Discovering Friendships

Shawn Marler June 17, 2015

Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
-C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Our campers and staff have come from all over the southeast, from other parts of the country, and also from other countries around the world. Some have come with a friend, and others take the bold step of coming to camp not knowing anyone else. But one of the gifts of camp, no matter where we come from, is the gift of discovering new friends.

Anytime we are in a new and unfamiliar place, our first instinct is to take care of ourselves, to figure things out first before opening up. That makes sense in the camp setting as well. But by Tuesday, campers are becoming increasingly familiar with camp – with the property, with its people, and the program itself. And as they feel more at home, they open up to new experiences and new relationships. Realizing that they’re going to be okay and – even better – that this session is going to be a ton of fun, they open themselves up to new and deeper friendships. In a sense, they begin to see one another with new eyes.

Tribal activities are the perfect opportunity to bump up against one another and strengthen those friendships. The Buckeyes, our youngest guys, began their day with Powerball – working as teams to score as many play-pen balls (“powerballs”) in the opposing team’s baskets. The Birches could be seen navigating camp with their counselors during Counselor Hunt, a team-based “hide-and-seek” style game. Hickories played Braveheart, a capture-the-flag game, and Hemlocks headed down to the Challenge Course to strengthen cabin relationships. The Poplars played Gladiator on the narrow strip of land near the lake. Meanwhile, the Sycamores woke up in Pisgah National Forest and prepared for a day exploring and enjoying Creation. The 3-week Base Campers bonded at the Montreat Ropes Course before rejoining the camp out. The morning was all about playing together!

We were excited to find out at lunch that we were celebrating Taco Tuesday! We refueled with hard shell and soft shell tacos, and then we moved into rest period, preparing for a fun-filled afternoon. The Buckeyes and Birches changed into bathing suits afterward and hit the waterfront, Gully Washer, canoes, paddleboards, and zip line. It was a warm and sunny afternoon, so going to the waterfront made perfect sense. Plus, campers had to “buddy up,” the perfect time to strengthen those friendships. The Poplars headed to the gym for a dodgeball tournament, and the Hickories and Hemlocks headed up the mountain for their camp outs. Being in the woods, hiking, and sharing a meal around the campfire is really the ideal setting to go deeper with one another, to share and grow together.

The evening brought more dodgeball, this time for the Buckeyes and Birches. The Poplars enjoyed Powerball, and the rest of camp settled into their sleeping bags out on the mountain. It was a clear night, and the stars were shining brightly over Rockmont. Our evening devotion led us to the story of the widow who gave all she had to the Lord. We experienced today what it means to see the needs of others, to open your hearts to them, to build new friendships and strengthen old ones. We look forward to continuing that journey through the rest of the week.


Shawn Marler
Bear Camp Director

Today’s Bible Story…
Story: The Widow’s Offering
Scripture: Mark 12:41-44
+Where do you see yourself in the story?
+What is the good news?

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