Welcoming the Company of Trees

Karen Davis January 8, 2021

There’s something special about summer camp! Magical, really.

It’s a place where kids can discover new interests, make friends, and develop some independence – all while having fun. Important values like teamwork, cooperation, and respect for others are cultivated at camp. It’s the kind of setting perfect for practicing social skills and self-reflection.

For many young people, it’s their home away from home, one marked by wildness and wonder. 

That sense of wonder is stirred on the approach to Rockmont as campers are first welcomed by the majestic pine trees lining Lake Eden Road. They were planted long ago and now stand tall and stately like sentries keeping watch. Turning into the front gate of camp, there are Sycamore trees and a beloved Hemlock that capture attention and extend good greetings to the swarms of excited boys.

Then, one by one, as campers make their way through the registration line and learn which tribe they’ll be joining – Buckeye, Birch, Hickory, Hemlock, Poplar, or Sycamore, their wonder expands.

Rockmont’s six tribes are named for native trees of Western North Carolina, each with unique characteristics. We recognize the importance of our trees for providing shade and food, keeping our air clean, serving as habitat for birds and animals, protecting against erosion, and creating a beautiful setting.  In fact, several of the most extraordinary trees on Rockmont’s property are named “Treasured Trees” by the Swannanoa Valley Tree Alliance because of their importance to our greater community. 

Trees represent Rockmont’s mission of GROWTH well.

From the youngest Buckeyes to the oldest Sycamores, each camper receives support to grow strong roots so they are anchored during challenging times. They are encouraged to embrace periods of rest and to conserve energy so they are ready to re-engage with the community during times of activity. They are reminded that endurance and patience are necessary traits for reaching new heights.

These are signs of growth: rootedness, rest, endurance, patience.

Rockmont campers are always growing. By coming to camp, they are stepping away from their usual script, embracing the unknown, and welcoming the company of trees whose lessons are eternal. 

Over time, they just may become a forest, as described by the poet Nikita Gill:

“One day when you wake up, you will find that you’ve become a forest.

You’ve grown roots and found strength in them that no one thought you had.

You have become stronger and more beautiful, full of life-giving qualities.

You have learned to take all the negativity around you and turn it into oxygen for easy


A host of wild creatures live inside you and you call them stories.

A variety of beautiful birds nest inside your mind and you call them memories.

You have become an incredible self-sustaining thing of epic proportions.

And you should be so proud of yourself, of how far you have come from the seeds of who you used to be.”

We can’t wait to see you at camp this summer where, together, we’ll welcome the company of trees!


Karen Davis

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