My wife and I and our three boys live in the Rock House at the geographic center of Camp Rockmont. My oldest son is currently attending our Classic 4 session. Joseph really enjoys and looks forward to Camp, as does his brother Ben who attended Camp for the first time a few weeks ago. On opening day this past Sunday, Joseph and his mother walked out our front door to the registration line fifty feet away in Eden Hall. They then walked back past our house to his cabin which is fifty feet from our kitchen window.
It sounds kind of funny, talking about going to Camp when you already live there. Elise and I laugh about how the wording can get understandably confusing for our youngest son Wendell. I love the fact that there is a big difference between going to Camp and living there. I think that says a lot about the quality of our program and the importance of what happens here. While it is of course a wonderful place to live, there is still a very unique thing that happens for Joseph and Ben during a session at Rockmont. They think about going to Camp in much the same way that boys from Texas or even Europe think about it. They look forward to going on an epic adventure with friends. It might as well be a million miles away.
At its best, a Christian summer camp provides a unique opportunity for children to get to know the God who loves them. It is particularly well suited to introduce kids to the wild, mysterious, and powerful aspects of God’s nature. Stories about Jesus calming the storm or praying in the desert come to life in new ways when heard under a starry night around a campfire with the wind blowing through the trees above.
I don’t think it is any secret, the secret sauce that makes a good camp great is the people. They are the heart and the life and the meaning and the fun. A beautiful place speaks volumes, but God speaks most profoundly through people. Our staff is amazing, and therefore, Rockmont is amazing.
And our campers are amazing! Today I had the privilege of working through a disagreement between two campers in the Buckeye tribe. They had called each other names and started to push each other. Their counselor and I talked with them for some time. They talked and we talked. We talked about how it is normal for people to have trouble getting along and how the important thing is to try and work through it and treat each other more kindly.
During our conversation I thought about how many of those types of conversations I’ve been a part of and how I never seem to find the perfect words to make things easy. But I reminded myself that is not the point. The point is that these boys are making a terrific effort and will come away with a bit more resilience and understanding of themselves and each other. The point is that they are learning to work out their daily differences with the people around them, again and again, something emphasized by Jesus throughout his ministry.
Tonight our oldest campers in the Sycamore Tribe are in Pisgah National Forest at Cove Creek Campground. When you see them next week ask them if they jumped in Ranger Hole or slid down the sliding rock. Ask them what it was like to wake up to a heavy rainstorm while sleeping in a tent. If you have a camper in the Poplar Tribe, ask them what it was like to play camp-wide Leprechaun. If you have a camper in the Hickory or Hemlock Tribes in Deer Camp, ask them what it was like to sleep out in the woods for two nights. Ask them what it was like to reach Eden Rock, the highest point at Camp. If you have a camper in the Buckeye or Birch Tribes in Bear Camp, ask them what it was like going on the slip-n-slide at inspiration point or playing Risk on the golf course among the great hemlock trees.
Inspired to be at Camp,
Josh Drexler, Associate Director