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Flat Rock, NC
John Dockendorf thinks every kid should have a chance to go to camp...and he's backed it up over the years with $160,000 worth of scholarships.
If anybody should know about camps and camp kids, it's Dock, as he's known to his friends and colleagues. As a youngster of 12, he attended Camp Mondamin at Lake Summit. In fact, for 15 years, starting in the early '70s, Dock was either a camper or a counselor at Mondamin. After graduate school, Dock went to work for Globe Treks, a Hendersonville-based tour and travel agency.
"I've always wanted to run a camp," he says, "but when I got out of school I couldn't afford to buy one." While at Globe Treks, however, he was able to incubate an idea that puts together the twin attractions of adventure travel and camping.
So now that he's the owner of Adventure Treks and his 126-acre Camp Pinnacle near Hendersonville, Dock is free to run his enterprise the way he sees fit. And, for Dock, that means making camping and adventure travel attainable for just about everybody. His scholarships are not all hand-outs, though. Applicants must submit an essay along with their applications and often end up ona kind of work-study plan. "We want them to have some ownership of the experience," he explains. So the scholarships are not strictly "needs" based, but a combination of the camper's personality and individual circumstances. "Over the years," he says, "we have invested in some really great kids."