Camp Nakanawa

Camp Nakanawa

For many girls and women, Camp Nakanawa in Crossville TN has been a rich part of their lives. Founded in 1920, the overnight summer camp is situated beside a private lake.

The camp offers junior and senior camping options. It is overseen by Ann and Pepe Perron, who are committed to preserving the traditions that have made Nakanawa special. You can return to our home page.


Camp Nakanawa has been operating since 1920. It is a private summer camp for girls and young women ages 8 to 17 who live in communities of cabins around a wooded lake for an outdoor experience that broadens interests, builds self-esteem and team spirit through a variety of activities, a healthy diet and cooperative living away from school and social pressures.

A cherished reminder of the camp’s history is the mural painted by Ely Mahier in 1934, which hangs in the Senior Dining Hall. It depicts Colonel Rice, Annie Hayes, and many of the early leaders of the camp.

Mary serves on the Board of Directors and is committed to cultivating philanthropy that will preserve the best of the camp while sustaining it for the next century. She is a pulmonologist and lives in Norfolk VA with her husband and two daughters.


Camp Nakanawa provides overnight summer camp experiences for girls and young women in communities of cabins centered around a private, wooded lake. Away from school and social pressures, campers embrace century-old traditions, develop self-esteem through achievement, learn to live in a different environment, and enjoy lifelong friendships.

Flossie McNabb Sonneland of Knoxville attended the camp for several years in the 1960s and fondly remembers the community built in the cabins. She especially enjoyed swimming and sports, like fencing and horseback riding. She also recalled being a Valkyrie and the special mural in the old dining hall that depicts Colonel Rice and other key figures from the camp’s history. More places to also visit by clicking here.


The main office is located in the Senior Camp and houses the directors, program coordinators, and bookkeepers. Incoming and outgoing mail is distributed from here as well.

The two-week session is for girls ages 8 to 14 and the four-week session is for girls ages 10 to 16. Each age group attends a different camp which allows them to mingle with their peers while also having a camping experience tailored to their age.

The ring of a bell signals the start of classes, and during the day, they typically have 7 classes that range from horseback riding to archery. All this activity works up an appetite and at lunchtime, campers head to the commissary for yogurt or a cold juicy apple.


Camp Nakanawa is an overnight summer camp that provides girls with a safe and caring environment to build self-confidence through outdoor experiences. Girls can participate in a wide variety of activities including tennis, swimming, archery, horseback riding, arts and crafts, and games.

Nan Chamberlain Smith of Chattanooga, who went to camp at least once a year beginning in the 1940s and served as a counselor, said her positive memories include learning independence and having a lot of fun. She is a descendant of Eudora Welty and part of a family that has long been involved with the camp.

The first bell rings at 8:30, and then it’s off to the first class. After three morning classes, it’s an apple break or Rest Hour.

Outdoor Activities

Founded in 1920 beside a private lake, this all-girls Tennessee overnight camp is a place where kids can learn to appreciate nature. Their beautiful grounds are full of bountiful space for field games, horseback riding, archery, and other fun activities that make kids feel more connected to the outdoors.

After 3 morning classes, the bell rings to go to Apple Break, which is a quick stop at the commissary for yogurt and an apple. From there, it’s off to the next class.

Girls can choose from a wide range of activities that include arts and crafts, swimming, tennis, boating, glee club, and dance. Their counselor-in-training program is ideal for ambitious students who are looking to gain leadership skills.


A four-week stay at Nakanawa teaches girls to live in a different environment and develop independence, leadership skills, and self-confidence. Friendships that blossom during these weeks can last a lifetime.

Karen brings that same love of camp and her caring attitude to her position as Camp Director. She is a strong advocate of continuing the values that Nakanawa stands for. Learning to be compassionate, and inclusive and recognizing the value of teamwork are just some of the lessons that Nakanawa instills in its campers.

Cathy Shearer Morris of Chattanooga went to Nakanawa as a younger girl and returned as a counselor. She has many positive memories of her time there. Click here for the next blog post.



Driving directions from Advanced Cleaning Services to Camp Nakanawa

Driving directions from Camp Nakanawa to Meadow Creek Park


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