Some Steps are Struggles

I sure have seen a lot out of these boys in just a week and a half. Those Mini I boys have been on a wonderful ride lately.  I really enjoy seeing them head out on trips, build skills, and even make it to all of their activities. They are mostly on time, but sometimes a snack overrules the need to get their right away.  As a parent, I have to stop myself every time I see that my girls need help or even when they ask for it. I know they can do it, but there are times it makes the event faster  (like getting to school on time), but it also creates habits of doing things for my kids when I know they can do it. Sometimes I don’t even think about it.  What I have learned is that if I do for them what they can do for themselves also teaches my children they can’t do it. It’s not easy, but I have to catch myself and let them struggle through it.

The beauty of camp, especially at a place like High Rocks, is that these boys ARE doing a lot for themselves.  Sure it is a nurturing environment, but we provide purposeful opportunities for these guys to work it out on their own. Sometimes I don’t even think it is fair for parents to compete with what can happen at camp because these counselors are the coolest thing in the world to these kids.  The coolness factor along with the “fun” factor of camp creates a perfect environment for growth, self-reliance, and a little grit. The “grit” is the ability to work out the day to day events of life that happen.  It could be getting to your activities on time, or it could be deciding what trip to go on.  Sometimes it could be working through a disagreement in the cabin.  I really enjoy seeing the growth.  The skills they have been learning in their activities has also impressed me. They are really working hard! In the morning it looks like they can barely stand, but they aren’t going to miss that next trip…

Speaking of challenges, I heard some great stories about the boys of Hillside work through a struggle today. These boys had their moment at the high ropes course today. Each cabin has the opportunity to go up on our challenge course once during the session.  Today was a first for many of our Hillside boys.  It was a big challenge for them to get up on the high ropes course this morning. I was impressed to see them come outside of their comfort zones, work through some fear, and also find the limit. Everyone made it through the course and up to the top. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t perfect, but they made it.  Some of them went off the zip line, but many did not.  In the end, they were proud of themselves at their conquering feat.

This evening I had a moment with the Mini I boys as I took a moment to take a few shots of their evening activity. It was super fun to watch it unfold as the boys were super-charged to enjoy one of the best evening programs of all time, CANOE FILL-UPS!  Arm a few guys with paddles and buckets, then give them a canoe and send them off to sink each other.  As the chaos unfolds tonight I encourage you to put on some Vogner or the like.  It was a fantastic epic event!  The best part was that it started to rain right in the middle of the event, then it really started to rain.  As you look at the pictures it is almost as if the boys didn’t even know it was raining.  The battle continued only now they were fighting the elements as well.  It is a great series of pictures I encourage you all to see tonight.  I think it gets to the core of boys camp and how important it can be to just let go of the outside world for a bit.  Embrace the moment and charge on!  Of course, you get to laugh as well.

It’s a wonderful journey

Don Gentle

Today’s Pictures 

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