Tennis at camp? Of course! In fact, it seems like the tennis courts are always busy at Rockbrook because, as a teen sleepaway camp, there are so many chances to play throughout the day. You can sign up for the camp tennis activity and have a lesson, get together with a friend and head down to the courts during the free time before lunch and/or dinner, or even get a bunch of teens together and play after dinner during the “twilight” free time. That’s our favorite time to play… the cool evening air, the colorful setting sun, the ease and fun of it all. With a session at sleepaway camp, you sure can play a lot of tennis!
The horseback riding activity at camp is a nice combination of learning, riding, and fun with all things horse and riding related. With the great instructors and amazing horses down at the Rockbrook Riding Center, you learn so much about taking care of the horses and the operation of the barn (which is no small thing for 26 horses!). In the horseback riding lessons, you ride of course, but you also learn how to improve your riding skills and to become more comfortable on the horse. All of this is great fun, if you’re a little “horse crazy.” But even if horseback riding isn’t your number one thing to do, you’ll still enjoy being down at the barn with your friends, and you’ll learn a bunch too.
Since Rockbrook is 87 years old (It was founded in 1921), you can imagine that its got loads of traditions… traditional activities, traditional songs, traditional ceremonies, and so much more. Well, it does! One the most meaningful ceremonies is pictured here in the photo: the final campfire of the session called the “spirit fire.” Since the very beginning of camp, it’s been a tradition held to close each camp session. The Spirit Fire represents “the spirit of Rockbrook” by bringing all the girls together and giving everyone a chance to think about their camp experience, the good friends they’ve made, and how much camp means to them. It’s really special and magical every time.
Rock climbing has become perhaps the most popular outdoor adventure activity at Rockbrook. After learning the basics on the 50-ft Alpine Tower or the indoor climbing wall, our girls head up the hill to Castle Rock where they can get on some real rock. We’ve climbed two routes over the years, and recently developed 4 new ones… a cool zigzag hand crack, a really challenging arching finger crack, a long face route that feels really exposed, and a nice dihedral feature. There’s enough climbing there to keep anyone busy, so it’s really nice to have that kind of adventure in our own backyard. It’s a rock climbing summer camp experience that can’t be beat!
You just never know when the Rockbrook girls will be ready to perform! Here’s a group of “Juniors” (K-4th graders) down at the lake showing off some of the moves they’ve been learning at the dance activity. At a summer youth camp for girls, it seems dance and dancing is always just a moment away.
After each summer we send our camp families a brief survey where they can tell us about their experience with Rockbrook. It’s a great way for us to learn what we’re doing expecially right and also what we might improve next time around. One question we ask is “What factors most influenced your decision to select Rockbrook as your daughter’s summer camp?” The answers are pretty interesting. Here are the top three:
- A trusted recommendation
- Rockbrook’s reputation
- Rockbrook’s overall camp philosophy
Altogether 68% of the responses mentioned one of these factors as most important. In other words, for our parents, it’s not the mountain location or even the different activities that makes Rockbrook stand out among summer camps. It’s the overall feeling of the place and all the positive experiences other families have had over the years. It’s the “big picture” that makes Rockbrook’s summer camps for kids so special. Wow, that’s pretty neat. Thanks everybody!
It’s not something we talk about much— mostly because it happens without any extra effort —but camp is a place where everyday you can achieve something great. You can make something, do something extra-ordinary (if ordinary is what happens at home or at school), meet some challenge, and feel good about it. For a teen girl, especially, camp proves you can do it, and you can believe in yourself. It’s a real boost to your self-esteem. Sure things can sometimes go badly, like when you can’t quite hit the target at first, but camp is also a place where you get plenty of encouragement and support from the people around you. Particularly at Rockbrook, we’re not competing. We’re all trying new things and enjoying each other’s company, no matter what our “score.” Here too, it feels so good when you realise that these people are your friends, no matter what. Ask the teen girls that come to camp every summer, and they’ll tell you. It’s just like this.
Lots of summer camp excitement down in New Orleans! Last week Sarah traveled down to visit with our New Orleans girls, show the new Rockbrook movie and slides from this past summer, and meet some new girls interested in finding out more about camp. Since these parties are both mini reunions and information sessions, they are great ways to recharge your Rockbrook Spirit and learn what makes RBC so special. Of course, they’re bound to be a little silly and guaranteed to be plenty of fun too! Thanks again to Shelby and her family for hosting the party. Everyone had a wonderful time.
P.S. Recognize that shirt Shelby’s wearing?
Another great thing about being at summer camp is all the opportunities for creativity you can find. Take Drama for example. This is a chance to really exercise your imagination, perhaps take on a new character, find yourself in an unusual setting or situation. A drama camp means learning a few things about movement and body language, how to improvise, and even how to speak with a certain accent. Throw costumes, make up, music and dance in there, and you can see why the Rockbrook Camp drama activity has been so popular (fun!) over the years.
Being at summer camp lets you try activities that you can’t do at home. Activity camps for girls are set up to teach these kind of traditional camp things. Take riflery for example. With instruction, some coaching and explanation of how to shoot properly, girls can really learn a lot. It’s fun to shoot, and then to retrieve your target and see your score. At Rockbrook, getting a bullseye automatically puts you in the “bullseye club” and gets your name announced in the dining hall. Riflery is another activity that you can really get into, and soon you’ll find yourself signing up for it everytime.