Summer Camps & Retreats



Nestled in the beautiful woodlands adjacent to the Bankhead National Forest sits Camp McDowell, a vital gathering spot for the Diocese of Alabama since 1948. Current and former campers alike will tell you that Camp McDowell fosters a supportive Christian community in which an enthusiastic staff supports young people's growth and development of an abiding respect for each other and the world around them.

At Camp McDowell we show the way the world could be through worship, learning, rest, and play in the beauty of God’s Backyard. At our camps and faith based retreats, we spread the Gospel through Christian camp community, the care of creation, the gift of inclusion, and the joy of creativity and play.

Each summer camp session features a unique program theme designed by a priest from the Diocese and program staff that designs daily, age-appropriate programs and activities that incorporate skits, songs, art, and a healthy dose of humor. These programs encourage learning through scripture, the traditional teachings of the church, and personal and contemporary issues with themes ranging from the environment to discipleship.

Summer camps and faith based retreats at Camp McDowell generally take place in one of two camp facilities: the traditional Camp on Clear Creek and the new Camp in Bethany Village. Both offer a host of fun activities including such favorites as hiking, paddle sports on our Clear Creek or Sloan Lake, arts and crafts, swimming in the pools, a ropes & group action course, field games like soccer, frisbee, and capture the flag, free time, and Pasture Party complete with face-painting, grilled treats and watermelon, and a hayride. All are welcome at Camp McDowell so come join us!

Dates and Rates

Session Ages Dates Cost Registration
Fall Fling 5th and 6th graders October 25 - 27, 2019 $135 OPEN: Register Here
Family Farm to Table ALL ages November 22 - 24, 2019 Determined by age and lodging OPEN: Register Here
Winter Weekend 7th and 8th graders January 18 - 21, 2020 $160 OPENS DEC 1
Our Time Grief Support Retreat 6th-12th graders and their adult caregiver March 13 - 15, 2020 FREE OPENS DEC 1
Awakenings 7th and 8th graders March 27 - 29, 2020 $135 OPENS DEC 1
Awakenings - YOUTH STAFF 10th - 12th graders March 26 - 29, 2020 $135 OPENS DEC 1
Mother/Daughter Retreat 1st grade and up April 17 - 19, 2020 $135 per person OPENS DEC 1
Primary I Entering 1st-3rd with adult May 22 - 24, 20209 $155 per person OPENS DEC 1
Elementary II Entering 4th and 5th May 27 - 31, 2020 $325 OPENS DEC 1
Youth Folk Camp Entering 5th-12th May 27 - 30, 2020 Depends on Classes Desired OPENS DEC 1
Junior High I Entering 6th-7th June 3 - 9, 2020 $490 OPENS DEC 1
Junior High II Entering 7th-8th June 12 - 19, 2020 $570 OPENS DEC 1
Sophomore Camp Entering 8th-9th June 23 - July 1, 2020 $620 OPENS DEC 1
Senior Camp Entering 10th-12th July 6 - 14, 2020 $690 OPENS DEC 1
Middler Camp Entering 5th-6th July 17 - 22, 2020 $425 OPENS DEC 1
Camper Buddy @ Bethany's Kids Entering 10th-High School Graduates July 24 - 28, 2020 $350 OPENS DEC 1
Bethany's Kids Inclusion Camp Entering 4th-8th with AND without disabilities July 25 - 28, 2020 $350 OPENS DEC 1
Elementary I Entering 3rd-4th July 25 - 28, 2020 $285 OPENS DEC 1
Primary II Entering 1st-3rd with adult July 31 - Aug 2, 2020 $155 per person OPENS DEC 1
Father/Son Retreat 1st grade and up September 4-6, 2020 $135 per person TBD
Women's Retreat All Adult Women September 4-6, 2020 Determined by Lodging TBD
Fall Fling 5th and 6th graders October 29 - Nov 1, 2020 $135 TBD
Family Farm to Table ALL ages November 13 - 15, 2020 Determined by age and lodging TBD

Register or Login

  • Check the calendar (Click Here for Calendar) to find the camp or retreat you wish to attend and then complete your application accordingly.
  • Applications may be received through our online system or mail-in application (Click Here for Mail-In Application).
  • Submit forms with a $50 NON-REFUNDABLE deposit or the full balance of your session no less than 10 days prior to the first day of your session. You are not ‘registered’ until the $50 deposit is received. We regret that we cannot hold a spot for you without a deposit or special financial arrangement. In the event of a cancellation, the $50 non-refundable deposit will be retained.
  • For scholarship information, please contact Kathryn Kendrick, Director of Summer Camps and Retreats.
  • For Primary I and Primary II, the adult and child camper must each submit an individual registration application, payment, and health form.


Are you familiar with Camp McDowell and enjoy the setting? Then you may be enjoy serving as an adult volunteer at a Summer Camp! There are several opportunities for adult volunteers in all camps including one or a combination of the following roles:

  • Program Staff member

  • Music leader

  • Arts & Crafts leader

  • Cabin Counselor

  • Lifeguard

  • Skilled Support Staff (doctor, EMT, nurse, counselor, teacher, etc.)

  • Personal Care Assistant

  • Behind-the-scenes support (set up, administrative, clean-up, etc)

  • Prayer Partner for a Summer Staff Member

Volunteer Requirements Include:

  • Application with references

  • Completion of “Safeguarding God’s Children” sexual-misconduct and abuse prevention online course

  • Permission to conduct a criminal background check (19 and older)

  • Strict adherence to all volunteer policies of Camp McDowell and The Diocese of Alabama

  • Attendance to meetings and or training specific to an event

  • A great attitude of service and sacramental leadership!

Some camp sessions may be appropriate for families to volunteer together.

If you are interested in serving as a volunteer in a summer camp, please complete a Volunteer Interest Form.



Counselors in Training are an invaluable component to our summer camp experience. They bring new energy, new ideas, and a helping hand to the permanent summer staff and each session staff. Serving as a CIT is a great way to gain valuable work experience and “try out” being a staff member.

CITs are welcome at Elementary, Middler, and Junior High Camps.

CITs must be high school graduates or a minimum of 18 years old.