Opening Day: Sunday, June 8, 2014
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door.”
In J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel, The Fellowship of the Ring, the main character Frodo Baggins recalls these words of wisdom from his uncle Bilbo. Frodo had been called into a new adventure. And at the same time, his uncle knew that the road ahead would be challenging at times. Bilbo understood deep in his heart that challenge and adventure was the pathway to significant growth and meaning in his nephew’s life.
Challenge. Grow. Repeat. For the last two weeks, we have been preparing our staff for this very day through all of our planning and training, as well as our praying and playing. The motto throughout that time and for the whole summer ahead is “Challenge. Grow. Repeat.”
We know from our experience working in male development that young men grow most when they are challenged in a supportive community. And that’s exactly what Rockmont is! The first challenge for so many of our campers was the decision to say “yes” to leaving home and coming to camp. As Frodo experienced, “going out of your door” is not always easy. The next challenge is making new friends, and then discovering new skills, and also connecting deeper with God. All of these challenges are means of growth! And they are challenges to which we will rise each new day of the session ahead.
We greeted around 280 campers and their families today as we opened camp! What an incredibly rich experience it was to see so many new and returning faces, eager to begin camp. After a morning of moving-in and connecting with new and old friends, our campers moved into a full afternoon of group games and swim tests.
We refueled at dinner before heading back out with our tribes for an action-packed evening. The Buckeyes (Cabins 1-6) moved down to the lower fields for a game of Powerball, competing to place as many of their “powerballs” in the opposing team’s Powerball Containment Units as possible. The Birch tribe (Cabins 7-12) gathered on the Golf Course for a four-team capture-the-flag style game called Risk. Hickories and Hemlocks (Cabins 13-26) could be found playing a large-scale game of Battleball in the Gym. Meanwhile, Poplar and Sycamore (Cabins 27-44) headed up the mountain for Council, a rich Rockmont tradition dating back to our founding. We closed the night in each cabin by digging deep into the story of The Prodigal Son, searching for ourselves and for the good news that God has for us in that story.
For many of our campers, these were first-time games and experiences. These were challenges, and they undoubtedly created space for new growth. That’s a process we’ll be repeating throughout the summer. Challenge. Grow. Repeat.
This evening’s Bible story…
The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
+ Where do you see yourself in the story?
+ What is the good news?