What Summer Camp Teaches You, From A to Z

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Today’s blog was inspired by our newest video, “The ABC’s of FCC” which celebrates some of our favorite things at Falling Creek (watch it below!). This blog celebrates the many lessons that a camp experience can teach you! The benefits of going to camp are extensive, but it’s hard to describe all of the things you learn. If you went to camp as a child, you already know what a positive impact camp can have in one’s life. However, if you’re a first-time camp parent or you never went to camp on your own, you may not realize just how many things camp can teach. From A to Z, here are some of the things that boys have been developing while at camp, not only this week at Junior Camp, but in all of our sessions this summer.

A: being Active – at camp, boys are physically active and living healthy lifestyles each day. We run around in activities, hike to overnights, and play games on the field. Instead of sitting at the TV or in a desk at school, boys enjoy hands-on learning and have fun moving throughout the day.

B: be your Best – boys are encouraged to be their best selves at camp, and everyone strives to live by the Falling Creek Code.

C: Confidence – there is nothing like the confidence one can build after trying a new activity and succeeding, or simply realizing you can be on your own away from home for the first time.

D: Determination – boys show plenty of determination and dedication when persevering in their progressions.

Perseverance to the top of the wall!Perseverance to the top of the wall!

E: Environmental awareness – surrounded by nature, boys learn more about the flora and fauna that make up the woods around camp, and our place in it.

F: Friendships – It’s often said that you come to camp for the activities, but you stay for the people.

Friends on a Cabin OvernightFriends on a Cabin Overnight

G: Growth – physical, mental, social, and spiritual

H: Helpfulness – campers have to practice being a helpful community member, especially in such close quarters. Helping friends during activities, helping younger campers on trips, and helping cabin mates during cabin cleanup are just some examples.

I: Independence – boys are able to experience camp away from parents and teachers back home, giving them a sense of independence at a young age. In longer sessions, they can “choose their own adventure,” deciding what activities and trips they want to do, not based on what an adult tells them they should like.

J: Joy – each day at camp is full of this.

Free Swim = Joy!Free Swim = Joy!

L: Life-long skills – these skills that are learned at camp get built on every summer, and the lessons stay with boys long after they have aged out of camp. Many alumni tell us that they are the people they are today because of skills and values they were able to learn at camp.

M: Mentorships – a counselor has to fill a lot of roles, including being a caretaker, friend, big brother/sister, and teacher. The mentorships built between camper and counselor are priceless, and campers often grow up to be counselors themselves.

N: Time in Nature – If you grow up in an urban area, you don’t get a lot of time to spend outdoors. At camp, every minute of the day is spent either in nature or in open-air structures, enjoying some of that “vitamin N.”

O: Optimism – Positive Attitude is one of the four components of our Falling Creek Code, and our campers and counselors model it daily through their kind words and actions.

P: Play – at camp, boys can enjoy unstructured play, away from the overly scheduled routines at home and in school.

Q: Quiet – just kidding! You never hear anyone ask, “please use your inside voice” at camp unless it’s Rest Hour. The fun part about camp is that it’s a place where boys can celebrate being boys. That means that even though there is a time for being quiet, boys are also free to be loud, messy, and excited all day long.

R: Resilience – camp is the perfect place to try something new, but it’s also a supportive place to deal with failure. Boys learn to be resilient when they try new activities, or even when they spend their first session away from home and face some homesickness. This life lesson is essential for enduring potential setbacks and seeing improvements in the future.

S: Servant’s Heart – one of the four parts of the Falling Creek Code, we practice exercising our servant’s heart on a daily basis. Serving others and putting the needs of friends above our own is especially important when we live in a tight knit community at camp. We see Servant’s Heart in action at camp daily, including times when co-counselors get a cup of coffee for each other in the morning, boys take turns bringing the tray up at meals, campers help a friend practice basketball drills on the court for progressions, or a boy shares his hammock during free time.

S is also for S’mores Skills!S is also for S’mores Skills!

T: Thankfulness – During the blessings at each meal, when we pray at Church, reflect at Campfire, or share during Evening Embers, we practice being thankful for our many blessings. This practice helps nurture what we call, an “attitude of gratitude” throughout the session.

T is also for Teamwork, like when you work together with your canoe partner!T is also for Teamwork, like when you work together with your canoe partner!

U: Unplug – campers unplug by leaving all their gadgets at home, allowing them to engage with the real world, away from technology and the pressures of social media.

V: Value – boys learn that they are valued, not only by their parents back home, but by their camp friends and counselors, who extend their support network beyond what exists back home. At camp, boys learn they are loved and that they have what it takes.

W: Wonder – The activities at camp encourage daily wonder and delight in our surroundings. This can include marveling at a sunset from the Overlook view, fueling boys’ curiosity about the flora and fauna in this area on a nature hike, or letting boys interact with the many animals that call Falling Creek home (including chickens, horses, pigs, and camp dogs). No matter what catches a boy’s attention, we like to encourage that curiosity and wonder.

X: X marks the spot – at camp we play tons of games, including Wild Wild West which is like a big treasure hunt and capture the flag rolled into one! Even though learning the games themselves is fun, playing these games helps teach teamwork and communication as boys work with their teams to win (but they also learn sportsmanship if they lose).

Y: Yourself – everyone is encouraged to be themselves at camp! Camp is a supportive community where you can come as you are, and not worry about having to “fit in.”

Z: it’s ok to be zany! You’ll learn pretty quickly at camp that being silly and crazy is totally acceptable. Everyone from the campers to the counselors (and directors) can act a little zany at camp, which just adds to the fun. Everyone is free to be themselves!

It’s been another great day of Junior Camp, and we’ve been busy learning a little of all these things from A to Z. Even as boys played in their activities today, they were learning these values and skills – whether they know it or not, the things they learn at camp will stick with them for years to come! We’re looking forward to another full day of activities tomorrow, and can’t wait to tell you all about the fun we’ve been having on Friday!

-Annie Pharr

More Highlights From This Wednesday:

  • Today was “neon themed” day! Campers and counselors were encouraged to wear their brightest clothing to breakfast this morning, setting a bright mood for the day.
  • Breakfast: pancakes and bacon, cheesy grits, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, granola, cottage cheese, fresh blueberries and strawberries, and cereal.
  • Lunch: Philly cheese steak subs with pasta salad and sundried tomatoes, chicken noodle soup, sliced apples, a full salad bar, and M&M cookies for dessert
  • Dinner: A Thanksgiving style meal with sliced turkey and gravy, roasted baby potatoes, green beans, rolls, a full salad bar, and caramel banana cake for dessert.
  • This evening, the second half of camp headed out for their overnights! It’s a clear, beautiful night, and we can’t wait to hear how they went in the morning.