The Importance of Teamwork at High Adventure Camps

I’m an Eagle Scout. I’ve worked at camp for the past three summers. Alright, just wanted to put that out there. Now that you have some of my credentials, I’d like to talk about the importance of teamwork while on the job at a high adventure camp. There’s plenty of good times to be had while working at camp – but also just as many dangers.

Some of my favorite memories for the past few years were made while on staff at camp. Friends were made, flames kindled, laughs had and cell phones lost while kayaking down rapids. There was this one time where, well, I’m not here to talk about the fun times right now. Camaraderie was made during those long hot summer months, and despite some of the difficulties I (and probably almost every single other camp staffer) wouldn’t trade it for the world. Now on to the topic at hand.

It was Friday evening of the first full week of camp. Everybody was at the final campfire. Skits were underway, and laughs were had – till it hit us. The tips of the majestic mountains turned black, and not a single laugh could be heard. It went from a sunny day to Apocalypse in two seconds. There was a low rumble as the ground began to shake, and then the scream came. Tornado. We weren’t prepared for this. The staff ran up the trail, stopping at points along the way to shepherd the campers to prevent them from getting lost in the dark. Scrambling over roots, dashing through trees that were too close together, it was a chase between life and death.

Everyone made it in the shelter, or so we thought. As I looked back I saw a light down the trail. I leaped out to help them, and in so doing almost had myself killed by a falling tree. One fractured foot and high ankle sprain later, I was coughing down pills, inhaling cigarettes and throwing curses out left and right. A few hours later, a path was able to be cleared to get myself – and three others – to the hospital.

What is the lesson that can be learned here? Mother Nature is an unforgiving female dog. Just because it’s a sunny day doesn’t mean a Derecho won’t bear down on you ten minutes later. Being on a team means more than just wearing the same shirt, or going through a CPR class together – it’s about being flexible enough to get the job done when the circumstances are dire. Even though myself and a few others on staff were injured, we got the campers to safety. And honestly, that’s what matters at the end of the day.

By James Kennedy