Gaining an Edge at Camp

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We know that the camp experience is fun, but it’s much more than just that. As Marisa Pharr says, “Our desire is to equip boys for the future, and to change the way they see themselves, in a positive way. Here at Falling Creek, we complement what the parents are doing at home, so we work together to have a positive impact in boys’ lives, to help them become happy, strong, effective, contributing members of society.”

We often say that as these young men become “equippED GEntlemen” - they’re given an “edge” on their peers thanks to the lessons learned at camp. During the school year they may be pushed academically, but at camp they are able to gain an edge by growing emotionally, spiritually, and socially. Our oldest campers know this best - they’ve been building their independence, self-confidence, and resiliency over their years at Falling Creek. Now, as they prepare to head to college and careers, they can look back on their experiences at camp to help during challenging times.

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All our Men of STEEL for 2021

Pete is one of our Men of STEEL (Summer Training Encouraging Emerging Leaders), and he’s back for his 9th summer at camp. He’s been helping out in many areas of daily camp life, but especially in our mountain bike program. I asked him what he’s learned at camp that he’ll take with him in the future. “I’ve learned more about how to hold myself in public,” he shared. “Sure at camp you have fun and get dirty and you get to be a boy, but the morals that I’ve learned at camp have held through when I go back to school, like doing the right thing when nobody’s watching, and that kind of stuff.”

William is also one of our STEEL guys, and is back for his 9th year as well. He agreed that his many years at camp have helped prepare him for college and his next stage of life. “It’s teaching me the importance of having a routine,” he said. “At camp I’ve had to set my own alarm for 7:10am every day. The theme of the week is ‘self-discipline’ after all!” He’s been taking the weekly theme to heart, responsibly getting up before the wake-up bell to help the younger cabin he’s paired with, so they can get ready for the day more efficiently.

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Boys are learning lessons for the future much earlier than their STEEL years too. Rhodes is in FLINT this year, which is the year younger, and stands for Forging Leaders INTentionally. He was at the paddling docks on Friday afternoon after returning from an advanced trip (which he hopes earned him his Warrior progression level!) I asked what camp has taught him that helps him in daily life back home. “Overall independence,” he answered. “Paddling has taught me a ton about staying mature and calm on the river, and about staying calm in serious situations.”

His friend Henry was nearby, practicing setting up a Z-Drag for whitewater rescue. This is a pulley system with two carabiners that multiplies your strength by three, and can be used for things like getting a pinned boat out of a rapid. “At camp you also learn a lot of social stuff,” he added. “Like meeting people, and putting yourself out there.” Henry, two years younger than Rhodes, so he still has a few years at camp to keep learning lessons that will help in the future. Rhodes agreed with him, adding that “you get put in a cabin with people you don’t know,” which gives you experience in getting to know new people.

Whether it’s your first year as a camper or your 10th, there are always new things to learn throughout the camp experience. Camp may be fun, but it’s the small daily lessons that add up to give boys an “edge,” long after the summer days are over! Today is Sunday and we’re looking forward to savoring a slower paced day, and reflecting on a great second week of Main Camp.

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