It’s starting to show on their faces. After only a couple of days in camp, the girls have relaxed and begun to dig into the activities, bubble with ideas of how to spend their free time with their friends, and romp along the paths throughout the camp— all with the most amazing confidence. Where before there might have been a little hesitation, now when the camp bell rings, perhaps to signal the time for “muffin break,” girls leap. It’s a kind of joyful knowing that spurs enthusiastic doing.
Part of this is from the growing familiarity with the rhythms and culture of Rockbrook, but I think it’s also a response to being free from the kind of social and academic competition that shapes most children’s lives at school. Camp is different in that way. Here the emphasis isn’t on measuring how perfectly we do something- what does it mean to “perfectly” jump in the lake? -or on giving an award to one person for being better than another in a sport or craft. Instead, there’s a general air of friendliness and silliness where most things naturally turn into creative and frivolous play. It’s a great feeling and a real boost for these girls to experience this kind of success each day. Good stuff.
Speaking of good stuff and “muffin break,” did you know that most mornings (except Sunday) one of our bakers freshly bakes 300+ muffins for us? They come out of the oven mid-morning, just in time for the girls to grab one between their first and second activity periods. And the flavors! Sure, there are regular favorites like chocolate chip, sprinkle, apple cinnamon and blueberry, but each day can bring a yummy surprise flavor too. Today, Alison baked a first- Upside-down Hot Chocolate Muffins. With marshmallows on the bottom and hot chocolate mix in the recipe, they were amazing. “Best muffin in my life!” one camper put it.
“Take me to the river!” That’s what about 60 Middlers and Seniors felt today as we headed over to the Nantahala for this session’s first whitewater rafting trips. Our raft guides met us at the put-in with all the RBC rafting gear, ready for the campers to arrive in the buses and be quickly outfitted with lifejackets, helmets and paddles. Rockbrook is able to run its own equipment and hire its own guides for these trips (We’re the only girls camp to have a permit to do that), so these guides are veterans. They literally have decades of experience, have worked with us for many years and are excellent both at handling the technical aspects of the river and helping the girls have fun while rafting. The trip down the river takes a couple of hours and covers eight miles of rapids and fast moving water. The water is cold, quite cold actually, due to the fact a portion of it is released from the bottom of a deep lake, but on a hot day like today, it was splashing all the way down.
With both rafting groups back at camp in time for a quick shower before dinner, everyone was excited to learn it was “Birthday Night.” This is a special dinner that is essentially an all-camp birthday party where we sit according to our birth month (making a few huge tables!), dress up, have special decorations and music, and of course, eat plenty of well-decorated cake. Tonight’s theme was a combination of pirates and the sea, so we had the Manta Ray of May, the September starfish, the January Jellyfish, and the December Dolphins. It was odd to see pirates dancing around with clown fish, both a little energized by cake… a little frivolous perhaps? …but again, plenty of fun too.
While over at the river today, I was able to grab some video of the morning trip’s rafting. Here it is posted on the Rockbrook YouTube channel. Have a look.