That Good Ol’ Camp Smell

Shawn Marler July 30, 2014

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains. – Diane Ackerman

When I walked into Birch lodge today, I smiled as I recognized that old, familiar smell… The smell of aged wood and stone, of former campfires in the lodge fireplace, a testimony to decades of camp fellowship. The smell from Cabin 8 was not as nostalgic, but they’re working on it each cabin cleanup. No matter, there’s no “childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains” that could be better than this.

By Tuesday our campers have been to all of their skills at least once, have experienced the wonder of a Rockmont Council, and been introduced to a number of Tribal Activities. They’ve painted up, run around, made noise, breathed deeply, and taken in all that’s around them. They are really beginning to feel a sense of home-away-from-home, a safe place to be challenged and to grow.

The Sycamore tribe awoke this morning in the heart of Pisgah National Forest, preparing for a complete day in the woods, surrounded by incredible beauty. Time relaxing deep in the forest is good for the spirit and a great opportunity to see God more clearly in his work of creation. Back at camp, we had a hearty breakfast before setting out to Morning Watch and Cabin Cleanup. The Buckeyes then headed out to play to Risk, a multi-team capture-the-flag style game. Meanwhile, the Birches played Powerball, trying to toss as many playpen balls into the opposing team’s bins as quickly as possible. Hickories entered the story of Transformers, running around as Autobots or Decepticons, and the Hemlocks tried a brand new shirt-tail tag game called Skyrim. Poplars built stronger relationships on the Challenge Course.

We played hard until lunch when we celebrated Taco Tuesday, followed by a deep breath during Rest Period. The afternoon saw the Buckeyes and Birches off to the Waterfront for an afternoon of Blobbing, Zip Lining, Canoeing, and riding down the Gully Washer. Hickories and Hemlocks strapped on their packs and headed up the mountain for their own overnight campout experience. The Poplars hung back and moved into the gym for a dodgeball tournament. The afternoon was capped off with a Free Swim, allowing the campers to make their own choices about how they would end the afternoon – on the Waterfront, at the Zip Line, playing Disc Golf, or visiting the Thunderball Pit.

Ravioli dinner re-fueled us for the day’s remaining activities. All of Bear Camp – both Buckeye and Birch tribes – gathered together for Battle Ball. Poplars set out for their evening activity and finished the night on the Waterfront for night swim. When campers returned to their cabins and as the camping guys settled down for the night, counselors led them in their evening devotion, focused on the story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man (Mark 2:1-12). They discussed the good news that God cares about changing and healing our hearts most of all. And that we, just like the friends who carried the man to Jesus, are there to point the way for one another when we need His help, too.

Campers were able to go to bed feeling a good bit more familiar with their 2-week home, their “childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.” We look forward to all that the coming days hold, for our joy and for our growth!



Shawn Marler

2014 Bear Camp Director

Today’s Bible Story…
Story: Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
Scripture: Mark 2:1-12

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