I arrived at Rockmont for the first time in 1999 at the age of 8, to raucous applause from the counselors outside the Cheyenne lodge.
But to be honest, I don’t remember that – I’ve had my parents fill in various details in my memories from this time period.
I remember being nervous, really nervous. First -day-of-school-nervous. And then… excited.
I met Brian and Web – my counselors in Cabin 1.
Brian and Web created a cabin community where I had a significant role. They guided me to find skills that I would eventually fall in love with. And, above all else, they made an eight year old with a height in the 10th percentile feel big.
So I came back to Rockmont, year after year – completing my camper years and jumping into the Counselor in Training Program. When it came time to apply to be on staff at Rockmont, I applied to be a Junior Counselor, thinking that the experience would be the same as years past.
I was wrong.
It was so much bigger, more expansive, adventurous, and fulfilling.
On staff, friendships were amplified. I began to forge and strengthen friendships, many that would (to this point) last a lifetime: Andrew Ginn, Shawn Marler, Drew Fowler, Mark Ragland, Mike Peckham, Christian D’alessandro – to name a few.
I grew to realize that the director team at Rockmont were not only expert facilitators, but mentors, advocates, guides, and even professional references.
The culture I experienced from the staff, as a camper, began to make a lot more sense.
I discovered that throughout my camper years, my counselors were passing down the care that was provided to them from the full-time team, the summer directors, and from one another.
Let me be clear, the work wasn’t easy. Days as a counselor are often long, with twists and turns, programmatic pivots, and unexpected cabin dynamics to tend to.
But the counselors around me had my back.
And I had theirs.
It was together that we worked hard, tended to each other’s needs, explored the surrounding mountains in-between sessions, and laughed very hard.
The soft skills forged in my time as a counselor, and eventually a Tribal Director, have had an impact in each area of my life, to this day.
Of all of the many moments I can remember of summers working at Rockmont, I remember closing Evening Watch being a consistent highlight – sitting on the floor of the gym with my Cabin 1 campers, like Brian and Web sat with me and my buddies, singing alongside one another, dancing to Holy Motions, and anticipating the session slideshow.
When a member of our cabin would come up on the screen, our elation would bring us to our feet. We would look at the cabin mate and exclaim: “We are Cabin 1, we have the most fun!!!!!”
A cheer I first learned in 1999.
As a camper, the Rockmont staff inspired me to explore my interest in adventure, friendship, and leadership.
As a staff member, I received the invitation to return the favor. And the wild thing is, I got even more out of the experience.
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