June 16, 2010 by Don Gentle
Today was one of those days in camp when you look around and say something like – “Where is everyone?” The boys have been putting their skills into full swing this week. Today and tomorrow might be the busiest yet. Over 60 people were out of camp today for lunch. All of them on some exciting trip in the woods! Canoeing, Caving, Mountain Biking, Backpacking, and Climbing all had trips out of camp today.
I have been impressed with the self-reliance these boys have gained in just over a week of camp. They have chosen their own schedule, they get up and sorted for the days challenges, make their bed, clean (yes, clean!) their cabin, and even decide on which trips they want to attend. Independence and self-reliance are one of those subtle traits that kids learn at camp, most of the time they don’t even realize it. From the very first day these boys are presented with the guidelines, parameters, opportunities and a means to create their own camp session. Camp is filled with choices, and much like life will hand them, they can’t have everything they want all the time. For example, just this week a camper was faced with making a choice between two different trips in as many activities. I was in awe to see this same boy work with both activity heads to make the trips work out so he could attend each of them. Again, this boy was presented with a situation where he worked within the system to create a desirable result. Now, it does not always work out that perfectly but sometimes, if you work at it, you can reach your goal even when presented with a challenge. What a life skill!
I wanted to go off on a tangent a little tonight to make you aware of some important things that are affecting our camp and many others in the State of North Carolina. Some of you may remember when we contacted you about the nearsighted legislators that thought it might be a good idea to impose a sales tax on summer camps. You might not know it, but summer camps are getting hit on all sides by regulation and permitting. Things like building codes, school calendars, forest service permits, and even a health department required “NO Smoking” sign in the dining hall…as if! In a few weeks we will ask you to take part in a really important study that can help give camps in our region a little credit. The North Carolina Youth Camp Association (NCYCA) is sponsoring an Economic Impact of Summer Camps. The goal is to quantify the direct and indirect impact summer camps have on the local and regional economy. This study is an important tool to help legislators see how much camps do for the economy and the region. Your input will be a very important step in the study. Again, we will be getting information out in the coming weeks. Please take a moment to fill out the online survey and help High Rocks and the surrounding camps have a voice and a tool to show how much we matter. Thank you!
We have some great pictures of yesterday’s Chattooga River trip, some great horseback riding, and many additional shots in camp. Have a wonderful night.