How to Choose Skills – and Frequently Asked Questions!

Chuck Flournoy April 9, 2021

When I was a camper my year was based on the Rockmont calendar! 

The anticipation for the next summer started as I left the rows of pines on Lake Eden Road. The first milestone to look forward to was the Fall Newsletter. That would hold me until Christmas, when the early enrollment gift would arrive (my son still has my treasured Rockmont blanket!). Directors would come through my town for the annual slideshow in January or February, and then – the big reveal – the Spring Packet would arrive! It would be filled with Rockmont stickers, luggage tags, health forms, and most importantly – the skill selection form (although these days, it’s all online)! I spent more time poring over that than any college class schedule!

So many choices! So many considerations! It was always a struggle to choose between ones I had enjoyed the year before and ones that were new to me, that looked so interesting.

Based on that (plus a few decades of life experience since) my recommendation would be to try and strike a balance between the skills you love year after year and some totally new ones. For instance, if you’re on a travel team at home it may be a good idea not to choose that as one of your six skills at Rockmont.  Choose something that you wouldn’t have the opportunity to do at home, perhaps Homesteading, Nature or Appalachian Arts. You never know what new hobby you’ll discover that will become a lifelong passion!


That said, let me take a crack at some of the most commonly asked questions regarding skills:

Q: What’s the difference between air riflery, riflery, and trap shooting?

A: Basically, the type of gun and ammo used and the age range of the skill. Air Riflery (ages 10 and under) is intended as an introduction to our gun sports program; we use the famous Daisy Red Ryder guys with BBs firing at cans, bottles and dinosaurs! In riflery (ages 11 and up)  we use .22 caliber single chamber long rifles with subsonic (quiet) 40 grain bullets shooting at stationary paper targets for scoring and awards. In Trap Shooting (ages 13 and up), we use .20 gauge shotguns with target load shells shooting clay discs for personal records and competition.

Q: May I take the same skill for two periods?

A: For this year, blacksmithing is the only double-period skill. If it’s your first time taking blacksmithing you’ll have a single period. If you’re a veteran, you’ll be in blacksmithing for two consecutive periods to give you more time to work on your projects. In future years other skills may have a double period option as well.

Q: Why do you offer fly tying but not fly fishing?

A: Great question! It’s because fish typically feed in the early morning hours. So the skill activity is fly tying, but the opportunity to use the flies you’ve tied comes prior to breakfast! We have adult dawn treaders who are up early to supervise. Feel free to bring your own fly rod, and we also have some for your use.

Q: What's the difference between the four swimming skills?

A: “Swim Basics” and “Swim Stroke Development” are designed to make you a better swimmer – basics is for beginners and development is for intermediate level and above swimmers. “Swim with the Lifeguards” is the first step on the road to becoming a certified lifeguard. “Swim Sports” is just pure fun in the water, trying out all the different games available on our waterfront. All levels of ability can play.

Q: What if I don't know any Mountain Music Songs? Can I still take the skill?

A: Absolutely! You don’t even have to know how to play an instrument – your voice is one! The key is to learn how to jam with others, and appreciate  Western North Carolina’s amazing music heritage. Feel free to bring your own instrument if you’d like – we have locked storage.

Q: Is taking the skill the only way I can try these cool things out?

A: No! Good news here: during Free Swims, we offer a number of skills on a brief “try it out” basis. Take Rock Climbing for instance: there will be chances to try out the climbing wall with the instructors during a Free Swim. If you like it, then you know that’s one to take as a skill next year!


We can’t wait to see you this summer!


Chuck Flournoy

Program Director

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