Our Assistant Program Director, Sam Clayton, has been a friendly and familiar face in and out of camp for the past three years. You may have met him at your college job fair, played one of his invented “all-camp-games” during the summer, been belayed up Gilbert’s Rock by him, paddled with him down local whitewater, or received one of his “fist bumps” between activity periods. Sam has been crucial to both the recruiting process and alumni communications during the offseason, as well working with Program Director Kyle to ensure smooth programming throughout the summer. After three great years at Falling Creek, we want to wish Sam Clayton the best as he moves on to his next chapter in life.

As many of you know, Sam and his new wife Maddie were recently married after this past summer. We have been fortunate to have Sam at Falling Creek since 2017, and we are overjoyed for he and Maddie as they begin their next stage together. Sam graduated from Young Harris with a degree in outdoor education, and was a District Executive with the Boy Scouts of America before joining the Falling Creek team as our Assistant Program Director. Sam consistently embodies the Falling Creek Code, and his enthusiasm for camp was visible every day.

Sam often led parts of Church or Campfire, and his genuine care for the counselors and campers in our Falling Creek community was readily apparent. Sam often led parts of Church or Campfire, and his genuine care for the counselors and campers in our Falling Creek community was readily apparent.

Though he was never a camper, Sam fit into his role at Falling Creek so seamlessly that you would have thought he was a lifetime “Falling Creeker”. Out of everything at camp, Sam shared that, “the thing I enjoyed the most was making a profound impact on the lives of our boys through great experiences, a solid community, and a connection with nature.” Though Sam made it seem like it was all fun and games, being in a leadership role at camp can be hard work. “Running a cookout for 450+ people is no small task!” he jokes.

A multi-talented outdoorsman, Sam can instruct on an outdoor adventure trip just as easily as he can invent and lead an Evening Program!A multi-talented outdoorsman, Sam can instruct on an outdoor adventure trip just as easily as he can invent and lead an Evening Program!

Anyone who has worked at camp can attest to the fact that though the work can be demanding, the rewards are worth it. Sam explained, “the biggest lesson I learned is that the true hero of any boy’s summer is a good counselor who can bring to life the camp experience.” He plans on using that lesson in his future endeavors by always striving to be the best version of himself, leaving a positive impact on those around him. “The biggest takeaway for me in my next professional career, will be how I choose to lead and learn from the people I have the pleasure working with,” Sam shared.

Sam was a familiar face at the college job fairs during the Winter and Spring, focused on recruiting the best for camp!Sam was a familiar face at the college job fairs during the Winter and Spring, focused on recruiting the best for camp!

A true member of the Falling Creek Community, Sam will be missed in the summers to come. Likewise, Sam will always hold dear the friends he made at camp, saying, “I am most proud of the relationships I built over the course of my time at FCC. I was blessed with so many opportunities to positively affect lives and have my own life affected in the same way. Some truly great friends and mentors were gained in my time at Falling Creek.”

When asked about the future, Sam says, “The next chapter of my life began with marrying the love of my life (Maddie)!” As Sam and Maddie begin their lives together, we wanted to highlight the many positive values that Sam brought to our camp community, and share how happy we are for them both. We wish him the best as he chases his dreams of becoming a sommelier, and wherever their journey takes them next!

Sam starting off a day at camp by leading one of our Morning Watch sessions Sam starting off a day at camp by leading one of our Morning Watch sessions

-Annie Pharr