Forging the Next Generation

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The orange glow of the forge reflects in his dark rectangular glasses as Farid “Reid” Davis-Henaine demonstrates to a camper the art of heating and striking an iron rod until it resembles the delicate shape of a leaf. He hammers at different angles to flatten and spread the incandescent metal. Reid chisels to form the serrated margins of a toothed leaf, and textures the surface to imply the veins.

“I get paid to play with fire,” Reid said. “It’s not a bad gig.”

Reid is a counselor in the Betula line and leads the climbing wall and blacksmithing activities this summer.

“I’ve been around metal my whole life,” Reid said.

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The forge brings him back to his youth when his mother worked in the shopfront of Vega Metals now known as Cricket Forge in Durham. It allows him to channel his creativity, something that he shares with the side of his family who are artisans and artists from Mexico.

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The rising sophomore at Appalachian State University is studying Park and Recreations Management. Like many counselors, Reid came to Falling Creek for a hands-on leadership position in outdoor experiential education.

At the rock wall, Reid helps campers through their knot tying and climbing progressions. He uses fantastical analogies that stick deep within the neural pathways of the younger campers. The bowline knot involves a water rabbit emerging from a pond and searching for food around a tree while the figure-eight knot includes poking out the eye of an alien wearing a scarf.

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In the forge, Reid utilizes his first aid training to treat minor burn wounds. He cleans the surrounding area, applies a cooling agent, and bandages the hand while mitigating the concern of the boy.

Reid has become a role model for the young men of cabin 37.

He encourages warrior spirit through the camp games, while also providing more contemplative conversation during the spiritual experience at the “top of the world” above the Green River Valley.

He advises the boys who are heading off to high school to slow down, appreciate moments, and be yourself.

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At the end of June camp, he wanted to leave his campers with a memory.

“The fire is my gift that I wanted to share with you,” Reid said.

He decided to take his evening embers to a small fire pit nestled in the woods of Betula hill. The boys shared their stories of camp and joined in brotherhood for one last time around the flames.

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