The Building Blocks of Adventure
July 31, 2019 by Don Gentle
Today the boys started their activities that they will do for the rest of the session. Everyone is enrolled in the activities they choose. No one is closed out of an activity. Here at High Rocks, every activity is available for every age. It’s a win-win for the boys!
As I walked around camp today, I enjoyed seeing all the learning happening. By design, these boys choose their own activities. They choose the path and how to walk it. Of course, there is guidance and some discussion from a mentor on opinions about how best to succeed. Ultimately, it is up to the individual about where to go next. Will they stumble along the way? I hope so… It sure helps them figure out what works. More importantly, they figure out what does not work.
Child development is a crazy thing. It’s not a perfect science, but it definitely has its merit. Boys of a certain age do the same thing their predecessors did generations before them. The process regarding the way we learn is very similar as well. I watched this happen today. A beginner mountain biker will typically look down at his feet or the ground in front of him as he is beginning to figure things out. He’s a little nervous and stiff, focused on the very thing in front of them rather than looking down the trail or the path ahead. As the instructors give them some consistent reminders, they finally begin to keep their eyes up. Finally, the body can anticipate what is coming. The biker peddles faster, and the body relaxes. The whole process just becomes more fluid. Just a small part of my day today.
After a full day of activities, the boys also had a choice period the last hour before dinner. Many were enjoying some four square, dodgeball, and some gaga ball. I really enjoy seeing the guys pick up with a group and move through the disc golf course. We had several of our staff guiding the way today for some of the younger guys while others did a great job on their own.
Speaking of trailblazers, the first of the cabin overnights headed out tonight to spend the night in one of our five open-air shelter areas. Each group will enjoy some time on our beautiful 1000-acre property, cook up some pita pizzas, make some smores, and settle around the fire for an evening of laughs and games. I took the opportunity to hike out to one of the groups this evening. It was a beautiful hike. I was very surprised at the diversity and quantity of fungus in this section of the woods. Once I arrived, it was cool to see the guys hanging out in small groups around the camping area. Some already eating, other exploring in the nearby stream. Others were charged with firewood collection. It was a well-oiled machine all working together in this micro-community. The boys were all very surprised to see me. “How did you get here?” Did you walk the WHOLE WAY from camp?” Had they already forgotten how the got here? Of course not. It’s just young boys letting you know how happy they are to see you! The boys were already showing me the cool stuff they had discovered and how good the pita pizza was tasting.
I didn’t stay long, but it was definitely a good journey. They will wake up just before breakfast to head back to camp. It should be quite a sight to see in the morning. I hope I have some more stories to tell.
Don’t forget to check your email for my letter I sent out today. The key part of that letter is your sons’ activity choices. Have a wonderful night…