Shawn Marler discovered Camp Rockmont during his sophomore year at Erskine College and has continued working at the camp for 10 summers, serving the last three years as assistant director, a full-time position. As a 2007 graduate of the college and a 2011 graduate of the seminary, Shawn was happy to work with a large contingent of Erskine students who served on the Rockmont staff this summer. As autumn begins, he shares a summer story that is also an Erskine story.
The challenge of the college summer is to find something to pour yourself into that will strengthen your skill set, that will be life-giving for others, and that will also provide a paycheck. Working at a summer camp is an opportunity that fulfills all of those needs.
Camp staff members develop interpersonal and problem-solving skills that will serve them well in any future career. They work long hours and continually put others before themselves, strengthening traits that any future employer would desire. But perhaps the most fulfilling part of working at a camp is knowing that you are pouring yourself out in the service of others, both the campers and the larger camp community. And then the paycheck at the end is also quite nice.
It’s the feeling that you were part of something bigger than yourself that sticks with you the most.
Eleven Erskine students decided to spend their summer doing this important work up at Camp Rockmont, a Christian summer camp for boys in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Rockmont recruits staff from colleges all over the southeast to come spend their summer in the mountains of Western North Carolina playing, serving, teaching, and ministering to boys ages 6-16.
The Blob, the Zip Line, Kayaking, Rock Climbing, Blacksmithing, and all the activities offered are vehicles for helping campers grow. Staff members walk alongside campers through these new challenges. And all of this happens in an intentional Christian community that values the biblical story and explores together the good news found in that story.
Erskine staff could be found all over camp this summer, serving in a variety of capacities. Seven were counselors who worked in the cabins, but also taught some of our traditional camp skills.
Andrew LeGrand ’16 worked with some of our youngest campers but was also responsible for leading our entire archery program. Andrew grew up shooting and bow hunting in South Carolina, and was able to pass on his archery knowledge to campers. Dwight Bozeman ’16 was also there instructing on the archery deck when he was not teaching campers at the nature cabin. Carlos Unda ’15 was instrumental in helping us get our new mountain biking program running.
Other counselors applied at Rockmont the very same skills they bring to Erskine. Braden Anderson ’16 could be found leading soccer drills and scrimmages, while Benny Uy ’15 and Yo Gutierrez ’16 were teaching campers how to improve their serve on the tennis courts. Richard Borrero ’15, a member of Erskine’s Cross Country team, was shaping young men through our Fitness for Life program.
Erskine was in more places than just the cabins, however. Luke Kennington ’16 and Stephen Maguire ’16 found themselves all over camp as part of the work crew. Luke and Stephen ran the zip line, facilitated program set-up and break-down, worked in the dining hall, and also helped move several building projects along at camp. Though often behind the scenes, their work was critical for camp to happen.
Heather Endicott ’15 spent her summer days out at the Rockmont Stables as a valuable leader in our horseback riding program. Whether teaching skills in the riding ring or leading trail rides on the mountain, Heather was demonstrating her love for working with children and gaining valuable experience that will serve her well as an education major.
Whitney Adkins ’15 returned for her second year as a member of Rockmont’s day camp staff, and it was Whitney who spread the word at Erskine this past year about the summer opportunities Rockmont affords. Over a year ago, Whitney fell in love with the community that Rockmont provides. She sees it as a place not only to work, but also to grow and serve and have an incredibly fun time while doing so. It was that community she invited her friends to join this summer.
Whitney said she recalls being asked by camp staff members from other colleges, ‘Are you guys really this close, or is this just a result of camp?’
“I would often chuckle and explain, ‘No, this is what we’re like at Erskine, too,'” Whitney said. “The outside world is blown away by the tightness of the Erskine community. It’s one of the hardest experiences to describe to other people. Erskine is a special place.”
At Camp Rockmont, we are grateful to have had such a strong Erskine presence this summer. These students continued their education in the natural classroom of the North Carolina mountains. They poured their hearts into our shared summer work, and we could not have done it without them. They returned to Due West with full hearts, ready to continue their journey.