Over 100 students are learning a cool equation this summer: a week of camp in the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area equals fun. Through an innovative partnership between the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance and the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta, students from four metro-area YMCAs are exploring some of the significant natural and historic sites. Campers bask in the joy of hiking, climbing, kayaking, archery, and fishing while also hearing fascinating stories about one of Georgia’s oldest African-American communities.
This inaugural summer camp between the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance and the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta evolved out of a national partnership between the YMCA and the National Park Service to help thousands of children #findyourpark. Nine cities nationwide are participating this summer. In Atlanta, campers will also visit Chattahoochee National Recreation Area, Kennesaw Battlefield and the Martin Luther King, Jr National Historic Site. National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis praises the program’s community reach, saying, “This type of personal contact with nature provides benefits physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.”
Each week in the AMNHA, students from four YMCA centers experience the thrills of our breathtaking natural and historical sites. The campers hike along an old quarry trail to the summit of Arabia Mountain and explore fascinating ecology and geology. They encounter local wildlife at AWARE, one of the few centers in Georgia that rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife. At the Panola Mountain State Park, the students sharpen their physical prowess by participating in tree climbing, lake kayaking, and archery. A trip to the Flat Rock Archives leaves these young people enchanted by the stories of one of the oldest intact African-American communities in Georgia. The weeklong journey culminates with a service project at the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. Click below to see these campers savoring the sights and sounds in the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. Summertime fun is now!