For the past several years, the summer camp has been held at St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock, Virginia. However, this year the St. Margaret’s administration restricted Jacob’s Ladder to use of the athletic and performing arts facilities. Given the camp’s increasing focus on theatre, this was a non-starter. Mr. Hall and the Board had to start considering other options.
Of the available options, Richard Bland College in Petersburg, Virginia rose to the top and provided the setting for a successful camp session which concluded on July 28th. The campus boasts high-quality dormitories, two performing arts venues, and high-tech classrooms. For the first time, climbers had the opportunity to live and immerse themselves in a real college environment.
The Richard Bland athletic department played an active role in climber development. Members of the basketball team assisted in leading some of the camp’s recreation activities, and the basketball coach provided words of encouragement during a morning chapel service. The campus’ location allowed for an increase in enrichment field trips in the Richmond-Williamsburg region. And, with the exception of the basketball team, Jacob’s Ladder was essentially the college’s only occupant during the summer.
Notwithstanding, leaving St. Margaret’s meant leaving behind the river and all the activities that came along with it. While there is no comparable body of water near the Richard Bland campus, the aforementioned advantages far outweighed this loss.
Additionally, the college is governed and considered a branch of the College of William and Mary. After completing two years at Richard Bland College, students have the opportunity to transfer to the College of William and Mary. This presents a chance for JL’s budding partnership with Richard Bland to morph into a more strategic one akin to that of the University of Richmond. Currently, climbers who apply and are accepted to the University of Richmond have the opportunity to receive a scholarship covering the full cost of tuition. The possibility to build a similar connection with Richard Bland and the College of William and Mary is promising.
Look for a more detailed recap of the 2016 summer camp in our next newsletter!