The Power of a Father and Son Outdoor Adventure: Part 2, Newness and Focus
The First Component of Adventure Design: Newness
The first component of a well designed father and son outdoor adventure father and son outdoor adventure is newness. Newness is an inner stirring, which initiates our search to find what is out there. We often express this longing through the words, “I’d just like to get away.” At this point we are not able to clearly articulate what we want. We just know we want to experience something greater than we are experiencing now. Thus we search for something new.
Our search naturally leads us to a choice and finally we book our adventure. There is generally some level of preparation and maybe even the purchase of some equipment. All this is new. On the morning of the big day, we awaken early. We travel a good portion of the day. We finally arrive at the destination, stepping out and into an entirely new setting.
In addition, there are new people to interact with and new activities to do. All of this stages a grand opportunity for new things to happen. Our senses naturally become more acute because we are outside of what is familiar. We are experiencing newness.
Several years ago, I received a call from a Florida dad who was online at our website while he placed the call. After our brief introduction, his question to me was, “I’m at your website now, are these pictures real?”
I smiled and responded warmly, “Yes, of course they are real.” The adventure photos he saw on our website were so outside of his day-to-day experience, and he wanted to make sure that if he signed up for a camp, he and his son would be getting the same experience of newness as reflected within the photos. He and his son did attend a camp and have returned on several occasions as volunteer staff. To this day, he and I still chuckle about our initial conversation where he accused me of Photoshopping the facts.
The Second Component of Adventure Design: Prescribed Focus
Closely related to the component of newness is the component of prescribed focus. All adventures occur for some reason. At Christ in the Rockies, we offer father and son adventure camps with a prescribed focus: male initiation into manhood.
At camp, we do a number of outdoor adventure activities that take advantage of being in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado. But this is not the focus. Though these activities contribute to our focus, our camp designers are often discussing what should be trimmed out, rather than what should be added.
This is of course because our real focus is male initiation into manhood. Our intent is to continually move towards sharpening our focus. There is power in such focus. For example, one important factor in becoming a man is learning how to process personal pain.
As men, we are naturally not very good at this. We tend to numb, blame, ignore or activate our default emotion of anger.
An outdoor adventure for fathers and sons sets up the perfect place to talk about pain by providing instruction and discussion regarding how to process pain. It is also the perfect place to experience well planned activities that can push us mentally and physically, challenging us to face our pain. In such a moment, the activity itself becomes a catapult, launching us from the classroom into a transformative life experience.
In part 3, we will examine the final two components that contribute to a well designed father and son outdoor adventure. Or, feel free to review part 1 of this article, which introduces the two key aspects of a true adventure for fathers and sons.