Tag: main camp

Horse Swim

It’s mid July, and we’ve been feeling the heat. Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to cool off at the swim docks, paddle refreshing rivers, or slide down chilly Sliding Rock. Campers aren’t the only ones trying to escape the sun with a cool swim – today the horses got to swim at the lake too! During rest hour this afternoon, Ransom, Walker L., Clayton, Jacob, and Charlie took some of our water-loving horses for a quick swim.

Even though horses are big animals, you might be surprised to learn that they can really enjoy swimming. Some of our horses are content to just stay on the shore and splash their hooves in the water, but others love swimming, and will submerge themselves to where just their eyes, nose, and ears are peeking up off the surface. Gizmo fits into the latter category, and even though he is one of our oldest horses, he was the first to get in the water and start splashing around like a young pony. Walker was riding Gizmo, and couldn’t stop smiling as Gizmo tested the waters, splashing his front hoof so hard that water was spraying up all around them. After getting comfortable, Gizmo walked straight into the lake and even got out deep enough to start swimming a few strokes.

Gizmo loves to swim!Gizmo loves to swim!

Cruz was just as excited, splashing water with his hooves before marching in up to his neck. As Ransom got on Blaze’s back, I asked him if he has ever taken a horse swimming before. “Never!” He exclaimed, eager to get in the water. Swimming the horses might have been a new activity for these boys, but they were no strangers to the barn. Over the past three weeks, boys have been working hard at the barn, improving their horsemanship skills and equine knowledge. Just last week, several advanced riders were jumping in the upper riding ring, working with Doss and Bailey on their position and jumping confidence. It takes a lot of trust in your horse and confidence in your skills to have the bravery to jump with such a big creature, but these boys were up to the challenge. They leapt over cross bars and jumps a couple feet high, gaining confidence and knowledge with every landing.

Getting ready to cool off in the lake Getting ready to cool off in the lake

Besides jumping, boys have been doing a lot of ground-work to advance in their progressions. They have to learn the technical parts of riding like foot-falls and leads, plus the details of how to feed horses and ensure they have proper supplements to their nutrition. Boys learn how to take apart, clean, and reassemble each component of a horse’s tack, plus basic equine first aid. The progressions are a big part of maintaining a quality horseback program at camp, but that doesn’t mean it’s all work and no play. Besides today’s fun horse swim, the boys have also had fun with the horses by painting them, or giving them baths with sudsy bubbles and shaving cream. For many boys, they don’t care what the activity is, they just enjoy being around the horses.

"Pool party" for the horses!

Though riding is a lot of fun, the boys also know that it takes hard work to care for the horses. After a fun jump lesson in the ring, those same boys will be the ones mucking stalls, scraping hooves, and brushing horses. Riding takes just as much Warrior Spirit as it does Servant’s Heart, teaching boys what it takes to care for a creature other than yourself. After a month at camp, you can often see how the bonds between horse and rider have grown. I’m sure these boys will be signed up to hang out with their favorite horses over the next couple of days, packing in as much time as they can at the barn during this final week.

Fly tying with Josh for fishing Fly tying with Josh for fishing
Green vs. Gold during Evening ProgramGreen vs. Gold during Evening Program

More Highlights From This Tuesday:

  • We had four previous campers visit during lunch today: Carson, Cooper, Harrison, and Greg. They were members of the FLINT crew last summer, and it was great to see all of them. They returned to reconnect with the camp community for the afternoon. “I love hearing that bell,” Harrison said at lunch. “We just got here but it already feels like we’ve been here for a while,” he explained, talking about how normal it felt to be back.
  • Quentin B. achieved Warrior in Lacrosse
  • Lawton J. Earned Warrior in Arts and Crafts and Ranger in Pottery
  • Dasher E. led a Kung Fu lesson during second free period, announcing the activity to the whole camp community during lunch today.
  • Breakfast: Chicken biscuits with scrambled eggs, hash browns, oatmeal, and a fruit, granola, and yogurt bar.
  • Lunch: Hot dogs with chili and cheese, seasoned french fries, pasta salad, apple slices, broccoli and cheddar soup, a full salad bar, and s’more pockets for dessert
  • Dinner: Turkey and homemade mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans and a warm dinner roll with apple turnovers for dessert.
Energy is always high during Evening Program!Energy is always high during Evening Program!
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Checking Off The Camp Bucket-List

When boys arrive at camp on Opening Day, many of them already have a goal or two in mind, ready to check off of their mental “camp bucket list” as the session progresses. These goals can be activity based, like riding a horse for the first time or making it to the top of the climbing wall. They can be more general, like making it through four weeks away from home for the first time, or making at least 5 new friends. Some boys have progression-based goals, like making it to Warrior in an activity or becoming a Journeyman. For Paul M. in Cabin 5, his camp goal had to do with progressing through the paddling program.

“My goal this summer was to get a yaklet,” Paul told me, proudly showing off the green bandana bracelet on his wrist, known around camp as a “yaklet.” He had just earned it last week after his trip down the Nantahala River, and was preparing for his first day in a kayak today. If you read the July 9th blog, you might already know that “yaklets” are given to boys who have progressed through the paddling ranks in a canoe, proving that they have the skills and confidence to start learning in a kayak, if they choose to move on from a canoe.

In that July 9th blog, we heard about Patton V. in Cabin 5, who was going on the Nantahala trip and was most excited about making it down the Falls. Patton was proudly sporting his Yaklet at the docks this morning as well, just as eager as Paul to get in a kayak. “The first time I went down the falls I didn’t make it down right-side-up,” Patton explained, “so we had to carry our canoe and gear back up to the top of that long rapid and do it again.” The second time, he and his paddling partner made it, achieving his goal and earning himself a spot in a kayak. He was back at the docks, ready to keep building his skills with a Lower Green trip this morning.

Last week's Tuckasegee/Nantahala paddling trip - both Patton and Paul were on the trip and earned their Yaklets!Last week's Tuckasegee/Nantahala paddling trip - both Patton and Paul were on the trip and earned their Yaklets!

Paul was planning to head on the same Lower Green trip, but with all the busyness of the weekend, he hadn’t made it to the docks in time to get his paddling prep done. Luckily, counselor Daniel McCarthy, known by his FCC friends as “Cuatro,” offered to give Paul a lesson before the trip headed out so that he would be able to join them on the river. With only 4 days of activities left in camp, this would be one of Paul’s only chances to get on the Lower Green in a kayak, so his paddling counselors wanted to make sure that would be able to happen.

Right after breakfast, paddling counselor Charlie Pike began loading the trailer and preparing the van, while Cuatro met with Paul to teach him the basics and make sure he was confident and comfortable in the kayak. He picked out a boat and paddle in Paul’s size, and showed Paul how to put on the kayak spray “skirt,” made of stretchy neoprene to keep water out of the boat as you paddle through rapids. After making sure everything fit, Paul pushed out into the water to practice his “wet exit.” Though boys have to master their roll before making it on more advanced whitewater, you just have to know how to wet exit before paddling down the tamer Lower Green. If you happen to flip over while paddling, you can either roll the boat back up with your hips and the paddle, or you can pull the handle of the spray skirt off and swim out, known as a “wet exit.”

Cuatro walked Paul through the steps before he flipped himself into the water. “Once you’re flipped under the water, I want you to tap the right side of the boat three times, then rub the left side three times. Then pull your skirt and swim out.” Cuatro wanted Paul to take his time underwater, rather than just flipping and pulling the skirt immediately. This way he would be able to see if Paul was calm under the water or if he would panic. Paul took a deep breath and flipped over, and several seconds later he surfaced back up effortlessly. After showing calm under water, learning basic strokes with a kayak paddle, and demonstrating he could make some basic maneuvers in the kayak, he proved himself ready to join the trip to the Lower Green! He and Cuatro finished their lesson just as the rest of the crew was finishing loading boats on the trailer.

While the boys on the Lower Green were getting ready for their first time in kayaks, some of our more advanced paddlers were packing up their own trailer for some bigger whitewater. The advanced trip was heading out to another challenging river. James L. from Rising Warrior was among them, and had been chatting with Paul as the two of them got ready for their different river trips this morning. “Hey, aren’t you my neighbor?” Paul asked James, noticing that the two of them were both locals from Hendersonville. “Yeah!” James responded, shaking his hand. “If you want to meet up in the off-season, I can help teach you how to roll,” James offered, knowing that today was Paul’s first day in a kayak. Paul seemed excited by that idea, and the two wished each other luck as they packed up for their respective rivers.

Part of the Yaklet earning process on the TuckasegeePart of the Yaklet earning process on the Tuckasegee

No matter what a camper’s goals are during the summer, our goal as counselors is to help them reach that goal. Boys work on their progress year after year, returning each summer, but the progress doesn’t have to stop when the session ends. Many boys meet up during the off-season with friends they met at camp, working on their favorite activities together. We also encourage boys to reach out to their counselors and write them letters, staying in touch with those mentors throughout the year. Though we only have less than a week left in this session, we are excited to continue laying the foundation, introducing boys to skills that they can progress in long after camp has ended. Here’s to another day of growth and fun tomorrow!

-Annie Pharr

Camp friends are the best friends!Camp friends are the best friends!
Fishing with friends during Free-TimeFishing with friends during Free-Time

More Highlights From This Monday:

  • We had some unique trips heading out of camp today: Riflery took a trip to the Biltmore Estate to practice “skeet shooting,” where clay discs get shot into the air and boys try to shoot them as they fly. Fly Fishing also took their first trip, traveling to some beautiful local rivers for three days of fishing off-property.
  • Pach E. earned Ranger in Rock Climbing
  • Henry E. earned Warrior in Lacrosse
  • James L. earned Ranger in Soccer
  • William A. achieved Warrior in Nature
  • Booker M. became a Ranger in Disc Golf
  • William Z. became a Warrior in the HEAT
  • Talent Show auditions continued tonight in the Library! We’re looking forward to seeing all the acts during an Evening Program Talent Show this week.
  • Breakfast: Homemade french toast with syrup, sausage patties, a grits station, plus a granola, fruit, and yogurt bar
  • Lunch: Grilled cheese and tomato soup, with seasoned fries and fruit salad, plus a full salad bar and M&M cookies for dessert.
  • Dinner: Roasted chicken, seasoned rice, honey carrots, sliced bread, a full salad bar, and “dirt pudding” (chocolate pudding with oreos) for dessert.
Fully focused on our woodworking projectsFully focused on our woodworking projects
Learning map reading and navigation skills in OSCLearning map reading and navigation skills in OSC
Hanging out with the critters at NatureHanging out with the critters at Nature
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Sunday Ironman and Campfire

The exciting start to the 2019 Ironman!The exciting start to the 2019 Ironman!

“Pow!” The cap gun goes off and dozens of boys jump into the lake from the lower dam. Water splashes and limbs start paddling quickly through the water. Each boy is competing to be the fastest one to swim across to the other side, hoping for a lead in the three-part race of endurance. This afternoon we began our annual Ironman triathlon, a competition that boys can choose to challenge themselves in during Main Camp. This event goes back to 1981 at camp, when it was started under the leadership of Skeet Keyes, Terry Tyree, and Garrett Randolph. This year, we had 36 boys step up to the challenge and compete for the win.

Making it out of Part 1: the swim across both lakes Making it out of Part 1: the swim across both lakes

Just like the real Ironman, there are three parts to the race: swimming, running, and biking sections. Each competitor has to prepare all session long, practicing, training, and preparing. This preparation includes going on a swim check to practice swimming the length of the two lakes, completing a mountain bike prep and “camp ride” to ensure their confidence on a bike, and running the full lap of the trail course to make sure they knew the route. After spending the past three weeks getting ready, today the boys finally raced.

High fives on the 2nd section of the Ironman: mountain bikingHigh fives on the 2nd section of the Ironman: mountain biking

To kick off the race, the boys swam across the Lower Lake, ran up the upper dam, and swam around the Upper Lake while lifeguards paddled along next to the swimmers to make sure everything was safe. When they got out at the Roller Coaster, they transitioned to the mountain bike section, quickly putting on shoes and shirts while still dripping wet and breathing hard from the swim. It takes a lot of effort to put a dry sock on a wet foot! Many boys had friends volunteering as “pit crew,” helping them with anything from putting on their shoes, to getting them water, to just cheering them on as they pushed forward to the next section.

Servant's Heart means helping friends out during the race: supporting them, cheering, and even helping them put on socksServant's Heart means helping friends out during the race: supporting them, cheering, and even helping them put on socks

During the mountain bike section, the boys ride two laps of a course around camp, beginning with a challenging switchback climb up from the lake to the back of the Tuscarora cabin ridge. The mountain bike course led riders on familiar trails around camp, but didn’t leave out all the challenging sections. Boys had to climb up a long section from the Lower Lake to the old BMX trail loop above the Iroquois cabins, crossing a technical root section, before finishing the lap on a winding descent back to the Roller Coaster.

Finishing on Part 3: the trail run to the finish lineFinishing on Part 3: the trail run to the finish line

After two laps of riding, the racers ditched the bikes and headed out on a different course for two final laps of running. The running route took them on the old “Foo Foo Trail,” heading out toward the old apple orchard and back around to the Dining Hall. Having the course loop around the Dining Hall several times before finishing helps make the race more spectator friendly for those who choose to watch and cheer rather than compete. The race ends on the ball field, with each racer running through the finish line and into the cheering arms of friends, cabin mates, and counselors.

Nothing beats the feeling of getting across the finish line, especially if you're being cheered on by dozens of friends!Nothing beats the feeling of getting across the finish line, especially if you're being cheered on by dozens of friends!

As the boys finish, they run right past the landsports hut, which has the names of each Ironman winner from the past 38 years, listed on painted wooden plaques to commemorate the victories. This summer, Cameron S. was our winner! Collier L. finished in a strong second after a tight race. We’re proud of all the young men who competed in this 2019 Ironman, challenging themselves by giving it their all and preparing diligently for the race.

Congratulating friends after a hard earned finishCongratulating friends after a hard earned finish

This evening, we gathered in the Campfire area for our last Sunday Campfire before the Candlelight Campfire’s “Ceremony of Light” on closing night. As the whole camp community came together, it was nice sharing the moments of reflection and silence while the James M, a Keeper of The Flame, lit the fire and the flame slowly grew. The silence was only broken by Alex Paris, opening Campfire by announcing, “Behold,” followed by Psalm 133:1. Tonight’s Campfire was about “Integrity and Decision Making”, setting up the final theme for our last week of camp. We had the privilege of tapping four new members of the Honor Council, voted on by their peers for consistently living by the Falling Creek Code and Honor Creed. Alex from Cabin 1, Taishi from Sequoyah, Walter from Rolling Thunder, and Tal from Comanche. Ben Williams also led a “friendship talk,” inviting everyone to come sit down by the fire in a tight group, symbolizing the tightly knit bonds that have already formed over these past three weeks. We’re looking forward to tomorrow, kicking off the final week of Main Camp already, which is sure to be a great one.

-Annie Pharr

More Highlights From This Sunday:

  • During Church, our theme was on Service, finishing out the week’s focus on how to serve others. Josh Cooey and Parker Moon read from Mark chapter 10, about service. Dusty shared a story with us about a runner he knows who came from a very challenging background with limited resources, but now donates all the sponsorship money and race winnings back home so that he can help alleviate others growing up in poverty.
Dusty giving us some words of wisdom about Dusty giving us some words of wisdom about "Service" during Church this morning
Josh and Parker reading from Mark at today's Church ServiceJosh and Parker reading from Mark at today's Church Service
  • Breakfast: After sleeping in, we had Krispy Kreme doughnuts, sausage,breakfast casserole, oatmeal, and a full selection of fruit, granola, & yogurt bar, to start off another great day at camp!
  • Lunch: Our famous fried chicken Sunday lunch, complete with mashed potatoes, green beans, warm rolls, and a full salad bar.
  • Dinner: Cookout Supper! We enjoyed our weekly picnic on the turf field, sitting with friends and sipping on Cheerwine sodas. We had hamburgers, two kinds of pasta salad (one with kale and a creamy dressing, and one with peas and ham), pickle spears, coleslaw, and brownies.
  • Sunday cleaning means more in-depth cabin inspections, but we had some exceptionally clean cabins! Through inspection, we aim at reinforcing parents’ teachings of respecting and taking good care of our belongings. As a community living in a tight knit area, it is important to teach boys how to think about our surroundings, keeping spaces clean out of love for the camp environment and respect for each other. Cabins 9, Gall, Standing Bear, Anasazi, & Nantahala were all the cleanest cabins in their respective tribes. This means they were first in line for Sunday ice cream sundaes!
  • We celebrated the birthdays of Larry J., a “Man of STEEL”, and Kimry Cannon, one of our fantastic counselors!
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The Days Are Just Packed

All dressed up for the Illahee Dance!All dressed up for the Illahee Dance!

It seems like the less time we have left at camp, the more we try to pack into each day! This Saturday was no different. After sleeping in an extra hour (crucial for preparation with all that was ahead), we enjoyed breakfast and Morning Assembly before beginning tournaments. Every Saturday, we take a break from activities and enjoy some friendly competition in an assortment of tournaments around camp. This morning’s tournaments included:

  • Singles Pickleball – With 37 participants, Spencer S. emerged as the top guy to beat.
    Pickleball is a hit during it's first year at camp!Pickleball is a hit during it's first year at camp!
  • Ultimate Frisbee with 6 teams – Parker Moon’s Tennessee Titan’s won the title
  • Indoor Soccer with 4 teams – The “Blues” team won it all
  • Singles Disc Golf – Collier L. and Raines K. tied at 4 under par on the challenging 18-hole mountain course
  • Magic card challenges doubles match – Hill J. and Grayson G. were the ones no one could out-play.
  • Arts and Crafts took a trip to downtown Hendersonville for the annual “Chalk it Up” festival! Check out the event’s video here for more information.
    At the swim docks, there were three challenges:
  • Fastest 50 meters (two lengths) – George G. was the victor posting a screaming 29.65 second time.
  • Best trick off of the high dive – Cole L. had an amazing back flip to take the honor of best
  • Biggest splash from the high dive – Spencer G. had an outstanding splash
Competing in the high dive splash-off Competing in the high dive splash-off
  • At the Climbing Wall, there were two competitions, including the best time to climb the Leanardo route, and the most number of crates one stacks without falling. Don’t worry, the boys are on belay. Following in his dad’s footsteps, Jackson S. took the top prize in both showing that the pro climbing skills have passed to the next generation.
Crate stacking at the Climbing WallCrate stacking at the Climbing Wall
  • At the Riflery range, the boys had a chance to try for the highest score with 5 shots. Finn and Sam from Rolling Thunder tied for the highest score.
Camper/Counselor Tennis Tournament Camper/Counselor Tennis Tournament

We’ve had a busy week at camp, with many of our biggest outdoor adventure trips of the session returning in time for the weekend. Our backpackers returned from a 3-day Appalachian Trail trip, where they hiked nearly 30 miles after beginning at the southern terminus of the trail at Springer Mountain, GA. The paddlers spent the last week on a 5-day paddling trip, hitting the New River, Upper Gauley, and Kanawha Falls. A different group of boaters paddled over 75 miles on the South Fork of the New River, paddling north from North Carolina into Virginia. Meanwhile, some of our other paddles were on the Pigeon River for two days, while still others on a 4th trip were paddling the Tuckasegee and Section 9 of the French Broad River. Fly Fishing made their way off campus, fishing at Deep Creek in the Great Smokies National Park. The rock climbers spent the entire last week in Eastern Kentucky, climbing for 5 days in the beautiful Red River Gorge. Rock Climbing also took two other trips, one to the big rocks near Chattanooga, TN, and a day trip to our local Looking Glass Rock, in Pisgah National Forest. Mountain Biking took their big trip of the summer, somewhat jokingly named “Death March,” for three days of big riding in Pisgah National Forest. They also took a two day trip to the Fire Mountain trails in Cherokee, NC, and a day trip to Kitsuma Peak in Pisgah National Forest.

Saturdays are always fun to catch up with friends and share stories from the week’s trips and adventures, especially since the whole camp community is back together for the weekend. After lunch and rest hour, the camp played an all-camp game of Capture the Flag. The fun wasn’t over in the evening – instead, we were excited to enjoy a camp dance with Camp Illahee for Girls! Our younger boys in Cherokee and Catawba headed to Illahee’s beautiful campus in nearby Brevard. Our older boys in Tuscarora and Iroquois stayed at Falling Creek to welcome Illahee for dinner, dancing, and merriment. At Illahee, they were gracious hosts as usual, welcoming us with fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, kale salad, chips, and a s’mores brownie for dessert. We had a picnic, and introduced ourselves to the girls while some brothers and sisters enjoyed a short reunion. After dinner, we had a fun dance in their gym with Marcus leading the fun as the DJ, complete with a boys vs. girls dance-off and popsicles as a cold treat afterwards!

Back at Falling Creek, we enjoyed a cookout supper with the Illahee girls, complete with Cheerwine, grilled chicken sandwiches with all the “fixings”, kale and pasta salad with feta, tomatoes, and homemade vinaigrette, Texas caviar, watermelon, and homemade blueberry cheesecake bars for dessert. We broke it down in the gym, with our guys showing off their best dance moves. Some of the counselors even had a Falling Creek vs. Illahee karaoke and fun “minute to win it” competitions! After dancing, we enjoyed “Icee pop” popsicles and said goodbye to our sisters and friends. Then it was time for a “boys only” dance party to end the night on a high note! As always we had a blast with our friends from Illahee, and are always grateful when they host us or travel to dance with us.

Minute to Win It challenges with the girls from IllaheeMinute to Win It challenges with the girls from Illahee

If you read last night’s blog about our Journeymen, you might be anxious to hear how the evening and day of the Journey turned out. Our nine Journeymen were well-prepared and we’re proud of each of them. Unfortunately however, none of them were able to make it past the fire-building and fire-tending section of the Journey, so we don’t have any new Keepers of the Flame to report. Though the rain held off last night and the air was still – no wind, we had a damp week which made lighting the wood challenging. Several of the Journeymen were very close, so we are looking forward to their attempt next summer. After such a busy day today, I’m sure everyone is excited for an hour of extra sleep tomorrow, plus Krispy Kreme doughnuts! We just have one more Sunday left of Main session, and you can bet that we’ll make it a great one.

More Highlights From This Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Smoked sausage, egg patties, warm biscuits, cheese, hash browns, an oatmeal station, and fruit, granola, and yogurt bar.
  • Lunch: Mini corn dogs, macaroni and cheese, grapes, a full salad bar, and whole fruit popsicles for dessert.
  • We celebrated Kimry’s birthday at lunch today, one of our great horseback counselors!
  • Will C. achieved Warrior level at the Climbing Wall.
Arts and Crafts took a trip to Arts and Crafts took a trip to "Chalk it Up" in Hendersonville's annual chalk art festival
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Beginning the Journey

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!
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