Child Protection Improvements Act

As the holidays approach, that means camp is right around the corner! In just a few short months, we will be welcoming our first group of campers for 2016.

Our leadership team spends a great deal of time during the off-season to assemble a team, who share our core values, to dedicate their time and talents to serve as mentors and role models for the camp community. Our staff go through a rigorous process before they are offered an opportunity to be part of our team. A critical piece of our vetting process is the background checks of our staff. Currently, our background checks consist of the following searches: Social Security Trace, County Criminal Conviction Search (All counties of residence), National Criminal Conviction Search, National Sex Offender Registry and Motor Vehicle Record.

falling creek staff

This background search is extensive and does provide great detail into the background of our staff, however, there is no single all-encompassing background check database available in this country. While still not all-encompassing, an FBI check is the best background check available, yet it is not always accessible to camps and other youth-serving organizations. The FBI check is the only truly nationwide check available. Individual states are the gatekeepers of criminal history information and they can decide who can access the information, as well as who can have access to the FBI’s information. In fact, thirty-four states bar access to FBI information!

At Thanksgiving of this year, the Child Protection Improvements Act was introduced to both houses of Congress, Bills S. 2332 and HR 4703. The purpose of the bill is to close a gaping hole in the federal law that prevents camps, children’s groups, mentoring organizations, after-school programs and other organizations that work with children or vulnerable adults from gaining access to federal criminal background checks on employees and volunteers.

We need your help!

We would like to ask that you support this legislation and advocate for Falling Creek and other camps alike. Advocating for the passage of this important legislation is very easy! ACA has an online tool with key messages and sample advocacy messages that can be sent immediately to your legislators. Participate today or learn more about the bill by visiting the Child Protection Improvements Act Advocacy Tool. Please take the time to help us advocate for this legislation and protect our campers today and for years to come.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for your time and support!

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Your Gift Matters

This time of year is all about giving. We have 3 amazing opportunities for you to give to Falling Creek campers and staff.

American Camp Association (ACA) Campership

These funds generously provide campership opportunities for boys whom Falling Creek would otherwise be out of reach. Your gift will make it possible for boys from around the country to benefit from the Falling Creek experience.

Western North Carolina Counties Campership

In 1992 a scholarship fund was established by Director Emeritus Chuck McGrady through the Community Foundation of Henderson County. This scholarship allows boys from several western North Carolina counties, who otherwise would be unable to attend a camp, the opportunity to share in the Falling Creek Camp experience.

It Only Takes a Spark Fund

This grant program has been established to provide Falling Creek staff members resources and support to positively impact others beyond the summer months. Through an application process, the selection committee awards funding from $250 – $1,000 per project for various work around the world. Recipients demonstrate “Servant’s Heart”, one of the four pillars of The Falling Creek Code. The fund is set up through a partnership with The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. We have highlighted two of our It Only Takes a Spark recipients from last year in past blogs; From a Spark to a Flame and It Only Takes a Spark.

If you would like to support any of the camperships or funds above, you can contribute online or mail in your contribution. To learn more or for corresponding addresses and links to give to, please click here.

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Living with Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving, ever, was a 3-day feast celebrated in 1621, where 53 colonists and 90 Wampanoag joined together to celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest. Of course, their meals consisted of wild birds, venison, corn, lobster, and actual pumpkin (minus the pie) and there was no football or parade to watch nor Black Friday deals to get to. Can you imagine 3 days of feasting with 143 of your family members?

dining hall falling creek camp

Today, Thanksgiving is a tradition. Celebrating family and friends with delicious food and traditions that make this time of year looked forward to by so many people. With the occasional burnt turkey, grumpy Aunt Florence, your football team losing, and the lady right in front of you taking the last Black Friday TV which was going for a whopping 50% off, it is so easy to forget what the holiday season is really about. We may sit around the table and pray or tell each other what we are thankful for, but do we actually live with thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving should be a way of life not a one-time celebration. Colossians 4:2 says, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” How often do we turn to God to ask for something? How often do we turn to God to just thank Him?

arms around each other falling creek

God does not bless us just once a year, but instead, floods us with blessings every day of our lives. We should live constantly with thanksgiving! 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus died on the cross for our sins and we should be constantly thankful for salvation! Because of God sacrificing His only Son, we are given the opportunity to live with Him for eternity! What is there to be more thankful for than that?

candlelight falling creek

Thanksgiving is mentioned around 32 times in the Bible, depending on which version you read. Why should we live in thanksgiving? It can really transform your mind and your heart! In studies, it is proven that those who live with thankfulness are naturally happier people. So, why not turn this beautiful holiday into a way of life? Maybe not by stuffing your belly with turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie every day, but by living with thankfulness.

We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Falling Creek is definitely thankful for YOU!

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Choosing Thankfulness

After helping with the Falling Creek Expeditions to Oregon this summer, my daughter, Honey, and I headed to California to meet a friend to climb a technical route up the east face of Mt. Whitney. Whitney towers over the high Sierras and is the tallest peak in the continental U.S.

There are three challenges that face a potential Whitney climber. The first is getting the coveted, limited permit to climb. The second is having stable weather and last, but most importantly, is your team’s physical ability and skills to handle the challenge. On the beautiful day of August 3rd all three of these elements seemed to be lined up perfectly, until…

We ascended thousands of feet over the moon-like granite slabs and rocky scree fields when one of our team members began to struggle. He’s a strong muscular guy, but was out of breath and losing his footing. He also began to complain. A LOT. After a frigid night at Iceberg Lake, we launched at dawn for our summit bid. Big Man struggled then reluctantly agreed to wait while Honey and I ascended to the top. When we all returned to our high camp, everyone needed to get to lower altitude before the frigid shadows moved across the lunar grey talus. Honey had climbed strong, but was now suffering with headache and nausea from the 14,000-foot day so I sent her on down the trail with the tent, food and specific instructions where to camp at tree line. I stayed back to help our big Whiney team member.

Honey and Dusty

As darkness descended on the million-acre wilderness, Big Man plopped down for the night trail-side and I sprinted on with a headlamp to find my daughter. “Honey!” I yelled till my voice and my headlamp batteries faded. As darkness bled over the landscape, I realized I would have to wait till morning to find her, but all I had in my backpack was ropes and carabineers. I felt angry and frustrated. Why did I let my daughter our of my sight on this bear infested mountain and why did I give her my sleeping bag?

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and it reminds me of my intense mental and emotional struggle back on Whitney. It seemed the perfect set-up with weather, permits, my daughter and the majestic mountain. We were so blessed to climb and experience God’s amazing creation. Yet, it all seemed so tainted by one person who grumbled and was not thankful. The Falling Creek Code echoes the New Testament’s words, “If you want to know God’s will for your life—it is to be thankful in everything.” Being thankful is a choice. It is not an emotion. We are not always in comfortable or appealing situations, but we can CHOOSE thankfulness for what we can learn through the process.

Sunset

The California sun came up early and I rose with it to continue my search for Honey. I chose to give thanks even though my chest was tight with worry. It wasn’t too long before I saw her bee-bopping down the trail with her blond braids swinging. I grabbed her up in my arms and swung her around with a shout of thanks. Hours later we got Big Man down the mountain and celebrated big man sizes burgers!

Hoping all the Falling Creek Families will choose to give thanks during this season of Thanksgiving.

- Dusty Davis

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What is Your Legacy?

Frank Tindall and his son, Wilson, competed in the NYC Marathon on November 1st. What an awesome accomplishment to cross that finish line, but to be able to cross the finish line with your son?! This is a memory neither will ever forget! What kind of legacy are you leaving behind?

Deuteronomy 6:2 says, “So that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.”

Frank running NYC Marathon

Is the legacy you leave behind material or is it something that you leave with your child that can be passed down generation after generation and will never break, fade, or rust? Here at Falling Creek, we believe that their is a strong value in the relationship you hold with your children. We celebrate this relationship twice a year with our Father/Son Weekends, where we allow fathers to spend quality, intentional time with their son(s). Time that so easily gets away from us in this busy world, yet is so important to the raising of our children.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”

Wilson NYC marathon

The relationship you have with Christ will reflect on your children. The time you spend with them, how you encourage them, and the habits you have formed will also remain as part of your legacy.

Frank has passed down the importance of fitness and health to his children. His legacy is not being left through what he tells them to do, but through what he does, by example. Through intentional time with them. Neither Wilson nor Frank woke up one day and said, “I think I want to go run the NYC Marathon” but instead they worked at it and set goals to one day achieve such an accomplishment. This is something that Frank has imprinted on his children over the years of raising them. And then to cross the finish line of a world-known marathon with his son says a lot about their relationship and the time Frank spent with him over the years.

How do you spend quality time with your children? What kind of legacy will you leave behind?

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