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  • ABOUT
    • Life at River Mountain
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    • Accommodations
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    • Food
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    • Adventure
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    • Location & Transportation
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    • Safety
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    • Sustainability
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    • Staff
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  • PROGRAM
    • Digital Wellness
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    • Expertise
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    • Experiential Learning
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    • Retreat Types
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    • Typical Day
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    • Journal
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    • Back at Home
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    • Screen Time Resources
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  • CURRENT FAMILIES
  • PLAN & RESERVE

More than a “Summer Camp”

Like many of you, I recognize how much screen time has impacted the way our kids communicate, relate, and develop.  

There is no denying some of the benefits of technology and increased connectedness, but there's also no denying the hazards of the digital world. I want to ensure that our kids are able to grow into strong, healthy individuals without the growing anxiety, distraction and isolation caused by misuse or overuse of technology.

The whole team here at River Mountain feels passionately that the natural world is the perfect place for young people to tackle the tough issues surrounding tech’s growing influence in their lives. Blocking out the constant stream of notifications and nonstop streaming media allows kids the opportunity to slow down and think critically about how tech is impacting them individually and in their relationships. Even a short time removed from this constant digital stimulation quickly provides a contrast to what for many is a new state of digital reliance. 

But our goal at River Mountain wasn’t just to take kids’ phones away for a couple of days and send them off to run around in the woods. 

Every element of the River Mountain experience was intentionally designed for kids to have a fun and safe experience in the great outdoors, and to participate in thoughtful and engaging conversations about technology. It’s a lot easier to discuss technology “hooks” and the pros and cons of social media when those hooks aren’t dug into us throughout the conversation. And it doesn’t hurt to have those conversations under a blanket of stars while eating s’mores with a group of new friends either!

The biggest difference between a traditional camp and a River Mountain retreat is the purpose-driven approach River Mountain staff takes to everything we (and your kids) do. River Mountain retreats are more than canoeing trips and nature hikes. While we have plenty of both of those, we also have a pretty special curriculum that we developed in conjunction with experts in experiential education from Penn State University and Outward Bound to create engaging, mindful experiences. Our curriculum was designed for young people to “come as they are” and jump in where they feel most comfortable connecting with nature and each other.

The mix of guided activities, interactions, conversations, outdoor adventures, reflective discourse and time for internal meditation combine to make the River Mountain experience one that will last well beyond the limits of kids’ time here. At River Mountain, we believe in young people and their ability to understand the pros and cons of technology and create real change in their lives. We look forward to helping each of them on their journey of positive discovery of themselves and the natural world.

Field Trips at River Mountain

By Ryan | February 11, 2020

River Mountain’s school programs teach screen time management and digital citizenship to help students flourish in school and at home.

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The Benefits of Camp

By Ryan | February 6, 2020

There’s a lot of great research about the benefits of camp experiences for young people. Over the past 12 months, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several of those researchers, including our own team member Pete Allison from Penn State, and I’m grateful for their work establishing a greater understanding of camps’ impacts on child development.

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Restorative Vision – Nature and Wellness Retreat Design

By Meghan | February 3, 2020

Every element of River Mountain Retreat is intentionally designed to add to the restorative experience of our guests. One key aspect of this is in the design of our cabins and wellness retreat facilities.

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Summer Camp near Washington D.C., Yet a World Away

By Ryan | January 17, 2020

Conveniently near Arlington County, Montgomery County, and Fairfax County families, River Mountain summer camps are ideal for DC parents’ busy schedules.

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Best Summer Camp for Active Pittsburgh Kids

By Ryan | January 9, 2020

Only 2 hours away from the Steel City and featuring all the outdoor activities that kids love, River Mountain is the best summer camp for active Pittsburgh kids.

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A Decade of Technology

By Meghan | December 31, 2019

Looking back on the past decade of technology – rapid developments, rapid adoption and rapid optimization. It all happened so fast.

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Reconnecting Over the Holidays

By Meghan | December 20, 2019

As a parent, the holidays are hectic. Parties, presents, and of course, the kids being off from school. With all of the running the season brings, it’s easy to forget that this is a time of year where we can pause, exhale, and find joy in what surrounds us.

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The Benefits (and Accessibility) of Nature

By Ryan | November 23, 2019

A lot has been written in recent years about the “benefits of nature” — fantastic books like Florence Williams’ The Nature Fix and ground breaking research like the work being done by Utah professor David Strayer.

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Design and Development – A Restorative Relationship with Nature

By Ryan | November 6, 2019

From the beginning of the River Mountain land development process, we’ve had 3 goals in mind…

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Warriors Path to River Mountain Retreat

By Brandon | October 31, 2019

A River Mountain Digital Wellness Retreat is, by design, an escape from the modern, digital world.

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Upcoming Camps