What an incredible summer we experienced this year.
In classic Rockmont fashion we had a great mix of old and new. We enjoyed many traditional games like gladiator and outbreak. We also loved the fun of the Web. Lots of campers took on the challenge of conquering all eight elements without falling. They were rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and a brand new Web Swimband!
Opening days were filled with returning campers and families, along with new faces to keep our Rockmont family growing. As enjoyable as the opening days are with the Zipline, Gully Washer, seeing old and new friends, and a family picnic; we are excited when the bugle blows and everyone reports to their tribal areas.
This is the start of the essence of camp – when we form the cabin and tribal communities.
It is in these trusted groups where the adventure begins and the young men come alive.
And we got to witness a lot of life this Summer.
Many of our campers begin their Rockmont journey in Bear Camp.
Housed in 2 big lodges in lower camp, our main focus in Bear Camp is on welcoming boys into community. We strive to bless these younger campers with plenty of affirmation and success in all the NEW of camp – living in a cabin community, developing new friendships away from home, even maneuvering from skill-to-skill can be an incredible success for our younger Classic Camp campers.
During our Classic 3 Session we invited a videography team to Rockmont to film a new promotional video (look forward to it, we’re only weeks away!). There was a plan for what skills, activities, and moments would be filmed, but there was also a lot of freedom to capture camp.
Well, one of those moments happened following a Buckeye Evening Swim. A group of Buckeyes were by the Olympic Flame fire-pit enjoying some s’mores on a beautiful summer night – a quintessential Rockmont moment. Tommy and Tyler (videographers) were close by to capture the moment and they were struck by the actions of the Buckeye Tribal Director.
If you were around our Buckeye Tribe at all this summer you’ll remember Josh Coe – the tallest member of our staff, and the director of our youngest Tribe. He was by the fire telling a story, and each Buckeye around the Olympic Flame was smiling and hanging on every word. A 75º evening, following a swim, around the fire, the sun’s final illumination on the clouds as it drifted behind the mountains, plenty of quintessential camp sugar, and these campers were most interested in the story.
A unique transition in a camper’s Rockmont journey is from Bear Camp to Deer Camp.
The boy is growing up, and we mark that a number of ways – first evident in the boys’ living situation. They’re out of the lodge and moving up the mountain, first into a tree-house style neighborhood – Hickory and Hemlock hill. The cabins aren’t navigated to entirely indoors anymore, offering challenge and opportunity even in their new homes.
Deer Camp, like Bear Camp, has a theme – counselors and directors press-on with a loving posture, communicating you are welcome here; and they add an element, we call it the nudge. Our 11 and 12 year olds are welcomed exactly as they are; and, we begin inviting them to more: challenges, opportunities, and new skill offerings.
This summer Deer Camp brought back a challenge – the Eden Rock Hike. If you were around Eden Hall early in the morning on the 2nd Wednesday of most Classic Sessions, you’d begin to see small groups of bed-headed Deer Campers meander down towards Eden Hall. These campers chose the challenge – waking themselves up long before regular reveille, and a 7 mile round-trip hike, usually with a chance of rain. And they hiked! The deer camp group would rejoin camp at lunch – tired, smiling, and full of stories.
Camp has a tendency to do that – some of the toughest challenges become the greatest stories.
For years, Mountain Camp had a chant – Mountain Camp, MAN CAMP!
Along a boy’s journey it’s good to feel that pull towards manhood, and at Rockmont we name it, celebrate it, and spend time on what it means. On the first day of a Mountain Camper’s session, our Mountain camp Director invites Mountain campers into something new – whether it’s their Steak Year (5th year at camp) or their first day at Rockmont, they’ll each be challenged to set personal goals for their session.
Throughout his life and work, professor & mythologist Joseph Campbell championed The Hero’s Journey – a journey that has resonated within humans for many many centuries. Underlying a lot of the work we do at Rockmont are age-appropriate derivatives of this journey.
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” – Joseph Campbell
Each session, mountain campers spend time discovering what lies in their personal cave. Do heights make you nervous? Great, we have an adventurous, safe Rock Climbing program. You’re not drawn to water activities? Our Kayaking instructor is ready to work alongside you in an encouraging, fun environment.
It’s their challenge and it’s their choice to take part in it! Some take a few days, some take entire sessions, and some can take multiple years. Camp is a safe place to face those challenges, and even fail in a process – it’s a safe place to try and try again. We celebrate each challenge the same, no matter how long it takes to complete.
This summer, Mountain Campers in Classic 4 got the opportunity to take part in a Rockmont challenge not seen in a few decades – The Rockmont Triathlon! For over a decade we’ve held the Sunday Morning Mile Swim; it always impresses me how many campers and staff show up early. In a like-fashion, the triathlon interested many when it was announced, and early Saturday morning we had 6 campers and several staff members down at the waterfront for the first leg – the swim.
Even more people were present to take part in the facilitation of the event – marking turns on the bike and run portion, water stations along the route, and of course – finish line markers. Max, a Mountain Camp Counselor, was one of the final finishers and he was greeted not just with cheers and a tunnel, but 5 campers who finished running to greet him and complete the final stretch with him.
Each summer holds a bounty of memories and stories, and the Summer of 2019 is one we will look back on fondly. From our youngest to oldest campers, from our newest staff members to veterans with the most Rockmont miles under-foot, each brought their gifts this summer.
Lake Eden and the neighboring mountain hold a lot of beauty, and the weather at camp is hard to beat, but year-to-year it’s the people that bring life to this little corner of the world.
Thank you for being a part of our camp community.
The Rockmont Team