camp chanco

Welcome to Camp Chanco

Chanco on the James has one of the most successful youth camping programs in Virginia. The camp program has been running continuously since 1968 and is accredited by the American Camping Association.


All about Camp Chanco

Where No Child is Left Inside

This residential camp for boys and girls ages 8 to 18 years is a place for having fun, making friends, trying new things, and enjoying God’s creation. Every year from 2014-2020, Chanco has enjoyed the recognition of being voted number one “Best Summer Camp” by Virginia Living Magazine.


Traditional Sessions

Each morning will feature three great camp activities and afternoons will include another activity block as well as free time for swimming. After dinner, campers will enjoy playing games and socializing outdoors during canteen time.

Christian community will be a large part of the day as your camper spends the majority of his/her time making friends and enjoying new experiences with his/her campsite.

Special events throughout the week, like Big Day and Chanco Night make for an unforgettable experience at Camp Chanco.


Evening Activities

There will be various Evening Programs to allow the entire camp to gather together in fun. Once these are finished, we will all circle up to sing the Chanco song and share in a devotional before heading back to the campsite to rest up for another fun day.


Chanco Experience

Campers enjoy a range of outdoor activities, camp skits, songs, and rich traditions. Our residential camp program offerings: Climbing Wall, High Ropes, Zip Lines, Low Ropes, Swimming Pool, Boating, Sailing, Paddleboarding, Arts and Crafts, Archery, Basketball, Gaga, and other Games, Nature Classes, and Evening Programs.

Many youth report discovering God in a different way in our relaxed, natural environment.

An Episcopal priest, deacon or a qualified religious education worker is responsible for the worship and education program of each session.


Chanco Values

Emphasis is placed on individual growth in a context of Christian community through relationships with other youth and adults, through religious education and worship, and through a variety of recreational activities.

Camp Mission

As part of the total program of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, Chanco on the James gives the exciting opportunity for young people to live together in a natural setting.

Campers discover, removed from a materially structured daily life, the rich rewards of a shared experience in a community utilizing personal resources for growth and enrichment.

Mission Statement

To provide an opportunity for campers to grow as responsible persons in the context of a Christian community.


In a relaxed and fun atmosphere, we hope to develop a sense of belonging in which those who attend may come to know themselves more deeply, learn to relate to others, and experience a deeper awareness of our Lord.


That campers are helped to become self-reliant, tolerant, helpful, and kind; and that the effort is made to relate these values as learned in the Chanco experience to home and the world at large.

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Camp Objectives

Chanco seeks to be a re-telling of the story of God’s love for people through His gifts of nature, personhood, relationships, and our Lord Jesus Christ.


To provide an opportunity to learn to better appreciate one’s self and others.



To provide opportunities for spiritual growth and greater understanding of the Christian faith.



To relate the camper to the natural environment for greater understanding and appreciation.



To develop skills which have carry-over value the camper’s home life.



To develop an understanding of community living and community cooperation.



To provide an enjoyable experience in the outdoors.



To provide a safe environment in which the camper can function to the best of their potential.



To maintain and incorporate the objectives of the American Camp Association (ACA).


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Specialty Camps

In addition to our traditional camp sessions, we offer these specialty camps for those seeking an exciting alternative:

Winter Camp

Campers ages 7-12 will be able to return during the winter months for another Chanco experience filled with fun camp activities and enriching worship. As an added bonus, campers will receive a cool gift – the season’s camp T-shirt! This means that they can show all their friends they were the first campers of the season. This is the perfect opportunity for a younger camper to return to Chanco or a new camper to be introduced to Chanco. What a fantastic way to get excited for upcoming summer camp programs!

Campers will arrive for winter camp at the Dining Hall between 6pm and 7pm Friday night after having eaten dinner. Departure time is 1pm on Sunday, right after lunch. Lodging will be lock-in style, so campers should bring a sleeping bag and pillow to sleep on the floor. Many traditional camp activities will be done outside, so warm clothing is also needed. For more questions about this new program, please call 888-7CHANCO (724-2626).

Ropes Camp

Zip lines and ropes course are some of our campers’ favorite activities at Chanco. This program is perfect for older campers who want to try something new. It also offers an additional one-week option for those who are unable to attend during our first week of camp.

Throughout the week, campers will not only take part in low ropes, zip lines, and high ropes activities, they will also develop some of the facilitation skills used by our instructors. This is the perfect camp session for anyone interested in becoming a staff member one day.

Mariner's Camp

Mariners’ Camp is back once again by popular demand! If your camper has a passion for sailing, he/she will enjoy a week spent sailing on the James River.

Morning and afternoon activity blocks are filled with time on the water in Chanco’s sailboats. Even evening activities will be focused on nautical skills.

Senior Week

Join us for Senior Week and craft your own amazing Chanco adventure. All of Chanco’s exciting activities are at your fingertips. This session is geared especially for teenagers who have completed 9th through 12th grade and as it is for the older teenager, this week is designed specifically with their age and interests in mind. Senior week campers get the added benefit of flexibility in their schedules.


Senior Week campers will stay in our campsite chalets and will practice the same style of small group camping that we do at our regular sessions.

Some of last year’s activities included:

– Night Swim Pool Party

– Sailing Trips

– Ravine Exploration

– Night Ziplines

– A Pizza Party

– River Exploration

– Body Body!

Don’t miss this fantastic week geared especially for the older camper. Register today!

Family Camp

Family Camp offers campers of all ages a chance to attend Camp Chanco together. Come enjoy the beautiful grounds, hearty meals, and delightful community. A sampling of favorite camp activities such as archery and boating will be offered along with daily worship and singing.

Campers may choose to stay in our chalets, or pay a bit more and stay in our conference rooms. Campers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.