New Heights at Camp Nuhop

By Jacqui Pollard

October 7, 2011

New Heights at Camp Nuhop

Last week I went on a local adventure to Camp Nuhop in Perrysville, Ohio to visit our friends from Montgomery Elementary School. As I made the drive out there on all those winding roads, I had no idea what was in store for me out in the wilderness. When I found my way to the camp, I couldn't help but be in complete awe of the serenity and beauty of the secluded area. Surrounded by greenery and the distinct sounds of nature, Camp Nuhop is the outdoorsman's heaven on earth. The 6th graders were divided up into three different stations that morning at the high swing, the ropes course, and the Panther Pole.

The high swing brought out my inner child as I watched. Each student was hoisted high up on a rope, and then on the count of three, the instructor unlatched their hook. Down they went, swinging high into the air back and forth! Each child watched counting down until their turn to feel like Superman. I politely declined as the instructor asked if I'd like to participate as well.

The ropes course looked just as fun but slightly more menacing than the high flying ride of the swing. Students were harnessed in and hooked to a ropes course high above the ground in the trees and on wooden posts resembling telephone poles. I couldn't help but notice two different types of students on the ropes course: those who were enjoying the course cautiously and those who were tearing through it as if they were a monkey swinging from limb to limb. I was amazed at the fearlessness of some of the students and thoroughly enjoyed watching them take on the course.

The station that I was most moved by was the Panther Pole. When I heard the name of the station, I honestly thought the students were going to be working on some sort of totem pole. Boy, was I wrong!

The Panther Pole is basically a telephone pole with giant staples in the side that make a ladder to the very top. Right away, I knew that I would be too big of a chicken to attempt something as daunting as this station. I watched anxiously as the first young man put on his harness and helmet, hooked up to his safety rope (that was being held by his fellow classmates!), and began the ascent up a ladder to begin climbing the pole. He conquered the Panther Pole with ease and looked like a professional.

A young man a few tries later had a different experience with the Panther Pole. With each step he took up the towering pole, I could feel the tension mounting. When he got to the top two "staples," he froze with fear and uttered two self-defeating words: "I can't." The instructor began talking him through how to take those last two (nerve-racking!) steps in order to stand atop the pole. I could see the pole shaking as he balanced near the top. As the student began to cry, I feared his classmates would tease and mock him.

Quite the contrary happened.

The other students began to cheer him on and yell words of encouragement. "You can do it!" they shouted. Finally, from somewhere within himself, he mustered the courage to attempt to take his position on the top. As he stood on the top and turned slowly to leap off, I felt a sense of relief that he'd finished. I could see the same sense of ease come over him as his feet were planted firmly on the ground once again.

As it says on their website, Camp Nuhop believes their camp experience should generate closeness, understanding, sharing, and trust. From what I witnessed that day, it was certainly fostering those among the Montgomery 6th grade students.


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