“It’s been said that the line between childhood and adulthood is crossed when we move from saying “My shoes got lost’ into ‘I lost my shoes.’
Indeed, being accountable – and understanding and accepting the role our choices play in the things that happen – are crucial signs of emotional and moral maturity. That’s why responsibility is not only a part of the Moral Compass in the Falling Creek Code, it is one of the main pillars of good character and of being a good person.
Many people have been lied to by Peter Pan. A cultural icon representing youthful innocence, a refusal to grow up, and the avoidance of the burdens implied in being accountable. Yes, responsibility sometimes requires us to do things that are unpleasant, worrisome, and even frightening. It asks us to carry our own weight, prepare and set goals, and exercise the discipline to reach our dreams and aspirations.
But the benefits of accepting responsibility far outweigh the short-lived advantages of refusing to do so. You might get away with being quiet about something that you’ve done, or even blaming someone else for your misdeeds. You might not face consequences for your wrong action – at the time. Eventually this poor choice will catch up with you and, it’ll typically cause more pain for you down the road than if you’d stepped up to the situation and said, “I did it”.
When you blame others, you give up your power to change. It has a devastating effect on your own mind and heart. When you know you have failed to take responsibility for something that you should, it’ll begin to bother you, to eat at you, little by little. Pretty soon, you’ll feel very small inside. No life is made better by avoiding responsibility. In fact, irresponsibility is selfish. It is inconsiderate of the situation and the people around you. It goes against the concept of service.
Responsibility is about our ability to respond to circumstances and to choose the attitudes, actions, and reactions that shape our lives. It is a concept of power that puts us in the driver’s seat. The grand perspective of the potential of our lives can only be appreciated when we begin to be accountable and self-reliant.
In the words of a great leader – Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time, “Responsibility demands sacrifice.” You may sacrifice your time, your energy, your honor, your pride – but real responsibility and sacrifice is the path to happiness.
Responsible people not only depend on themselves, but show others that they can be depended on. This breeds trust, and trust is a key that opens many doors. If you want more control over your life and the pleasure, privilege, and power of freedom and independence, be more responsible for your actions.
You will make mistakes along the way. People make mistakes. It’s what you do after you make a mistake that matters. It’s apart of growing up. And you never really stop growing."
The above writing is by Beau Kebodeaux, and it’s how we all began the day today. Beau led us in Morning Watch, and offered these poignant thoughts to start off this Thursday. Throughout these past three weeks, we have seen plenty of growth from the campers. These boys have certainly grown physically, but they have also shown growth in things like independence, collaboration, and responsibility. They have grown their friendships and improved in activity skills, and it is hard to believe that June Camp is already wrapping up.
After a final morning of activities, we had a favorite lunch of macaroni and cheese, mini corn dogs, chili, a charcuterie spread on the salad bar, and s’mores pie for dessert. Afterwards, we gathered at Morning Watch once more to celebrate these boys and the hard work they have put in during this session. Beau spoke about responsibility and being accountable, and there are certainly boys who have gone above and beyond in this department. It takes a lot of dedication and responsibility to progress in activities, and sometimes the hard work isn’t always the most fun. It might mean hours of practice at the swim docks to nail the perfect stroke, time spent mucking stalls at the barn between rides, cleaning up at arts and crafts after a messy day of painting, or repeating drills on the basketball court until you get the perfect layup. However, these boys were setting goals and holding themselves accountable until their hard work paid off. At the awards ceremony this afternoon, we were able to honor three boys in each activity with an award, celebrating them for modeling the Falling Creek Code every day. The full list of awards and their awardees will be included in our next “Grow and Behold” issue, along with the list of those who reached their Ranger and Warrior levels.
Tonight’s Evening Program gave even more proof of the responsibility these boys have chosen to accept. The annual Talent Show was hosted this evening, and it had been camper-led from the beginning. Though counselors were there to help set up speakers and such, the campers were the ones who wanted to handle the logistics. In particular, Slater N. volunteered himself to be responsible for signing up everyone and organizing the order of those performing. He made announcements in front of his fellow campers, asking them to meet him on the side porch if they were interested in being in the Talent Show. He was there at the practices as well, excited to help make this event a success.
When the time finally came for the curtain to raise, everyone was eagerly awaiting the performers. We gathered in the gym as one big camp community, looking forward to celebrating the many talents that our campers were willing to share. We had 14 great acts, including singers, musicians, comedians, and more. To close out the show, Slater sang “Hallelujah,” accompanied by counselor Danny on guitar and Quentin on electric bass. It takes courage to perform in front of hundreds of people, but we are lucky to have a supportive camp community that cheered for each other throughout every act. The brotherhood that has been built really showed, and Slater’s act was followed by a standing ovation from the whole crowd, appreciative of not only his singing, but also the hard work that he put into making the show happen.
The final event of the night was Campfire. We close every session with Campfire, which gives us time to reflect as a community and enjoy songs, skits, and verses in an area special to camp. Tonight was our Candlelight Campfire, where everyone lights their candles and walks out of the campfire area, encircling the upper lake. As everyone lines the bank with their tiny flames, we begin to sing Falling Creek’s version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” It is a beautiful way to end the day, and one of the verses particularly resonates with the atmosphere during our Campfire: “so when you leave tonight, by the fire’s light, please leave your spirit here. And we’ll let the trees, and all the memories, guard them all till we’re back next year.”
Everyone headed to bed tonight tired and happy, dreaming about this whirlwind of a session, and all the fun and growth we packed into three short weeks. Parents, we know your sons can’t wait to see you tomorrow morning! The gates will open at 8:30am, see you then!