Academic Summer Camp

With our flagship program, Academic Summer Camp, we’ve been creating life-changing outdoor education experiences for children, primarily those residing in public housing.

This past year more students were able to attend Academic Summer Camp than ever before. Well over 300 kids attended either our 4-week-long Legacy Camper program or single-week Partner Camper programs. Most of our students were Apple Ridge kids who attended our Legacy Camp, but we also hosted students from The West End Center and Boys and Girls Clubs from all over Southwest Virginia.

Students engaged in academic programming that extended the classroom into the summer without feeling like they were in school. Our students focused on Literacy, Environmental Education, and Math courses this summer with a heavy dose of mindfulness and character-building as well. We are providing our programs at no cost to the participant campers, their families, or partner organizations.

Get Outside 

The Get Outside program provides outdoor adventure activities that promote wellness and team-building skills! Activities include the 60 ft climbing wall and observation tower, High and Low ropes courses such as the Zipline and Leap of Faith, hiking trails, games on the multi-purpose field, and various team-building activities like the Elephant Skis and All Aboard!

Local nonprofit youth-serving organizations may contact Josh Thoemke, Executive Director ( to schedule a date for their group/students. This program is FREE OF CHARGE to local nonprofit youth-serving organizations. 

Example Itinerary:

9:00 a.m. – Arrival and Orientation, pre-event survey
9:15 a.m. – Teambuilding (Group 1), Climbing Tower & Observation Deck (Group 2)
10:15 a.m. – Hike (Groups 1 & 2)
11:00 a.m. – Climbing Tower & Observation Deck (Group 1), Teambuilding (Group 2)
12:30 p.m. – Debrief & post-event survey

Environmental Education

The Environmental Education Program affords children the opportunity to learn about biology, ecology, and conservation through field identification of terrestrial and aquatic species inhabiting the Apple Ridge ecosystem, and hands-on learning about life cycles, adaptation, and conservation of each species.  Our Environmental Education programs focus on developing a direct appreciation and understanding of our natural world while correlating with the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs). In addition to its inclusion in Academic Summer Camp, our Environmental Education program is marketed to school systems and organizations throughout the Roanoke Valley and five surrounding counties.  

Schedule a field trip


Aspire Mindsets

We have begun a new mentoring-based program at multiple sites inside Roanoke City Elementary and Middle Schools. These weekly or bi-weekly programs focus on our students’ behavioral issues and provide them with a role model to look up to. Students do character-building programming as a group and spend time with mentors every week. We provide this to students free of charge. This, along with all of our other programs, do not exist without you!


A+STEM Academy is an after school program that allows students to apply knowledge gained from school in a context that is STEM focused which promotes a deeper learning and reinforcement of the skills in a fun and creative way while supporting the growth and development of the whole child.

Apple Ridge Farm currently works with the 21st Century Program at Hurt Park Elementary School and Garden City Elementary School to grow and nurture their school garden. During these learning sessions, students learn about gardening, the food system, and have an opportunity to taste what they grow! 

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