How We Develop Rockmont’s Program in Pursuit of Five Critical Objectives for our Campers
Part Two: Self-Awareness
Days at Rockmont are chock-full of fun, energy, and adventure! Also built into our program are purposeful times for cabins to be together thoughtfully as a group. Starting as soon as campers arrive, and continuing throughout the session via daily meals, rest periods, evening devotions, and Sunday afternoon cabin activities, campers spend lots of time interacting with their cabinmates.
It’s especially in these times that self-awareness is developed in ways that make a life-long impact.
A piece in the newsletter, Fatherly*, includes a wonderful definition of self-awareness: “Self-awareness — a person’s understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and personality — is not innate; it’s a skill that needs to be nurtured and developed. Self-aware kids understand how their actions are perceived by others, know when to engage their strengths, when to pull back, and discover areas in which they need improvement.”
The beauty of coming to camp as an individual – but quickly becoming a part of a group – is that it provides campers with a firehose of opportunities to assess how to healthily interact within a group setting. That’s a primary reason we limit cabin placement requests to just one other camper – we want the relationships to be new and fresh and on equal footing. There’s some nervousness, but it’s a shared nervousness that binds campers together quickly with the counselor’s help.
Assistant Director, Daniel Weatherby, explains, “The counselor provides this great air traffic control. We train them to help equalize the inputs, to showcase that everyone gets an equal voice at the table. And in the course of nurturing the group dynamic, counselors model and teach important life lessons about being a good listener, displaying empathy, the destructive consequences of cliques and bullying, and why having strong friendships is key to a good life.”
It’s no coincidence that when Rockmonters get married, many times a majority of the groomsmen are long-time camp friends!
In addition to the immediate feedback from others, being at camp sets the stage for self-reflection. “You discover your own self in an important way when you get free of the world, your normal day-to-day life,” says Stan Wilson, Rockmont’s Coordinating Director. “You’re making your own bed – you realize there’s nobody else here responsible for that action and yet you’re a part of this welcoming community. That plows fertile ground for growth.”
Stan also tells a great story about his experience coming to camp for the first time and realizing that Rockmont is a community that is friendly, where you don’t mind taking a risk. “I was a skinny kid, a beanpole, and I was very self-conscious about taking my shirt off. I got to camp and somehow I wasn’t afraid to take my shirt off! I remember that even now – it was important.”
At Rockmont we understand that we are partnering with parents towards the same goal: we all want your sons to grow into happy, honest, spiritual young men who are resilient, confident, and empathetic, who understand the relationship between hard work and achievement.
Having opportunities to develop healthy self-awareness in a safe and fun environment like camp, is absolutely critical in achieving that goal.
*”How to Raise a Self-Aware Kid…” Fatherly.com, May 17, 2019