June 21, 2017 by Don Gentle
Waikiki Wednesday started with a few staff getting excited about some wild shirts. A decade later, it’s just one of those things you have to do on Wednesday. It’s the true essence of summer camp. Sometimes it’s just plain fun! I want to give a shout out to Massey Zieman, who appears to be the modern-day founder of this day!
Life at High Rocks is about being present in the moment and living. Without the distractions from electronics, politics, and the stresses we put upon our daily routine, you can get down to living. I really enjoy watching it all happen around me. We are into the “meat” of the session now. While I don’t want to be the one to shock you, it’s not always easy. For some boys, just being here is a huge step. For others, it may be going off the rope swing for the first time or getting to the top of the tower. I tell these boys time and time again to “embrace the discomfort.” That is where life is happening. The sweet spot is right at the edge of the discomfort where you feel a little uneasy, but not gripped with fear. If you don’t learn to handle the discomfort, it will all become gripping fear. Anyhow, what I am trying to say is I enjoy watching these boys face some fears, work through some frustration, and have some success. Our staff are very much in tune with the process and are there to help along the way.
I enjoyed a quick moment outside the dining hall where the bell had not rung but was about to soon. Boys had gathered outside and were ready to eat the wonderful Philly cheesesteak on the inside. I listened to boys tell me about their mountain biking trip, funny things they talk about in their cabin, and even about a caterpillar named “Lakeside Larry” who had just been adopted by said cabin. It is amazing what the boys find interesting.
We had a lot of trips out today. There are some great shots from the French Broad River trip today. You can’t help but appreciate some of the little guys maneuvering their canoes down this river. Even if they are not your boys, you will enjoy the moment. This stepping stone of a river will take them on to years of whitewater for those who get hooked. It is a fun process to watch. We have many more river trips ahead.
The three-day hikers came back from their Pisgah Trip. There were some great stories about the weather, the food, and the mountains. We also had tow mountain biking trips roll out today. We are so close to DuPont that each half-day trip gives us a solid 3 hours of riding. This is plenty of trail time for these guys, and then they can come back eat lunch and still get into some of their activities.
Most of the boys enjoyed their own age-group activities this evening. The oldest guys headed out to Chill Night. There was some dodgeball in the gym, games on the field, and one group had a little water slide and rope swing action. Finally, a little snack on the hill and then back to the cabins.
As they headed back to their cabins, I enjoyed hearing the different conversations. Some were meaningful, others were just the plain old “joke and poke” as many boys do when they move from place to place in a group. Surprisingly, I find that to be my barometer on how they are doing. That simple gesture of pointless jokes, laughter, and sparring; it typically means they are doing well. They’re a funny bunch.
They are living life, not just watching it happen…
Have a great night!