The 1100 Acre Wood
July 1, 2021 by Don Gentle
It sure was another wonderful day here at “The Rocks.” I have been a little busy lately putting some final touches on our ACA Accreditation. This is a once every five-year event that requires a lot of upfront work in regards to written documentation and procedures. All of this is already in place, but it a lot to gather to ONE place. We have been accredited by the American Camp Association for a long time, so it isn’t a new process for us. Again, most of my work was completed over the winter, but the last few items of scanning and finding for our existing staff is always time-consuming. Our review will be next Tuesday.
It is certainly a worthwhile effort. I really enjoy the peer-review process and it certainly beats some sort of licensing like other states. I like to think that people have an opportunity to govern themselves. We have an opportunity to do it right and keep each other accountable. I like that the folks doing the review are camp people and not just a government suit who never went to summer camp. So, I guess I jumped up on my soapbox a bit there. Anyhow, after spending all morning at my desk, I made a point to just leave the office and get out in camp for at least the afternoon for a bit.
Camp is a flurry of activity as you might imagine. I like that these boys are trying some activities that they have not done before. The cabin groups are certainly moving into what I call some of the early “storming” phases of development. They have been spending more time together than usual, so it has pushed a little of this process forward unlike other years. While a lot of camp is still in the “honeymoon” phase, there are some groups learning to appreciate each other, try on some leadership and see if it holds, even working some differences. Our cabin meetings were designed for the exact purpose. The boys have an avenue to just talk about stuff. I know, it’s hard to believe that a teenage boy will talk about much of anything, but these meetings create a space that is already comfortable so when things come up it is easy to talk. As usual, the boys don’t always realize they are learning so many life skills just by talking through their situations together.
On my journey through camp today, I found myself truly amazed by our tennis program. Of course, the venue is brand new! If we had not already started it before the pandemic, it might have been another decade before we hit this project again. Nonetheless, our tennis courts are incredible! But my point of amazement is our tennis pro, Brad Jones. I just love to watch him instruct the boys. If you ever watch a good coach, they are always moving, constantly giving feedback, and feed balls like a mad man. Brad is all of that and more. Brad comes to us from just down the road at Brevard College. He’s been a division III coach for some time now. Zoob pressed hard over the last year or so, and finally, we got him up here. I really enjoy just watching the magic happen over there attennis. Best of all, Brad has embraced the community focus of High Rocks. I see him all over camp spending time with the boys and the staff. It’s more than just tennis for him too.
Tonight, we had a couple more cabins head out for their overnights. The boys of Outpost and Lakeside both hit the trail tonight. We always make a point of getting a group picture before they leave, which makes for some fun pictures of the boys. My favorite, however, is to just watch and listen to the guys as they hike away into our 1100-acre wilderness. The older boys that have done it for years act just like the young guys doing it for the first time. They are all joking and laughing, excited about their evening in the woods around the fire, but they walk off like it’s just a trip down to the pool. comfortable and confident. I think the young guys know the staff has got their back, while the older guys just feel like they have it all sorted. The magic of the outdoors at High Rocks is everywhere.
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, smoked sausage, cream of wheat, berries AND cut fruit, and assorted cereals.
Lunch: Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches with grilled onions and peppers, provolone cheese, tater tots (I love tots!), and tossed salad. Sweet Tea
Dinner: Chicken Pot Pie, grilled green beans, yeast rolls, tossed salad, and chocolate chip cookies (where we measure the number of chips with our heart, not a cup).
Another big day tomorrow with a lot of plans on the horizon for this holiday weekend! I hope you’ll come back to hear about it!
Be sure to check out the cabin pictures from the session. They just went up today in their own gallery/folder.