Remember, as a child, when you would get excited for the first snow of the year or you would spend all afternoon with friends riding your sled down snow-covered hills? Many of the Rawhide guys were not fortunate enough to experience that kind of fun. Rawhide’s Winter Adventure Camp is designed to change that.

Winter Adventure Camp – Fun by DesignRawhide-rockwall-climbing

For one week in February, Rawhide guys take a break from school to experience winter fun – an event absent before Rawhide. Activities for our Winter Adventure Camp week include:

  1. Rock climbing
  2. Snow tubing
  3. Snowshoeing
  4. Floor hockey
  5. Snow volleyball
  6. Cross-country skiing
  7. Ice fishing

In addition to these winter activities, the guys also take part in a sled race, obstacle course, and snowball-throwing challenge. At the end of the week, they swap stories about their “clever” team strategies, helping one another, and the fun they shared.

Setting Ranch Records

Rock wall climbing helps develop character and can bring out the best in a guy. And this winter, they set new records.

  1. More climbs were recorded per guy than any previous year.
  2. More guys also completed the most difficult portion of the rock wall than ever before.
  3. A few guys even climbed the most difficult portion twice and attempted a third time!

House parents and youth care workers got involved as well. At least one houseparent or youth care worker from each house participated in the rock wall climb, setting another Winter Adventure Week record!

Building Character

While challenging the guys physically, the rock wall also challenged a few emotionally as well. An argument earlier in the day jeopardized Pete* and Dennis’s* opportunity to take part in climbing. After some discussion, the staff graciously allowed Pete and Dennis to participate. Determined to prove that the staff made the right decision, the two young men demonstrated good character by encouraging each other and offering helpful advice to the very person they had argued with earlier that day.

The guys continued to bond and help each other in other activities, too. Woodshop instructor, Jerry Trzebiatowski, led the skiing activities, and he noticed how willing they were to help each other. The more experienced skiers could have taken off down the trail, but instead, Jerry saw selflessness and mutual respect among the guys. “I saw guys of their own free will, hanging back and offering advice. They weren’t thinking about themselves.” They took the opportunity to make sacrifices, so others were able to understand and enjoy the activity.

Creating Fun Memories

Suffice it to say that the guys “had a blast” and created new, fun memories—from kissing the fish they caught during ice fishing to laughing about how many times they went flying off their snow tubes. They worked together, experienced new activities, and had fun. At the end of the week, camp organizers totaled awarded points to determine the winning team. All the houses earned points based on how well their group performed in the activities as well as their behavior throughout the week.

In what was a very tight competition, the Gillespie House was named the winning house in the 2015 Winter Adventure Week. During this announcement, the Starr Academy auditorium filled with chants of “Whose house? G-House!” They were awarded an oversized Olaf doll from the Disney movie Frozen.

Winter Adventure Camp brought out the best in the Rawhide guys as they embraced the fun times and supported each other when adversity came. This was the first time a lot of the guys had the chance to play and have fun in winter, providing them with one winter week that they will never forget.