One Last Night Out

Justin Bennett August 4, 2022

Yesterday, I took our Counselors in Training (or CITs) on their night off. 

This night is meant to be a reward for their hard work throughout the session: A small thank you for all the meals they set up and the countless times they cleaned Eden Hall. 

It’s also the last time that they are free to enjoy each other’s company as non-staff members.

 After this session, many will be eligible to apply for a counselor role and step into a world of new responsibilities. Until then, their only responsibilities were:

To live, laugh, and be present to one another. 

We began the evening with a drive on the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. 

The winding roads led us out of the summer heat and into the cool mountain breeze. We stopped at a “secret” pull-off, and the CIT’s poured out of the van eager to begin whatever hike was to come. 

We started up the trail, about a mile uphill, to one of the Parkway’s many hidden gems, Frying Pan Fire Tower. 

This fire tower offers 360-degree views of the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains. We made it just as the clouds rolled in, and we were briefly able to catch a view of the orange-painted sky and rolling mountains. 

Soon, we were engulfed by clouds; condensation heavied our clothes and a mighty wind blew our hair. 

With a huge smile on his face, I heard one CIT yell, “What a time to be alive!” and another, “I’ve always dreamed of standing in a cloud on the top of a mountain! Check that one off the bucket list!” 

They were enthralled! 

Next, we rushed off the mountain and made it to the van just as it started to drizzle, and we drove to Dolly’s Dairy Bar in Brevard and enjoyed some world-class ice cream! 

The guy’s told stories of camp and joked around with each other. Laughter and smiles filled their faces. 

It was apparent how deep their friendships have grown in this short amount of time. They exchanged contact information and vowed to keep in touch throughout the year with a Session 4 CIT group chat. 

Finally, we hopped in the van and headed to Rockmont for the final time this summer. Even with the thought of leaving right around the corner, everyone kept their energy high and sang until their voices gave out.

This night reminded me how important the camp experience is for young men. 

It’s not just a place to get away from home, it’s a place where you can truly come alive. A place where you grow unencumbered, meet new friends and connect with old ones, and make memories that last a lifetime.

Justin Bennett

Assistant Camp Director

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