At camp we see boys at their best, and we see them grow to become better. There are four reasons for this.
Live Life Together
First, we are made to live life together. That is part of what God meant when he said that it is not good for man to be alone, and it is the reason we value friendships. At overnight camp we live together in cabins, with other boys who love the same thing we do: camp. This is why boys come back summer after summer to see their best friends.
Next, our boys need mentors. These are people who are slightly ahead of them and remember the road well enough to tell them where to walk. Mentors are people they can envision themselves being like, and whom they would be proud to emulate. I do not know a better description of a camp counselor.
A Sense of Adventure
Third, our boys need a sense of adventure. Adventure is anything about which the outcome is uncertain. Think of a camp climbing trip. Your plan may be to climb a particular route, but there is also a chance you will end up 300 feet off the ground waiting for a storm to pass. Hanging in the rain is not why you went climbing, but its possibility is the difference between adventure and entertainment. That difference is likely what made you want to go climbing to begin with.
Every time a camper takes a risk, and succeeds, he develops a taste for adventure. That is at the root of a great education.
Finally, campers need the chance to overcome adversity. This one is a little different than the others, because it is something that is almost impossible for parents to provide. As parents it is in our DNA to shield our children from adversity – it is what we do. But before a boy can be confident he has to be sure he can rise to a challenge when it arrives. This is what happens when campers develop a healthy sense of independence at camp.
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