youth ministry

A Wall of Living Stones at Caswell


One of my favorite stories of all time, from May 2014. 

When the youth group goes to Fort Caswell for the spring retreat, one of the many traditions involves a team building exercise known as The Wall. The Wall is about 10-12 feet high and 6-8 feet wide and kids who choose to participate scale the wall with others in their grade. It’s always a beautiful thing to watch.

This year, Cameron, a 16 year old who has been raised in the church, made his first trip to Caswell. He’d been on other youth trips, but not this one; so he’d never seen The Wall, never participated in this tradition. Of course, he didn’t have to do it. No one would have objected if he’d taken a pass.

You see, since birth, Cameron has developed at a different speed than other children. One orthopedist even told his parents not to expect much in the way of gross motor development, saying that Cameron would likely be in a wheelchair. (His parents got a different orthopedist.) It took him awhile, but with the help of a kid-sized walker, Cameron put one foot in front of the other, and by the time he was four and a half years old, he was walking on his own. These days, while his muscle tone is still relatively low, he gets around fine. He does, however, walk slower and more intentionally than most folk. And, well, he just has to work a little harder than other people to move through the world.

But back to Caswell’s wall.

“Are you going to climb The Wall, Cameron?” We asked him mostly out of courtesy, not wanting him to feel left out.

“Yep,” he said, looking over his glasses that had once again slipped too far down his nose; and he made his way over to lifelong friends who awaited him at the wall.

Physically, Cameron couldn’t offer much assistance at all. He couldn’t push or pull himself up. He couldn’t reach out or grab hold. If he panicked, he would fall. If he struggled against them, they would drop him.

Cameron put his hands on sure shoulders and lifted a foot onto the human stool; his friends did the rest. One adult and two girls standing on the back of the wall reached down, while several guys at the base helped lift him up. Other teens gathered around, arms extended, ready.

He progressed, inches at the time, eventually straddling the top of the wall. Once there though, he seemed to get stuck. A moment of uncertainty followed when no one was exactly sure how to proceed. Then another teen—a bulky weight lifter—popped up on the back of the wall, reached down, and gently lifted Cameron’s leg up and over.

Cameron got his balance, looked out over the crowd, and hesitantly lifted a hand to wave.

Now for most kids, getting down is easy; but Cameron couldn’t jump off the platform to the ground without injury. No worries! His friends had already figured it out.  Four strong arms waited to cradle Cameron from the wall to the ground. He let go, they held on, and then he was down, smiling at the cheers and congratulations from his youth group.

Cameron punched his fist into the palm of his hand and said, “I did it!”

And he did. He really did.

First Baptist Church of Asheville Youth Group, Fort Caswell 2014


. . . like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood . . .
from 1 Peter 2:5


About the Author Aileen Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.

Leave a Comment:

Sharon Brown says May 19, 2014

OMG!!! I LOVE THIS!!! I AM SOO PROUD OF CAMERON!! hes my nephew, his daddy is my oldest brother, and I have always been proud of him, no matter what he has had to go through, I have always prayed for him and been in his corner. I LOVE HIM SOO MUCH!! I miss them so much, I dont get to see them very much, and its things like this that bring tears to my eyes.

    Aileen Lawrimore says May 19, 2014

    Thanks for reading Sharon! He is such a special boy--both Cameron and Collin are. (There are several other posts about Cameron on the blog. Just click on the tag "Cameron" or search for his name and you'll find them. ) I just love to write about him!

Don and Gladys Jones says May 19, 2014

Congratulations, Cameron! It was a thrill for us too to watch as you climbed the wall! You really did it - Hooray!

    Aileen Lawrimore says May 19, 2014

    Thanks for reading folks! I'd be honored if you shared the post with friends. Everyone should know what an awesome person Cameron is!

Anonymous says May 20, 2014

What an awesome, heart warming story! Cameron is a lucky guy!

    Aileen Lawrimore says May 20, 2014

    He really is an awesome kiddo and so are his friends! Thanks for reading and feel free to share on social media. Thanks!

Anonymous says May 20, 2014

Love, love this story. I know Cameron personally, and have seen first hand his courage and his stamina. And I know some of these kids who chose to be part of the "wall" for Cameron! It truly takes a VILLAGE................for ALL of would be good every day if we looked around us to see if there was someone needing to be lifted up...............'cause, you know, one day that might be ourselves needing a "push" from another strong body.
Aileen, I am very proud of YOU!, mother

    Aileen Lawrimore says May 20, 2014

    So true mother! 🙂

Anonymous says May 22, 2014

Beautiful story from a beautiful heart xoxo

    Aileen Lawrimore says May 22, 2014

    Thanks for reading!

Thank You #17 Cameron Brown | Aileen Goes On says June 17, 2016

[…] Brave? Oh my goodness. I can’t believe how brave you are–especially going over that wall at Caswell! I’m scared of that thing, but not you: you just trust your friends and up you go. Merida […]

52 of my favorites | Aileen Goes On says July 22, 2017

[…] Caswell Beach, NC. It is heaven on earth. I do not exaggerate. […]

Add Your Reply