We are wrapping up our basecamp experience, but not before pouring on some final activities and training! On Thursday, we started our morning by each camper lighting off his own fire that he built. Guess what?! Each young man successfully burned through the twine above his fire! It was encouraging to see some of the campers help others once their fire was big enough.
We spent the entire day on Friday on a bluff that is an hour away from our property. It is one of our favorite spots to visit as a camp. It is secluded and offers great climbing and rappelling opportunities! The director of Victory Family Ministries, Mark Massey, led this trip with his years of climbing experience, training, and yes - his gummy bears! The campers enjoy even the simple things, as they try to catch gummy bears that are thrown their way throughout the day.
Team building competitions are always a great way to spend our time at camp. Whether it is trying to get across an obstacle as a team or work each person through a tangles web of ropes, we put our campers in situations that they can experience success and failure as a team. Learning how to properly deal with both is vital for young men.
We are thrilled to utilize our new bouldering room this summer! Many hours have been spent by our staff to get this room ready. Our guys loved pushing themselves past what they thought were their limits, as they learned how to navigate certain routes on the wall.
A Passion for Adventure
Nobody fits perfectly into a stereotyped box. God has made each of us very unique, allowing us to function in different roles of society. However, we do see some general, overarching characteristics of mankind that were designed by God. These traits were instilled in us to help us accomplish the tasks that God has set before us. One of these tasks is what we have called, “The Creation Mandate.” This is the calling by God to have dominion over the earth, subdue it, fill it, and care for it. As you might imagine, this job is a huge undertaking – but incredibly rewarding! What traits might God have instilled in us to help us accomplish this task? I would argue that one of these traits would be a sense of adventure. Imagine yourself as Adam: God had tasked you with the care of the world He had just created. One of your first tasks was to name the animals, calling for the innate trait of creativity. That task alone would certainly call upon that spirit of adventure, as you walk along the creatures that God has brought to you to name. Although initiated by the fall of man, when Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, God essentially opened the world up for them. Granted, the amount of work that was needed to care for the earth had increased exponentially (but even that work can be an adventure). There was a world that they had been tasked to care for that was ready to be explored and experienced!
We still are exploring and experiencing that world today. Generation after generation, history has shown us the adventurous spirit of mankind. Through God’s grace, we have accomplished much in the way of caring for the world He has given us – and there is still much left to do! Interestingly enough, our current generation of children and young adults have seemed to lose touch with some of this innate spirit of adventure – or, at least, have “reassigned” this spirit to something other than the physical world. They have turned their focus and have found a sort of “escape” into technology. Carl Pickhardt, in “Aspects of Adolescent Boredom," stated, “Tolerance for boredom, particularly among adolescents, has been greatly reduced in a world where escape into the many screens of electronic entertainment is so easily accomplished. We have created a culture in which many young children and adolescents have grown used to being electronically over-stimulated from birth, a condition that makes meeting the offline routine and repetitive demands of home and school difficult for many of them to endure. And as on-line escape increasingly substitutes for off-line engagement, as virtual world competence is gained at the expense of real world experience, practice dealing with real life challenges, shouldering real life responsibilities, and developing real life skills can decline.”
So, where does that leave us? It leaves us with a generation that is disconnected from “real world experiences.” At WildHeart Adventure Camp, it is our desire to lead our campers to rediscover their sense of adventure. We offer outdoor experiences, such as rock climbing, white-water canoeing, backpacking along Lake Superior, and mountain biking. We give our campers the opportunity to experience God’s creation first-hand. Through teaching camping skills, we also encourage growth in leadership, responsibility, and respect. All of this is taught and led from a Christian worldview, with the purpose of encouraging our campers to live an adventurous life to the glory of God!
The Myth of Teen Independence
Many parents may feel they want their teen on a road to independence yet, is independence really the goal for our teenagers or is total independence a myth?
At first every need from eating to well - you know - had to be taken care of by parents. That was the dependant stage. Over the years more independence occurs and it should. However, total independence is not the end goal. In fact total independence is a myth and would be very lonely and unrewarding. The real end game is something called interdependence. Interdependence involves an appropriate amount of independence mixed with a good healthy amount of dependence too.
God never intended for man to be alone. In fact He said that it wasn't good. From the start He gave man a woman. Later they became a family and eventually friendships occurred as well. All of these represent dependency. As your teens transition into less dependence on family and friends, don't make the mistake of trying to force them to become too independent, self reliant and proud or resistant to advice. Remember they still need parents for advice and wisdom, they'll need family for support and enjoyment, and they'll need teachers, friends, pastors and others too.
In addition, remember you need them as well. Let's face it, as we parents watch our kids grow up, we begin to realize that we need their love and friendship too. As they move into adulthood, we'll find that we need support from them, encouragement from them, talks with them and maybe even advice as they grow in their own relationship and walk with the Lord. No, we aren't talking about being a buddy and not being the authority in their lives when they are 15. We aren't talking about them needing to live in our basement until they are 27, but we are saying that we think an interdependence should be fostered as they move into their late teens and twenties.
Finally, I'd be wrong if I didn't remind you of a truth I am sure you know. Ultimately, our complete dependence is on God, our faithful loving friend. Strive for interdependence. Enjoy needing others and be someone people need especially when it comes to your kids.
Click Here to Learn more about what we teach at WildHeart Adventure Camp and consider if it may be right for your son.
Gaming. Is it good or bad? We live in a world where digital gaming starts as early as infancy and goes through adulthood. (A man recently sued a gaming company because he became addicted to the game and lost his job.) No doubt there are many positive aspects of digital gaming too. Positive or negative, this ever increasing phenomena and the access our children have to it isn’t going away soon. (Last fall Activision bought the mobile phone game Candy Crush for $5.9 billion. – Yes, billion with a “b.”)
How do we as parents approach it? While there are many good resources out there with input on this question, we wanted to give you a few thoughts that are maybe outside of the normal ways to approach gaming as a parent, especially if it is becoming too much a part of your family’s life.
Obviously if your teen is playing games to the exclusion of responsibilities, physical activity, good communication with others and so on, gaming is too high on the priority list. If gaming has become your go to resource to keep your teen out of trouble, off the street, or away from unwholesome friends and if you’ve come to rely on it as a babysitter of sorts, gaming may be too high on your priority list.
Here are 3 ideas to help you counteract the gaming and replace it with some other activities that bring much better rewards than an extra life, a new spiro-zapper to kill the zombies or a bonus round.
The good thing is that your teen will desire to help in these ways because one of the truths about our gifts is that God has wired us to want to use them. Now, laziness may be another problem, but using our gifts is one of the best ways to beat the flaw of laziness too in our teens because they see results and are energized as they serve.
If you feel we can be of help to you or you are interested in WildHeart Adventure Camp, please contact us today.
Here are the other 3 articles on Gaming that we came across recently. They aren’t all from Christian sources, but we felt you’d find them interesting.
Study Finds Video Games May Have Positive Effects on Kids
Researchers at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and colleagues at Paris Descartes University and a number of other European universities assessed the association between the amount of time spent playing video games and children’s mental health and cognitive and social skills. They found that playing video games may have positive effects… Click the link to read more.
Certain Adolescent Brains Can’t Stop Gaming. That’s Good and Bad – Here’s Why
researchers employed magnetic resonance imaging on 106 boys ages of 10 to 19 — all of them seeking treatment for internet gaming disorder. The researchers then compared the findings to 80 boys without the disorder to see just how their neural wiring differed. Click the link to read more.
10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Gaming
A common trick young people pull is to ask extended family members and friends to give them games with higher ratings than appropriate for birthdays or as Christmas presents. If your kids have a generous grandmother or unassuming uncle from whom they typically receive gifts, make sure these folks know what your standards are and how to check ratings. Click the link to read more.
5 Solutions When Your Son is Bored
Every parent knows that with the much anticipated breaks from school also come the much dreaded words we all hear. “I’m bored. There is nothing to do around here.” As most parents have experienced, if boredom is not dealt with strategically and successfully, it can quickly turn into major problems. From sleeping all day to sibling rivalry to worse. These are issues no parent enjoys facing.
Here are some suggestions to consider as you navigate the upcoming breaks.
Breaks from school don’t have to be as stressful as it may seem. Plan ahead, talk it over with your son and create breaks from school that end up as pleasant memories for everyone involved.
If we can be of help, please contact us at Victory Academy for Boys. We also invite you to learn more about our summer Adventure camp program called WildHeart. Click on the picture below to watch the short video and learn more.
Mark Massey and WildHeart Adventure Camp Staff