Falling Creek and everything we do is just wallowing in the celebration of boys being boys. Falling Creek is this place where your son gets to be on his own - he’s going to be encouraged to try new things.
This is where he’s going to gain the edge when he goes back and he’s at school, he’s in sports, he’s trying things that he’s never done before - so he’ll gain that confidence he’ll gain that independence. We’re joining with you were partnering with you to help raise this boy into a fine young man.
Oh man, we rock and roll. We have a blast every day. I mean from the first bell it’s game on.
The exciting thing about being here at Falling Creek camp is you can do things that you can’t do at home - blacksmithing, mountain biking, paddling, rock climbing - it is just amazing non-stop action coming ’atcha. You can go on a five day paddling trip then the next week go on a three day mountain biking trip.
There’s just this sense of freedom but also a sense of belonging, like you’re a part of a very unique and perfect community. And the people that do come here are immediately accepted - there’s no like wait period, you know - you’re here and you’re already part of the family. We have campfire, we have morning assembly, and we have all camp games - the bonding friendships that you create through all those different networks of friends here really make it an excitement and an adventure that you don’t expect, it just happens.
Falling Creek is boyhood heaven. Jim Miller when he first started camp had this idea that a community of people who had common interests and values coming together, living and playing,and eating and adventuring together is a unique place that you really can’t find much in the other place. Jim daddy as he was affectionately known, was known for making a great day. One of our campers who became a counselor said one time that a boring day camp still is better than any day at home.
During the summer, you wake up in the morning and you clean your personal self and your area, and you head off into a thought for the day. I really really enjoyed starting off my day at morning watch. It’s kinda nice to have everyone in one place quiet and focused and listening to what one person has to say and listen to a message. It just gets the day started off right. From there, we have a great meal, a big meal, to start the day. Laughs with friends and morning assembly.
Here we’re developing responsibility so kids get the opportunity to choose any activities they want and actually change those schedules every day, to tailor to what they want to do. Choice is a big part of Falling Creek in that we want the boys to understand that they can choose to take activities, they can choose to have an attitude about something that we hope is positive.
It’s a sense of freedom and independence that we don’t often get as young men anymore. We don’t often get this kind of freedom to roam and explore the world around us, and that is what Falling Creek really is all about.
You feel like the first couple days your first couple hours but kind of like oh man I wish I wish I knew what my friends were doing or I wish I knew what was going on an Instagram or Snapchat but once you kind of take in that you’ve been dropped in this beautiful place around hundreds and hundreds of boys that just want to do the same thing you do, you kind of realize that you’re really really lucky.
There is something much deeper than just teaching kids how to fish. There’s some real life skills, you know, patience, perseverance. There’s nothing better than seeing a boy come up to you who’s learned a skill he didn’t think he had the capacity to learn, or to accomplish a goal that he had set for himself so long ago and to see the look in his eye when he does that, that’s the epitome of Falling Creek to me.
You often get to see the beautiful catch on the football field but you didn’t see other drills that we ran before that to get the boy’s skill level to be there, and it’s really that process that is important to us and that’s where we learn a lot about the boy and the boy learns a lot about himself.
And that’s just one small step of what makes Falling Creek so special, is that that journey continues from their very first summer to the time they leave when they’re 16 or 17. And it’s not how high did you get in your progression, but did you push forward did you take a risk and try something new - you’re not judged here on that you’ve got to be the best at something, but you’re just jumping in and being part of it.
The adventure activities here are second to none. They’re doing multi pitch rock climbing, they’re mountain biking Ridgeline in Dupont, we’re paddling class three four rivers, it is so exciting, there’s so much happening.
My goal for the whole adventure program is that it’s not just that we have a boy that went paddling or rock climbing or mountain biking one time, my goal is that we instill in these boys, these campers, these young men, a passion to continue to do this outside of camp. Paddling’s more than just paddling off a waterfall, and paddling big spectacular rivers - there’s a journey that comes before that, there’s a story behind that. There’s kids who come back year after year who work towards trying to get on the next level trying to get on the next river. They’re trying to get to that stage that they want to work on for the next year, so it’s a huge progression, but it’s a story behind it.
I like to say that our adventure program is not a spectator sport. We’re able to take them to places that are truly powerful, and you earn that right to be there. I think that really helps the boys develop a stronger appreciation for the natural world. You’ve got to have a positive attitude because things go wrong. It’s okay to have things go wrong at camp - in fact it’s a great place for things to go wrong. Before we ever put you on a river, a boys is trying and investing and failing and learning. It’s about saying, hey man, let’s stand up, let’s get back on our bike, let’s walk back up 50 feet and let’s try it again. That’s perseverance. We give the boys the opportunity to experience that firsthand.
Boys have what it takes, and sometimes society doesn’t tell them that. And I think here at camp, those high expectations that we have, are only that you have what it takes - whatever that is that your soul brings to this camp, we want to help that blossom and grow into the the person you were meant to be.
Every summer when I show up here, I’m reminded of just God’s creation, and the beauty of this place and so I think as we put that into the lives of these boys I think they’re growing spiritually. As a member of the Falling Creek community, you know how much of an impact it can make and that comes from not just the goals you achieve in the summer but the friendships that you make and the people that guide you along, creates this sense of positive energy that you really don’t experience anywhere else, it’s something that only Falling Creek provides.
For each one of the activity areas that we have at camp, we try to tie a principle - warrior spirit, perseverance, or tenacity- you know if you’re going on a trail and you see some kids struggling and you stop and help them, that’s a servant’s heart. We have to grow emotionally and in maturity and spiritually by saying, all right, well I’m going to embrace this challenge that I have at camp - just those teachable moments, that value based learning that’s woven in every activity that we do here at Falling Creek.
I’m excited to meet new campers to be able to experience this feeling, this place, the relationships, to be able to experience what they themselves can do. I mean it’s really a community of friends that are bonded together through this what we call the spirit of Falling Creek.
Really since we discovered Falling Creek, our calendar in our house really now has has two parts - it’s either the month where you’re at Falling Creek, or it’s the eleven months where you’re talking about going to Falling Creek. You know they’re making great memories, they’re making great relationships, and most importantly, they’re having a lot of fun doing it.
If you’re a kid and you want to be with a bunch of buddies, climbing through the woods, kayaking, rock climbing, archery, whatever you want to do, this is your place. They have provided such a great foundation of encouragement, and mixing it with a bunch of fun that only boys can do here at camp, and it’s just been a great place for him to let loose and be a boy. What makes Falling Creek stand out and stand apart is the people - it’s the relationships, the friendships, that really makes this a unique and incredible experience.
When you come on opening day, you meet your friends and everything or you meet people you have never seen in your life, and you just over time, you just become so tight with them. I was really nervous about you know not knowing anyone, and not coming with a friend, but I got out of the car and a staff member came up to me and they’re like, someone that’s gonna be in your cabin is coming in right now, and so I went up and it was this guy we just instantly like you know, bonded over like common interests and whatnot. We’ve been the same cabin ever since. Before we even left the parking lot. You walk into your cabin and it’s eight strangers, and then by the end of the first week you know everyone in your cabin, and then by the end of the session you’re basically brothers.
And this is a place where they get the same values they get at home, are reinforced here by others, and they probably listen a lot more here. We wouldn’t send them into a camp that doesn’t have the values of Falling Creek, that doesn’t teach the values of Falling Creek. There’s no accident that we picked Falling Creek.
It’s a scary thing, you know you’re going away from your parents, you’re going away, you’re letting your son that go and be in the care of other young men - but I think if you as a parent or you as a child can be willing to push yourself a little bit outside what might be just comfortable, the rewards are absolutely unbelievable and the memories and the growth that both the child can have and a parent can have is really unsurpassed.
Knowing and understanding that spirit of Falling Creek is what it’s all about.
Oh man, how did he become such a great guy? He went to Falling Creek.