Camp Craddock

A Mission Trip Without Parallel!

Camp Craddock is a traveling summer camp delivered to children’s backyards and providing songs, stories, games, and crafts each day for one week. Since 2011, this program has delivered summer enrichment to children at greatest risk of summer reading loss. Sandwiched between service of breakfast and lunch and interspersed with visits from the Story Express, our customized book mobile, Camp Craddock serves multiple sites throughout Southern Appalachia each year.

  • No immunization, no passport, no air travel!
  • Stay at The Craddock Center, dorm-style
  • Use a ready-to-go, traveling curriculum each day
  • Integrate your own creativity, music, crafts, and talents
  • BYO musical instruments, or use ours

The Craddock Center is located in the North Georgia mountains of Southern Appalachia.


“Delivery” is key to our mission and Camp Craddock is our summer-time delivery of “happy & hope.” The goal of Camp Craddock is to reduce or eliminate the summer learning gap. This mobile camp is delivered to children in their own backyards through the work of mission groups and summer staff. More than 400 children participated in Camp Craddock in summer 2018. The week-long camp curriculum consists of songs and stories, arts and crafts, physical movement, and books each day. Activities take place between a breakfast and lunch, provided through the USDA Seamless Summer Meal Program.

Educational/Advocacy Components

Craddock Center staff and volunteers offer additional programming and guided reflection each weekday a group is on site; mission group leaders are asked to be responsible for worship components. Programming and the mission of The Craddock Center were developed and implemented by our founder Dr. Fred Craddock. There are many formal worship choices in the area.

The Craddock Center staff offers and request community discussion at least one afternoon in which they and mission trip members contemplate the wider context of our work and its effect upon our constituents.

Work Needed

Mission groups with a passion for children and a desire to “get their hands dirty” are welcome and needed! Each day, the mission group travels to a nearby neighborhood to lead children in songs, read stories, guide games/physical movement, direct craft activities, and receive books from the Story Express (our van full of books).  Though mission groups may propose their own activities and interject their own creativity, a full camp curriculum is available. Once done with a day’s activities, the team heads back to home base at The Craddock Center where activities might include preparation of the next day’s craft project, song & story practice, or other activities to help out around The Craddock Center.


June and July of 2019. Contact with The Craddock Center can be initiated now in order to choose a desirable week or to be placed on our waiting list. The Craddock Center is able to accommodate one mission group each week of June and July,this timeframe typically excludes the July 4th holiday week.

Group Size: 10 to 15 is ideal, though a smaller or larger group can possibly be accommodated and the group size depends on adult-youth ratio.

Minimum Age: 10

Adult to Youth Ratio: 1 adults per 3 youth.


Dormitory-style room and board is available at the Center, with a full kitchen, triple toilet/sink men’s and women’s restrooms, showers, flexible partitions for sleeping quarters with cots. Because of our mountain location, groups or some group members might also choose to rent more standard housing, and the Center can refer groups to cabin rental agencies.


To cover costs of staying at the Center, groups are asked to make a minimum donation of $100 per person for the week. Of course, we hope that you will LOVE serving children through Camp Craddock and will support it in a way that is meaningful to your group! Meals and transportation are provided by your group.

Frequently Asked Questions

About the living space and kitchen

Is there a microwave?

Yes, there is a microwave.

Is there ice?

Our fridge makes a modest amount of ice, but there is a gas station about a mile down the road and grocery stores in Ellijay and Blue Ridge.

Do you have a coffee maker, coffee, etc. or should we bring our own?

We have two 50-cup urns, a 12-cup pot, a keurig and filters.

Do we bring our own paper plates, flatware, etc.?

We have plenty of real dishes and flatware though no dishwasher, so paper products are up to you.

Is there a grill?

Yes, thanks to a generous donation last summer, we have a charcoal grill!

What type of bedding is provided?

We have 15 regular-sized twins on an elevated frame. You will need to bring linens/blankets/sleeping bag.

What kitchen items are provided?

Thanks to donations, we have an electric griddle, 4-slice toaster, a 5-piece set of glass bakeware, and miscellaneous pots/pans. We have one cookie sheet and various kitchen utensils.

Does The Craddock Center have showers and multiple bathrooms?

The Craddock Center is equipped with two, gender-neutral showers that are accessible apart from the toilets. We have two separate restrooms for women and men, each containing multiple stalls and three sinks.

Is there a washer /dryer that could be used?

There is no washer and dryer.

Places Nearby

Is there a Walmart/Grocery store nearby?
Yes, both Blue Ridge and Ellijay have up-to-date, full grocery stores and a Walmart.

What are some nearby restaurants?
(Please see our Pinterest board or local Chamber of Commerce websites for complete list.)

  • Pink Pig Barbecue in Cherry Log
  • Pizza – Papa’s Pizza (Blue Ridge & Ellijay), Pizza King (Ellijay)
  • Mercier’s Orchard

What are some things to do in this area?
(Please see our Pinterest board or local Chamber of Commerce websites for complete list.)

  • Hiking trails (The Center is located on the Benton-MacKaye Trail.)
  • Tubing/rafting
  • Big Foot museum
  • Drive-in theater
  • Shopping in downtown Blue Ridge/Ellijay

What to Bring

Do we need to provide craft supplies or supplies to play games?
We’ll have the crafts supplies you need, and if you realize in preparation that we’re short on something or don’t have exactly what you need, we’re happy to pick it up at Walmart/Dollar Tree.

Can we bring craft supplies too?
Absolutely! Feel free to bring anything you would like to use or ask us to buy it before your visit.

What other things should we bring for our stay at the Center?
Experienced mission trip participants recommend the following: earplugs, sheets, blankets, pillows, cameras, toiletries, bug repellant, comfortable shoes and clothing, and folding camping chairs for the site visits for those who may not be comfortable on the ground.

About the Camp Sites

What time do we need to be at site each day?
Loading up will be dependent on how much help you have, how many vehicles, and prep the night before more than anything. Typically, based on summer-time sleeping in, our children are ready for breakfast and fun by 10:30.

Do we pack a brown bag lunch for ourselves and take it to the site or eat when we return?
Either way is fine though eating together is a nice way to build relationships with the children and give them nice one-on-one time with your group members.

Will there be water at the camp site?
We do have 3 large-capacity water coolers (kind with spouts) for taking drinking water to the site each day.

How many kids are at each site?
It depends on the site. There can be between 10 and 70 children, and we’ll match your group to the site that makes most sense. Because participation varies over the week, it’s always best to have more material than you think you’ll need. The number of children that come out on a particular day is often unpredictable.

Do the kids speak English?
Not necessarily. Depending on which site you visit, the preschool children may not and those who are in school typically will. The adults often will not, but it’s nice when they come out to watch and help.

Are there any bug issues that we should be aware of in advance?
Yes. We recommend using bug repellent for mosquitoes.

What does a typical day look like at Camp Craddock?

  • 9:30                Leave Center, loaded for day
  • 10:00              Arrive on site and set up tent, table, etc.
  • 10:15             Camp Craddock
  • 12:00              Return to The Center
  • 12:30 – (varies)   Complete tasks around the Center, participate in a debriefing one day, learn about the Center one day, have fun and enjoy the activities and towns of the North Georgia mountains!

Are there tents at the Center that we can bring to the camp site?
We have three canopy tents that can be used.

If we were to take pictures of our youth working with kids, is this permissible or would we need a release?
Generally, if the kids are comfortable with it and there are no geographical (other than southern Appalachia) or personal identifiers used, it’s fine.

Will we have access to The Story Express?
Each site gets a visit from our mobile library once a week during the summer. Your group is welcome to drive the Story Express and deliver books in addition to hosting camp.

Things the Craddock Center Needs

Have you had kitchen items donated or are you interested in any and all kitchen bakeware and cookware we can bring?
We are certainly not over capacity. Check out our list of items we have, and if you see something that you think would be useful for other groups to have that is not on the list, we would be very grateful to have it.


What time should we arrive on Sunday?
There is a brief orientation/tour of the Center on Sunday, so groups typically arrive by late afternoon; or as soon as they can arrive.

What do we do with trash?
The center has a weekly trash service.

What has to be done before we leave?
We will have a cleanup task list available before your departure day.

 A Sample Day of Camp Craddock Curriculum

Bucket 1: A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Access Pinterest bucket by clicking here.

Materials Needed

baby wipes (to clean hands/feet after you’re done!)
finger paint in various colors
thick paper
paintbrushes and/or markers to add details to handprints
paper plates
googly eyes
hula hoop
Kleenex boxes
Countable things (pom poms, small blocks, dry beans, etc.)
blindfolds (optional)

Get Started Song


Kids love to sing this one faster and faster! Repeat each line four times

Baby shark, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Momma shark, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Daddy shark, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Sunny day, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Going swimming, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Tidal wave, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Shark attack, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
We're swimming fast, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
We're safe at last, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

Word of the Day

Can you think of any animals that sleep during the day and stay up all night? (fireflies, bats, owls, baby brothers, etc.) Can you think of the word that means to sleep during the day and stay up at night?

The word is nocturnal! Animals that are awake during the day and that sleep at night are diurnal animals. Can you think of any animals that are diurnal? (dogs, butterflies, horses, birds, etc.)


A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Why doesn’t Amos McGee go into work? (Standard CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.1)

Do you think Amos is a good friend to the animals? Why or why not? What do you think makes a good friend? (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.9)

Amos McGee has some unusual and unlikely friends. Can you think of any other stories where characters are friends when you wouldn’t expect them to be?

If you could pick an animal at the zoo to be Amos McGee’s friend, which animal would you pick? If you could pick one game to play with Amos McGee to make him feel better when he was sick, what would you pick?


Five Elephants in the Bathtub

Motions and lyrics:

One elephant in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
Knock, Knock,
(Clap twice with "Knock, Knock.")
Splash, Splash,
(Slap knees twice with "Splash, Splash.")
Come on in!
(Motion with both hands to come in.)

Two elephants elephants in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
Knock, Knock,
Splash, Splash,
Come on in!

Three elephants in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
Knock, Knock,
Splash, Splash,
Come on in!

Four elephants elephants in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
Knock, Knock,
Splash, Splash,
Come on in!

Five elephants elephants in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
Knock, Knock,
Splash, Splash,
They all fell in!


Sick Day Tag

A tag game that will wear your kids out!!

  1. Make really big boundaries.
  2. One person is “it.” This person has to chase the others. When he tags someone, that person “gets sick” and must lay down with both hands and feet sticking straight up. In order for the sick person to feel better, four people must tag one limb each.
  3. Once someone has been a “sick kid” three times (this is on the honor system), they are now “it”. It’s always possible to have multiple people being “it” and makes it crazier when you don’t know who to run from!

***This activity works well for campers of all ages***


Teamed Up Animals Tag

The animals have to work together to get to Amos McGee so they can make him feel better!

  1. Form two equal lines with players in a single file line.
  2. Each player reaches his left hand through their legs and grabs the right hand of the person behind them. This forms the Animal Chain.
  3. The object of the game is to have each group run around a given point or person and back to a place without breaking. Any time a team breaks, the kids have to run back and start over.

***This game works well for campers of all ages, but it can be easier if you break campers into teams based on height***

Circle Game

Hula Hoop Help

This is a quick, fun, game that can be used on any day.

  1. Have your kids stand in a big circle, but still close enough to grab hands.
  2. Put a hula hoop on one kids arm and then have everyone join hands.
  3. The goal is to move the hula hoop around the circle without any kids letting go of each other’s hands!

***This activity works well for campers of all ages***

Math Activity

Blind Team Addition!

Kleenex boxes
Countable things (pom poms, small blocks, dry beans, etc.)
Blindfolds (optional)

  1. Before each round, have the counselors hide two Kleenex boxes from campers and fill each with an easily countable (and age appropriate) number of beans (or other countable items). Be sure you know how many beans are in each box for the next step! The boxes could be color coded to accommodate different ages (e.g., blue box is for preschoolers, green box is for primary grades, etc.).
  2. Have campers pair up, preferably with other campers of the same age. Call each pair forward, blindfold each kid (or just ask them to close their eyes), and have them try to feel how many objects are in their box.
  3. Once they have both got the right number, ask them to complete an age appropriate math problem with their two numbers (ex. If Erica’s box has 7 beans, and Carlos’s box has 4, you could say “7 beans take away 4 is????” or “Erica has 7 beans and Carlos has 4. How many total beans do they have?”)

***For younger kids, you can just have them count their beans and not do any arithmetic. For older kids, you can give more complicated problems, OR add in more boxes and numbers that they have to try to add without pencil and paper. Get creative with the rules and find something that works best for your group!***


Handprint Animals

Materials Needed:
Baby wipes (to clean hands/feet after you’re done!)
Finger paint in various colors
thick paper
paintbrushes and/or markers to add details to paintings once you’ve done your handprint
Paper plates
googly eyes

Photo courtesy of

Who doesn’t love to get their hands a little dirty?

This craft is simple but FUN! Fill paper plates with enough paint to dip a whole hand in. Have yoru kids dip their hands in paint and then on the paper. From there, they can keep adding details with their fingers, or use a paintbrush or marker to add eyes, ears, and anything else they might want.

***This activity works well for campers of all ages***