Boys need mentors. They need role models: older guys whom they can emulate. Camp is wonderful because at camp the boys are cared for and led by a unique type of role model: camp counselors. These college-aged men are close enough in age to campers that the campers can imagine themselves as counselors some day. This dynamic sets camp apart, because having a role model they can envision being in the future empowers boys to become role models themselves. This is important because boys actually need more than a role model to follow,they also need to be role models. There is something innate in the nature of a boy that seeks to not only learn from a mentor, but also to teach and lead another who is a few steps behind on the path.
Camp is a unique place because we have the opportunity to watch our campers grow in both roles. Campers spend time living in community with their counselors, learning from them, asking them tough, authentic questions, and being guided by their steady hand. As a camper returns year after year, they then get the opportunity to lead, guide, and show other campers the things they have been shown. This progression is evident in many ways, from a young second year camper explaining to a first time camper where the dining hall and soccer fields are, to a high school aged camper patiently encouraging a younger camper as he attempts to boulder in rock climbing for the first time.
Young men need both aspects of role models: to be encouraged to seek new adventures by their counselors and to help others along the way. At camp, both opportunities exist in one community.
Growth through friends and adventure.
Director, Camp Timberlake.