Way more than “Wee Haa”
July 22, 2015 by Don Gentle
I enjoyed the wake-up bell probably most of all this morning. I met a small group of boys that were heading out on the Tuckaseegee River. They were super excited to be involved in the morning wake-up process. I was super excited to see this next generation of High Rocks paddlers moving up the ranks. Some of the guys were heading down the Tuck for the first time in a canoe, others were kayaking it for the first time. I feel like we offer some of the best instruction in all of our activities, but I hold paddling a little closer to my heart. It was my first job here at High Rocks over twenty years ago. After that first summer, I headed up the paddling program for several years. Even as I find myself to be more of a bike enthusiast, I still hold those paddling roots pretty strong. Anyhow, the house rule is only one person can ring the bell. The rest of us wait for the cue to scream out “Good Morning High Rocks!” The bell ring was perfect, and the follow through of the chant rang through the trees like gospel. We all high-fived each other as the paddlers headed in for an early breakfast and I returned to my morning meeting.
It was another perfect weather day. I can not remember when the weather at camp has been this good. It has been a little warm during the heat of the day, but that only made the waterfront activities that much better. A little shower to keep everything green now and then, but overall a fantastic month of summer sun in the mountains.
We had day two of the High Rocks Rolex event. Appropriately named after the three-day event held every year. Today it was back to the ring for more jumping after a day of cross country! Man, it makes for great pictures! My oldest daughter, Grace, loves this event! The barn is her favorite place in camp anyway, but this is her favorite part of the summer. She may be what you call a “barn rat.” She heads down there anytime she can to help with the horses, clean stalls or just be around it all. For a father, it is also a great place for her to be in a boys’ camp. The mostly-female staff are great mentors for her! She looks up to all of them and they are always wonderful, helpful, and just plain awesome to be around! I knew I was in trouble when we first put her on a horse. I think she was three years old. The ladies at the barn were very helpful and Grace was super excited. When it was time to get off the horse she cried her eyes out. Every one of the riding staff looked at me and said: “I did the same thing when I first rode a horse.” I knew it was going to be her special place.
The staff at crafts really impressed me today! They brought their activity down to the lake. Underwater basket weaving they called it and that is exactly what they did. It actually made it easier to make the baskets since the reeds stayed wet and pliable. The boys enjoyed spending the time in the lake too!
On more of a “guy” note, we had a fun morning doing some drone footage for our new promo video coming out at the end of the summer. Not only were they excited to be part of the video, they were super excited about the gadgets. You should have seen the boys when they saw this incredible machine. This six bladed machine that holds a standard SLR video camera sounded like a hoard of bees in the sky. It was all they could do not to jump in front of it. I was super excited myself. It felt like my birthday! The boys enjoyed being in the video as we directed them around camp with radios and bullhorns. It was a great two hours in camp!
Well, we just have a couple more days and the boys are making the best of it. The three-day climbing trip just rolled back in at call to quarters tonight. I am excited to hear more about their trip. The Mini boys are really making the most of their last few days. Some of these guys in hiking just returned from a two day to Sam’s Knob.
True competence is happening in all of our activities. I like to tell parents it is so much more than “Wee Haa.” Camp at High Rocks is not an amusement park. It’s an education, an experience, a time in a young man’s life he will never forget. I am so glad you feel the same.
Have a great night,