Several years ago I was a ropes instructor at Camp Kahquah. Over the course of the summer I saw dozens of children attempt to climb the wall and complete the various tasks of the low ropes course. Some of them were very successful, scaling the wall in under a minute! They would reach the top, ring the bell, and their cabin mates down below would be yelling and whooping in unison. Over the summer the previous time record would be broken and wall-climbing “legends” were made. Their stories of success would spread like wildfire across the camp. “Tyler made it up on the HARD side in 32 seconds!!!! Nobody will ever match that!” These kids grew tremendously and had incredible camaraderie. They always pushed each other to be the best and climb the fastest.
The legends in my mind, however, were the ones who didn’t make it to the top.
On their first, second, third attempts;
You see, the whole emphasis on the climbing wall and low ropes course is try to exceed your own expectations with the encouragement of others by your side. For some it is beating their time to the top, for others it is simply getting off the ground.
The culture of the ropes major is one of encouragement, validation, and pushing yourself past what you thought you were capable of doing. Many of these kids tried for a whole week to get to the top. Some would, some wouldn’t. But it didn’t matter to them or their fellow campers – because each time they would gain confidence, push a little harder, get cheered on a little more, and shatter their previous accomplishments (even if it was only by an extra step or grip hold).
That is the heart behind why Camp Kahquah is installing a high ropes course. There will be more opportunities for children and youth to push themselves past what they think is possible and gain courage in what they didn’t know they could do. There will be chances for everyone to work together to accomplish a specific goal and task. It will be used by campers, leadership programs, staff, and family campers.
The skills and experiences they will gain on the high ropes course will translate into other areas of their life. Children will learn how to cooperate as a team, to encourage each other in their abilities and strengths, and learn to put forth their best effort in everything they do. It will enhance our programming but will most importantly impact lives. As a community of Jesus followers, we need to constantly work to “encourage one another and lift each other up”. The high ropes course focuses on development as a community and learning how to interact and validate others. The values of Philippians 2:2-5 will be emphasized as a key component to the high ropes course.
2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
We believe that if we are able to encourage each other to cross tires floating 40 feet in the air, we can also encourage and support each other to draw closer to Jesus and push each other in our faith journey. To take steps in our faith we didn’t previously have the courage to do. To stay committed to one another, no matter how difficult the task may seem.
The high ropes course will include a climbing cargo net, free standing rope climbing ladder, pamper pole (climb up and jump off the top to try and hit the ball), tire crossing and more. Here is a “sneak peak” of what it will look like.
If your child is interested in signing up for it at camp, please have them select the high ropes option during registration.
We are grateful to the extremely generous donor who made this opportunity possible. We can’t wait for you to join us on it this summer!