Wilderness & Survival Skills
Campers who sign up for Homesteading will be able to experience what it was like to live in the mountains of western North Carolina 100 years ago, as well as what it means to be a modern Homesteader living sustainably today. They will work in our organic garden, planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops. Campers will also help tend to the goats, chickens, and turkey; gather eggs; and help with a variety of other tasks that are essential to running the farm.
Through individual and collaborative work, campers get to enjoy the tangible benefits of their hard work each day—maybe some flapjacks with sorghum syrup or a frittata with swiss chard—that has been prepared on the wood-burning stove by the assigned cooking group for the day.
Mountain Campers that are a part of Homesteading are given opportunities to participate more independently in higher-level skills at the farm. Older campers in past summers have helped build a bicycle-powered grain grinder, which we use to process sorghum and corn, and a portable, solar hot water system that heats water for washing our dishes. They also have the opportunity to sign up to go to the local farmer’s market to sell produce from the farm. Using the profits from the market, they are able to make micro-loans to farmers in other parts of the world through our Rockmont Farm lending team on Kiva. Rockmont has loaned over $9,000 to people who are making the world a deeper place!
By giving campers individual and group responsibilities in all aspects of farm work, campers see first-hand the value of hard work and cooperation. At the same time, campers increase their knowledge of food systems and build a higher level of organic growing skills to take home with them. They experience the benefits of their labor by tasting the freshly prepared food they help prepare.
When we harvest food and send it to the camp’s dining hall for others to enjoy or sell produce at the Black Mountain Farmer’s Market, campers see how we are connected to our broader community. And when we use the profits from the market sales to make a microloan on Kiva to a farmer in Indonesia or Peru, they see our connection to the broader world.
About the Homesteading Instructor
Homesteading is taught by Jon McNair. Farmer Jon has been managing the farm and acting as skill head for Homesteading for more than 10 years. Prior to his tenure at Camp Rockmont, Jon taught for eight years in the public school system in North Carolina.
Find your place in the amazing neighborhood of plants, animals, streams, and forests that we enjoy at Rockmont. Meet some exotic creatures and some that are living nearby. Learn their names and discover their lives in our Nature Lodge. Be a part of the great dance that is God’s Creation.
Campers who choose to participate in Outdoor Skills learn to perform four major survival skills: shelter-building, fire-starting/building, foraging, and snare construction. Additionally, completion of the Outdoor Skills program will leave campers with a better understanding of orienting (working with a compass), campfire cooking, and plant identification.
Outdoor Skills is offered to campers of all ages. However, portions of instruction may be tailored differently to each camper based on skill level to ensure the highest level of safety.
Why Outdoor Skills?
Through Outdoor Skills training, campers are encouraged to explore God’s creation and have fun doing it. Outdoor skills mastery requires close attention to detail, which is an important character trait that translates into many aspects of everyday life.
By learning how to survive in the wilderness together, campers build a strong bond and enjoy the carefree nature of being outdoors—making s’mores and cooking bacon at the campfire are just a couple examples. The blend of camaraderie, teamwork, and life skills that campers take away from Outdoor Skills training makes it a fantastic option for any camper.
Woodcarving and Soap Carving
Learn to safely use carving tools and be introduced to an ancient mountain skill that can last a lifetime. Learn how to use carving tools, sand and finish wood, and sharpen and care for tools. Soap Carving for 10-11 years old will have fun creating several sculptures from bars of soap. Wood Carving for 12 years old and up will focus their carving techniques on a project made of basswood. This year’s project is an owl.