Program Details

Program duration: 5 days / 4 nights
When & Where: Wednesday, June 13 - Sunday, June 17, 2012
Where: Asheville, North Carolina
Arrival Airport: Asheville (AVL)
Who: 8-12 participants ages 16-21, program leader Blake Boles, and guest speakers.
A minimum of 8 participants is required to run this program.
How Much: $499. Program fee includes accommodation, breakfasts, dinners, and all activities.
Application Status: Program full.
Priority Application Deadline: The priority deadline was March 1st, 2012. We continued accepting applications until mid-May, when the program filled.

What's in Your Toolkit?

To succeed as a self-directed learner, every unschooler needs a toolkit. This isn't a physical toolkit, of course—it's a set of personal skills that help you figure out your goals and make your dreams come true.

The purpose of this 5-day Unschool Adventures leadership program is to introduce you to a big, new set of powerful tools that can help make you a better self-directed learner. Combining the most popular activities from two previous programs—2011's Asheville-based ZTC Camp and 2010's Spring Leadership Retreat—we've created an exciting new series of workshops and adventures for unschoolers ages 16-21.

If you're an unschooler who...

...then you are who we designed this program for.

"I am so inspired! All my goals were reached:
new tools, new inspiration, new network, and a better perspective

-Feedback from a 2011 ZTC Camp student

The 2011 ZTC Camp group in Asheville


This program features three types of events: workshops, adventures, and evening activities.

Workshops are the hands-on and/or discussion-based activities that provide new tools for self-directed learning. Some of the workshops that you'll enjoy (and questions they'll address) include:

Adventures are the exciting challenges that apply workshop lessons to the real world. Some of your adventures will include: a city-wide scavenger hunt, a field trip to the local state university (to crash some summer classes and chat up professors), an entrepreneurial challenge (to build something out of nothing), and a challenge to take an interesting person out to coffee.

Evening activities will include a trip to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, "What Fascinates You?" talks, guided online portfolio building, and a surprise event.

Our repeating daily activity schedule will look like this:

(The first and last days will be shortened due to arrival and departure.)

All events will be led by Unschool Adventures director Blake Boles. Blake has been leading workshops through Unschool Adventures, home/unschooling conferences, Not Back to School Camp, teen wilderness leadership programs, and outdoor education programs for 9 years.

Students taking the bus during an adventure field trip (ZTC Camp 2011)

A workshop in Asheville's Pack Square Park (ZTC Camp 2011)


Accommodations and Meals

Your home for four nights will be Sweetpeas Hostel, located in the heart of downtown Asheville. All students will stay in their own private "pods" with a private locker and free wi-fi. Sweetpeas is within easy walking distance to downtown Asheville's numerous cafes, restaurants, bookstores, libraries, and other attractions. All students will have their own key cards to enter and exit the hostel as they wish.

Your accommodation: a private "pod"

Local artist and unschooling mom Genie Maples has generously donated her downtown studio space as a meeting place for our group. We'll also utilize Mojo Coworking's conference room (with 55" HD TV/monitor and white board) and Asheville's many parks and cafes.

A discussion with guest speakers at Genie's studio (ZTC Camp 2011)

Breakfasts and dinners will be provided by Unschool Adventures staff. Breakfasts will be D.I.Y. with cereal, fruit, yogurt, bagels, toast, etc. We'll offer a hearty vegetarian dinner each night, such as pasta & salad or a burrito bar. Students will purchase their own lunches (this is a logistical necessity as students will be out-and-about in small groups at lunchtime).

A note about younger participants

Sweetpeas hostel will allow a handful of under-18's to join our group. (They usually require guests to be over 18). Students ages 16 & 17 may therefore apply as normal. If you're 15 or younger, please contact the office before applying. Please note that program staff will not provide 24-hour monitoring of younger participants. They will be treated as full program participants and self-responsible young adults.


Getting to Asheville

You may either drive or fly to Asheville. The program will begin at 3:00PM on Wednesday June 13th, and end at 12 Noon on Sunday June 17th.

Because Asheville's airport (AVL) is small and has limited options, if you intend to fly, please book your flight as early as possible! The next closest airport is Greenville/Spartanburg (GSP), a 1.5-hour drive from Asheville without any public transportation options. We may be able to arrange transportation for you from Greenville/Spartanburg, but it may involve additional costs and time. Flying into Asheville is your best bet.

If you drive, public parking is available at $8/day at the Rankin Avenue parking garage adjacent to Sweetpeas Hostel.

Asheville and the Blue Ridge mountains
Downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains

Program location

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"Swallow all your discomfort, and just throw yourself out there (in regards to talking to people). 3 times out of 5, the people didn't want to talk to me, but those 2 people who did talk were well worth the time and effort, and they were really nice and helpful."
-Advice from a 2011 ZTC Camp student

Frequently Asked Questions

Please read the general and domestic trip FAQs before applying to this trip.

Browse the photos from the 2011 ZTC Camp in Asheville, a blog post describing ZTC Camp, and photos from 2010's Spring Leadership Retreat in Ashland, Oregon.

Have More Questions?

Contact us via e-mail or phone and we'll be happy to answer your questions.