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Camp Twin Creeks ~ a home away from home – Pocahontas Times

Camp Twin Creeks ~ a home away from home – Pocahontas Times
This sprawling site in Minnehaha Springs, home to Camp Twin Creeks, is a delightful getaway for campers of all ages. In addition to cabins and a dining hall, the summer camp has stables, a swimming pool, a lake, a performing arts building, and plenty of space for a well-rounded camping experience. What it doesn’t have is cell phone service, allowing campers to disconnect and socialize. Photo by S. Stewart

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

We’ve all seen the movies depicting summer camp — kids running to catch the bus with their suitcases, excited for the adventure ahead. Matching T-shirts, cabins with bunk beds, and a mess hall where food fights could break out.

It was the 70s and 80s, and even though the world has become so modernized with advanced technology, there is one summer camp that still maintains that classic vibe, and it’s right here in Pocahontas County.

Thanks to the National Radio Quiet Zone and the diligence of camp directors, Camp Twin Creeks in Minnehaha Springs still has a ’70s feel. Campers can come, unplug, and enjoy the great outdoors for two weeks.

The camp is run by husband and wife duo Iain and Amy McClements. Iain runs the camp year-round, making sure operations are running smoothly, and Amy is the camp director, making sure everything is ready for all the campers.

“It’s just a summer camp,” he said. “It’s a coed, traditional, sleepaway camp that offers kids fun during the summer, but we really try to put our focus on being a center for youth development, helping kids deal with challenges — whether it’s leaving home for the first time or something else.

“So, being outdoors, having to detox — we don’t have cell phone service, as you know — it’s great, especially for kids who need time away from all that, but also just to have the opportunity to socialize,” she added. “It’s a community.”

Twin Creeks has a little bit of everything. As Amy explains, there are five main areas campers can enjoy: land sports, water sports, climbing sports, a nature program, and excursions away from camp.

“Think of any sport a kid might want to do — we offer it,” he said. “We have water sports. We have project adventure, when we put kids in trees — so they do a climbing wall, they do a zipline, they do low ropes games where they work together as a team to climb over a big six-foot wall.

“We have a nature program, which allows them to learn about their environment and what’s around them,” he continued. “We talk a little bit more about the state and things that are specific to West Virginia. We also go on trips. We spend time on the Allegheny Trail and then we end up sleeping outside in Watoga. That’s for our big campers. Our other campers hike three miles and then come back to camp and sleep outside in our shelter in the woods.”

For some campers, spending the night in a tent is their first time.

“This is a big deal for some kids in our city,” Amy said.

There is also an arts program that includes activities such as horse riding, dancing, carpentry, handicrafts and music.

This is just the first part of the day.

“That’s what they do in the morning,” Amy said. “We kind of rotate them. Everyone gets a chance to try everything we have to offer at camp in the morning.

In the afternoon, campers go to Master Classes. These are more in-depth classes that campers can choose from and spend time diving deeper into a topic such as fishing, archery, fencing, jewelry making and more.

“We offer master classes on the first day of camp,” Amy said. “So kids can choose two of those offerings and do that every day of camp. That’s where they really focus on learning a skill.”

Iain and Amy joined the Camp Twin Creeks family 24 years ago, first as counselors and in their current roles for the past 10 years.

Iain is from England and Amy is from Pennsylvania. They met at a sleepaway camp in Pennsylvania. The camp was owned by the same guy who owned Camp Twin Creeks at the time. He asked them to work for him there and the rest, as they say, is history.

“We said, ‘Of course we’ll do this for a few years before we grow up,’ and here we are,” Amy said with a laugh. “We haven’t fully grown up yet. We like to think we’re still kids at heart, but honestly, we’re the adults here. We have to remind ourselves that the adults aren’t coming, we’re the adults.”

Amy and Iain take their positions very seriously, knowing that they are both the campers’ parents and their counselors during their time at Camp Twin Creeks.

This is not a foreign concept to the duo. Iain is a coach and active in community youth activities in his Pennsylvania hometown, and Amy owns and operates a preschool.

“We really embraced our passion to help make the world a better place with inspiring young kids,” Amy said. “We realized that as people, we wanted to be able to give back to kids, and camp is the perfect place to do that. Especially supporting kids when the world is changing so quickly and knowing that these kids have different experiences than you.”

The camp is such a big part of their lives that their three children — Harrison, Finnley, and Blakeley — actually grew up there.

Viewing the camp and campers as an extension of their own family, Iain and Amy strive to ensure that children have a positive experience at camp and help them discover new passions while away from home.

Amy admits that camp isn’t always easy and conflicts arise, but she says that what makes a good person is learning to deal with the good and the bad.

“We feel like we have a little kingdom here, a little world that’s doing its best right now, and we really hope that transfers to the outside world,” Amy said. “We really believe that at summer camp — at least compared to the outside world — this is the last place they can really be kids, just play, just exist and be surrounded by each other and nature.”

For more information about Camp Twin Creeks, visit camptwincreeks.com