“We’re here [at camp] to give boys confidence and introduce them to things that they don’t normally do in their normal life, ” says Ben Cahoon, the leader of a Scout group in Highland, Utah. His experience visiting a Scout camp reminds us that camp is a great place to help youth try new things and reach new heights. While I was visiting with Cahoon’s group of boys at Entrada High Adventure Base in Moab, Utah, I got to experience exactly how camp allows youth to gain confidence and overcome hard things.
Reaching New Heights
One of the most popular activities at Entrada is rock climbing and rappelling. The camp features a 40′ climbing wall that everyone attempts to climb. I even got the chance to ring the bell at the top as the staff and Scouts below cheered me on. For many campers, climbing this wall is a challenge that they overcome. It can be scary as you get higher up and having to rely on your own strength is a daunting thing. Even I became more nervous the higher I climbed! However, conquering this wall can almost be considered as a rite of passage. Conquering this wall and your fears can give someone the confidence they need to defeat other difficulties in life.
For one boy, in particular, this wall was a huge milestone. Nathaniel White came with his friends and his dad to climb and repel this wall. He had never rock climbed before and had been bound to a wheelchair for his whole life. Physical disabilities prevented him from doing activities like rock climbing. However, on this hot and sunny camp day at Entrada, he was determined to get to the top of that wall.
After some changes to the ropes and riggings, Nathaniel was hooked in so that he was supported and could be pulled up to the top of the wall. With his dad by his side, friends looking on, and camp staff on belay, Nathaniel reached the top. His dad helped as he descended back down and reached the ground. Although Nathaniel was nervous at first, his attitude completely shifted after his first ascent. He was ready to go up again! His favorite part was hanging out at the top and looking out at the view of the southern Utah desert.
Nathaniel scaled that wall multiple times, with his dad and friends by his side. It truly was a lesson for all of us watching on. Determination and a dream can take you as far as you want to go. The only way to overcome difficulties is to face them head-on. That day at the wall we learned that some of the most difficult things for us to do can bring us the most joy.
Scouting provides many opportunities like this. Like Ben Cahoon said, these experiences give boys the confidence they need to try new things. It also gives them the skills they need to overcome other difficulties in life. It is a lesson to all of us. With a little determination and a desire to accomplish new and difficult things, anyone can reach new heights.