“The mountains are calling and I must go”-John Muir
YMCA Camping professional from over 30 countries answered the call of the mountains this November and shared their best practices, experiences, questions, and issues at the inaugural Global Camping Conference at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado.
The Flat Rock staff piled in our 12 passenger van and took off for the conference the first week of November, staying at Camp Wood in Elmdale, KS. As throughout the YMCA, our hosts welcomed us with open arms, a cabin to sleep in and a sky full of more stars than you can imagine. We toured Camp Wood and met their staff while sharing ideas. Our second day of travel took up past Castle Rock in Kansas. This formation is made of limestone and created by an ancient inland sea. While walking, our staff found sea shell fossils in rock from a sea that dried up millions of years ago.
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle” – Fr. James Keller
At YMCA of the Rockies, our team attend sessions on how to support our campers, our staff members, ourselves and the land. We sat together to plan for 2019 with the knowledge we gained from countless YMCA professionals from around the globe. It was inspiring to see so many individuals dedicated to making camp a magical experience for children all over the world. We also met former Flat Rockers! Laura Jane Mahan is a former Flat Rock staff member who left her mark in many ways, including being the artist of the 4 Core Values signs that still hang in our dining hall.
Our final full day at YMCA of the Rockies, the team took a hike through Rocky Mountain National Park. The bears were all in hibernation for the winter, so while we did not see any charismatic mega fauna we enjoyed the trees, lake and mountains before us.
“We are more fulfilled when we are involved in something bigger than ourselves.” – John Glenn
On the trip back towards Flat Rock, we made one more detour to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas. It reminded us that we can accomplish big things. Reaching for the stars does not have to be simply a dream, but with vision, hard work, and focus it can become a reality.
We are inspired to improve and continue to make Flat Rock the Best Camp Ever.