She wasn’t sure what was going to happen first: either her heart was going to beat itself right out of her chest, or the butterflies, no, eagles that were soaring around in her stomach were going to somehow find their way out.
Nervous didn’t even begin to explain how she was feeling as she looked up the gigantic rock wall. She knew all she had to do was put her feet, which were now firmly planted on the ground, on one of those colorful rocks, reach up with one hand and grab another one, and she would be officially off the ground. As her sweaty palms met the first rock, her counselor spoke quietly right behind her, whispering words of encouragement and support. As she took the next step and inched her way up the rock wall, she had to remind herself to breathe. Then she heard her friends, encouraging her and cheering her on. Left foot, right hand, right foot, left hand, she said to herself. The further she got from the ground, the louder the cheers became. She was actually doing it! She was climbing the rock wall that she said from the moment she stepped foot onto camp that she would never do. She wanted to look down to see the crowd of people cheering her on, but she decided she’d just focus on getting to the top.
As she stopped to take a breath, she looked around and marveled at the sheer beauty the camp was enclosed in. The tall trees, the blue waters, the sprawling green lawns; she had never seen camp from this viewpoint before. She knew she was halfway there because her friends’ chants told her so, and she suddenly got a boost of energy and continued her trek up the rock wall. Just a few more rocks to climb and she will be at the top. She wasn’t sure when her nervousness turned to excitement, but as she reached for the top of the wall, she felt a power and a confidence she had never felt before. The entire camp erupted in applause and she screamed “I DID IT!” at the top. As she propelled down to the crowd of supporters, she walked away with a new sense of self-confidence and accomplishment.
The rock wall symbolized everything she was afraid of, and she had conquered it. She grew closer to her friends and counselors because of their unwavering support, and she went home with a fresh perspective on obstacles and challenges. “Now, when something is hard or scary, I say to myself ‘I climbed the rock wall at camp. I got this.”
The rock wall, ropes courses, rope swing and zip line are all vital parts of the Adventure Program at Camp Starlight. These thrilling activities push campers out of their comfort zone, and they emerge a little different than they were when they started. Whether they are climbing the rock wall on their own, or working as a team to maneuver through the high or low ropes courses, these adventures help campers excel in areas such as teamwork, leadership, goal setting, cooperation, positive risk taking and trust. These vital characteristics are taken from camp and built upon in the outside world, creating well rounded, brave individuals who work well in group settings, set goals and meet them, and can trust others as well as themselves. Who would have thought soaring down a zip line or flying through the air on a giant swing could be so important for a child’s emotional well-being?
Inner strength, confidence and accomplishment aren’t only gained through climbing great heights. Overnight camping trips are available for older campers via the Adventures Program, and offer a wide range of benefits for those to take part in it. The survival skills the campers will learn will give them a peace of mind that they have the tools they need to make it should they ever get lost in the woods. This also teaches them self-sufficiency, trusting their instincts and being in touch with their surroundings. The over night camping experience helps campers develop a strong sense of teamwork, as they work together to set up tents, build fires, and explore the woods.
What some campers accomplish on two feet, others can accomplish on two wheels! Mountain biking is another popular feature of Adventures Camp, and is an exhilarating way for campers to experience the outdoors. They will learn bike safety, get a great workout and experience the thrill of positive risk taking.
As campers climb, camp and cycle their way through camp, they are creating lasting memories and experience adventure in a safe and supervised environment.
Campers often write home about taking the “Leap of Faith” a favorite camp tradition that involves climbing to the top of the star jump taking a deep breath and jumping off, placing all of your trust in the ropes and harnesses that are attached to you. The scariest part is making your feet leave the platform, but once you do, you’re in the air and everything that was scary and impossible about making the jump is far behind.
Campers will come home from camp different than from when they arrived. They will come home more self assure, confident, brave and strong; thanks to all of the amazing activities like the Adventure Program that Camp Starlight has to offer.