Towering Pines Blog

Always Trust Your Cape

Wow. It’s the end of the 4th week of camp. Today is TP Fair. How that happened, I’m not exactly sure. Sometimes you just blink your eyes and “poof”. There it goes. A lot has happened in this past week, and yet when I slow down and take time to reflect, I am reminded of one of our favorite Jeff and Jon (originally by Guy Clark) guitar songs, “Always Trust Your Cape”. We sometimes sing it at a campfire, and other times, we bring it out for Sunday Vespers. Regardless, the words of the song (chorus below) bring meaning to the theme for this particular week: TRUST.

He’s one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith;
Spread your arms and hold your breath, and always trust your cape.

For many campers, coming to camp is a leap of faith. This would be typical mostly for new campers, but I’m guessing that this year in particular, veteran or new camper, the leap was a little more significant. For parents, we know that sending your kid/s to camp is also a leap of faith. You may have even spread your arms and held your breath. It is quite possible that you summoned your inner super hero to “trust your cape” in this decision. You put a lot of trust in us to care for your child/ren (and we do not take this lightly!).

At this time of the summer, it is fitting to focus an entire week to the building of trust. We’ve been making small deposits in this area since day one, both in trusting ourselves and others. Now it is time to pull out the “big bucks” and make substantial deposits that will carry us to the end of the camp season. We will use this abundance over the course of the upcoming year to make withdrawals that will help us better navigate what comes our way at home and school. We are up for the task because we’ve weathered some challenges together and have bonded as smaller cabin communities and as an entire camp.

It is fitting that this is also the week when our older boys go on a special adventure to the Ropes Course in Rhinelander. This optional outdoor adventure program allows older campers to press the boundaries of their comfort in a totally different environment. The morning features trust and team-building activities, and the afternoon involves a variety of high-wire challenges. Heights are a natural fear for many people, so participating in these activities is a great, and safe, way to go a little outside one’s comfort zone and discover something new about themselves. Talk about trusting your cape (both physically and emotionally)!

In addition to teamwork and communication, most of the activities at the ropes course require a degree of trust. You need to trust the person belaying you, you need to trust your group when trying to accomplish a common objective, and you need to trust yourself and your body to be able to do the things you want to do. If trust is achieved, the group is able to participate in more and more exciting activities.

A favorite finale challenge is the much anticipated zip line. This involves a climb to the tower top, followed by a sheer drop and a long slide down to the other side. Pushing oneself off that ledge is no easy task, regardless of whether you took the plunge (climbing to the top is a challenge in itself!), there is an enormous amount of pulling from that trust reserve to make the attempt. It comes from deep within. This is where you really learn to trust your cape and find out what you are made of to face some of your biggest fears.

Trust is essential to participation in the ropes course, which means the guys need to have faith in themselves and each other. Sometimes trust needs to be refined and cultivated through repetition and teamwork. This is part of the reason the ropes course is a full-day affair. Trust is learned and performed. It is described with words, but must be demonstrated through action. Spread your wings and hold your breath (and possibly close your eyes), but always trust your cape!

This “blobber” is spreading his wings and trusting the “blobee” 
who makes the leap of faith a good (or not so good) landing!