The Keepers of the Woods

big singalong at camp kum-ba-yah in lynchburg, va


Summer is finally here!

kids enjoying their organic harvest

Many of our children will be in outdoor camp—shrieking with adrenaline as they zip line, reveling in the sights and sounds around the water as they fish or canoe, enjoying the giggly camaraderie of singing quirky camp songs around a campfire. Jealous yet? My husband and I certainly were when we discovered all the fun our son Cayden had when he went to Camp Kum-Ba-Yah (KBY). We wanted in on that action!

campers sit to learn about their harvest

So much so that we started going to a family camp once a year, traveling five to six hours out of Lynchburg just so the entire family could enjoy camp, together! Going to family camp, mind you, is different from “going camping” which we also occasionally do. One year, even Cayden’s grandparents and cousins joined us for three generations of family camp fun!

Turns out, we’re part of a larger trend. According to the American Camp Association (ACA), family camp participation has grown steadily nationwide with over 53 percent of ACA-accredited camps now offering programs for the entire family. This trend has been strengthened by more and more evidence emerging from numerous studies on the cognitive and health benefits of spending time outdoors for children and adults.

So, you can imagine our family’s excitement when we learned that our very own Camp KBY, here in Lynchburg, would be launching the Keeper of the Woods program of year-round family programming geared at connecting multi-generational family members with each other and with nature.     

Keeper of the Woods is the brainchild of former longtime Camp KBY Executive Director, Pat Haley. The member program is designed to make it easy for families to disconnect from their daily buzz and reconnect with each other and the simple joys of playing outdoors.

Says Tasha Gillum, who took over as Executive Director from Pat Haley late last year, “For a long time, Camp Kum-Ba-Yah has been a best-kept secret in the community, enjoyed by generations of children who’ve gone to summer camp here. We no longer want to remain a secret; because outdoor time spent together in nature is so beneficial for families, it seemed only natural to expand our offerings to include families, including teenagers, preschoolers, and grandparents. We hope the community’s greater familiarity with Camp KBY, in turn, will harness strong environmental stewardship of this space and a greater appreciation of nature”. 

If your family loves adventuring outdoors, join us next Sunday June 17th, Father’s Day, at 10 am for the kickoff of the Keeper of the Woods member program. Plan to join a family-friendly scavenger hunt, fishing for Father’s Day, and a BYOP (Bring Your Own Picnic) feast!

During the family scavenger hunt, get to know some of Camp KBY’s 45 acres of forest, located in the heart of Lynchburg. Tackle boxes and fishing rods are welcome among those who’d like to fish, but gear will also be provided. Festivities will end with marshmallows around a campfire, likely with a guitar strumming and some songs that are sure to make everyone giggle.

All ages are welcome, all activities on Sunday are FREE, and all you have to do is register in advance.

Click here to sign up today!

If you would like more information about Camp KBY’s expanded family offerings, please call Tasha Gillum at (434) 384-1755, or email

Camp Kum-Ba-Yah serves emerging social needs through the process of engaging children, families and community in meaningful outdoor experiences.