Every summer I take a backpacking and fishing trip in the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains with five of my friends from college and high school. This past August, we included some of our teenage boys on the trip for the first time. It was an exciting transition for all of us, although a couple of the dads were worried about their sons’ capabilities in the wilderness. Could they handle the rugged six-mile hike to our campsite? Would they be afraid at night when they heard strange noises? Could they live for a week without their cell phones? Would they like it?
I can say that I had none of those concerns. My son, Chris, is a Birch Rocker. Through his experiences at this traditional New England camp for boys, he has developed a deep and meaningful love of the outdoors. With Maine Wilderness Adventure and his Advanced Camp Craft badge under his belt, I knew that he was more than ready for the challenges that he would encounter in the mountains of Idaho.
And I was right. Not only did Chris haul his own load and do his share of the work, but he taught the rest of us, who had been going to the backcountry for 25 years, a thing or two about edible plants, wilderness first aid, no trace camping, and fellowship. He was quick to take the lead on the trial, in building our campsite, in cooking and clean up, and—of course—in Helping the Other Fellow.
Thank you, Birch Rock Camp.
-Hoddy Klein, Birch Rock Dad