Adventure Is Important
June 17, 2019 by Don Gentle
Monday morning was a busy one out of the gates. We had a number of trips heading out in all sorts of directions, including our 5-day upper senior hike to Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. It is one of the Nations’ most impressive remnants of old-growth forest. Many of the trees are over 400 years old. The boys will be out for the next four nights in the Nantahala Forest area. It is always a great trip.
The rest of the hikers spent their time learning all of the major trees in camp. Along with poison ivy, I think it is a great skill to be able to identify the trees you see every day at camp.
The other cool trip of the day was a group of younger boys heading out for a long afternoon paddle on our local section of the French Broad River. The best part is that they get to spend the night out on the banks of the river for the night. One of the boys even had a birthday today, so we sent down his cake and some ice cream. They had no idea it was coming!
Speaking of adventure, I thought I would share a little information I was using during our staff training. Adventure is such a key component to a healthy young man’s life. Boys need to have a sense of at least “perceived” risk. Exposure to healthy risk, particularly physical, enables children to experience fear, learn the strengths and limitations of their own body, and flirt with uncertainty. Research shows such play is associated with increased physical activity, social skills, risk management skills, resilience, and self-confidence. In today’s word, it’s no wonder that the simulated risk of computer games is so compelling and addictive -the real world seems rather tame and even boring in comparison. A summer camp experience like High Rocks adds a lot of guided adventure to help these boys feel the thrill and even a little fear. As humans we are designed to experience a little fear – manage it out of our lives and boys will seek it elsewhere, on the internet, or with self-destructive behavior. That is my moment for the day. I hope it makes sense.
One of my favorite moments today was showing a family from Alabama around High Rocks today. The family had been in the area and had not been to High Rocks before. They showed up right at the perfect time, in the middle of activities. The boys were able to ask questions to staff and other boys. They even stepped into a couple of the cabins to see how the boys live. Of course, it was hard to resist the climbing tower, shooting sports, and horseback riding. I really enjoyed getting to know them while I shared the wonders of High Rocks. The kids also enjoyed the trip through the dining hall where the snack was out for the afternoon.
I still feel like the summer is THE best time to see camp in all of its glory. If you time it right while all the boys are out in their activities. Prospective families can speak with the staff and campers as they move around High Rocks. It is a great experience.
This evening our oldest boys headed out for the annual “chill night” event. The guys will spend the evening at Sliding Rock and then head to the infamous Dolly’s for ice cream. It should be a chilly adventure.
The rest of the age groups were enjoying some time on the lake as the first real heat of the summer has settled in for the next few days.
On a side note, and I may be opening myself up for a load of trouble, if you have not seen pictures of your son there are a couple of things that can help and a few things to consider. First, “the help.” Send a letter and remind your son to step out when they see the photographer. You may notice that some boys have a knack for the “photo shoot,” like a model uses the runway. Others, are more into what they are doing and may not be as interested in getting in front of the camera. Again, the best help is to ask them in a letter. Second, I can help you if you are feeling like you have not seen your son. Drop me a secret email. I can pass that on to Josh, our fine photographer. He does a great job and would definitely catch your boy. A couple of items to consider. First, your son may be on a trip or even multiple trips. If he is in rock climbing, paddling, hiking, or mountain biking. He is likely to be out on a trip from time to time. The second item to consider is that as boys reach their teenage years they often feel a little “too cool for school” when it comes to pictures. Again, Josh does a great job at catching them in action, so he may still get them.
Speaking of all the great things at High Rocks, we just posted our weekly highlights video. I have embedded it below for your viewing pleasure. Help us out and spread the love by sharing this out in the social media world and invite your friends to stop by for a tour. Hit the paper airplane to share it.
Have a great night!