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Keep Climbing!
Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Well hello there folks! This whole “keeping you in the loop” thing is proving to be an on-going challenge. We do have lots to tell you about… including an entire amazing summer! But today I am going to tie in some history of Camp along with the announcement that our old wall is coming down! 

I think it’s easy to see how important tradition is at Camp. Not just at Centennial, but every Camp! I think it has something to do with connections. The idea that we are connected not only to each other in the moment in a special way but also to the many generations of people who have come through our gates. By continuing traditions, we get to both celebrate those before us as well as ensure that our own contributions get to continue. It’s a pretty wonderful system, really!

When you start thinking about traditions at Camp you realize that they are everywhere. Almost anyone that has attempted to climb our old wall knows that by the time you are half way up your friends are chanting KISS THE TOP! To those not in the know, that might sound a little weird but to everyone at Camp that was just the known challenge for climbing the wall. Once you could put your face that close to the top board you had done it! You had accomplished the task of climbing the wall! Where this tradition came from, whether it came from finding a goofy way to finish a climb or whether it was created so that Campers didn’t climb over the top edge, who knows! But it accomplished both. 

When we dig deeper into the traditions at Camp and look past the obvious ones, I think the idea of that type of attitude comes up as an ongoing tradition. The realization that important choices can be mixed with pure fun and goofiness. That one does not take away from the other, in truth, bringing joy along with responsibility makes the whole process easier and with a higher chance of success. As we think of how that attitude gets applied at Camp, it’s not long before your mind will wander back to the wall and how that has been such a pillar of Camp’s experience for so long. Not because it is in itself anything glorious but the experiences that have created by the Counsellors and Campers have been so significant. 

That wall was built shortly after Owen Fraser took over the program in the early 90s. It was then expanded (take a look at the photo below. To start it was just the front triangle!). Then the large square portion was added on. In true Owen Fraser fashion, it was built in the spring with the help of the Counsellors. That tower, built by the contributions of proud hands, stood for roughly 25 years as a place where young people went to push their limits and experienced the emotional challenge and pride that comes with that. From that challenge lots of Campers moved on to more challenges, sometimes physical in nature, sometimes with things like independence and curiosity, but the lessons spans all facets of a person.

In much the same light, this wall helped Camp grow! Grow to the point where we have a new wall, new challenges, and yet always striving to keep the traditions of attitude alive!

Signing off with the promise of being back soon… take care!

John

 

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