The heart and soul connections, the caring, the music, the nature, have made me the person I am today.
— E.L.

Frequently Asked Questions

+ WHAT DO WE DO AT A.R.E. CAMP?

We discover who we are through the exploration of self expression. Similar to many great summer camps, A.R.E. Campers enjoy hiking, nature immersion, arts and crafts, sports, music, journaling, meditation, yoga, dance, theater, games, delicious organic food, and amazing counselors. One unique quality sets A.R.E. Camp apart: the choice to intentionally allow self-love and acceptance. Through this choice, Campers explore and decide what is true for them. As this is created, it invites and supports transformation.

+ WHY A.R.E. CAMP?

It is fun, relaxing, inspirational, and joyful! A.R.E. Camp offers individuals of all ages the experience of relating to nature and to one another in a peaceful, loving, community atmosphere. It is a place of transformation where children, young people, adults, and families come together to love and grow. The benefits of Camp continue to impact people's lives after returning home.

+ WHAT IS THE A.R.E.?

The A.R.E. is the Association for Research and Enlightenment. This non-profit organization was founded in 1931 by Edgar Cayce. The mission of the A.R.E. is to help people transform their lives for the better, through research, education, and application of core concepts found in the Edgar Cayce readings and kindred materials that seek to promote the purposefulness of life, the spiritual nature and oneness of all life, and the connection of body, mind, and spirit. The A.R.E. provides Cayce readings, literature on related topics found in the readings, educational services, and spiritual and self-discovery programming. The A.R.E. headquarters is located in Virginia Beach.

+ WHERE IS A.R.E. CAMP?

A.R.E. Camp is located in a pristine mountain valley near the small town of Rural Retreat. A mile-long gravel road through farm land leads to the Camp, which occupies a 50 acre site, within a 3,000 acre mountain-valley. Campers are surrounded by gorgeous wilderness, and with very few towns nearby, the stargazing is world class!

A.R.E. Camp address: 283 White Rock Furnace Road Rural Retreat, VA 24368

+ WHAT DO OUR FACILITES LOOK LIKE?

The setting and facilities at A.R.E. Camp are beautifully handcrafted and rustic; living close to nature is one of the joys of the Camp experience. Facilities include screened-in cabins, a brand dining hall and kitchen, wellness cabin, library, recreation hall, arts and crafts building, latrines, and a brand new shower house. A meditation grove, garden, soccer field, pond, and volleyball court are also integral parts of this setting.

+ WHAT IS DREAM GROUP?

During dream group, we explore the dreams we had the night before or any other dreams we would like to share. At Camp we are open to the idea that our dream life corresponds to our waking life in some way - whether it be a reflection, a contradiction, a solution, or just gentle guidance. Although we like to explore dreams, we believe it is only the dreamer who can fully interpret them.

+ WHERE DO CAMPERS SLEEP?

A.R.E. Camp's cabins are open-air screened buildings, and equipped with eight bunk beds with foam mattresses. Cabins don't have electricity or running water, but are close to wash-houses, zero impact compost toilets, and showers. During Children's Sessions, one or two Camp team members share each cabin with the campers; at Family camps, cabins are usually shared by two or more family groups; at Adult weeks, cabins are arranged for either men, women, or couples. Participants may also bring tents or campers to Family and Adult weeks (there are no sewage hook-ups for campers).

+ WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE?

Meals are served family style in our brand new dining hall facility. They are prepared with love by the amazing kitchen team, who are familiar with the Edgar Cayce readings on diet and health and strive to make as much as possible from scratch. Most meals are vegetarian, though sustainably raised meat is offered a few times each week. The kitchen team is world class at accommodating dietary needs, preferences, and allergies. Most of our produce is grown right at Camp, in our beautiful garden (a suggestion from the Cayce readings).

+ IS THERE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE?

Yes! You may apply for a scholarship here.

+ WHAT IS THE BIG HOUSE?

The Big House is a large three-story farmhouse located about a mile from A.R.E. Camp. Sessions held at the Big House are usually for smaller groups (6-16 people), from one to three weeks long, and offer an experience less rustic than Camp. Participants and staff at Big House programs live and eat together family-style, and usually share cooperatively in meal planning and preparation.

+ WHAT IS KITCHEN PARTY (K.P.)?

Kitchen party is a post-meal clean up extravaganza! As a community we meditate together, play together, eat together, and clean together! Kitchen party is a time of joyful service! During children's sessions, K.P. groups are assigned by cabins, and during family sessions several families are grouped together. K.P. consists of washing dishes, wiping down tables, taking compost to the garden, and sweeping the dining hall. During breakfast K.P., another group of campers beautifies the shower house and the latrines. The beautifying process entails wiping down sinks, re-filling sawdust containers (the latrines are composting toilets), sweeping, and mopping. Each person participates in K.P. and shower and latrine duty only a few times a week. These service activities are led by a counselor who will help provide the necessary materials and direction.

+ HOW CAN YOU CONTACT CAMPERS?

Good old fashioned letter writing!

Write to your camper at: "Camper's name" c/o A.R.E. Camp 283 White Rock Furance Road Rural Retreat, VA 24368

For emergencies, call the Director's land line: (276) 686 - 4031

+ DOES MY CELL PHONE WORK AT CAMP?

Due to the remote location, your cell phone will most likely not work. We encourage family campers, and adult campers to take a break from using their electronics, and totally immerse themselves in nature. At Children's Camps, cell phones and other electronic devices (excluding cameras), are not allowed. If your camper needs to contact you, they can do so through the Director's land line.

Director's land line: (276) 686 - 4031

+ WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?

Due to the high elevation of Camp, summers are a little milder than at sea level. At night and early in the morning, it can get chilly. The days consist of usually warm to hot temperatures, up to the mid 80s, and it is not uncommon for lows to dip into the 50s. Gentle rain often blesses the valley, while thunderstorms are occassional and beautiful.

+ WHAT ABOUT MEDICAL STAFF?

Each camp session, a medical care professional dwells in the Wellness Cabin to provide medical care to the campers. If your child has special needs, A.R.E. Camp is equipped to handle these special needs. The medical care professional is responsible for administering prescribed medication at the correct times, and also supporting staff in caring for cammpers with special needs. Please contact the A.R.E. Camp manager with your child's specific needs, and we will be more than happy to work with you and your child.

+ WHAT SHOULD CAMPERS BRING?

Quite simply: pack as if you are going on a camping trip. Bring:

  • layers of clothing
  • a raincoat or umbrella
  • sturdy shoes or hiking boots, sandals, shower shoes (optional)
  • toiletries
  • bedding or sleeping bags
  • towels
  • flashlight or headlamp
  • personal items
  • optional items include a wristwatch or battery powered alarm clock

Campers should also bring items that allow for their own unique creative expression. These items can include:

  • musical instruments
  • art supplies
  • special athletic equipment (soccer cleats, shin guards, etc.)
  • journal
  • yoga mat, and anything else to make them feel comfortable.

Campers should not bring electronics, expensive jewelry, drugs and alcohol, sugary snacks, and anything they would mind getting dirty.

+ DO YOU HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT EDGAR CAYCE TO ATTEND?

No - for those unfamiliar with the Cayce readings, A.R.E. Camp provides an excellent introduction to some of the concepts found in the material such as dreams, reincarnation, karma, and diet and health. Staff members and fellow campers are enthusiastic about sharing those ideas and information with others.