Two Ways to Make a Memorable Summer for Your Kids


One of the best things about Chatham County is the family-friendliness of the area.

Not only have Chatham County and the Triangle won many awards for family-friendliness (Forbes ranks Raleigh as the No. 1 city for raising a family; Chapel Hill is No. 1 on real estate blog Movoto’s list of best small cities for education; Chapel Hill is the No. 3 most caring, city), there are also TONS of events for you and your family. I’d like to highlight two camps this summer perfect for kids in the area:

  • JAM Camp: Students will enjoy a musical day camp in a rural setting learning about the Appalachian style of music.
  • Big Cat Safari Summer Camp: Campers will experience the incredible world of the feline sanctuary.

If you’re looking for ways to make a memorable summer for your kids, these camps could be for you!

JAM Camp:

The Chatham County JAM education program introduces children (from 3rd to 8th grade) to music by teaching instruments common to the Appalachian and Piedmont regions of North Carolina, such as the mandolin, banjo and guitar. The program also teaches dance and song.

The 2015 JAM Camp in Chatham County will take place June 15, 2015 – 8:30am – June 19, 2015 – 4:00pm, and in addition to music, students will enjoy water games, storytelling, cooking, and much more at Silk Hope Farm Heritage Park. For details on price, schedule and deadlines, please click this link.

Why send your kids to JAM Camp? The Appalachian Mountains (just a few hours’ drive from Chatham County) are home to some of the most culturally-iconic music in the U.S., known as Appalachian music. With influences from Celtics, British and African-American communities, this style of music includes group singing, ballads, and “bluegrass” instruments, such as the banjo, mandolin and fiddle.

Today, Fiddlers’ Conventions, house parties, and back-porch jams keep the music alive. Unfortunately, the Appalachian music style is considered outdated by most of the public, but a visit to the Southern Appalachians, particularly Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina, will still find singers and musicians holding forth on banjo and fiddle, still playing classics. And, as anyone who has seen them live will attest, they can PLAY! They can move you with a ballad as easily as they can have you tapping your feet with an upbeat tempo.

JAM Camp is helping to keep this tradition alive! The residents of Chatham County, like most places in North Carolina, are proud of their cultural heritage. Why not celebrate this heritage while also teaching your kids valuable skills?

It’s not all about the music, though. In addition to instrument and dance lessons, kids will enjoy a jump rope exhibition, country cooking, farm education and a Friday night barn dance. I’m kind of jealous that I can’t go myself!

The JAM Camp features many events, including a jump rope exhibition.

Big Cat Safari Summer Camp:

Hosted at the Carolina Tiger Rescue, your kids will enjoy learning about the incredible worlds of big cats, including tigers, cougars, bobcats and more.

The Carolina Tiger Rescue is a 501(c)3 nonprofit wildcat sanctuary, whose mission is saving and protecting wildcats in captivity and in the wild. It provides a home to wildcats in need of rescue and educates the public about what threatens these animals: in the wild, in the pet trade, and in the entertainment industry.

Why send your kids to the Safari Camp? Part of the Carolina Tiger Rescue’s education is the Big Cat Safari Summer Camp. At the camp, participants will visit the animals daily, learn about the essential role carnivores play in nature, find out what it takes to be a wildcat veterinarian, and practice wildlife biology skills. Kids will leave with a greater appreciation for wildlife.

Also, (and what I think is the coolest activity of the camp!) campers will get to help some of the tigers express their creativity through painting. Painting with tigers! It’s hard for me to imagine a better way to make an awesome summer memory.

The camp will take place June 15, 2015 (All day) – July 17, 2015 (All day). For more details, please click this link to the information packet.

The Carolina Tiger Rescue is home to many large cats, including my favorite: tigers!

Don’t let your kids have all the fun! If you’d like a taste of the action at the Carolina Tiger Rescue, consider going on a Twilight Tour. Available seasonally (April-October) on Saturday evenings at sunset, a twilight tour takes guests on a walk during the most active part of the cats’ days. Call for scheduled times and reservations. Ages 13 and up.

What plans do you have for YOUR family this summer?