Growing Independence

Shawn Marler July 1, 2015

The only way children can grow into independence is to have their parents open the door and let them walk out. That’s what makes camp such a life-changing experience for children.Michael Thompson

Tuesday brings a great deal of play! Not to say that we weren’t playing the first two days. We’ve had a ton of fun before today. But Tuesday… oh, man! Tuesday is for tribal activities. We slept in a little later, until reveille woke us at 8:30am. Then we headed to a hardy breakfast – biscuits, eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and yogurt with granola. After breakfast, we were fueled for a day full activities within our tribes. We were ready to run, jump, swim, and play all over camp.

Today was also a first in Rockmont history. We added a second Free Swim period to our Tuesday schedule, one at noon and another at 5pm. Typically, we only have one, but we determined this session to provide more opportunities to get wet and have a blast on the waterfront or playing disc golf or Thunderball. The kids absolutely loved it!

Following breakfast, Morning Watch, and cabin clean-up, the Buckeyes charged to the lakeside field to play Gladiator, a two-team capture-the-flag style game. The Birch tribe headed to the Golf Course to play Invasion, a timed event where two teams see how quickly they can find and return one team’s flag on a narrow stretch of land. Meanwhile, the Hickories could be found playing 3-Ball Soccer/3-Disc Ultimate Frisbee down on the lower fields. Imagine playing soccer and ultimate frisbee at the same time, with three times the number of soccer balls and discs. The Hemlocks headed down into the Challenge Course to strengthen relationships with their cabinmates. Poplars were pumped to get to the gym for their dodgeball tournament. While all of this was going on at camp, the Sycamores were waking up in Pisgah National Forest for a full-day of play in the woods, cooking their own food, swimming, and exploring. That adventure would continue all day long.

Lunch was energetic! Campers are always ecstatic for Taco Tuesday. After filling our taco shells and enjoying a shared meal, we headed to rest period, which was a much-needed break before heading out to more tribal activities. After reading letters from home, writing some of our own letters, reading, or sleeping, our campers were ready for more games! The Buckeyes and Birches joined together to play one of their favorite games, Super Mario Brothers: Rescue the Princess. Two lifeguards dressed as princesses and joined the fun. The campers ran around camp collecting “power-ups” and searching for the princesses to rescue them. The video game had come alive for them! The Poplars entered a different story, playing a new game based on the Chronicles of Narnia. These activities engaged their imaginations but also were played out with paint and running and team play. It was incredible!

The Hickory and Hemlock tribes finished preparing their packs and then headed up the mountain for their camp outs. After hiking, they settled into their campsites, built their evening fires, and enjoyed their dinner on a cool mountain evening. Back at camp, the rest of the campers enjoyed a home-style dinner with roast beef, baked potatoes, green beans, salad, and apple pie to top it all off.

Buckeyes and Birches went straight away afterward to the gym for a game of Battle Ball. It’s basically a dodgeball game and a dance party, all at the same time. The Poplars played 3-Ball Soccer/3-Disc Ultimate Frisbee and then finished the evening with a night swim. And the other tribes on their campouts settled into their sleeping bags under a full moon after enjoying s’mores.

Our evening cabin devotions brought us to a classic Old Testament story, Daniel in the Lion’s Den. In that story, we discovered more good news and saw that God is faithful to his people and present with them wherever they are and in whatever circumstances they find themselves.

Through all the fun of the day, we were able to see a growing independence in these young men. Whether they arrived anxious or overjoyed, today they showed a great ability to move into the camp experience with an increasing amount of passion. They were free to be themselves as they ran around during tribal activities, teaming up with new and old friends, strategizing, and celebrating big and small victories throughout the day. As parents, you have made this possible, and it will be a life-changing and life-giving experience for all of us.


Shawn Marler
Bear Camp Director

Today’s Bible Story…
Scripture: Daniel 6
Story: Daniel in the Lion’s Den
+Where do you see yourself in the story?
+What is the good news?

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