As a twelve-year-old boy, I was not concerned with how kind I was to others. I was focused on my appearance, my shoes, and my seat in the lunchroom. I wanted to do everything I could to fit in.
Life had taught me that in order to climb the social ladder, I had to fit in with what was “cool.” I felt this pressure at school, with my sports team, and even with my youth group.
But Rockmont was different.
Camp was a place that allowed me to thrive socially in a healthy way. This is because Rockmont places emphasis on values that break social norms.
At camp, the “coolest” kid in the cabin is the one who includes everyone in the activity. The “cool” kid at Rockmont does not concern himself with trying to fit in. The “cool” kid at Rockmont leads by how he treats others.
Learning how to navigate social pressures and grow in a healthy way, is one of the many lessons that Rockmont imparts to each camper.
One of my favorite moments at camp, and an example of how healthy social growth is encouraged, is when new friendships form. For example, the forming of friendships happens on the waterfront because of the buddy system. Buddies are asked to stick together and look out for each other. Not only is this an important safety measure, but it also fosters social growth because it encourages campers to do something that is often uncomfortable as a kid: introducing yourself to someone new. Friendships spark and grow every time a camper asks, “do you want to be my buddy on the waterfront?”
I love this moment because it reminds me why I keep coming back to Rockmont year after year: witnessing the formation of friendships every day over a summer.
And this happens as a camper, and a member of the Rockmont Staff.
We teach our staff to praise this social growth. It is incredibly impactful, especially when it comes from a role model. When a camper sees that their counselor values something outside of the superficial, it awakens the idea that their value is much more than they may perceive. This is one of the beautiful parts of Camp Rockmont.
Campers go home with a deeper appreciation for their peers than when they first arrived at camp.
I believe that Rockmont creates leaders this way. Campers leave with an added sense of what to value. They are better prepared to work in the classroom, chase the soccer ball, and navigate the lunchroom.
At Rockmont, I learned the value of treating everyone with kindness and it set me up for success in high school and college because I value the tools it has given me to succeed socially.
And Rockmont continues to do this for hundreds of boys every summer.
Deer Camp Director