Being in the wilderness of Western North Carolina is a core part of our program. We are encouraging boys to go and explore the woods in a way that places them in the beauty of God’s creation. In addition to their great willingness and excitement, it takes a lot of coordination for this to happen.
Last Friday, as Bear Camp was planning on setting out on our night in the woods at the Adirondack Shelters and the Tribal Campsite, a summer storm was moving through the North Fork Valley. Our hope is that even when rain comes, we’re able to get on the mountain around a fire with brothers and friends, sharing a meal and stories together; and certainly S’mores. That afternoon I was watching the storm closely, conferring with other Directors, and decided that we’d watch it right up until time to leave and then make a decision. We were not under Thorguard, but any time we set off on these adventures we think through our procedures and make decisions based off of the safety and wellness of all of our campers.
Thankfully, the storm passed and we were going camping. The Birch Tribe makes the hike out to the Tribal Campsite which is about an hours’ trek from Birch Lodge. The CCC, our Camping and Climbing Crew, had set off for the site earlier in the afternoon to get things set up and well prepared to welcome these guys in after their big journey out. Knowing that we’d be making a game-time-decision, I went out to the campsite to talk with the CCC. When I arrived, they were already in the middle of preparing the food; pasta and meatballs. Quickly, we decided that it’d be wise to bring the food down the mountain, to Birch Lodge, and feed everyone before setting course for the woods that evening. This was a curve ball for the CCC and yet they got their equipment together, brought the food in carry-out manner, and set up our own dining hall on the porch of Birch Lodge.
A lot of camp happens on the move. For as much planning and preparation as we do, an equal mount of intuitiveness and flexibility is required to make these experiences. After all, following Jesus is a journey that can take us anywhere. Dropping our nets and following, whether into the woods for a camping adventure or through challenge and growth when we go home, is our kingdom commission.
I am grateful to be a part of a community that can move the kitchen. I am grateful to join in on work that takes us deeper into the wilderness. This is God’s call to us, to come and follow and these campers do it again and again each day.
Bear Camp Director