At T Bar M Camps, we have a philosophy called Challenge by Choice. This phrase and thought is primarily found on our ropes course… but it tends to find it’s way to every nook and cranny of the camp experience.
Our Groups Director, Katie Tucker explains “Challenge by Choice”
“We want to challenge you to get out of your comfort zone, to do something that stretches you and makes you a bit uncomfortable, because this is where you grow and learn. But we don’t want you to be pushed so far that you feel panicked. It is your choice at what level you participate, and it’s different for everyone. Getting in the stretch zone might mean putting on your harness, or climbing half way up the pole, or it might mean doing the screamer… but if you feel you’ve reached the panic zone, we want you to know, so we can guide you back into your comfort zone.”
You can see how easy it is to apply this philosophy and phrase on the ropes course. Anything thirty feet off the ground can cause anyone to dip one’s toe into the panic zone. But if we are honest, panic zones can show up anywhere.
Dressing up wildly for a theme night, might not be comfortable for your camper… and that is okay, a Star Wars T-shirt is just as involved as some need to be. Singing at the top of their lungs at lunch might be a huge step out of the box… no worries, someone needs to be listening and clapping for those silly extroverts. Praying out loud in small group bible study, might cause a bit of angst… and that is alright, God loves to listen to words spoken from the heart (out loud or in our mind).
To do something that stretches you a bit, makes you uncomfortable, because this is where you grow and learn.
A week away at camp yields all kinds of opportunities to be challenged and to make choices. Opportunities that aren’t available at home, challenges that stretch our campers and choices that are made confidently by your children make a camp experience full of great growth. We see it over and over and over again as campers step out of their stretch zone and return home, “taller on the inside”.
The camper who would never pray out loud, is praying with their coach. The camper who would never put on a harness, made it to the top of the screamer tower (we applaud that… even if they didn’t go off the screamer). The camper who could never imagine leading a group is now leading the cabin through an activity. And when these things occur, we witness challenge by choice serving it’s purpose: campers growing from the inside out.