"I can promise you, it's possible," was all my counselor would say. I was maybe 11 years old at summer camp and my group was working through a challenge on the Low Ropes course. This particular element involved getting the entire group of 14 campers across three wooden islands that could fit about 3-4 people each. The only tools we had were two lengths of 2x4 lumber, neither of which was long enough to cross the gap between the islands. And we'd been at this for a while. At the time, I remember distinctly the feeling of frustration and a desire for my counselor to just give us the answer. "It's too hard," we said, or "this can't be done," we pleaded. But then one of the members of my group solved the physics problem and created the necessary bridge. We got a few members to the middle island but quickly realized the bridge couldn't be in two places at once. We paused.
We looked at our counselor. And all he said was "okay, so now what?" We needed to think out a system of moving the boards to get all of us across. Unlocking that first moment of possibility with the bridge gave us the energy to keep solving the obstacles that came from only having 2 boards to use. Each time we made a move, our counselor was there with the steady refrain of "okay, so now what?" that kept our minds churning to solve the problems we faced. I still remember the feeling of pride when the last member of my group crossed the islands. We had conquered the challenge; we had achieved success on our own. The pride and the joy of achieving the goal stuck with me, but even more impactful was the attitude of facing challenges with an "okay, so now what?" attitude. (Brief plug: this grit/resiliency dynamic is one of the greatest benefits of a summer camp experience for kids, especially in an instant gratification culture.
The end of the calendar year is a time for celebration, but also reflection and planning. At NaCoMe, it's no different. We've been reviewing the past year, taking stock of all the highs and lows (and celebrating that we have many more highs!), and we've been planning for all the opportunities that 2018 holds. One of the reasons this year has been so great is that so many people have been a part of our "so now what?" attitude. Instead of throwing in the towel at challenges, we've embraced them as opportunities. And our staff is just a piece of the puzzle; we couldn't make this ministry happen without volunteers, donors, advocates, our Board of Governors, local churches, and so many others. As we turn the calendar to 2018, we're excited about all the opportunities it holds, and we're celebrating the fact that there are so many people like you helping us answer the "so now what?" question.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
-Ryan "Flash" Moore, Director