Hello Mini Session Campers!

July 31, 2011
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Camper girl giggles at assembly“We welcome you to Rockbrook Camp; we’re mighty glad you’re here…” was the lyric of the day as we welcomed all of the August mini session girls to camp this morning. For these girls the wait was finally over; after weeks and often months of getting ready, time is about to speed up dramatically because they are joining the non-stop action of camp. There are a couple of hundred really great people to meet, songs and hand motions to learn, and lots of new things to try. For some, the opening day is a gradual introduction to camp life—meeting your counselor, setting up your bunk, spending a few minutes with cabin mates making your first friendship bracelet. Others, though, jump in feet first and are running off with other girls already enjoying the enthusiasm and freedom of camp. Sometimes, parents have to hunt down their daughter just to say goodbye! Either way, it doesn’t take long for the girls to begin making Rockbrook their camp.

campers dressed as space aliensBefore we gathered for lunch, the whole camp assembled on the grassy hill in the shade of the big walnut tree so everyone could sing the line (age group) songs, hear about the different camp activities, and meet a few head counselors and the directors. It provides the first taste of what happens when you bring together this many excited girls. You see it in the energy of the staff, the enthusiasm of the directors leading the songs and the sheer volume of the singing. The effervescence of it all can first be a little shocking, but it quickly pulls you along and the next thing you know, you’re clapping and shouting too!

Space Carnival kidsThat was certainly true for the afternoon’s big event also: a camp-wide, Outer Space Carnival. Think aliens, astronauts and other “space beings,” but then add pink feathers, beads and colorful face paint, and you can imagine the costumes we saw. A crew of the counselors organized this event and came up with several different games and activities for the girls: a hula-hoop relay, a ring toss game, a “Cream the Alien” (“pie” in the face) challenge, a ribbon dancing project, face painting, and a giant bubble “machine.” We rented a 40-ft inflatable obstacle course and a 20-ft tall Velcro wall. To keep things lively, we also had the music pumping and served cotton candy and popcorn during the whole event. Teamed up in groups, the girls went from station to station trying what looked fun to them. They might put on the Velcro suit for a quick jump onto the wall, then make a ribbon dancing wand, or just dance around, cotton candy in hand… lots of fun choices for a Sunday afternoon.

Girls proud of her swim demo tagAfter the Carnival and before dinner, the mini session Middlers and Seniors changed into their bathing suits so they could demonstrate their swimming ability down at the lake. We want to make sure everyone at camp can swim and tread water confidently before allowing them to enter the lake, zip down the water slide, or take a kayaking, canoeing or rafting trip. Girls who “pass” the swim demo receive a special colored buddy tag and a green bracelet that then alert the lifeguards that they can swim in the deep area of the lake. For those uncomfortable in the water, or for those who can’t complete the “demonstration,” they will have to wear a life jacket and stay in the shallow end of the lake. We always offer swim lessons during the swimming activity periods, so we encourage (though don’t require) girls to work on their strokes while at camp.  The chill of our mountain-stream-fed lake can be a little shocking for girls used to warm water, but it also feels really good on a hot summer day.

One quick reminder: be sure to send those letters and emails to your girls (check the RBC parents manual for the addresses). It’s such a treat for campers to find something in their mailbox after lunch, and to have something to read on the way to rest hour. Plus, it’s the best way to inspire them to right a letter home as well!

Cooperation and Imagination

July 30, 2011
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girls dancing together at summer campJuniors dance! The dance activity, which meets in the Lakeview Lodge, is popular for every age group at camp. Partly this is because Lindsey has come up with different, age-appropriate, dances for the Juniors, Middlers and Seniors, but also because the girls are really learning some cool moves. One wall of the Lodge is lined with mirrors making it easy to watch as Lindsey demonstrates a certain dance sequence, and for the group to watch themselves as they try it as well. As they master each dance move and string them together, they’ve got a great show. In fact, during the intermission of the camp play performance, each age group will perform their dance for the rest of the camp.

Today was another day that included several tours of camp, families who visited Rockbrook to tour it so they could see the camp and meet some of the people here— the directors, the counselors and the campers. It’s always a delight for us to show folks around Rockbrook. Families are certainly impressed by the camp’s buildings (the stone lodges for example) and grounds, and they are excited to learn about the wide variety of activities we offer, but it’s particularly nice when they pick up on the feeling of life at Rockbrook. My favorite comment today was, “Everyone seems so happy and friendly.” It’s true; as you walk around camp, you can’t get far without someone greeting you and saying hello. It’s just easy to make friends here, so that makes Rockbrook stand out as being friendly too.

Summer Camp GirlSmiling Camper girl

The equestrian staff organized a fun event for the campers that combined, like a lot of things around here, music, dancing, dressing up and a heap of imagination. It also, however, included some horses because it was a pop music “air band” and “lip sync” competition based on different horses playing the parts of pop stars like Katy Perry, Lady GaGa and Taylor Swift. The girls dressed the horses with paint, ribbons, beads, braided tails, glitter and even lipstick, and then came up with a dance for each. The campers then were the backup singers for each artist (horse!) as they performed for the “judges” (Audrey and Sarah). It was very fun for the girls and very cute to see.

Campers decorate a horse

After dinner tonight, we played a camp-wide game of “Clue.” Like the board game, there was a mystery to solve that involved the players, in this case all the cabin groups, moving from room to room collecting clues. For us, the cabin groups tromped all over the camp looking for clues. They went to the tennis courts, the gym, the store, the different lodges, and so forth. At each place a character from the game (a counselor dressed as Mrs. White, Professor Plum, Colonel Mustard, etc.) would first require the cabin group to accomplish a task like inventing an RBC cheer, or everyone telling a joke, or untangling a human knot. After successfully completing the challenge task, they were given the clue that would send them on to the next location. Ultimately, after performing all the tasks and solving all the clues/riddles, the groups were led back to the dining hall for prizes and treats. Wow, what a game! It required great cabin group cooperation and imagination, and got the whole camp moving. Big fun on a Saturday night.

Fun and Formative

July 29, 2011
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Camper girl kayaking clinicFor quite a while now we’ve talked about how Rockbrook is “a place for girls to grow,” how a sleepaway camp experience can be so instrumental in the lives of young girls, helping them socially, personally, and even physically. Being at Rockbrook is plenty of fun, of course, but it’s also formative in really important ways. Here’s an article we published back in February about how camp helps children grow.

The adventure activities at Rockbrook provide a good example of this. They are ideally suited to providing the right balance of challenge and success, in an active, friendly and supportive context. They are just right for inspiring campers and fostering their self-confidence and social skills. Take today’s kayaking trip down the French Broad River. The girls handled the rapids, stuck together as a group encouraging each other, and conquered the technical aspects of catching eddies, ferrying, and reading the river. There were international campers on the trip too (Belgium and Russia), giving the girls even more chances to learn from each other. Getting out of camp for a river trip like this is often a highlight of a girl’s camp experience, perhaps because it’s a more focused moment where she can feel good about her abilities and relationships. Or, perhaps it’s just a good time!

Camper Fairy HouseOur traditional Rockbrook “camp song” includes this line— The rosy mist of the morning, Veil it anew at dawn, Like a fairyland of beauty, Where friendships so true are born. This line is inspired by the notion that Rockbrook is a “fairyland of beauty,” that all of its natural beauty, the mosses, rocks, creeks, ferns and wildflowers for example, are the work of fairies. All of us at Rockbrook, being in this “wonder-full” place, can easily imagine friendly spirits working their magic all around us. This photo shows a “fairy house” a few of the girls have built near hiker’s rock. Gathering leaves, sticks, moss and other found bits of nature, they’ve been building several of these houses. Some have bathtubs, beds and even a set of “monkey bars” and a swing! Others were made mostly of rocks and colorful pebbles.  What fun to search the woods with your friends for special, enchanted fairy house building materials!  And, what a nice surprise to turn the corner in camp and encounter one of these special creations.

Girls dressed up for camp eventFor dinner tonight Rick made us a feast of baked tilapia, roasted red potatoes, steamed broccoli (along with our salad bars of fresh fruits and veggies), along with Alison’s homemade brownies for dessert. After dinner, Jane (who by the way is majoring in fine art photography at The Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, DC) grabbed the camera and announced an impromptu twilight activity for the girls: a silly glamor photo shoot. She encouraged folks to just dress up and come out to the hill to get their picture taken. Dressed in true Rockbrook spirit (i.e. super silly) mostly the Juniors got excited about the idea, and Jane captured a bunch of really great shots.

To Ride, Shoot and Climb

July 28, 2011
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Kid Trot Horse at summer campStopping by the Rockbrook equestrian center is a treat these days. All day long, it’s humming with activity, with horses being tacked up, girls in the stable club brushing and washing different ponies, and of course others taking mounted riding lessons in the rings. Sitting on the porch of the equestrian office, you get a good view of this. The girls arrive there first after making the trip down from camp and through the tunnel under the highway, and it’s there that they will put on riding boots and pick a helmet if they need one. For the lessons, this is also where they find out which horse they’ll be riding that day. Audrey sometimes will switch horses based on how a camper did in her last lesson, or if there’s a special request to ride a particular horse. At this point in the session, it’s taking less time to get ready for the lessons because the campers know what they need to do and how to help, for example by leading the horses to the ring.  Also, we’re seeing excellent riding from these girls.  Lots are posting perfectly, cantering confidently, and jumping joyfully.  And it’s spectacular to watch.

Kid shooting archery at summer campOur longtime archery instructor Chelsea (this is her 3rd summer in that role) is reporting something similar. She’s seeing plenty of girls really take to the sport, improving their shot and hitting plenty of bullseyes. We’ve all noticed that almost everyday Chelsea is announcing during dinner the names of campers “inducted” into the “Bullseye Club” for archery (there’s a similar club for riflery too, as you might expect). Archery is one of those sports that really grows on the campers. They try it, and they’re hooked, probably because with just a little practice, they can see themselves improving. When one arrow is a great shot and the next is not, it makes you want to try again. In no time, they are true archers.

Kid rock climbing at CedarToday Clyde and Maddie took a group of Middlers out of camp for a rock climbing trip on Cedar Rock. This crag is located on the southern edge of the Pisgah Forest and requires a long, almost 2-mile, hike from the parking pull-off area just to reach the base of the rock. Consequently, the group packed a lunch with them (along with all the climbing gear— ropes, harnesses, helmets, shoes, carabiners, etc.) so they could spend all day out there. This was a great idea because they could all climb multiple pitches. They set up a climbing route called “Oh, Mr. Friction,” which is a nice medium difficulty crack, and the “Orangutan Flake,” a much more difficult face route. They even set a third rope up on a short climb that’s not named. This photo gives you a sense of the challenge these routes provide. The girls really had to be strong, concentrate and balance up some tough stuff. And these girls are really good! They have excellent climbing instincts and fine strength/weight ratios. Most of the time they handled every challenging part of these routes. Oh, and by the way, every girl who climbed wore a helmet and was “on belay,” meaning she was being held up by a rope with a tensile strength exceeding 3000 pounds. The girls climb high, but they are super safe doing it. With all that climbing and all that hiking, it was a very big, and tiring, day out. Be sure to check out the photo gallery to see more photos of this trip. They’re great!

Full-Throated Fun

July 27, 2011
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Camp girls exploring nature in the lakecamp girl swimming with a watermelonOne of the activities offered each day at Rockbrook is something called “Nature.” While rather broadly defined as anything involving the plants, animals and forests of camp, it’s a real treat for the campers. The notion of exploration, of discovery, describes it pretty well also, because mostly the campers are tromping around through the woods and finding fascinating bits of the natural world. With more than 200 acres of Rockbrook property available, the counselors have come up with loads of really fun ways for the girls to be true naturalists. They take stream hikes, stopping to turn over rocks looking for crayfish and salamanders. Like in this photo, they take nets and capture tadpoles at the lake to compare their stages of development. Or, they may simply hike through the woods, perhaps bushwhacking off-trail, to marvel at some of the huge old growth trees on the property.  Of course part of the fun is getting a little dirty and truly feeling the grit and grime of what they find, but that’s one of the things that helps the girls appreciate the beauty of it all, and for us, is something we can feel good about because of the benefits outdoor experience provides.

During one of the swimming activities this morning, the counselors greased up a watermelon for the girls and organized several fun relay races. There’s still plenty of silt coming down the creek and into the lake making the water cloudy, and this made the watermelon a little more difficult to find when it went under. Having to hunt for a hidden, submerged fruit is surprisingly fun because it can appear far from where you expect it. On a bright sunny day, this is good old fashioned fun, and it comes with a sweet tasty watermelon treat.

girls cheering their friends on sliding rockBeing Wednesday, the afternoon was our cabin day, a time when instead of each camper pursuing her individual schedule of regular activities, the cabin groups and their counselors stay together for special whole-cabin events. Each cabin decides what they would like to do. Many involve hiking, like along the gentle trail to Rockbrook Falls or the steep and severe trail up to Castle Rock overlooking the camp. Today, a few cabins played group games on the hill, a couple of Junior cabins played board games, and others relaxed on the porch of the Lakeview lodge making friendship bracelets. One cabin was caught doing outdoor yoga!

girls screaming on sliding rockgirls showing power on sliding rockgirls splashing into sliding rock pool

All of the senior cabins took a special trip right before dinner. Dressed in their bathing suits and with towels in hand, they loaded up the buses to head out to a special spot in the Pisgah Forest for a picnic. Our timing was excellent because when we arrived, we were the only people there to enjoy a wonderful grassy field, trimmed with awesome shade trees and just the right number of picnic tables. Rick packed us another amazing dinner of fresh corn on the cob, tortellini, warm rolls, and cool, bright red raspberries. The late afternoon sunshine was gorgeous and we had plenty of altitude to keep things breezy and comfortable. After eating, we couldn’t help but skip around the field and play an exuberant game of “Duck Duck Goose.” You might think teenage girls would be “too cool” for this kind of game, but not so with this crowd.

Our next stop on this outing was the main event: Sliding Rock. Always a favorite, this is the natural waterslide formed by Looking Glass Creek as it drops about 60 feet over a gently sloping rock into a deep pool. Going this late after the Forest Service lifeguards have left (we bring our own) is ideal because it avoids the typical crowds of summer, and thereby allows our Rockbrook girls to spend less time waiting in line and more time sliding.  Is the water cold?  You betcha!  That explains why most of the photos of the girls sliding end up showing them with their mouths open.  A few can remain poised enough to smile for the camera as they accelerate toward to bottom, but most are anticipating the plunge that awaits and just let loose with a wide-eyed, full-throated scream.  You can almost hear it in each shot.  Meanwhile, the rest of the girls waiting their turn are cheering their friends on, clapping and shouting.  It really is super exciting.

With our fill of sliding, there was one more stop to make, and it’s always a crowd pleaser.  On the way out of the forest we took that happy left turn into Dolly’s Dairy Bar so everyone could enjoy a cone of their favorite flavor of ice cream.  There were more screams and cheers of delight as we pulled into the parking lot and all the girls ran to join the line waiting to order.  Dolly’s has refined their serving so it took just a few minutes for everyone to be savoring (for some, gobbling) their treat. Yummy stuff.  It was dark by the time we made it back to camp, bringing our surprise night out to a close, but it was the kind of big group fun we love around here, and a really good time.

Girls at dolly's after sliding rock

A Magical Colorful Day

July 26, 2011
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Girl Camp lake canoe activityAfter more than a week of completely dry and rather warm weather, we had two hours of the opposite last night right before dinner. It was one of those storms where a fast moving front, with a solid blanket of rain and not so much wind, pushed past us, and in just that short amount of time we had almost an inch of cool rain fall. This didn’t really phase the campers much, since extending the last activity period and staying inside until dinner is simple enough, but the gravel roads around camp (a little less than 2 miles of them!) needed to be scraped and smoothed. This photo of a canoeing class this morning shows another remnant of the storm— the Rockbrook lake’s brown, almost coffee-like color from the silt washed down the creek. All of the rivers around here take on this color after these big, deep washing storms, so Rockbrook’s stream-fed lake is no exception. In about a day, the silt will settle and the deeper, dark lake color we know will return.

Waking up at Rockbrook, after an evening storm like that, takes on a magical quality. It starts with shades of gray and a gradually brightening of the sky. Everything is almost colorless as a thick fog, born from the cool moisture in the air, envelopes us. The sounds of birds awakening and the rich, organic smell of the forest remind you of the all the life hiding in the mist. At 8:00am the more human sounds of camp begin to mingle. A sleepy Hi-Up comes down to the dining hall porch to ring the wake up bell, a sound that girls at Rockbrook have heard for 90 years. It doesn’t take long for campers and counselors to begin trickling out of their cabins toward the dining hall. Meanwhile, it’s getting brighter and brighter, and everything is becoming more colorful. There are girls’ voices, sounds of cabin doors closing and tables being set with plates, cups and flatware as the sun pokes through the fog and the flowers on the grassy hill beam brightly.  Rockbrook is set for another wonderful day.

Camp Girls Rafting the Nantahala RiverToday was a big day on the Nantahala river for most of the Middlers and Seniors at camp. Yesterday we asked who would like to go whitewater rafting, and almost everyone signed up for either an overnight trip that included camping at our outpost near the river, or a day trip. The Nantahala is an ideal river to raft, perfect for beginners, but with enough bigger rapids to keep everyone excited. Our raft guides met us at the put-in with all of the RBC equipment so when the buses of campers arrived, they could hop right out and get suited up with lifejackets, paddles and helmets. Some of the girls looked a little nervous about the trip— perhaps it was hearing how cold the water is that worried them —but that was balanced by the overall excitement of the group and soothed by the raft guides. They calmly and cheerfully explained all the safety protocols, and coached the girls about how to paddle and stay in the raft during the trip. These are veteran raft guides; each one has more than ten years of whitewater experience and working with kids.  The trip down the river takes a couple of hours alternating over rapids and calm spots, deep and shallow sections, rocky and clear stretches of the river.  This photo shows one of the games the guides sometimes play.  It’s called “Hood Ornament” and it’s when the campers take turns riding on the front of the raft, like the figurehead of a ship.  Going over some of the smaller rapids, this can be a bumpy, face-splashing ride! The weather was perfectly warm and sunny today, making these trips loads of fun and what will be for many of the girls a highlight of their outdoor experience at camp.

Camp Birthday October girls tableBack at camp in time for dinner, the girls were surprised to learn that it was “Birthday Night.” This is a fun special dinner where a group of counselors throw a camp-wide birthday party, complete with decorations, music, costumes and of course birthday cake. They rearrange the dining hall so that everyone can sit at a table according to their birth month. The kitchen, mostly Alison our dedicated baker, prepares by baking 12 cakes, one for each month, and then with some help from the Hi-Ups, they are decorated to match the night’s theme: Candyland.  With the counselors leading the way, the campers were encouraged to dress up in a “candy-related” costume.  Of course, that can mean just about anything, but I did see at least one M&M and a couple of recognizable candy canes.  There are a few shots of cakes in the photo gallery… lots of colorful decoration!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the amazing muffins Alison baked for us today.  She broke completely new ground with her “Lucky Charms Muffins.”  Just for the fun of it, she took a granola muffin recipe and substituted part of the granola with the cereal making a colorful variation.  You could still recognize the pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. They were magically delicious! :-)

Activities Galore at Rockbrook

July 25, 2011
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Miriam tries out her Yoga skills

Monday was quite eventful around Rockbrook Camp as our Third Session campers tried their first set of daily activities. They will do these chosen activities for three days and then have the opportunity to try a whole other set for the second half of the week. We have seen over the years that this concept of choice while away from home is a wonderful way to encourage independence and growth for every camper.

Two extra morning highlights included muffin break and free swim. Our resident baker Allison had wonderful chocolate sprinkle muffins waiting for the girls between first and second period. Then after second period, most girls headed down to the lake for a dip after this warm morning. They had their first opportunity to go on the water slide and swim laps for our Mermaid Club. With all of these bust active girls, there were smiles everywhere down at the lake!

Two thumbs up for the slide

After rest hour this afternoon, activities continued and our first white water rafters left for an overnight camp out experience at our Nantahala Outpost. Another group will join them tomorrow on the river for a day trip. As the only camp with an outpost at the Nantahala River, we love being able to let each camper decide which length of trip she would like to participate in.

We did have a little rainstorm this afternoon, but we did not let it slow us down. One of our favorite songs here at camp is the “Dewcoat Song.” We just think of rain as a little dew and keep on going! As we all filed into dinner, campers were greeted with a camp favorite: hotdogs with all the sides and fixings followed by key lime pie for dessert.

Even our youngest campers have the opportunity to weave on our Appalachian looms

Great new friends who met yesterday!

We hope that every camper picked up a new skill today, whether it be making a friendship bracelet, walking a horse or talking with a new friend. Each of these qualities is what makes Rockbrook so special and the campers will continue to build upon during the rest of their session here.

Excitement Bubbling Up

July 24, 2011
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Summer camp staff performing skitSummer camp staff members singing a songToday we opened our third session of camp, and it started out with excitement bubbling up all over. You could see it on the hill when each camper arrived and the counselors let out a cheer. You could see it on campers faces as they literally jiggled in the back seat of the car ready (so ready!) to hop out and get started. These girls have been waiting all summer long for camp, so they were ready to explode with excitement. It was there in the big bear hugs between two friends finally reunited. And we certainly saw this excitement during lunch, the first meal, when it took about 3 minutes for the whole camp to launch into the “Bubble Gum” song.

It’s always a real moment of pride for us to open a new session of camp because it lets “the outside world,” our parents and campers, and their family and friends accompanying them, see all the good things we enjoy at Rockbrook everyday. They can marvel at the sheer beauty of the place, the big trees, stone lodges, and traditional, rustic cabins tucked in the forest. They can enjoy the truly cool mountain air and gaze off the hill at the mountains beyond. Most importantly, they can personally meet some of the wonderful people here. Our cabin counselors are fantastic young ladies. It’s clear when you talk with them that they are marvelous, caring, confident, and energetic women, and will be great role models for the girls at camp. Likewise for our camp Directors, Sarah and Charlotte, Mandy, Sofie and Catherine— these are highly experienced and dedicated Rockbrook people, super organized and responsive. I’m sure you’ll get to know several of these folks, and I’m equally sure you’ll be impressed.

After lunch, which included Rick’s comforting, homemade macaroni and cheese, we all assembled on the grassy hill of camp to meet the Line Heads (the counselors who lead each age group) and Directors, and to sing a few songs. The Hi-Ups, our oldest campers, took a turn teaching a song, and the Directors all joined in to perform a funny “Shower Song” that reminded the campers to bathe while at camp. “Jumping in the lake is not the same…!” Down in the gym, the counselors next took turns presenting short skits to introduce themselves and their activities to the campers. It’s helpful for everyone to learn what activities are offered this year and who will be teaching them. Here too, the campers see that being a little silly is part of the fun here at Rockbrook and that everyone, counselors, directors and campers alike, enjoy it. At some point or another, we’re all dressing up, dancing around, singing and laughing our heads off.

camper demonstrating her swimming abilityLater, each age group came down to the lake for their “swim demonstrations.” With all of our lifeguards assembled, plus all the Directors, every camper and counselor took a turn demonstrating her swimming ability by jumping off the dock, swimming out 60ft, back another 60ft, and then treading water for 30 seconds. Doing this successfully, confidently, earns you a buddy tag and a cool green bracelet that signals a swimming ability strong enough to tackle our new water slide. If a camper’s swimming skills are weak, she receives a special colored buddy tag (alerting the lifeguards) and must wear a life jacket in the shallow end of the lake. She can also redo her swim demo during any free swim, and the lifeguards are always happy to help work on her strokes.

One quick last reminder… we are posting photos every day online and you can see them after logging into your Campminder account. Checking these is a great fun and you can easily share them by email or on Facebook. Enjoy!

Counselors Between Sessions

July 23, 2011
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You never know who you might run into, but when it’s a break between summer camp sessions and you’re at a popular restaurant, odds are it’ll be a camp counselor. That’s exactly what happened to Rebecca W. (all around awesome camper!) and her family when she suddenly recognized not one, but fifteen Rockbrook counselors! It didn’t take long for their Rockbrook spirit to percolate up and inspire a camp song or two. A very happy coincidence, and fun for everyone.

camper meets counselors out between sessions

Green Salamanders at Rockbrook

July 22, 2011

There is a secret about the western part of North Carolina, something few people know. It is home to more that 50 distinct species of salamanders (Order Caudata), with North Carolina as a whole having the highest salamander diversity in the world! The so-called “Lungless Salamanders” (Family Plethodontidae) are the most numerous and include one species listed as Rare and Endangered by the State: the Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus). This is the only salamander in North America with green markings, hence its name. These little guys have very specific habitat requirements and are rarely seen.

nesting endangered green salamander in North CarolinaRare and endangered green salamander

It just so happens, though, Rockbrook’s Castle Rock and Dunn’s Rock provide a perfect habitat for the Green Salamander. There are plenty of moist, shaded rock crevices for the salamanders to hide in, and for the females, to lay their eggs. Green Salamanders spend most of the year in cool rock crevices, but hide in trees during the summer. They ordinarily live to become 10-15 years old.

Today, Alan Cameron, a 7-year volunteer with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, came out to Rockbrook for a Green Salamander field expedition. Another naturalist had observed Green Salamanders at the base of Dunn’s Rock, so Alan wanted to verify his hunch that they would be on Castle Rock too. Within 4 minutes of arriving at the rock, he found a Green! Alan believes that the environment on the camp property is ideal for this salamander and that there is likely a very healthy population of them here.

It’s neat to know (now definitely) that Rockbrook is home to this rare and endangered species of salamander. This is important because Rockbrook will always preserve its unique habitat and thereby help insure this special amphibian survives.