From time to time, we want to bring you the stories of some of the fathers and sons who have attended Christ in the Smokies’ Passage to Manhood Camp. We are thankful for these fathers and sons who are willing to share their experiences at our camp, and we know you will be blessed by their stories.
Mike Gross attended our Passage to Manhood Camp with his high school-aged son Josiah, after Mike’s wife found the camp through an online search. The duo was excited in the weeks leading up to the trip about being able to spend time together. They looked forward to being in the beautiful mountains and enjoying the natural beauty of the Smokies, and especially anticipated whitewater rafting, which they had never done before.
In fact, it was during that rafting adventure that Mike and Josiah had one of their most memorable experiences. “We took a break while we were whitewater rafting, and I had lunch with Josiah,” Mike reflects. “He gave me a handwritten letter expressing his gratitude and love for me. That was very special.”
There were so many other fun experiences for the two as well, including winning “Best in Decoration” for the spud gun contest with their Star Wars light saber. It brought Mike great joy to see Josiah having fun with the other sons they met during the camp, and both men enjoyed sharing delicious meals with the other fathers and sons. “Sharing life together with other fathers and sons during our lessons was another great memory as well,” Mike remembers.
As many of our fathers and sons describe, leaving camp was a little sad for Mike and Josiah as they had enjoyed their time together so much. Mike had this to say about the experience:
“We both felt such a deep feeling of thankfulness for Tim and his team. The preparation of the events, lessons, meals and togetherness time was done with such devotion and careful thought; it was truly a blessing to us. The Entrance to Manhood Passage was not really familiar to us beforehand, but it was great to learn more about it, and it was awesome to see all those sons going through the ceremony together. It was a very special time with memories that are truly God-honoring.”
Perhaps the best part of Passage to Manhood Camp was not what Mike and Josiah experienced, but rather, what Mike says he took away from camp: “A deeper appreciation for Josiah and realizing how much of a blessing he is to me!”