Having Fun Trying Hard

Josh Drexler July 18, 2015

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10

I’ve spent time with this verse and found it to hold a great deal of truth. I’ve come to think that it speaks to far more than honesty in the sense of not cheating or lying. Rather, it encourages us to approach any and everything we do with integrity, grit, creativity, and passion. It encourages us to strive for excellence in all aspects of life.

Camp is a great place to learn that the little things count. For one thing, “cool” college-age men notice when a bed is made neatly, floor swept cleanly, or table set crisply. Moreover, in the context of community, the importance of these tasks is amplified. I might be able to tolerate my own dirty clothes on the floor… but eight cabin-mates’ clothes… no thanks! Everyone must contribute for the cabin to thrive.

Striving for excellence also comes naturally at camp because it is fun. Today during a full day of skills, there was no shortage of fun as campers inched towards mastery in their chosen areas. In Rocketry, campers began final preparation for blast-off on Monday. Measuring, cutting, gluing, and painting were all done in earnest. Monday’s ignition will quickly separate the excellent designs from the not so excellent. While crooked fins will cause some rockets to careen over and into the nearby lake, some will fly so high that campers will lose sight of them. Fortunately, the unplanned and circuitous flights often bring more laughter and joy than those with perfect trajectories. And most campers are able to retrieve their rockets and make adjustments.

In kayaking, the scene around the deck of Eden Hall was special. Campers grinned and somewhat nervously chatted as they hauled their kayaks up onto the deck, up the stairs to the upper platform, and then on top of a table where instructors waited. The campers then climbed into their kayaks, gained their composure, and after giving the go-ahead, launched off the railing and into the water six feet below. Our kayaking skill-head, Dan Morris, waited in his boat in the water below, helping, greeting, and congratulating each camper after they took the plunge. Kayakers also continued practicing rolls and wet exits, foundational skills that once-mastered can unlock greater whitewater adventures.

After a day full of the active and focused pursuit of excellence, tonight the campers are enjoying time that is less structured. Our youngest campers in Bear Camp are sitting around campfires under a glorious star-filled sky. From the roundhouse next to Eden Hall where I am writing, I could see Deer Camp enjoy a night swim. The drama of the blob is heightened, with the campers silhouetted against the black night as they rocket upwards. Our oldest campers in Mountain Camp are in Brookside Gym, enjoying a movie together.

Our day was fueled by three wonderful meals prepared by a culinary team led by Executive Chef, Elizabeth Thomas. For breakfast they prepared scrambled eggs, sausage patties, biscuits, cheese slices, fruit cocktail, and cereal. At lunch we enjoyed chicken Caesar salad, baked potatoes with all the fixings, whole fruit, and animal crackers for dessert. Dinner was roasted pork loin in southern gravy, cornbread stuffing, vegetable medley, dinner rolls, and twin pops for dessert. A robust fruit and salad bar was also available at both lunch and dinner, along with a wonderful vegetarian bar.

Inspired to be at Camp,

Josh Drexler

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