There's a lot to get excited about as kids' camps get into full swing at Camp New Dawn, including the fact that there are still openings in all remaining weeks of the summer camps' schedule, giving eager campers time to pick and choose.
Children of all ages and backgrounds from across the Southeast have participated in the different weekly themed camps at Camp New Dawn.
"This place is special because so many new beginnings happen here with campers, staff and even visitors," program director Carrie Chandler said. "Mixed in with all the fun is a chance to grow and learn, to have a new dawn."
Camp sizes are limited to 20-25 children and the camp has a ratio of one staff member to every four kids.
Chandler said the key part to the camps is the worship gatherings, which are strictly gospel-based yet interdenominational. Every week, fun activities like swimming as well as education, including instruction on how to along with actually preparing fresh daily meals, are also incorporated into the camps.
"We want to teach and educate spiritual principles whenever the opportunity arises," said Jennie Chandler, who started the camp in 1988.
As a child, she was heavily involved in 4H camp, and much like her own campers of today, she said she loved it and could not get enough - so much so that she wanted to give that experience to children.
"It became a mission to help children learn about God and bring this service to children from all backgrounds," Jennie Chandler said.
She kept that vision in her mind for more than 40 years and when her husband retired from the military they established the nonprofit organization Camp New Dawn.
Since 1988, the 40 acres of camp land near the foothills of Lookout Mountain have been home to goats, chickens and cows, ponds, an amphitheater, a rope course, prayer garden and much more.
"Our setting is rural and we capitalize on the part of old family farm. Children feed animals, ride on hay wagons and experience all of the rural elements," Jennie Chandler said.
She said all have enjoyed these rural features; the number of campers continues to grow.
"The first summer we had one staff member and 13 campers, last summer we broke 100 campers," she said. "We welcome our slogan, 'A camp for all children,' as long as we can accommodate the child's physical needs."
Camp New Dawn hosts Northwest Georgia's first-ever Civil War overnight resident camp. During that weeklong camp July 15-20, campers are introduced to authentic Civil War cuisine, historic artifact collections, a female Civil War re-enactor, Civil War-era dances, Underground Railroad slavery activity and take a fieldtrip to the Kennesaw Battlefields.
"Once a week campers get the opportunity to sleep in a tent and cook over the campfire," Carrie Chandler said in reference to the camp. "This is something many of our campers have never done before, and hopefully we can create a love for that. The campers get a better understanding of history and their surroundings. We hear them say all the time that they've never thought about that before."
Contact Camp New Dan as soon as possible for summer camp registration, information on volunteering or future programs at 706-539-2235 or visit 226 S. Cedar Lane in Chickmauga. To learn more visit www.campnewdawnga.org.