What You Learn at Summer Camp
January 23, 2015 by Don Gentle
Our oldest campers in the three and four week sessions is a special group. Many of these guys have come back to summer camp at High Rocks for several years. When these boys apply for the “Upper Senior” age group, we ask this special group of campers to write a letter to us explaining their reasons for returning to camp. For many of these boys, it is typically their fourth or fifth summer. Of course, these guys are not super excited about having to write anything in the first place. However, once these boys start to think about their reasons for returning it is amazing what they put down on paper.
Here are a few excerpts from this year’s Upper Senior letters. Try not to get too caught up in the grammar. Just enjoy the message. These boys would die if I used their names, so I have omitted the names at their request. Mom, grab some tissues…
“The activities are challenging, rewarding, and entertaining. The counselors serve as some of the finest role models of what it means to be a young adult that I have met. Even the food is something to write home about. But the friendships forged on cabin overnights, climbing trips, and the scramble before the lights out bell cannot be overstated as some of the most fulfilling relationships I have ever made. Thus, my goals for this summer’s session are to strengthen my own friendships and experiences I have from my years at camp Whether it be through being a friendly face around camp, helping out on the climbing tower, or telling a group one of my many camp stories; if any of my actions could lead to another camper leaving with stronger friendships than before, I would consider the summer a success.”
– A 5th year camper
“It’s no secret, I love trips! It is the part of camp I love the most. It’s why I love High Rocks so much…This is what camp is for someone my age, a chance to be a kid again. To care about nothing more than having fun in a mud pit. This is what I want to do this year at camp; to go on trips, to do things I would normally find fun, but I also want to enjoy things I would normally find dumb, because I know I need to so that the younger campers don’t feel bad about having fun. When you’re an upper senior, you need to devote a small amount of your camp time for focusing on other kids having fun instead of you, and you will end up having fun anyways. I want to have fun for myself and younger campers.
-An 8th year camper
My first year I learned to appreciate getting away from all the distractions of my life at home and really enjoy nature for what it is worth. My second year I figured out that dancing with Illahee wasn’t reallyy that bad. My third year I really started to appreciate what camp can not only do for someone, but what it had already done to me. It made me a better person…My fourth year I went from despising singing in the morning because in my mind it took time away from my activities, to looking forward to it every day…Finally, in my fifth year I made some friends who will be my friends for a long time. I also really appreciated rest hour! This list is just some of the many great things camp has done for me. The most important thing camp has taught me is how to be a leader. Not just leading an overnight to Dogwood Den Shelter, but impacting as many people as possible and helping them whenever help is needed.
-A 6th year camper
There are quite a few things that keep me coming for more each year. The meals, for one, are absolutely delicious! The counselors are always very kind, and every single one of my cabin counselors I have liked. The activity instructors know what they are doing and are also very generous. I have no idea how you guys always have the nicest people I have ever known! These are just a few things that bring me back to camp each and every year…Being a friendly older camper who includes everyone in activities and games, and watches out for those that look like they need a boost is what I would like to do at High Rocks this summer.
-A 6th year camper
These are just a few of what our oldest age group has to say about High Rocks. I can’t wait to get them here for the summer!