Mountain Meadow Ranch is located along the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, 75 miles northwest of Reno, Nevada and the Reno-Tahoe Int’l Airport. We are approximately 2 and a half hours from North Lake Tahoe. The closest town is Susanville, about 10 minutes away.
We accept boys and girls ages 7 to 17.
As we state in our camp philosophy, our program goes deeper than just offering great activities; challenging themselves to greater potential, building lasting friendships and creating a family-like atmosphere are at the core. It takes more than just a few days for campers to come away with a positive and memorable summer camp experience, both in terms of building those friendships as well as having time to avail themselves of all the activities we offer. We have found two weeks to be the minimum length of time to achieve these goals in providing campers with a truly rewarding and worthwhile experience. Our four-week sessions go further; it is in this longer time period that our coming together as a camp family and life on the ranch is experienced at its fullest potential.
Unfortunately, we do not have a scholarship or financial aid program in place at this time. Occasionally, as funds are available we may offer a limited number of partial scholarships through our partner organization, Jacquie’s Kids, set up in memory of Jacquie Ellena who co-founded Mountain Meadow Ranch with her husband in 1956.
Mountain Meadow is not staffed nor equipped to serve campers with special needs, however we are happy to refer you to camps who can.
Our goal is, and always has been, a successful experience for every child who attends Mountain Meadow. Completing the full two weeks is vital to our efforts in ensuring success. Never leave them with an “out.” Encourage your child with *positive* statements - they may be a little nervous at first (and you may be, too), but the rewards of overcoming their fears are well worth it. Tell your children how much fun they are in for, and all the new friends they will make! Our staff and directors work hard to provide the unique positive environment that has become our hallmark, and we also address homesickness directly in the open with the entire camp family. But the attitude they come into camp with will dictate their experience. We will nurture & look after them the entire time. For more about homesickness, and “kidsickness” and how we address these, please feel free to contact us.
Because of the family-like atmosphere that we have created as part of the unique environment of Mountain Meadow, returning campers welcome new campers with open arms. We strongly encourage inclusiveness as part of our camp philosophy, which all of our past campers are aware of and have previously practiced. While some new campers do come with friends or siblings, many first-timers also arrive on their own. They assimilate well into the camp family, and our counseling staff make every effort in facilitating this process.
Campers are grouped in cabins according to gender and grade. Younger boys, for example (ages 7 to 9) will be in a smaller cabin of around 6 to 8 campers with two adult counselors. Middle & older boys may be in a larger-size cabin of 15 campers with 3 or 4 counselors. The girl’s cabins are organized in the same manner.
Our cabins are fully enclosed buildings with wood bunk beds & carpeting in the living area. Each cabin also has their own bathroom with hot & cold running water. There are windows & fans for ventilation and cooling. There’s enough space to allow for a trunk or duffel bag to fit either at the ends of the beds or underneath them; shelving & counter space is provided in the bathrooms for toiletries.
Because we limit enrollment to just 110 campers per session, there is no need to “group” campers into certain activities based on age. While they are grouped by age in the cabins, all campers mix as one camp family during the daytime activities. This is a major part of what brings everyone at Mountain Meadow together, as older campers often support and cheer on the younger ones for moral support, such as when campers are challenging themselves at the high ropes course, or an all camp swim fest competition. Everyone helps each other and plays together, regardless of the age.
Campers may choose what activities they would like to do each day from the offerings we provide, twice in the morning and twice again in the afternoon. To ensure all campers have the opportunity to try all the activities, campers who have not yet attended the activity will be chosen first. Our staff guide the campers through this process and encourage them to have a “plan b” in case their first activity of choice is full. With each session being a short 14 days we encourage campers to take advantage of every opportunity given. We do our best to ensure that all campers will be able to participate in all the activities they would like to try during their stay.
We limit enrollment to 110 campers per session. This allows for a more personal camp experience for each of our campers and a good supervision ratio (our staff to camper ratio is 1 to 4).
Amazing! You can ask the campers themselves, they tell us it’s the best camp food they’ve ever had. Cooking for a smaller group allows us to more easily provide higher quality, tasty meals, and our ranch meats are home grown. Most of our meals are served buffet style and there are a variety of items at each meal for campers to choose from. A salad bar is frequently offered during dinner.
We are gluten-free friendly, and do offer alternatives for those campers who have dietary needs. However everyone’s situation is different, so please speak with us before enrolling.
It depends on the severity of the allergy and what food is involved. Most cases we can accommodate, and when we know in advance of a camper that has issues with a particular food, alternatives such as almond butter or non-dairy items will be made available. Again, please call us to discuss your specific concerns with us prior to enrolling.
Our staff to camper ratio is 4:1, both in the cabins and at the activities. While the ranch property itself is 900 acres, the actual developed area where the majority of our activities take place is a small fraction of this, and is bordered by fences that are “no go” zones without supervision. Because of the smaller group setting at Mountain Meadow, and the manner in which we organize activities, it is much easier for our staff to keep track of the campers and prevent the curious from wandering out of bounds.
Our counselors must be at least 19 years old and have completed at least one year of college. The typical age range each summer is 19-24 years old. Our staff, as with our campers, come to us from all over the U.S. and the world. A number of our counselors were previously campers with us and return to Mountain Meadow with an eager desire to share their own experiences with new campers. We also hire several international staff who add extra cultural zest to the camp family.
We take the hiring process with the utmost seriousness and are extremely selective with who we ask to join our team of counselors. It is the greatest honor to have your kids call our camp home for two weeks. That is why we do multiple interviews and a full background check on every staff before hiring. We believe that the counselors will have the biggest impact on a campers experience. So we pride ourselves on providing a team of counselors whose heart is all about giving the campers the very best experience possible.
We average 60% returning campers each summer.
We do not offer a “Visitor’s Day” per se, however, we do host parents during the drop-off and pick-up days. Opening day is particularly ideal, and if you are dropping your camper off, you are welcome to join us for lunch and meet the directors, tour the camp, help your kids get settled in and meet your camper’s counselors.
There is always a doctor or RN on duty 24 hours a day all summer long. The camp infirmary is centrally located in camp and close to all the major activity areas and the cabins.
If a medical problem arises that our resident RN, in consultation with the camp directors, warrants professional attention, an urgent care clinic and Banner Lassen Hospital in Susanville are just 10 miles from camp. We also have ambulances with paramedics and air ambulance companies that serve our area just minutes away.
At 4600’ elevation the climate is very comfortable. Daytime temps average between 75 and 95 degrees and the nights average between 45 and 65 degrees.
Homesickness is a normal part of growing up and is to be expected in varying degrees. Missing home is not a sickness, but a normal part of the. It's just missing home. We are very open about “home sickness” and discuss it as a camp family to help our campers and sometimes our staff to face and understand how they feel. We tell them that it's a normal and very natural feeling, and that it's OK. We encourage campers to tell someone how they’re feeling, to get a hug, but not to allow themselves to dwell on it. We help these campers set goals and encourage them to stay positive about the independence that they are developing, to stay busy, and make their families proud. Our success rate is near 100%. Once in a great while, a camper will really have a problem with homesickness. If, after 24 hours, the camper is still missing home and not able to participate in camp activities because of it, we will call you and together we will decide what to do.