Seeing One Another with New Eyes

Shawn Marler July 29, 2015

Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
-C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

One of the gifts of camp, no matter where we come from, is the gift of discovering new friends. Several campers came here with friends from back home and they are able to strengthen those friendships in this new setting. There are others who came not knowing anyone else, and we focused on helping them make new friendships from the first hour of their arrival. No matter their circumstance, our hope is that they make connections with new friends from other parts of the country, or even other parts of the world, as they navigate the camp experience together.

Anytime we are in a new and unfamiliar place, our first instinct is to take care of ourselves, to figure things out first before opening up to others. That makes sense in the camp setting as well. But by Tuesday, campers are becoming increasingly familiar with camp – with the property, with its people, and the program itself. And as they feel more at home, they open up to new experiences and new relationships. Realizing that they’re going to be okay and – even better – that this session is going to be a ton of fun, they open themselves up to new and deeper friendships. In a sense, they begin to see one another with new eyes.

Tribal activities are the perfect opportunity to bump up against one another and strengthen those friendships. And Tuesday is all about tribal activities and strengthening cabin bonds and relationships between cabins within the tribe.

Following a hearty breakfast, Morning Watch, and cabin clean-up, the Buckeyes headed down to the lower fields to play Powerball. They were working as teams to score play pen balls in their opposing teams’ bins. The Birch tribe played game rotations throughout the lodge, moving from cabin to cabin for a variety of small group games. The Hickories hiked down to the Challenge Course to work together through elements like The Wall, Piranha River, and The Spider Web. The Hemlocks played 3-ball soccer and 3-disc ultimate frisbee as one game, all at the same time. We then all enjoyed a Free Swim at noon. Earlier in the day in Pisgah National Forest, the Sycamores were awakening to a beautiful morning. An exciting day of exploring and playing in the forest around Black Mountain Campground was just beginning.

Lunch was one of our favorite meals, Taco Tuesday! We came in singing “Hey, Burrito!” After filling ourselves, we relaxed during rest period so that we could prepare for an incredibly fun afternoon. The Buckeyes played Braveheart, a capture-the-flag style game played at Inspiration Point. The Birches took their turn at Powerball, and the Poplars moved into the Gym for a dodgeball tournament. The Hickories and Hemlocks began to make their trek up the mountain for their overnights. They made it to their shelters and began building fires, preparing dinner, and settling in to a warm summer evening. The Sycamores hiked to a fire tower and enjoyed playing along the South Toe River. Half of camp spent this evening on a camp out, which make sense since Camp is our first name after all. The rest of us will head up the mountain later this week.

Dinner was roast beef, baked potatoes, salad, and rolls. The Buckeye and Birch tribes then ran over to the Gym for Battleball, a Rockmont version of dodgeball that requires campers to dance to get back into the game when they are out. Poplar played 3-ball/3-disc and ended the evening with a Night Swim. We all then headed to showers and devotions. Tonight’s Bible passage brought us to the story of Nicodemus and Jesus’ call to each one of us to be born again. We were reminded of God’s great love for us and the extent to which he showed that love. Campers and staff shared how they have seen the Spirit of God at work in their lives.

It was a full day, and that’s a good thing. We were ready for bed this evening, having played hard throughout the day. We’ll awake tomorrow among friends that we have grown to know better because of today’s adventures. It’s the friendships and the lessons learned together that we’ll remember. The games are just the vehicle to that end!


Shawn Marler

2015 Bear Camp Director

Today’s Bible Story…
Scripture: John 3:1-17
Story: Jesus Invites Nicodemus to Be Born Again
+ Where do you see yourself in the story?
+ What’s the good news?

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