The Power of a Father and Son Outdoor Adventure: Part 3, Planned Risk, Time and Space
The Component of Planned Risk
Planned Risk is also a necessary component of a well designed father and son outdoor adventure. Note the use of the word planned as opposed to the word reckless. Risk within any context is what creates the opportunity for growth. Risk components are carefully thought out in relation to how each will contribute to the overall focus. They are then placed at the physical, spiritual and relational layers of the adventure.
I often prep the campers by using the phrase, “call to courage.” When they hear this from me or from one of our staff they know they are about to be asked to participate in something that will most likely be outside of their comfort. The campers are not coerced but rather invited. Herein is the opportunity for the participant to expand his realm of experience, which results in growth.
Jesus induced growth opportunities on several occasions and in a number of different ways. For example, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go to the other side.” Here, there was much more within his directive than the mere suggestion of new coordinates. It was in the getting there where the growth would take place.
Included within the planned risk component is what if contingency planning. A written safety plan is mandatory. The plan includes having the proper level of medical expertise, as well as medical and communication equipment on site and readily available. It also includes an evacuation plan to be executed in the event of an emergency.
The Component of Time and Space
Prescribed focus and planned risk naturally require time and space for processing what the participants have individually and collectively experienced. Processing time is the creation of safe space, free from distraction, to ponder, pray, grapple and discuss what is being experienced.
Processing time is built into the adventure. Through the use of questions and group interaction, a skilled facilitator will draw out what the participants are experiencing, thus maximizing the group learning environment.
Camper accommodations are designed so dads and sons can have the private space needed to talk. This talk time between fathers and sons is powerful. Thus, bunkhouse style accommodations are avoided because this style of sleeping arrangement dramatically reduces private safe space to talk. Private accommodations enhance the quality of the experience.
It’s also important that Christ in the Rockies staff be of the age and maturity level to be available to assist, listen, respond and provide practical and spiritual instruction. Such a staff provides great value to the overall processing of the adventure experience.
A well designed outdoor adventure for fathers and sons is a powerful experience that is very often life changing. It will be one of the few memories stored with quick recall status. Twenty or thirty years down the road that memory will be triggered. The son who has now himself become a father will flash to that memory in all of its clarity. He will then begin his detailed expression, stating, “I remember the time when my dad took me on this true adventure.”
Our children are all now in their thirties. At family gatherings to this day, I still hear, “Dad, do you remember the time?” referencing one of our outdoor adventures that occurred a decade or two ago. We then collectively relive that powerful time in all it’s color, often playfully bantering over the details of who did or said what. Reliving these family treasures continues to be my finest family times. There is nothing more enriching. There is nothing better.
If you skipped to part 3 of this article, come check out part 1, which introduces two key aspects for a true adventure for fathers and sons. Or, jump back to part 2, which explores the first two necessary components of a well-designed father and son adventure.