The first full day of camp is always a mixed bag of emotions for our campers. For campers young and old, new or returning, there’s a lot to process throughout this day. New activities to try, new people to meet, new friends to make… It can seem just as overwhelming as it is exciting. This is the day that marks the start of the few weeks these girls have waited 12 months to experience again, and that knowledge carries a lot of anticipation and anxiousness as the girls leave breakfast to enter a day of fun, creative activities.
Our staff are very attuned to the first-day jitters. We encourage everyone to wear their name tags to make the introduction to new peers as easy as possible. We also make sure to cater to all experience levels in each activity, helping a novice pinch-pot maker feel as comfortable as an expert wheel thrower. This is integral to our philosophy behind activities at Rockbrook.
We’re also so excited to start this day because the girls have each customized their own activity schedule. This independence isn’t easy for every girl. Sometimes it’s more comfortable to do what someone has told you to do, but taking the braver step to choose their own activities is a huge sign of growth and maturity. Rockbrook encourages our campers to lean into the discomfort of trying new things, and to create a “new normal” for themselves where they achieve things they may have never thought possible.
One particular group of campers experienced a Rockbrook milestone they have probably been looking forward to since their very first day of camp ever, driving up the gravel hill years ago. The two cabins of CAs—the second-oldest group of campers—proudly announced at lunch that Banquet is coming and that they are pumped!
The CAs ventured after breakfast with Jeff into the DuPont forest on a hike that mirrored their brainstorming process. On the drive there, the girls threw out as many ideas of potential Banquet themes they could think of, many of which I suspect they’ve been dreaming up all year long. Upon arrival in the trail parking lot, we read aloud every idea to give the girls a chance to begin to sift through themes they really liked. Throughout the hike, Jeff stopped the girls three times. At each stop on the trail they discussed pros and cons of certain themes, each time eliminating a few as they went. The group engaged in good discussion, honoring each individual’s thoughts and ideas. The energy in the air was palpable and the collaboration between the girls was inspiring.
Finally, as they reached the peak of the mountain, the 2015 Third Session CAs emerged from the forest with a Banquet theme that all girls were excited about. They’ll spend the next few weeks hard at work in their secret, off-limits “Cabin 9″ at the end of the lower line working with paint and glitter to transform the Dining Hall into a whole new world. Get ready, folks, because these CAs are going to put on a show!
Dinner tonight was the best representation of camp really being in full-swing. We thought yesterday was grand, having so many new arrivals and feeling the camp filled with fresh excitement. However, at tonight’s pizza dinner, the Dining Hall was roaring with happy conversations and enthusiastic (and loud!) singing. We cheered, we requested so many songs, and we sang our hearts out. As fun as yesterday was, we can now say that camp has officially started. Our Third Session 2015 campers are finally here, immersed fully in camp life. Let the games begin!