June 20, 2018 by Don Gentle
What makes camp amazing is not just the adventure program but the fact that we are doing all of this away from our parents. Of course, the activities are incredible, but the process, the journey of what we call camp is where the jewel is found. While parents want to be the one to teach them everything, you can’t teach independence, you can only give it. It is something first to experience, then to meld and mold into what it really means. High Rocks is a great place to learn independence. From making a bed to making it to canoeing on time, independence is found all through the day.
I have enjoyed watching boys move into this second phase of the session. What I call the grit of camp. The relationships become real. The boys have to confront feelings, frustrations, and each other. That wet bathing suit that your cabin mate keeps leaving on your bed was funny at first, now it is becoming a problem and it can no longer be ignored. This group process is an important part of the experience. Guided by caring and skilled staff, these boys can learn how to discuss issues of difference whether it be opinion, a point of view or just a misunderstanding. It is all part of this 21-day expedition we call camp. This “storming” is an important part of the process.
I tell parents that it’s not even fair sometimes. You can never be as cool as our staff. One of the key reasons all of this works is because our camp staff is admired so much by these boys. It gives the staff a precise advantage to handle all that comes their way because the boys want to stay on their good side. It’s a funny dynamic, but it sure is a whole lot more than soccer balls and canoes…
We had a ton of boys out of camp today. Our advanced three-day boys were still out in high Pisgah until this afternoon. We even had another day hike up to DuPont on this awesome slick rock trail called Cedar Rock. Our paddlers headed out to the Tuckaseegee River today. My two girls headed out with them. Will Johnson captured some great pictures of the trip.
That’s right! I run a boys camp, but I am blessed with two girls. The lord has a sense of humor. My girls have really enjoyed growing up at camp. It has been fun to see them grow up around the boys. The one thing I can say is that the mystery is gone… I am pretty sure they have figured out what a mess we boys/men really are. I think it has bought me some time, even if I have to say I am one of them.
My girls spend most of their time down at the barn. Actually, they spend three hours working at the barn each morning and they love it. They enjoy being around the women and the horses. Those women are way cooler than me. I’m pretty sure it would take a lot more effort for me to get them to shovel stalls. Again, I can’t compete with the cool factor, so I don’t. Grace and Isabelle have finally embraced one of my favorite activities here at High Rocks; Whitewater Paddling! I am so excited. I felt just like a parent when they came back from the river trip today. I sure did enjoy the pictures too. I put a couple in the gallery so you can see them. I don’t usually put their pictures up. You may see them from time to time until the end of this week. On Sunday they will head off to Camp Illahee for a whole month! They are so excited! When my girls are at camp, I find myself looking at pictures most nights just like you! I will miss them a ton, but I know it is a great experience for them and for me.
So I guess I should stop babbling about my girls… As we get busier into the meat of the session with trips, you may find that your son is not in the gallery. We try to get some cameras out on trips, but it doesn’t always work. Try not to fret. They will be back.
Have a great night!