Continuing the High Rocks Way
March 12, 2015 by Woody Noland
Camp High Rocks is lucky to boast many resources that help make our program top notch and this place special to so many. We wanted to take time to focus on one piece that often flies under the radar, and yet has an enormous impact. Our Counselors in Training (CTs) are made of a select group of long time campers who have made the decision to return after their junior year of high school to get their first crack at being a paid staff member.
Year after year, the CTs provide an excellent example to our campers and staff of what the High Rocks way is all about. We are excited to have these young men choose to apply for a position with us when the world is their oyster. The varied interests this summer’s CT group brings to the table is quite startling. One guy is looking to spend a portion of his summer at the North Carolina Governor’s School, while another seeks to push his artistic interest at the Brevard Music Center. We have a CT who is climbing Mt. Rainier after he spends a session on Cedar Mountain! About the opportunity, he says “I doubt I would have ever thought of trying this were it not for the encouraging words of the climbing instructors as I struggled my way up the beginner wall as a junior camper. I have gotten so much from camp, and I think now it is time for me to give something back.” There will be a CT studying engineering at Columbia University before coming to camp, so who knows what kind of projects we might find campers building around camp. To power those projects, we have a CT who will spend most of the summer working with a start-up company focused on low-power engineering before landing himself in the high-powered world of Two Week!
CTs live in a cabin with a full counselor and younger campers to begin practicing the art of cabin counseling. They also instruct in activities and, as a group, work on projects aimed at improving the camp program for all. In the words of another, “I am interested in being a High Rocks CT because of how camp affected me. I am the way I am because of all it has taught me. I feel as if camp has made me a better person and helped me realize what I truly value in life, and I want other kids to be able to say the same thing when they become my age. Becoming a counselor feels like my duty now. I have to pass on the experience to the generation of campers below me, just as it was passed to me, and I would not want to do anything else more.”
These young men have grown up in the High Rocks program and are great ambassadors of our camp culture to the next generation of campers. One of our applicants described the CT position in this way: “CTs are in an interesting position in the camp dynamic. They are the youngest people to be in a true staff position, so many of the campers will look at them in different light than the rest of the staff. Younger campers may see them as more approachable than they do the older full counselors. Because of this, I think the role of a CT as a bridge between camper and counselor is important for the CT and the camp as a whole.”
We are excited to have these young men on staff in every session this summer. They are indeed in a unique position having just finished long camper careers building skills and relationships that tie them to High Rocks. Their enthusiasm for the High Rocks way is infectious for counselors and campers alike. Can’t wait to get them up here and get this summer started!