Places to Play In and Pray In

Shawn Marler June 13, 2014

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to both body and soul.”

John Muir, a conservationist and champion of the National Park System, beautifully captured the significance of the outdoors in these words spoken just over one hundred years ago. Camp Rockmont is part of that rich tradition of creating space “to play in and pray in.” Whether here for a one-week Starter Camp or taking the road less traveled into the national forest as part of our three-week Base Camp, our campers have had an incredible opportunity to experience beauty and to more clearly see God in creation, in his Word, and in one another.

For those in Base Camp, one of their great adventures today was to hike over 3 miles from their campsite up the Lost Cove Ridge Trail to reach Green Knob Fire Tower. This 21-foot tall tower has a live-in cab that was once staffed by Forest Service rangers beginning in 1931. It features breath-taking views of the Black Mountains, including the highest mountain in the eastern United States, Mount Mitchell. Fire Towers have fallen out of use and into disrepair since the advent of satellite imaging and the increase in commercial airlines, both of which can locate fires easily. In addition to allowing our campers a stunning, elevated view, this tower hike also allows them to experience what it was like in a time gone by to journey to a historic look out. Little has changed in the view since 1931, and there was much beauty to behold today from the tower.

Back at Rockmont, the Starter Campers finished strong. We started our day with morning skills, but the real highlight came this afternoon during Aunt Sue’s Hillbilly Olympics. Events included seed-spitting, laundry-sack-racing, egg ‘n’ spoon relays, rubber tube sumo wrestling, and tug-o-war, to only name a few. It was a festive evening, and everyone got to compete in the various events. Silly attire and hillbilly accents were also present at the Olympics. There were tons of smiles and hearty laughs spreading throughout the camp this afternoon.

We closed our evening with each tribe in Fireside, a time when campers reflect on their camp experience and where staff recognize very specific signs of growth in their campers. All of Starter Camp then came together for a songfest and closing slideshow in the gym. We couldn’t have asked for a better ending to the one-week session.

Over the past week, we have played hard. And we have grown in so many ways. As John Muir knew well, being out in creation brings “strength to body and soul.” We couldn’t do it without the partnership of our parents who have said “yes” to Rockmont, the perfect place “to play in and pray in.”

Shawn Marler
Bear Camp Director (Cabins 1-12)

Today’s Bible story…
Jonah (Jonah 1-2)
+Where do you see yourself in the story?
+What is the good news?

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