Building Confidence, Leadership, & Teamwork since 1990!
New to WAEL & not sure what's right for you? Great! We recommend our Outdoor Discovery or Classic Adventure programs for experiencing the best of all we have to offer.
Returning and looking for new skills & thrills this year? Check out our Specialty Trips for Biking, Climbing, and Paddling!
Teens looking for the ultimate WAEL experience? The Wilderness Leadership Course is an excellent expedition for leadership & outdoor experience. Especially for those looking into going into the Outdoor Industry or Leadership programs in college.
Not old enough to be on Staff yet, but ready for more? A summer-long Apprenticeship pending the completion of our Leadership Training Program will give experienced and responsible 17+ year-olds a true Adventure Camp insider's experience with chances to co-lead with and shadow outdoor professionals.
WILDERNESS ADVENTURE ISN'T A TRADITIONAL ADVENTURE CAMP
IT'S NOT WHAT WE DO THAT SETS US APART, BUT HOW WE DO IT...
An Expedition Style Program
Our philosophy is to immerse participants in a wilderness environment which inherently builds positive character, leadership traits, and self-confidence. Designed by our inspiring staff of outdoor professionals, this unique camp centers on backpacking, biking, and paddling through the southwest VA National Forests and participating in adventure activities. Through careful instruction and positive encouragement from our experienced leaders and instructors, participants are motivated to face challenges that require both teamwork and individual effort. By achieving both group and personal goals, they develop strength, character and confidence to carry with them throughout their lives.
The Formula for Success
Created and exemplified by founder Colonel Gene Nervo, we begin each trip with these principles:
- Work Ethic
- Positive Attitude
Participants and staff alike carry this formula on with them and apply it to many facets of their life beyond their wilderness experience.
With a record of over 25 years of successful summers and thousands of participant and staff alumni in many successful careers and lives, Wilderness Adventure truly is an investment in the future of your child. Our policies adhere to the strictest industry guidelines and our elements and safety equipment are regularly inspected by multiple external industry professionals to ensure the highest and most current safety for all activities.
Each trip of 12 co-ed participants is led by two leaders, one male and one female. During more adventurous activities like rock climbing, mountain biking, and whitewater kayaking, groups are joined by an Instructor, making our staff to participant ration 1:4. Our staff are selected from a large pool of applicants based on their individual character and their passion for teaching and adventure. Wilderness Adventure is proud to hold an immaculate safety record and each leader is prepared with a thorough 14-day orientation to learn the activities, leadership skills, and safety policies of Wilderness Adventure before leading a trip. Instructors are trained rigorously at industry standards to ensure the highest level of safety and individual instruction. All staff members have current background checks and a minimum of Wilderness First Aid and CPR certifications.
Challenge by Choice
We believe that the greatest accomplishments are achieved when the decision to try is made by the participant. With this in mind, our leaders and instructors challenge and encourage each participant to step out of -and thus, grow- their comfort zone in a safe environment. Each activity is taught from a beginner level and then molded to the abilities and enthusiasm of the individual participant. Wilderness Adventure is not an "at-risk" program or a camp for troubled youth, each participant agrees to approach their adventure with a positive attitude.
Leave No Trace
By teaching participants back country skills for traveling, setting up camp, cooking and personal hygiene, they not only gain a unique connection with their environment but also a strong sense of self-reliance. We educate participants about and practice the 7 principles of LNT: plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impact, respect wildlife, and be considerate of other visitors.
Some Valuable Facts about WA
- We are located in New Castle, VA in the surrounding National Forests. 40 miles north of Roanoke, VA, about 4 hours south of Washington, DC.
- We provide all the gear. That's right! From cook gear to back packs and tents and sleeping bags to the mountain bikes and climbing helmets, we maintain clean, modern, and working gear for every participant and activity. All participants need to pack is some sturdy hiking boots, water shoes, a couple moisture-wicking outfits, toiletries, and a great attitude! No need to buy gear they will outgrow!
- We run a shuttle to these places: Washington DC, Charlottesville, Richmond, Roanoke, and Charlotte.
- Trips begin Sunday after lunch and finish on Saturday morning after breakfast.
- Trips are made up of a maximum of 12 co-ed participants aged 8-10, 10-11, 12-13, or 14-17.
Covering all levels of experience, programs range from 1 to 3 weeks in length. We recommend beginning with our Outdoor Discover (age 8-10) or Classic Adventure (ages 10-11, 12-13, and 14-17). For our experienced participants looking for the best challenge we offer, we recommend our Wilderness Leadership Course. For those experienced or enthusiastic teenagers with passion for a particular activity, we recommend one of our Specialty Trips (age 14-17).
Please click the photo above to learn more about each individual trip. You will find details about dates, activities, itineraries, and rates. If you have any questions about availability, appropriateness, or any other aspect of our trips, our staff would love to hear from you. Please call 540-864-6792!