Adventure trips, opportunities for Middlers and Seniors to leave camp for backpacking, kayaking, rafting, canoeing, or rock climbing, have been a regular occurrence this week. In fact there’s been something different everyday. Clyde, Andria and Leland led 2 different kayaking trips on the French Broad River today, giving several girls their first experience of moving water. They paddled a short section perfectly suited to practicing different maneuvers- ferrying, catching eddies, and peeling out -and learning to read the currents of a river. A longer and more advanced trip is planned for Friday, so this will surely generate more interest in that. Emily also guided a backpacking trip into the Pisgah Forest this afternoon. She had a full bus of girls excited to hike into the woods and camp under the stars. With their tents, sleeping bags, water bottles and other gear, their backpacks were loaded down, but that didn’t dilute their enthusiasm for the experience. Just the process of packing and hiking in is half the fun of backpacking, but when you include sleeping in a tent with your friends, staying up late talking and playing with your flashlight, not to mention making a s’more over a real campfire, you’ve got a definite winner.
I also wanted to pass along a couple of recent articles for you to read about summer camp. One is by Michael Thompson, and in it he argues that “in this competitive, resume-building world,” spending time at an overnight summer camp like Rockbrook is really important for kids. We’ve said this before too, but camp is one of the most effective ways to build confidence, independent identity and leadership skills. The other is by Jared Keller, and is a longer, more nuanced meditation about camp, praising it as “an essential feature of American life, a crucible for the moral and personal development of young people into adults.” This one is definitely worth a careful reading. It includes several great anecdotes, a brief history of the summer camp movement in America, and asks the same question as Thompson about whether summer camp is inherently good for children (with a balanced response). It’s a lovely reminder of the important opportunities for growth your girls are experiencing all the while they are having such fun here in the “Heart of a Wooded Mountain.” Thank you for sharing them with us. Everything is great up here!