How Being on Summer Camp Staff Impacted My Life
In Partnership With Camp Rockmont
At Camp Rockmont, campers and staff work together to create an incredibly fun and meaningful Christian community in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Rockmont invites campers to experience the wildness of being a boy outside, the welcoming embrace of a loving community, and the wonder of being alive. Here, associate director Daniel Weatherby writes on how his first experiences at the camp lead to where he is today:
I arrived at Camp Rockmont for the first time in 1999 at the age of 8, to raucous applause from the counselors outside the Cheyenne lodge.
But to be honest, I don’t remember that – I’ve had my parents fill in various details in my memories from this time period. I remember being nervous, really nervous. First -day-of-school-nervous. And then… excited.
What changed? I met Brian and Web – my counselors in Cabin 1. Brian and Web created a cabin community where I had a significant role. They guided me to find skills that I would eventually fall in love with. And, above all else, they made an eight year old with a height in the 10th percentile feel big.
So I came back to Rockmont, year after year – completing my camper years and jumping into the Counselor in Training Program. When it came time to apply to be on staff at Rockmont, I applied to be a Junior Counselor, thinking that the experience would be the same as years past.
I was wrong. It was so much bigger, more expansive, adventurous, and fulfilling.
On staff, friendships were amplified. I began to forge and strengthen friendships, many that would (to this point) last a lifetime: Andrew Ginn, Shawn Marler, Drew Fowler, Mark Ragland, Mike Peckham, Christian D’alessandro – to name a few.
I grew to realize that the director team at Rockmont were not only expert facilitators, but mentors, advocates, guides, and even professional references.
The culture I experienced from the staff, as a camper, began to make a lot more sense.
I discovered that throughout my camper years, my counselors were passing down the care that was provided to them from the full-time team, the summer directors, and from one another. Let me be clear, the work wasn’t easy. Days as a counselor are often long, with twists and turns, programmatic pivots, and unexpected cabin dynamics to tend to.
But the counselors around me had my back. And I had theirs.
It was together that we worked hard, tended to each other’s needs, explored the surrounding mountains in-between sessions, and laughed very hard. The soft skills forged in my time as a counselor, and eventually a Tribal Director, have had an impact in each area of my life, to this day.
Of all of the many moments I can remember of summers working at Rockmont, I remember closing Evening Watch being a consistent highlight – sitting on the floor of the gym with my Cabin 1 campers, like Brian and Web sat with me and my buddies, singing alongside one another, dancing to Holy Motions, and anticipating the session slideshow.
When a member of our cabin would come up on the screen, our elation would bring us to our feet. We would look at the cabin mate and exclaim: “We are Cabin 1, we have the most fun!!!!!”
A cheer I first learned in 1999.
As a camper, the Rockmont staff inspired me to explore my interest in adventure, friendship, and leadership.
As a staff member, I received the invitation to return the favor. And the wild thing is, I got even more out of the experience.