Greeting Parents and friends of Rockmont. It was wonderful to see everyone opening day. I was grateful to greet and spend time with so many new and old friends. This session is off to a good start. So many of our campers are veterans and know “how to do camp.”
“How to do camp” means many good things; first of all it means that you will be shown respect and love from the staff and that respect and love is expected by everyone. That’s one of the ways I can spot a returning camper from a long ways off. They are at ease because they feel safe and at home. Safe and at home are key ingredients of trust and trust is one of the ingredients that allows so much growth to happen for a young man at camp.
Secondly a veteran camper knows the flow of camp. They are already comfortable with skills, schedules, swim test, and chicken/mash potatoes/green beans on opening night of camp. This is an advantage for the first day but after that the common ground of friendships, learning new skills, and navigating life away from home places everyone on an even playing field.
One of the gifts of camp is that everyone is part of a commonwealth at Rockmont. There is a real sense of sharing that happens at camp because we are all in the same boat. We eat the same shared food, the temperature in the cabins is same, and when you arrive at mountain biking no one needs to rush to get the best bike. We all share in the sunshine and rain that is life at camp. Yesterday our commonwealth was experienced by a first-time camper but in a different way.
I met a young man who was in tears and when I ask why he was feeling so blue he said he had fallen while paddle boarding and lost his glasses in the middle of the lake. He needed his glasses, this was important. We both took a deep breath and started problem solving. We told the waterfront director, Derek Williams, what happened hoping he might take some time diving for the glasses after lunch. After the camper described where he thought his glasses might have plunged to the depths Derek called all the lifeguards (who were planning to be at lunch) to the dock to begin the search. My new friend and I watch as twelve members of this commonwealth searched for what was lost. The camper looked on with awe and a big smile. He had no idea that these new unmet friends would be so concerned with his loss. This shared life at camp allows each of us to flourish and see ourselves in a new way. Thank you for allowing us to do this good work.
P.S. We didn’t find the glasses. That why we call it searching and sometimes finding. The camper will have another pair of glasses soon but he already had a new way of seeing the world.