About Us

Our History

Camp Up with People (CUWP) is a partnership between Horizons Learning Foundation, a nonprofit affiliated with Camp Horizons, and Up with People (UWP), two youth based educational leadership organizations. The collaboration of UWP and Camp Horizons brings a collective total of 86 years of investing in the lives of youth. Clearly CUWP is deeply rooted in that history and tradition.

Up with People began in 1968, under the leadership of J. Blanton Belk as a positive response to the turbulent 60’s and the racial injustice of the time. UWP then and now give youth a voice through music to celebrate diversity and promote inclusion. The arts have given UWP the opportunity to tour the world. Not only has UWP used the arts to affect positive change, but they have become known as an international, cross-cultural, leadership, musical program for young adults aged 18 to 29. Each cast travels to at least two continents and visits up to twenty communities, spending up to a week in each. They live with a local host family, participate in service projects, learn about different cultures through educational workshops and perform in UWP’s musical stage production. UWP program casts begin in January and July of each year.

Camp Horizons was established in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in 1983. Camp Horizons is a diverse community of campers and staff members from across the United States and around the world working, playing, and learning together. Since its founding, Camp Horizons has been fully accredited by the American Camp Association, an organization that has been ensuring American summer camps provide the safest and highest caliber of programming for almost a century. Camp Horizons offers a variety of activities that challenge campers to reach their full potential and is dedicated to making sure that campers experience their best summer ever.

CUWP began in 2011 with a purpose to provide young people with an opportunity to explore their interests, develop their talents and experience what traveling with UWP would be like. It gives young people the opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills and achieve personal growth in a safe and caring environment. At CUWP, campers can build healthy relationships, gain self-confidence and learn to see their lives as part of today’s amazing and challenging world.

Our Mission and Impact

CUWP strives to utilize the arts as a vehicle to equip young people with the life skills to effect positive changes in their lives, their communities and ultimately the world; through celebrating diversity, promoting inclusion, initiating global understanding and community service.

The arts has long since proved to transcend barriers and unify communities, and Camp Up with People hopes to use the power of the arts to create young global citizens through

  1. celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion for all
  2. initiating global awareness and understanding among youth
  3. Instilling civic responsibility and community service world wide

Our global impact has reach as far as

  1. 19 countries
  2. 413 alumni
  3. Over 200 hours of community service
  4. Over 3000 live audience members
  5. Countless viewers via live streaming
  6. Endless amounts of summer fun
  7. Invaluable international friendships

Our Curriculum

The foundation of Camp Up with People’s curriculum is based on the core curriculum of Up with People. Our curriculum is rooted in the performing arts as the vehicle to instill 6 positive practices. Delivered in an experiential learning format, campers complete their 3 week experience with a deeper commitment to themselves, others, the world around them and the responsibility to be young agents of positive change.

OUR CURRICULUM: Our Campers play a large role in creating the CUWP show, which is based on what they collectively deem to be pertinent international issues facing their world today. In addition to high energy, international songs and dances, once we have determined the social justice issues to be addressed in the show the Camp Up with People staff lead interactive educational seminars, discussions and workshops that are designed to connect, support and heighten our awareness of these global issues and to enhance and strengthen our performance of them.

Our Production team works hand in hand with our Camper Life Department to utilize the rich cultural differences within the cast. The curriculum includes

  • challenging simulations,
  • group discussions,
  • Keynote speaker,
  • regional learning excursions,
  • service learning projects,
  • individual and group presentations,
  • high and low rope courses

These activities and more help create the CUWP educational experience. The 6 positive practices developed through our arts based CUWP curriculum are displayed below.

Our Team

John Hall, Founder and Owner

John’s love for camping and the outdoors dates back to his youth where he earned the ranking as an Eagle Scout. As a young man, John traveled with Up with People as a member of Cast D 78. After a year with UWP, John began his life in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where he worked with various summer camps before founding Camp Horizons in 1983. Today Camp Horizons has grown to one of the premier summer camps on the east coast. John serves on the Board of Directors for UWP and continues to dedicate his efforts to positively impacting youth.

Walter Belcher, Director Camp Up with People

Walter Belcher is originally from Cleveland Ohio, by way of Arizona. He is a proud UWP alumnus of Cast C 89-90. Walter joined AmeriCorps, becoming a VISTA volunteer and working to improve the quality of life for impoverished families throughout Arizona. As a professional vocalist and advocate for youth, Walter values combining the arts with service learning and the cross cultural components that create this unique experience known as CUWP.

CUWP Staff are experienced, talented and come from around the world. The staff members create a safe and caring environment at CUWP. All staff members are UWP alumni and are carefully selected with background checks completed on all staff. All staff members participate in a two week pre-camp training program where they learn how to help campers have a successful experience at camp. Additionally, staff members receive first-aid training and are CPR Certified.

Diversity and Inclusion

Camp Up with People values all diversity and strives to be a model of diversity and inclusion. Our staff, campers, and volunteers reflect the many faces, and walks of life that proudly make up our world.

We respect, value and celebrate the unique attributes, characteristics and perspectives that make each person who they are. We also believe that bringing diverse individuals together allows us to collectively and more effectively address the issues that face our communities. It is our aim, therefore, that our partners, practices, curriculum, staff, and our camp community reflect these core values.

Our Facilities

Located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, Camp Up with People takes place in our own dedicated camp ground, called Horizons at Valley Pike. Located just 3.5 miles from Harrisonburg, VA. Valley Pike offers a dorm-like facility, with four beds per room, which adjoin a bathroom that is shared by another 4-bed room creating a suite. In addition to a swimming pool, Valley Pike also offers a building for performing arts rehearsals, a lodge, and outdoor recreational areas and equipment.


Horizons at Valley Pike
297 Cornerstone Lane
Harrisonburg, VA 22802