As an all-girls camp, we believe we have an opportunity to challenge girls to grow in a unique way. Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” At Crestridge, we challenge girls to grow in this same way.
We know that growth looks different for each girl. Some girls need specific tasks to complete as they seek to grow while others simply need space to explore growth in their own way. We want girls to have the opportunity to grow in whatever way is best for them.
The challenge system is one way in which girls can grow while at camp. Each village has a challenge that is specific to their village. The challenges become more challenging as girls move through the villages. In order to receive your challenge, all of the tasks must be completed. Tasks are designed to help girls grow mentally, physically, spiritually and socially. Some of these tasks include memorizing scripture, learning all of the names of their cabinmates, walking loops around camp, doing a daily quiet time, writing a note of appreciation, and showing kindness and respect to others.
During Council of Progress, girls receive an honor band in the color of their village. As girls come back summer after summer, their honor band grows to show the different villages they have been a part of. If a girl completes her challenge, she receives a white bar to add to her honor band.
The oldest village is the Bluerock village. Once a girl has completed the Bluerock challenge twice, she is eligible to be tapped out for the Valor Challenge. When the camper is "tapped out", they begin a 12-hour challenge that is completed during the middle of the night. We encourage campers to use this challenge as a time to spend with the Lord and rely on His strength. We want campers to know that they can be strong because of the Lord!
The challenge begins with the fire portion. Each girl has one hour to collect firewood and get their fire started with just three matches. After their fire is lit, each girl must keep their fire going for three hours. During those three hours, she will write an essay that allows her to reflect on the summer theme and what God has been teaching her at camp so far. After the fire and essay portion are complete, girls will complete manual labor around camp. Just before sunrise, the girls will hike Rattlesnake within 17 minutes and have a devotion at the top. During the remainder of the 12 hours, girls will have time for more reflection.
One of the hardest aspects of the challenge is the silence band. From the moment the challenge begins, girls may not communicate with other challenge participants or those leading the challenge. This includes verbal and non-verbal communication. This part of the challenge allows girls the opportunity to grow in self-control as well as have continuous communication with God.
At the end of the 12 hours, if a girl has completed all aspects of the Valor Challenge, she will have attained the highest rank in the Council of Progress, the rank of Valor. Valor means "strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness, personal bravery". This describes what is expected of these young women that have the honor of being tapped out. A camper of Valor will be one who has completed the 12-hour challenge, who strives to face their challenges with courage, who stands out and lights the way for those around them. They will receive a white honor band that stands for Strength. The verse for the rank of Valor is Joshua 1:9, which says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.".
If all aspects of the Valor Challenge are not completed, she will receive the rank of Trekker. A trekker is someone on a long journey. While a Trekker's time in the Valor Challenge may have been cut short, her journey has just begun. She will receive a light blue honor band that stands for Endurance. The verse for the rank of Trekker is Philippians 3:13-14, which says, "I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."