If you’ve been keeping up with our daily blogs, then you’ve heard all about the Journeymen and Keepers of the Flame. These are our campers who have reached Warrior, the highest level, in three different activities, as well as consistently display that they live by the Falling Creek Code. Journeymen are then eligible to challenge themselves with a Journey, which happens at an unknown time towards the end of the session. Those that successfully complete all parts of the Journey are known as Keepers of the Flame, the highest honor that a camper can attain. This year we have nine Journeymen, who have all been preparing with their mentors for the day that the Journey comes. That day began today.

Introducing some of last summer's Journeymen at Campfire in 2018Introducing some of last summer's Journeymen at Campfire in 2018

This evening after everyone was getting ready for bed, the nine Journeymen were tapped by their mentor to walk to a previously unknown area of camp in the dark, with the path lit only by flashlights. There was no noise besides the quiet crunching of leaves underfoot and the occasional bullfrog croaking goodnight. I’m sure the boys minds were racing with feelings of excitement, anticipation, eagerness, and possibly even anxiousness or doubt about the Journey that lay ahead. None of the boys (or even their mentors) knew that tonight began their Journey, and Yates and other staff were waiting to meet them and introduce their first challenge.

Keeping the fire going during a part of last summer's Journey Keeping the fire going during a part of last summer's Journey

Rodrigo E. and Pete C. are two of the Journeymen among them who attempted the Journey last summer. Pete was sick and unable to finish, and Rodrigo made it through each challenge, only to be one checkpoint short during the final orienteering challenge time cut-off. Both boys have been preparing throughout the session and are eager for another shot this year. Sam Clayton is Pete’s mentor, and knows how much hard work Pete has been putting into his preparation. “Due to his preparation this year, and his near miss last year, I feel confident in his ability to succeed,” Sam told me.

Rodrigo last year with his mentor after his JourneyRodrigo last year with his mentor after his Journey

Heath S., Julian D., John E., John S., Sam F., Will S., and Walter M., and are the other Journeymen who are in the midst of their Journey tonight. Heath’s three Warrior levels are in basketball, flag football, and woodworking. Julian’s are horseback, nature, and pottery. John E.‘s are disc golf, rock climbing, and the HEAT. John S.’s are Disc Golf, Nature, and Blacksmithing. Sam’s are Disc Golf, Sailing, and the Climbing Wall. Will’s are Disc Golf, Music, and Nature. Walter’s are horseback, nature, and pottery.

Each of these boys’ mentors has been helping them prepare, especially for the daunting “fire” challenge where they have start and tend a fire with limited resources. Heath’s mentor, Josh Cooey, was helping Heath gather fire-starter and practice building and lighting a fire during free time this week. John S.’s mentor, Scuba, was telling me that he thinks John will excel at the fire building section. “The fire building is what he’ll probably be best at,” Scuba predicted. As you read this blog tonight, those boys who successfully lit their fires are in the middle of tending their fire and keeping it fueled. They will be checked on throughout the night by Ben Williams, our Outdoor Adventure Director, as well as Harrison and James, two members of our DASH kitchen crew who were Men of STEEL last year. Harrison and James also took on the challenge of the Journey last summer, and James became a Keeper of the Flame. Both Harrison and James are incredible role models for our Journeymen tonight, and no doubt will be a source of encouragement and inspiration during the long night ahead.

James, who became a Keeper of the Flame last summer, is shown here starting a Sunday evening Campfire from a bow drill methodJames, who became a Keeper of the Flame last summer, is shown here starting a Sunday evening Campfire from a bow drill method

In the morning, the Journeymen will begin the next parts of their Journey, some parts of which include a test of endurance, a service component where they chop wood for future Sunday night Campfires, and a strategy and orienteering challenge where they must find checkpoints hidden throughout the 890 acres of camp property before time is up. On top of all this, the boys must remain in complete silence throughout each test, giving them time for reflection and listening.

Chopping and sawing wood during the service component of last year's JourneyChopping and sawing wood during the service component of last year's Journey

At camp, we know the importance of adventure, and the growth that can come from appropriate risk and challenge. This Journey is certainly a challenging adventure, and we are excited for these nine young men to attempt it. Tomorrow afternoon we will introduce our newest Keepers of the Flame, if we are lucky enough to have any. No matter the outcome of the Journey, we are already extremely proud of these Journeymen. They have shown their Warrior Spirit through their diligence in achieving Warrior three separate times, and in accepting the challenge of the Journey, all while modeling the Falling Creek Code and Honor Creed in their daily lives. We know these boys have what it takes and they now have the opportunity to use it as they head off on their Journey. We wish them all well.

-Annie Pharr

More Highlights From This Friday:

  • We celebrated two birthdays today! We sang to Johnny R. and presented him with a birthday cake at lunch. It was also Henry S.’s birthday, and since he was out having fun on a trip today, we’ll celebrate with him when he returns!
  • Chloe, Kyle, and Thomas offered something unique during second free period today, giving Swing Dancing lessons on the front porch of the Dining Hall.
  • Breakfast: French toast sticks with canadian bacon, a grits station, and a fruit and yogurt bar
  • Lunch: Philly cheese steak sandwiches with provolone cheese, thick cut seasoned fries, fruit salad, a full salad bar, and ham and pea soup, plus oatmeal raisin cookies for dessert.
  • Dinner: Sliced turkey with mixed vegetables and rice, plus a full salad bar and multicolored “twin pops” popsicles for dessert
One of our mountain bike trips at Dupont todayOne of our mountain bike trips at Dupont today
Cooking over an open flame at the F.A.R.M.Cooking over an open flame at the F.A.R.M.
Crate stacking at the climbing wall - how high can you go?Crate stacking at the climbing wall - how high can you go?
Trail riding this afternoon with our favorite horses!Trail riding this afternoon with our favorite horses!