End of the “Work” Week!
August 3, 2018 by Woody Noland
It seemed to be a typical beginning to the day for this session as the day dawned cool but cloudy with rain coming down in fits and spurts. Well-practiced for the precipitation, camp came to life with the bell and began the day in a slow and steady fashion. It was during a breakfast of homemade biscuits, eggs, cereals galore, and a huge fruit bar that events began to take a twist.
Though many a bleary eye had to blink more than once for belief to set it, there seemed to be a large T-Rex wandering through the hall. It also seemed to be steering campers in appropriate directions, and perhaps even sipping a cup of coffee with relish! It was remarkable that there was a dinosaur sharing breakfast with us, and more remarkable about how cool the guys were with this event.
As breakfast was wrapping up, the next surprise of the day hit with a group of counselors spreading the “Wacky Hair Day” theme armed with product and tools. Guys fell all over themselves to get their hair spiked or colored before assembly and proudly sported some ridiculous hairstyles for the day, or until the intermittent rain turned the hair-dye into face/neck paint. Lots of goofy fun and you could feel energy build in the crew as they headed into activities.
With this being the first Friday, camp has become comfortable with a rhythm. Campers are on time to activities, armed with the appropriate equipment, and feeling confident negotiating across camp. It is wonderful to see this crew begin to feel camp as their own and watch the comfort continue to grow. That kind of comfort is also beginning to translate itself into the confidence to tackle new challenges as well. As Don wrote last night, many challenges come in just getting dressed and getting the cabin set in the morning. The dining hall with new foods, or familiar foods presented in new ways, is also a place rife with fun new experiences. The confidence to try a bite of an unknown food does not come easily to many, and to see that happening more and more means these guys are feeling pretty steady on their feet.
I even had a young man approach me at breakfast this morning asking about switching an activity. Though I responded that I would be happy to help, I always like to inquire as to the activities, and to the reasoning. This particular fellow was looking at dropping rock climbing and taking up tennis instead. Reasonable on the surface, but in asking a bit more it became clear that the day before had pushed him to the point of confronting some fear of heights on the tower. Reiterating that I was not going to say no, I did make clear my concern that by bailing just an activity became tough the camper would perhaps be doing himself a disservice. That this was an opportunity to face the fear again, and again, and perhaps leave camp having pushed through that. Tennis is a wonderful sport and the instructors down there are seriously good, happy to help, let me know what you would like to do. He thought for a moment, and decided to stick with climbing (which was right after breakfast) and cruised off. After stacking the deck just a bit by giving the climbing staff a heads up, I waited for the report. The news came back that a great morning was had, wall was tackled again, and no more mention of switch as of this writing. For a young man, that takes not only comfort in a schedule, but comfort in a place and the people to intentionally turn around and face down a challenge like that…. Or perhaps he was willing to do anything to get me to stop talking!
Many more magical moments happened all over camp, but there was one more that had a massive effect on everyone, at the same time. Late morning, the clouds broke to a stunning blue sky, bright sun, and white fluffy clouds floating by on a cool breeze. The lift to mood and energy was immediate as these fellows seized onto the change with a vigor. Camp got even louder, guys moved even faster, and an atmosphere that had been strongly positive became rather euphoric. I look forward to a weekend of beautiful weather and a camp full of guys hitting their strides, and loving it!
Please enjoy the pictures tonight and we will see you back here tomorrow evening.