By Makayla Hanshaw:
High Rocks is an organization for young women, ages 12-29. With the motto, “Educate. Empower. Inspire.,” the staff teaches independence and self-empowerment. It is unfortunate that most people at NCHS do not know what exactly the organization is or what it does.
When I was in 7th grade, the High Rocks staff pulled all of the girls into the gym for a presentation about one of their camps called New Beginnings. There was a limited amount of spots due to the fact that the cost per girl was so expensive since the camp lasted for two whole weeks, and each girl’s spot was paid by sponsors. I don’t remember everything the staff told us, but I was determined to get into this camp.
I had to fill out an application and write an essay, and later I received an acceptance letter in the mail as well as a list of necessities needed for camp such as sheets, blankets, pillows, enough clothes for two weeks, a water bottle, a towel, toiletries, a hairbrush, and any needed medication. Campers were told not to bring cell phones because there is no service at the camp and also no way to charge a phone. It also said that at camp there would be little cabins called “pods” with four to five beds in each.
On the application, each girl had to select a main class where she would spend most of her time. There were classes that taught about science, math, English, and even horses. There was also a class called “Girl’s Group,” which encouraged girls to discuss difficult topics and listen to everyone’s views. Girls were expected to walk to their classes and keep up with their assignments. A bell was rung to signal the start and end of each class. There were also jobs for the girls to teach them responsibility and to also help keep the camp clean.
After the jobs were completed, there was a campfire which was my favorite part of camp. Everyone gathered around the fire and told stories. We would then sing and dance. It was both a most magical and disorienting feeling. On the week-ends, we were allowed to sleep in, and then we would go swimming or hiking along with other fun activities planned by the counselors.
I believe there’s something nostalgic about going to summer camp and making unbreakable bonds with campmates. I still keep in contact with most of them, and I genuinely care about their well-being. I also became close with many of the staff at camp. They went out of their way and were very considerate towards the campers.
There is another High Rocks camp that is similar to New Beginnings. Although I had completely different experiences at each camp, they were both positive. I feel like I learn so much every time I attend one of their camps or meet up with the organization for an event.
High Rocks has taught me how to be a human being, how to function and thrive with people that may not have the same morals or beliefs as I do. Attending the camps taught me to be more open to other opinions. High Rocks has also taught me how to lead in a positive way. The patience I learned has given me opportunities to excel where others have failed. Because of High Rocks, I work well with others, and that characteristic has helped me to improve in sports.
After around five years, I plan to settle down and hopefully have a family. I plan to raise my children with High Rocks morals and show them that education is a necessity. I plan to encourage my children to attend High Rocks camps and be involved with the organization. Also, I hope to be a High Rocks sponsor.
High Rocks is a safe haven for me, and so many people I love are involved in this organization. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities and experiences that High Rocks has provided for me.