How We Develop Rockmont’s Program in Pursuit of Five Critical Objectives for our Campers
Part Four: Christian Character
Walk the walk. During staff training we stress over and over that while campers listen to what we say, they are much more attuned to what we do.
Through ourselves, as directors, and our summer staff, we strive to model for our campers what it means to be a person of Christian character. It is a key objective; we recognize it’s one of the most important reasons parents send their sons to Rockmont.
The Rockmont Way is one of integrity, honor, truthfulness, empathy, and selflessness.
We want our actions to clearly demonstrate what each of those means, to be real-time examples of what things like integrity, honor, and truthfulness look like in our interactions with each other. We are grounded in the faith of the Christian experience, and have been since our founding in 1956. During a camper’s time at Rockmont, we strive to show what that really looks like.
Every single moment is a teaching opportunity!
Campers watch us as we lead cabin and tribal activities: Are we fair? Are we supportive? Positive? Do we lift each other up? How do we act as teammates?
When we eat together as a cabin, do we readily share, are we aware of each other? Do we notice the camper who isn’t as talkative and bring them into the conversation? Opportunities to show how we care for each other abound!
When we’re teaching a skill, are we also teaching campers to honor and respect the game, the skill, the traditions? Are we teaching good sportsmanship? When we see behavior that is hurtful to someone else do we handle it, do we make the correction right then?
These scenarios form the basis of our staff training, which starts a full week before the first campers arrive. Because many of our staff came through the ranks as campers themselves – and because many of our staff return for multiple years – the DNA of living and exemplifying the Rockmont Way runs deep.
And, because none of us are perfect, the times when we as staff make mistakes become teaching moments too.
Certainly, there are structured times in our daily program to talk about our faith and how it manifests itself in our actions. Every day after breakfast each tribe meets for Morning Watch, where a staff member provides a thought for the day based on a particular Bible verse, and each night ends with a cabin devotion. On Sundays we have Camp Church, and Council Ring that evening. In all of it, there is the age-appropriate impetus to mesh our Christian experience with real-life examples and vignettes of times where campers and staff demonstrate with their actions what it means to be a person of Christian character.
We all understand and treasure the almost singular opportunity summer camp presents for boys to begin trying on the coat of manhood, surrounded by other boys going through the same experiences and led by staff who are invested in their successful navigation of this important process.
As a staff we approach it intentionally, with purpose, awareness, and training, and always with the understanding that we must live it and model it authentically, by walking the walk.