July 8, 2018 by Don Gentle
I woke up to a delightfully cool morning that was only about 63 degrees. A strange event in July, but it sure was wonderful. The sun was shining, and a staff member had even set a fire in the dining hall. The smell of a fire along with sweatshirt weather sure made it feel wonderful. I’m not sure about you, but that campfire smell always brings back wonderful memories. Add some scratch-made cinnamon rolls and a hot cup of coffee and my day was off to a wonderful beginning. The bell rang a little later and the sleepy boys slowly began to emerge from their cabins. The evidence of “laundry day” came true as you witnessed boys hefting their cabin laundry to the back of the dining hall. Some worked in teams while other managed to handle some bags on their own. They earned their breakfast today!
I lead the morning service down by the lake today. It was a good lesson on Expedition Behavior. EB was originally coined by Paul Petzoldt back in 1965 during the infancy of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School). Expedition Behavior in an awareness and attention to all relationships that influence an outdoor experience or any tightly coupled group; especially those that are living together 24/7. What he was getting at is that after a few days from civilization, everyone starts to change. All that coolness that was buffed up at home or previous crutches are no longer valid, you must take or make your place in this new society based only on what you actually do and how you make yourself in this new community. I went on to discuss the key phrases including; respect, concern for others, helping others but not routinely doing their work, being honest and accountable, admitting and correcting our mistakes, and being kind and open-hearted. If you think about it, life here at Camp High Rocks is very much an expedition. Much like an expedition we are fully immersed in a group or community that needs each other to exist. All of us are responsible for this community. We all matter and we are all needed.
I had the opportunity to meet Paul Petzoldt several years back before his passing. As you could imagine from a man that started organizations like NOLS and the Colorado Outward Bound School, he had some opinions. He definitely came across as a man of grit and determination, one that is hard on you but brought out your best. His work on expedition behavior is spot on and NOLS has created the following principles from those early days:
- Serve the mission and goals of the group.
- Be as concerned for others as you are for yourself.
- Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
- Support leadership and growth in everyone.
- Respect the cultures you contact.
- Be kind and open-hearted.
- Do your share and stay organized.
- Help others, but don’t routinely do their work.
- Model integrity by being honest and accountable.
- Admit and correct your mistakes.
These same principles are used on NOLS trips today. Not surprisingly they also serve as many of the cardinal points in the “High Rocks Way” sheet that is posted in every staff manual and in every cabin. Summer camp is way more than just “wee ha.”
We spent the rest of our morning reflecting, relaxing, splashing and enjoying our world of camp. It was truly a fantastic morning! The weather was cool and sunny with a touch of breeze. It’s is a little strange to see guys running around in their sweatshirts all morning, but it was definitely an incredible morning.
After the rest hour bell, the Illahee Game Day began! A fun-filled day of coed games divided by age groups with our neighbors from Camp Illahee! It sure was a blast! The girls from Camp Illahee were wonderful guests as well. One of my favorite details was being able to see all of the siblings and cousins. It’s great to see your brother or sister at camp! Of course, I was able to get a sneak peek at my girls who are halfway through their month-long session. After games, we all enjoyed a cookout on the lawn complete with burgers, hot dogs, and all the sides.
We waved goodbye to the girls after dinner and headed up to campfire where we listened to another great story, sang some great songs and reflected on the week.
It sure was a great day!
All the best,