Take your fondest memory of your childhood summer camp, and multiply it by the incomparable beauty of the NRA Whittington Center ...
Nestled in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Raton, New Mexico lies one of the best-kept secrets in America: the NRA Whittington Center (NRAWC). Each summer, this heartbreakingly gorgeous, 30,000-acre facility hosts two sessions of the ultimate teen summer camp: the NRA Whittington Center Youth Adventure Camp. There, teens aged 13 to 17 experience a life-changing adventure that develops wilderness and safe gun handling skills while building memories that will last a lifetime. Registration for the 2023 sessions is open now, and slots will fill up rapidly. (Would you like to go ahead and sign up now, then come back to read the rest of this article? That's a wise strategy; click here.)
The Youth Adventure Camp lasts two weeks; the first 10 days are spent learning everything outdoors—and we do mean everything. There's firearm safety and marksmanship with rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders and handguns. There are lessons in archery and camping skills, including raising tents, outdoor cooking, orienteering and survival. There's wildlife identification and the essentials of ethical hunting. Instruction is courtesy of highly qualified and thoroughly vetted experts in each individual field; it's tailored to be both challenging and accessible.
Then, there's the adventure of it all. The last several days of the camp find the teens in a true backcountry camping experience. Miles from the nearest cable TV or wi-fi signal, the teens must pitch their own campsites and cook their own food. During the day, they hike and shoot the various long-range courses of fire; at night, they bond with friends they'll have for the rest of their lives. An experience like this changes one for the better, and for good.
The NRAWC Youth Adventure Camp is so, so much more than just a "summer camp." It's an experience that keeps Adventure Camp alumni coming back year after year, first as campers, then as counselors. Wrote Tracy Humphrey, "Six years ago, I had an experience that I every teenager should have. At 15 years old, I was heading to New Mexico for the NRA Whittington Center Adventure Camp.
Coming from a little town in Maryland, I didn’t know what to expect at what I thought of as “gun camp.” I knew there would be shooting, campers from all over the country, great instructors and beautiful scenery. But I didn’t know about the lifelong friendships I would make, the life lessons I would learn, or that now, six years later, I would be returning to my apartment in Kansas after concluding my second year as the Program Director of Adventure Camp."
Campers do not have to be skilled shooters to attend! All NRAWC Youth Adventure Camp will learn the basics of gun safety and marksmanship under the constant, direct supervision of NRAWC staff instructors and trained volunteers.