Camp DeSoto

Spend a summer atop Lookout Mountain.

Camp DeSoto is an ecumenical Christian Summer Camp for girls, ages 8-16, on Lookout Mountain in Mentone, Alabama. DeSoto is a traditional overnight camp that has been operating since 1925, offering activities like Archery, Horseback Riding, Drama, Tennis, High Ropes, and Mountain Biking. In our month-long sessions, we enjoy community living, fun events, being outdoors, and safety in belonging.

On beautiful Lookout Mountain, between Little River Canyon National Preserve and Cloudland Canyon, and an hour south of Chattanooga, TN.

About Camp DeSoto

Camp DeSoto lies on approximately 185 acres of wooden property on the banks of the Little River. For two terms each summer, campers ages 8-16 come to Camp DeSoto to play outside, learn new skills, build lasting friendships, and rest in the safety of God’s love and the Christian community. Both First Term and Second Term are 26 days and are offered to girls in 2nd through 10th grades. 

Camp DeSoto has been in operation for over 75 years, providing a place where girls come to discover the depth of God's love and the joy of belonging. Through the nurturing care of Christian counselors, girls experience love and selfless service in action. 

The Employee Experience

Camp DeSoto offers girls the simple joys of childhood fun – from horseback riding through the woods and canoeing on Little River, to dance parties in wacky costumes and singing at the top of their lungs; from swinging on a rope swing and fishing off the bridge, to climbing to the top of the tower and acting on stage. All of these moments are led by the staff of Camp DeSoto, whether in structured activity periods or in spontaneous moments throughout the day. Staff at Camp DeSoto live and work alongside each other to give the gift of Camp, while experiencing Christian community. 

Ideal Candidate

Being on Staff at Camp DeSoto requires – like most things worth their salt – a balance of light-hearted fun and serious responsibility, a child-like spirit and mature wisdom, energetic playfulness, and a disciplined work ethic. We think that caring for, playing with, and guiding children is a high calling, and we are honored to be entrusted with both the joy and responsibility of this work. We seek to hire a staff of young women who are aware of the sacred nature of the trust we are given, and who are willing to honor that trust by giving the best of themselves to girls for the summer.

Room and Board

Staff and campers live in rustic, wooden cabins with screen windows and doors.

Program Staff (or cabin counselors) live in cabins with campers for two one-month terms. Program Staff members will live with a co-counselor and approximately 8-10 campers. SERVE staff live in similar style cabins, but live specifically with their fellow SERVE staff members. Photographers and adult Speciality staff also live in similar housing, with a bit more privacy than Program and SERVE staff. These accommodations are provided as part of your employment, and it is expected that staff members will live on Camp property throughout their employment. 

At night you'll be serenaded by cicadas and crickets; cool breezes blow through during rest hour; and on rainy days, you can hear the gentle lull of raindrops on rhododendron leaves. Living close to the outdoors is one of the best things about Camp!

These simple cabins at DeSoto are the backdrop for some of the sweetest moments in Camp, from spontaneous dance parties and silly laughter to cabin devotions and whispered good nights. Cabins become like families for the month that girls are at DeSoto, and cabin mates often become best friends.

The Camp DeSoto Dining Hall serves three family-style meals each day, which the entire community sits down to enjoy together. These meals are also included in your employment at Camp DeSoto. Campers are assigned to a table with nine to ten girls in their age group and two or three counselors. We sing a blessing before each meal and pass platters around until everyone is served.

This dining experience is becoming more and more unique, and we are grateful to be able to enjoy meals in this way thanks to the hard work of our SERVE staff. These college-aged women spend the summer setting up, serving meals, and cleaning the dining hall in order to provide Camp with the gift of family-style meals and good dinner-table conversations. Campers learn a great deal from watching these SERVE staff members at work.

Getting Here and Getting Around

Camp DeSoto is located in beautiful Mentone, Alabama atop Lookout Mountain. We are a short 45 miles southwest of Chattanooga, TN, 90 miles northeast of Birmingham, AL, and 100 miles west of Atlanta, GA. 

Staff members are welcomed (and encouraged) to bring their personal vehicles to Camp, and parking is provided onsite. 

Need to fly? We can work with you to arrange transportation from Atlanta, Birmingham, or Chattanooga airports. 

For Fun

Camp DeSoto allows staff members the opportunity to step into nature and breathe the fresh mountain air for the summer. The beautiful hiking trails of DeSoto State Park, views of Cloudland Canyon and Little River Canyon, and flowing waters of the Little River make for opportunities for adventure all summer long. 

Included in the Camp DeSoto program are also out-of-Camp trips to Dollywood, the Tennessee Aquarium, and Rock City, as well as white-water rafting trips to the Ocoee River, the Hiwassee River, and the Nantahala River. 

How to Apply

Interested in applying? We would love to talk with you! Apply online at the link provided, and we will be in touch with you within 48 hours of submitting your application to set up a virtual interview. 

Contact Camp DeSoto