First Time Camper? Begin your Adventures with Llama Trek

by Andrea Wackerle

Our 38th summer camp season is on its way! To celebrate, we’ll be highlighting each course over the coming weeks. This week, we’re featuring Llama Trek. This 12 day adventure is perfect for first time campers and offers a type a friendship like no other–the furry friend kind. 

Llama Trek is pretty special to us here at SOAR. It is often our first interaction with some of our younger campers and usually their first time at camp! And let’s be honest, what could be more special than spending 12 days having fun and hanging out with your own Llama!

This course was created directly from feedback from SOAR parents who wanted their younger children to experience SOAR. Unlike other SOAR courses, Llama Trek focuses specifically on the needs of younger, first time campers to ensure a successful camp experience.

Staff to Camper Ratio

We always maintain a low staff to camper ratio (1:4), but it is particularly effective during Llama Trek. By always having someone close by to provide needed attention, campers experiencing their first time away from home feel part of nurturing environment where they can experience independence but also rely on the guidance of our skilled staff. This ratio is also helpful for keeping track of belongings, maintaining good hygiene, and learning to work as a team.


We’ve all experience homesickness, and it is totally normal for campers, especially those who are experiencing their first time away from home. We understand the anxiety that campers may feel about being away from home and trying new things, so unlike other SOAR courses, Llama Trek campers have nightly meetings to reflect on their day. This allows them to focus on the successes they had that day instead of being away from home.

Introduction to the Outdoors

Eight, nine, and ten year olds certainly have a lot of energy but may not be used to the rigor that comes with outdoor adventures. That’s why we made this course physically less challenging and an easy transition into outdoor adventures. Unlike other courses, campers will return to base for 2 nights midcourse to recharge and enjoy a “free day” to participate in an activity of their choice including mountain biking, fishing, throwing tools and primitive skills, or paintball. While out Llama Trekking, the llamas will carry the campers’ gear to help lighten the load.


In case you hadn’t noticed, the highlight of this course is the 4 day, 3 night Llama Trek through Panthertown Valley. Campers are each assigned their very own llama and learn how to take responsibility for their furry friend, who in-turn helps them out by carrying their gear! What a fun way to teach such a valuable life skill? Learn more about the powerful influence animals have and where our llamas come from here!

12 Days of Fun!

While this course is a little different than others, it is packed with SOAR adventures! Over the course of 12 days, campers will work as a team on the low ropes course, rock climb in Pisgah National Forest, scavenger hunt at the Cradle of Forestry, attend a stream exploration workshop with the Pisgah Wildlife Education Center, Llama Trekking through Panthertown Valley, day hiking, swimming at waterfalls and sandbars, and white water rafting the Nantahala River. What could be a better cure for the homesick blues?!

You can view the entire 12 day schedule here!


Ready to enroll? Submit your child’s application today!