by Lukas House, Rutgers University ‘20
"Going out to the middle of the woods with no technology with a bunch of guys I haven’t met yet couldn’t possibly be better than traveling to the beach for spring break.”
That is what I thought before leaving for the woods of North Carolina with a bunch of guys from Rutgers University and Florida State. But this trip blew my categories! It was full of revelations and really opened my eyes, mind, and heart to new things I had never experienced in life.
Arriving on Saturday and not knowing most of the guys well, it was quite intimidating. But as the days went on, it felt like we had known each other for years. We all had a drive and enthusiasm to get our work done with the goal of having a hog roast at the end of the week. Putting in a new fence, ripping trees out of the ground, going stride for stride with another brother on a two-man saw, we each found ourselves out of our own element. But that didn’t mean that we didn’t work as hard.
Being with brothers, it really showed us how much men need to rely on each other. There were no heroes for the work we did, because if somebody was pushing harder, then all the brothers would meet him. Growing as men physically was only half of the equation, though: we needed to grow more as men spiritually, as well. We had Morning Prayer and Mass every day and we always had an hour of silence in the morning, but more importantly some of the guys had some sweet Bible studies at night, which we called “marinating in the Word.”
The part that impacted me the most, though, was when our host, Jason Craig, gave a speech on manhood. I cannot do justice to him by giving a description of only a few lines, but it had a lasting impact on me. Some of the questions I began to ask were, “what is the meaning of being a man?” or “how do we become a man?” and “why is manhood in such a crisis today?”. The best part of his talk was the experience of looking around the room and seeing every one of my brothers' faces, and seeing their minds blown when Jason had finished.
Ending the week with the hog roast was a great exclamation point to this fantastic week and eating something that you have worked for all week, made it twice as good. Going in as a boy and leaving as man is cliché, but every one of the guys from this trip grew as a person and we are all looking forward for many more trips to come.
Many thanks to Barbasol for their sponsorship for this awesome week! There’s so much I gained that I’ll always be grateful for!