More than once, people have commented that working at a place like the Blowing Rock Conference Center must “feel like being on vacation every day.”Upon hearing that phrase, I normally give a hearty laugh, and wonder to myself what they do on their vacations.There are certainly some days that I am in awe of the fact that I get to be a steward of such a wonderful organization, but there are also days that I am overwhelmed.In some ways I guess that actually sounds just like a good vacation.There are so many reasons why I choose to work in Outdoor Ministry settings, and particularly at the Blowing Rock Conference Center, but the one reason that I always come back to is the community.
I have been blessed throughout my entire career to work in vocations that foster community.I spent two years working and living within the community of Elk Shoals United Methodist Camp.I spent six months living and working at Hinton Rural Life Center, and I spent five years living and working within the Appalachian Trail building community.My life has been shaped by the people and experiences that these experiences have provided.I understand the power of community, and I love getting to see it play out in the everyday life of the Blowing Rock Conference Center.
I have had the pleasure of spending the last sixteen and half years with our core group of employees here at BRCC.We have experienced many of life’s highs and lows together.Our families all know one another, and we are bonded in a unique way.Through blood, sweat, and tears, we have perpetuated the community that our predecessors envisioned.
Every day I get to see people living in intentional communities.One of my favorite summer rituals is watching the ANYTOWN camp gather silently on the first day of camp.The campers are allowed to talk, but they are all out of their teenage comfort zones.After five days of living in community with people who started as total strangers, the last day’s gathering is the exact opposite of the first.They sing, they chant, they laugh, and they all get to be their unique selves in a community that they trust.You can hear them singing as the charter buses pull away.I have experienced ANYTOWN’s last day more than thirty times, and it still puts a lump in my throat.
I am forever thankful and aware of the blessing and opportunity it is to live in and foster the community for others.I am grateful to places like the Blowing Rock Conference Center that work to keep these communities going, and along the way they teach us how to meet and invest in our neighbors.