It was a peaceful morning on the mountain as we gathered for Morning Watch today. Morning Watch is a time where we come together for a thought to start the day, quietly taking in the morning sights and sounds as we sit on the benches by the lake. Throughout the summer, counselors (and at times, campers) take turns sharing a daily thought, challenge, or story, which is often based on a part of the Falling Creek Code. It’s the first thing we do each morning, and today Perry was the counselor who spoke.
“Today I wanted to talk to you about perseverance,” he began. “To me, perseverance means being willing to withstand something you think is negative.” Perry related this to the daily chores that campers share in the cabins. Sweeping the floor or making your bed isn’t the most fun thing to do each day, but persevering efficiently through a task that isn’t your favorite leads to more time for fun activities. Perseverance is also a big part of Warrior Spirit in the Falling Creek code, especially when you persevere through something that is intimidating at first. Boys might not make it to the top of the climbing wall on the first try, they might be initially intimidated by the zipline’s height, or they might face some homesickness during their first time away from mom and dad. However, through the encouragement of their peers, support from their counselors, and perseverance within themselves, they will continue to try, and grow from these attempts.
Camp sets boys up for success as much as possible, but more importantly, camp is a safe place to fail. Boys learn that it’s okay to not be the best at everything, but it’s always encouraged to try. At Falling Creek, failure doesn’t mean you did a bad job, and it doesn’t mean you have to be ashamed or worry about bullying. Instead, camp is a place unique from school or home because boys are exposed to controlled risk, appropriate challenge, and the freedom to fail. This is important, because with that freedom to fail comes the opportunity for growth, and that’s what new experiences at camp are all about.
For many boys, one new experience at camp is the Cabin Overnights. During every session at Falling Creek, each cabin gets to go on an overnight together. With our increasingly urban societies, there are a growing number of boys (and youth in general) who don’t have the opportunity to go camping. Though the activities offered at camp are undoubtedly fun, the opportunities for camping out in the woods are invaluable. Some boys who come to camp have never had the chance to sleep in a primitive campsite, or spend time away from “man-made noises” like cars and machinery. Even though we don’t have the time to go on a trip off camp property during Junior Camp, a boy can still have the experience of camping outdoors with the cabin overnight. It might even make him realize how fun camping is, and that he has what it takes to sign up for a trip on a longer session!
While the boys were loading their packs with supplies to make chicken fajitas for supper, there was plenty of excited chatter. Grant had never been camping before, and was curious but excited about how it would go. In Cabin 5, Kieran told me, “this is going to be my third time ever camping!” They were preparing to go to the shelter named Ridgetop, and were excited since it’s the only double-decker shelter. His cabin mate was carrying a big pot, and told me “I bet we’re making pancakes for dinner!” “With a pot?” I asked him. When he found out they would actually be cooking chicken fajita tortillas and s’mores, he exclaimed, “oh, that sounds even better!”
Cabin Honeymoon was ready to go, each camper armed with his own hiking stick. The boys had been searching for the perfect hiking sticks that afternoon, preparing to head out on the trails. The boys weren’t the only ones ready to go: “Boo bear,” Brandon’s teddy bear, was tucked safely into his arm for the hike. Cole had nestled “Nippy,” the stuffed rabbit, into the top pocket of his pack so that he could see out while they walked. Maybe if Nippy and Boo bear are lucky, the boys will share a bite of their s’mores with them tonight.
Falling Creek sits on 890 acres of beautiful mountain-top land. However, the main area of camp is only a relatively small portion of that, which means that many boys don’t get the chance to explore all the miles of trails and dozens of shelter outposts scattered across this mountain. These include classic shelters that some alumni remember, like Octagon, as well as newer shelters like the Shire. One of my favorites is Chief’s Lookout, which faces a great mountain overlook, perfect for watching the sun set in the evening. During Cabin Overnights, boys have the chance to not only get to know their cabin-mates better, but also see a little more of Falling Creek than they would otherwise see in their daily activities. When cabins take their overnights to these shelters, they get a quick glimpse into the beauty that this mountain has to offer, enticing boys to come back year after year until they’ve seen all the trails and corners of this property.
Tonight, half of camp headed out on their Cabin Overnights, and tomorrow night the other half is doing the same. While those camping out were prepared with ingredients for chicken fajitas, chips and salsa, and s’mores, the rest of camp enjoyed pizza in the Dining Hall, handmade by our awesome kitchen crew. In the morning, we’ll welcome everyone back and share breakfast together before another fun day of activities. We’re looking forward to another great day tomorrow!
More Highlights From This Monday:
- Today was Superhero Day! All the boys and counselors were dressed in capes, their favorite superhero t-shirts, or even full superhero costumes.
- Breakfast: Chicken biscuits with scrambled eggs, hash browns, oatmeal, and a yogurt and granola bar with fresh blueberries and cottage cheese.
- Lunch: Taco Tuesday! Boys could make their own soft tacos or nachos, with ground beef, cheese, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream on the table. They could also opt for a taco salad from our stocked salad bar, or broccoli and cheddar soup, plus everyone’s favorite s’mores pockets for dessert.
- Dinner: Chicken fajitas cooked outdoors with salsa and cheese (plus s’mores) for our boys on overnights. Homemade pizzas, salad, and grapes for the rest of us.
- Evening Program included the Catawba Tribe playing a huge game of the ever popular dodgeball in the Thunder Dungeon, while the Iroquois Tribe played a series of fun games on the turf field.