I recently attended a 5 day camping trip into the panhandle of Florida. The men there were all in the Fraternity of Excellence.
I was assigned the title of Chief early on with this group. Not being a military man, it took me a while to grasp the meaning of this honor.
Being The Chief
The Chief is a man who sets the standard. He’s the man the other men look to for leadership. It’s a huge responsibility.
As much as I like to BS, make jokes, cut up with everyone, after the first day, I realized that wasn’t my role.
A River Runs Through It
As we hit this campground, we were inundated with 6″ of rain that left the river swollen 6 feet above its banks. That led to some localized flooding until one morning, we found our trucks trapped by high water and our bunk house was now on an island.
And, I enjoyed every second of it! I’m a weather junkie. I love these type challenges.
We ended up having to use canoes and rafts to get back and forth off our FOE island. We had men canoeing in gallons of drinking water and bundles of firewood.
The camaraderie was second to none. Each of the 25 men pitched in and we just made things happen.
The conversations, face to face, were the highlight of the trip.
This is a trip that included plenty including a half day zip lining high above the flooded woods. And a half day challenge course, ending in a team event which had all 25 of us scaling a high wall.
Scaling the wall requited planning to execute. Once over the wall, that man had to sit out and was unable to further assist.
Picture the last two men in your mind: one tall lanky 6’4″ and the other about 5′ tall and maybe 100 lbs soaking wet (which we all were much of the time).
Lanky had his arms over the top end holding on while 100lb crawled up his body somehow and got over. It was a lot of fun.
So, with this scene firmly set in your mind, I want to talk about the conversations. At one point, a man asked me why I was so quiet around the fire.
“I’m listening to you all.”
I’ve self damaged my hearing over the years. The blessingS of these new advanced hearing aids are I can now pick up and isolate different conversations.
There were men talking about relationships, men talking about making money, men talking about being fathers, men talking about the day’s events…
Men were talking.
We live in such a busy world. Most of us have the on-line world as our main source of man to man interaction. The Fraternity of Excellence is an on-line group that meets up many times during the year in the real world.
And we talk.
I sat there soaking it all up, fire roaring at my feet. This was perfect. No one was drunk. No one was having a dick measuring contest. It was all about just being men hanging out. Most of us don’t get that in our day to day lives.
So I listened and I learned much about the men around me. I’m a social person, I love to talk and interact. But this was not a night to insert myself into every conversation.
A well-timed comment here or there, a puff of pipe tobacco, and then back to letting the heat of the fire wash over me as men around me became brothers.
It was one helluva trip.
If you want more information on the Fraternity of Excellence, here’s a link. Prices are about to go up, so if you’re going to join for a month or two to check it out, now is a good time.
http://texasdom.com/FOE will get you there…