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RUFF boys’ camping builds character, mental preparedness

Rappelling and real-life lessons were part of a recent camping weekend for boys in RUFF (Ready yoUrself For the Future Leader).

At Camp to Know Him, RUFF boys rapelled down a 60-foot cliff.

For the weekend, 65 young men and adults ventured to Camp To Know Him in Pisgah in Jackson County. The group included 22 students from Columbia and Heritage elementary schools, 23 from Discovery and Liberty middle schools and 4 young men from James Clemens High School.

Sponsor and RUFF founder Anthony Graham was familiar with the camp from previous visits. A church owns the camp property, but the RUFF boys only used the facility. Graham teaches seventh- and eighth-grade math at Discovery Middle School.

Topics concentrated on situations “the boys would encounter some time in their lives. Five scenarios were played out dealing with issues about prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco, pornography and peer pressure,” Graham said. “The boys were taught how to handle the situations before they occur. When the problem addresses itself, the boys will be ready to handle the peer pressure.”

Graham gave speeches and personal experiences about the topics. Chaperones and high-schoolers also led some lessons by sharing testimonies and lectures relating to the scenarios. “The boys had to decide how to handle the situations,” Graham said.

Adult chaperones held small-group lessons on “The Power of One, showing one person can make a difference either positively or negatively in their school environment. One person can ruin it for everyone,” Graham said.

For a heart-pumping challenge, the boys rappelled down a 60-foot cliff. “It was scary for adults as well as kids. It was so amazing to see the boys overcome their fears and conquer something they were terrified to do,” he said.

In other work, the boys performed community service by cleaning up from destruction of the 2011 tornadoes. “We put a tiny dent in the cleanup efforts,” he said.

“It was a great weekend of leadership and bonding,” Graham said and thanked all chaperones for their support.

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