Giving Camp a Chance

Pictures from July 20 2012 (password required)

I sure enjoyed seeing all the starters move around in their activities today.  I found myself down at the barn this morning taking some pictures of the advanced four week riders.  These guys have been riding in camp for many years.  Several of them have learned to ride here at camp.  After the older boys wrapped up their session, I got to see the Starter boys come down for a ride.  This was an obvious change.  Of course the size of the boys is a big difference, but so is the experience.  Of course, by now the older campers come in to the barn, find out who they are riding, and then head straight to stall.  They lead their horse out of the barn and down to the ring where they will have a lesson.  These Starter boys are super excited, a little nervous, and mostly need a lot of help through the whole process.  The barn staff love having new guys down here at the barn.  Watching these boys’ faces as they get up on this giant animal is a pure joy.

When boys see the camp DVD for the first time, they all talk about riflery and archery as their favorite.  By the time they finish their camp session, their favorite tends to switch to horseback riding.  What an awesome experience for these guys to be on top of such a large animal.  Over time they will learn how to control the horse, understand what it takes to care for a horse, and maybe even learn to jump.   Campers and parents just have to give it a chance; add a little perseverance and courage and you have success…and a lifetime of skills, memories, and friends.  I can’t wait to see one of these Starter boys in a few years doing just what these four weekers were doing today!

Speaking of years of camp,   I find it hard to believe this is my 19th summer at Camp High Rocks!  I too was a “starter” way back when.  Not a camper, but a “starter staff.”  The first year of camp is so amazing; so much to learn and so much to do.  As luck would have it I was able to pull together a fulltime position creating a school group program with Hank.  I even met my wife here at camp and proposed to her right on Rocky Top one day.  Here I am today so blessed to have two wonderful children an incredible wife, and amazing people to work with everyday. It all started 19 years ago by just giving it a chance…

Starter parents, we are looking forward to seeing you tomorrow around 9:30am!  We will do some tours around camp, meet with your son’s cabin counselor and have a short reception in the lodge.  It sure has been an awesome week with these guys!

Enjoy the pictures; we sure do enjoy making them…everyday!

Don Gentle

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