New climate-controlled yurts, experiences sure to make Camp Caverns more epic than ever

Photo courtesy of Camp Caverns

Camp Caverns is celebrating its second year providing epic experiences to young adventurers. And this year is set to be better than the last.

The Caverns in Pelham, Tennessee, is best known as the state's most unique music venue and home of PBS series "The Caverns Sessions" (formerly known as "Bluegrass Underground"). The concert hall is a massive underground room measuring 300 yards long. The natural acoustics of the cave walls create a phenomenal sound.

This iconic setting makes for a summer camp like no other. The co-ed camp offers two weeklong sessions in July for children between the ages of 8-14. Kids are sure to have the experience of a lifetime thanks to both the camp's whimsical surroundings and passionate crew members like Camp Director Jen Mayo, affectionately known as "Mama Mayo" to her campers.

The week is jam-packed with events and activities. As Mayo puts it, "There is always something going on at Camp Caverns. During camp life, we divide our campers into small groups -- so, for example, while one group may be creating their pottery bowls, another group is having a water balloon fight."

Aside from the typical camp activities, there will also be several outings throughout the week. Campgoers will spend one day at Bigfoot Adventures ziplining, throwing axes and arrowhead hunting. Another day will be spent at Highlander Folk School. Highlander served a key role in the Civil Rights movement by providing leadership training for such figures as Rosa Parks. The trip to the Highlander will provide campers with a tangible link to our country's history. On another outing, campers will hike on the nearby Fiery Gizzard trail, a trail featured in Backpacker Magazine as one of our nation's top 25 hiking trails.

  photo  Photo courtesy of Camp Caverns

This is the first year that the campgrounds will be on The Caverns' property. Previously, the kids were in bunkhouses at the DuBose Conference Center, an 18-minute drive from The Caverns. That housing arrangement came with a particular set of challenges.

Mayo says, "Twelve campers shared one bathhouse in a bunkhouse with no air conditioning in July. Twelve preteen girls trying to get ready in the morning was quite challenging!"

This year, the campers will stay in brand-new climate-controlled yurts. Each yurt will host four campers and one counselor, creating tightknit bonds and a nurturing environment.

The campers' new summer home will serve as an ideal hub for their expeditions.

"It's certainly fun crawling through underground passages and visiting waterfalls, but we feel adventures in these settings also give campers new perspectives and builds confidence... My role is to create a magical, safe and nurturing environment that allows my campers to be their unique selves while making positive memories that they will carry with them throughout their lives."

Mayo has seen how community and a little adventure instill confidence in these kids. "Many of our campers arrive a bit nervous and quiet on Sunday, but by our Talent Show on Tuesday, they have all become so close that they have no problem performing their hearts out. One performance was by a nervous 9-year-old singing, and the entire camp joined. Her performance ended in one giant singalong dance party. It was so heartwarming to see them all come together."

To sign your kid up for some adventure-based learning and lasting friendships, visit

  photo  Photo courtesy of Camp Caverns