camp. We also have a salad bar at every lunch and dinner. Any other dietary needs should be discussed with the office before your camper comes to camp.

What's the deal with the store at camp?
Campers deposit money in the camp store either with cash or check when they arrive at camp, or online anytime under 'View Accounts'.
Unless you request a refund (only for amounts over $10.00), any remaining store money is donated to the Mountain Camp Scholarship Fund. Campers have the opportunity to visit the store a few times during a session. The store carries many items including toiletries, batteries, postcards, stamps, sweatshirts, sweatpants, t-shirts, hats, beanies, CD's & many more items. There is no food available in the camp store.

Are there any dogs at camp?
Yes! The directors have 4 dogs who hang out at camp. The dogs live with the directors, but can often be seen around camp and are always up to play!

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