Rockbrook Camp News Archive

There's always a lot happening at a sleepaway camp like Rockbrook, and this blog is the way to keep up with it all. We regularly post news updates, photos of camp happenings, reports of special camper events, and Rockbrook surprises about it's program, campers and staff.

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Rockbrook Hosts Hike for Land Conservancy Group

February 10, 2014

CMLC-Logo2
This Sunday, February 16th, 2014, Rockbrook will host members of the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy for a hiking excursion to both Rockbrook Falls and Castle Rock on the Rockbrook Camp property. Jeff Carter will join historian Keith Parker to lead the hike and provide information about the local area and the camp.

The Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “creating a regional network of permanently protected farm, forest, and natural land. [It] protects forested wilderness, working farms, clean drinking water, verdant trout streams, wildlife habitat and sweeping views,” according to its Web site.

Working together with Rockbrook in 2010, CMLC successfully placed 115 acres of the camp property into a protected easement insuring the natural beauty and unique habitat of Dunn’s Creek, Dunn’s Rock, Castle Rock and surrounding forest.

Rockbrook Camp is located 4 miles south of Brevard, North Carolina and is home to dramatic rock cliffs, waterfalls, and record trees. The camp was founded in 1921.

For more information about this hike, or to make a reservation to attend, please visit the CMLC Web site.


Thanks 2013 Rockbrook Girls!

August 8, 2013

Summer time happy campersFor everyone at Rockbrook, campers, counselors and full-time directors alike, today was the final day of camp in 2013. After all of these weeks together, after all the fun and excitement of the summer, it’s now time to say farewell to Rockbrook for this year.

Looking back, it’s been an amazing season. Among other things, we’ve learned who we really are, and seen how passion leads to success. We’ve witnessed the power of curiosity and wonder, and even understood a secret to being happy. We’ve truly gained a lot.

There are so many reasons why this has been an excellent summer, why Rockbrook has become such a special place for everyone (and if you’ve been reading this blog, I’m sure you can think of several), but the most important, I would say, is the people, the marvelous girls and staff members who comprised our camp community. It was their care and generosity, their enthusiasm and energy, that sparked the collective spirit infusing our days. It was the people, all those “Rockbrook Girls,” who made this summer spectacular.

So thank you! Thanks everyone! Thank you for being a part of this special place and contributing your love and imagination to its success. We will miss you, but also look forward everyday to seeing you again next summer.


Immensely Meaningful

August 7, 2013

Packing to go home from camp, as the girls did this morning, is a little like getting ready for camp, just a lot less orderly. For example, there’s no “repacking list,” no careful accounting of t-shirts and socks, and no folding of anything whatsoever. Instead, there is some effort at gathering their belongings, fighting the force of entropy (which is only magnified by any group of children), and then plenty of determined stuffing. The goal is simply to shove everything back into the trunk, suitcase or duffle bag and get it closed with only a couple of loose items like crazy creek chairs, pillows and stuffed animals, for example. Of course, not everything makes it back, and despite our regular “lost and found fashion shows” in the dining hall, we are always left with a sizable pile of forgotten items. When your girls return home, and if you are missing something special, please contact our office so we can search that pile for you. We’ll be happy to return it.

Scene from camp musicalThis afternoon, all of the campers and counselors, along with several invited parents of cast members, assembled in the gym, literally packed the house, to see this session’s camp musical production of The Jungle Book. Using just a simple set of painted jungle vines, flowers and other vegetation, the girls transformed themselves into the familiar characters: the singing bear, Baloo, the boy who was raised in the jungle, Mowgli, the python Kaa, the frightening tiger Shere Khan, the girl from the village, Shanti, and a host of monkeys and elephants. The girls had only a couple of weeks to rehearse all of the songs, choreography, and speaking parts, so to perform like this was impressive. They all did a great job singing the classic Jungle Book songs like “I Wanna Be Like You” and the “Bare Necessities.”

Every summer since 1921 when Rockbrook was founded, the campers and their counselors have joined the directors for a final campfire, a special gathering held at the end of each session we call the “Spirit Fire.”

Campfire girls dressed in whiteCamper and counselor at closing campfire
This is a more ceremonial occasion when we wear our red and white camp uniforms, sing many traditional songs, and reflect upon our time together at camp.

For many of us, and especially tonight since this was our last Spirit Fire of the summer, this is an emotional time. There’s just something about the setting that brings out the strong feelings we have for each other… dusk fading to dark, the crackle and heat of the campfire, sitting tightly side by side with arms around shoulders, the sweet sound of everyone singing softly, and the candle-lit procession around the lake as its conclusion. The entire evening is ineffably beautiful, and immensely meaningful.


The Wizard of Seuss

August 6, 2013

Chappie Powell playing the bagpipesMost mornings at 8am, our 100-year-old camp bell, hung high in the oak tree below the dining hall, wakes us up with its distinctive notes. It’s a sound familiar to every Rockbrook camper since 1921, the year the camp was founded. Today, however, a very different, though equally distinctive, sound echoed through the camp first thing— bagpipe music. Local musician Chappie Powell, who is also the son-in-law of Steve who works with our camp office crew, arrived early this morning to surprise everyone with a short concert. Perched on a rock in the center of the grassy hill, he played wonderfully and filled the entire camp to everyone’s delight. The girls were surprised and at first didn’t quite know what to do, but soon there were small crowds of curious campers straining to get a glimpse of Chappie while he played. Morning in the mountains… and bagpipes! It was a very cool experience.

Summer camp girls in painting classAfter breakfast, the girls were eager to start their activities because today was the last full day of our regular schedule this session.  This meant returning to Curosty to remove weavings from the looms, touching up paintings begun in Hobby Nook, visiting the garden to pick flowers, making one last s’more over a campfire built in WHOA, taking another ride on the zip line or climb up Castle Rock. A few girls took a final kayaking trip to the Nantahala too.  More importantly, girls all over camp knew they wanted simply to be with their friends as our precious time together was coming to a close. While it feels good to complete a project, to have something we’re proud of like a freshly glazed pottery mug or even a riflery target pierced by a bullseye, it feels even better to work on it with your best friend. The product might be cool, but it’s the process we truly love.

Tonight’s special event dinner is something everyone’s been looking forward to since the start of the session— the surprise theme banquet presented by the CA campers. After discussing and settling on a theme, preparing for weeks (painting banners for decorations, writing scripts for skits, rehearsing group dance performances, gathering elaborate costumes, and selecting special food and music), and setting up the dining hall all day, tonight was the night to reveal the theme and throw an amazing party for the whole camp. And the theme was 100% unique— The Wizard of Seuss.

Banquet costumesBanquet Dorothy CostumeBanquet grinch costume

Combining characters from both the Wizard of Oz and different Dr. Seuss stories, we heard a new tale about Dorothy, Toto, the Lion, Tin man and Scarecrow being caught in a tornado and finding themselves in the “Land of Seuss” where they met the Lorax and the Once-ler, Thing 1 and Thing 2, Star-bellied Sneeches, the Grinch, and the Cat in the Hat.

Wizard of Suess Banquet Costumes

The decorations were awesome and colorful with a forest of Tuffula Trees, lights, glitter, streamers, a model house with the legs of a crushed witch sticking out, and lining every wall, paintings depicting characters and scenes from the Wizard of Oz and Dr. Seuss books. For dinner, the girls chose to serve tri-colored tortellini, green eggs and ham, zucchini, and an amazing dessert of Thing1 & Thing2 cupcakes complete with blue icing.

The entire evening was a wonderful celebration of camp creativity and teamwork that everyone enjoyed and will certainly remember.

Camp Banquet costume members


Hopping and Hustling

August 3, 2013

Camp girl jumping in the lakeFree time for reading at summer campJust before lunch, for about an hour, our daily schedule includes a period we call “First Free Swim.” It’s a time when Chrissy, our waterfront director, and her team of lifeguards open the lake for anyone who would like to come down for a dip. This can be quite a few campers and counselors, so Chrissy stations extra guards and adds additional “Lookouts” to watch every part of the lake. During this time, we also open our 50ft water slide (affectionately known as “Big Samantha”) for those brave enough to climb the tower and hurtle themselves down the slick ride into the lake. Today, while the slide was open, some girls did tricks off the diving board and others simply wanted to float on a tube, relaxing in the sun. Lots of girls swam laps too, trying to reach the number needed to join the “Mermaid Club.”

“First Free Swim” is also simply a block of free time for the girls, a time when they might choose to go swimming, but just as frequently do something else. They might sit and read in the shade of the walnut tree on the hill, work on a friendship bracelet perched high in a red porch rocking chair, meet at the tennis courts to hit a few balls, race flip flops down the creek, play a quick game of tetherball, or perhaps plan to take a shower. And these are just a few of the options… There’s a “Rockbrook Runners” club, the “Green Team,” play practice, hunting for the Rockbrook Gnome, re-checking your mailbox, and of course, just hanging out talking with your friends. What’s important though, is that we have multiple times (there also a “Second Free Swim” period before dinner, and “Twilight” after dinner) built into our schedule when the girls have the freedom to choose what they would like to do. Different from their busy schedules at home, their extensive commitments and expectations associated with school, life at Rockbrook provides time for our girls to pursue their own interests, to set their own pace, and to enjoy this kind of independence. It’s a little strange for children to have this kind of freedom— after all, we adults are constantly telling them what to do —but these Rockbrook girls handle it quite well. They easily stay busy and happily engaged. They love being empowered in this way. In the end, being given this freedom is another boost, experienced firsthand, to their self-confidence.

Aiming archery bowChild aiming a rifleIn both the riflery and archery activities, we’ve got girls with a serious look in their (one) eye. With this many days of experience banked, with this many bullets and arrows successfully striking their targets, these girls are really becoming great shots! They’re pulling back their bows and loading their rifles with resolute confidence. They’ve mastered being steady, and honed their powers of concentration. For some of the girls, this is serious business because they know that next week Rockbrook will challenges the boys of Camp Carolina in a Riflery, Archery and Tennis tournament. We’ve held this match each session for decades, and no matter what the outcome of the contest, it’s always great fun for the girls to show off their skills.

It’s also a tradition for the girls of Rockbrook to attend a dance with one of the local camps for boys. Earlier in the summer we danced with the boys of Camp High Rocks, but tonight we held an event with Camp Carolina. Actually we teamed up to hold two events, a dance for the younger boys and girls at Rockbrook, and another for the older teenagers at Carolina. This allows us to play more age appropriate music and to reduce the number of children at one venue. The girls anticipated having the dance and were excited to wear a special outfit or crazy costume. One girl dressed as a pumpkin, another a crayon, and another a clown. Several girls wore tie-dye t-shirts and shorts, but in every case this was a time to clean up a bit.

Kids at summer camp dance

At Rockbrook, our favorite local DJ, Marcus, played current pop songs and plenty of group dance numbers (The Cha Cha Slide, for example) making it easy for everyone to join in the dancing. Overall, the dancing was pretty silly, with lots of jumping to reach one hand in the air. The thrill isn’t particularly about individual dance moves or polished displays, but instead is derived from the whole group, crowded together, hopping and hustling simultaneously. As each familiar song was played, the girls screamed and sang along, having an absolutely fantastic time. Also— and this was surprisingly true for most of the teenagers as well as the younger girls —the dance wasn’t much about the boys. It was rather another chance to dress up (silly or not), laugh and act a little crazy, be together with friends, and have a really great time. These girls know how to do all of this, and it’s impressive!

Teen girls at summer camp dance


Downright Magical

August 2, 2013

Lake canoe trip for girlsLearning to canoe first means learning strokes, and there’s no better place to practice than on flat open water. This morning, Emily led a canoeing trip to Cascade Lake for 11 campers to do just that. With boats loaded and other gear stowed in the trailer, they drove just 15 miles to the lake and put on the water. Right away it became clear for the girls that when there is no current to move the boat, propelling and steering requires attention and skill— forward and back strokes, J-strokes, pries, and sweeps. Fortunately, it was a calm, windless morning, with bright sunshine overhead, which made it easier to maneuver the boats. It took a little practice, but soon the band of boats made it all the way down the lake to Hooker Falls, where the girls had time to beach the boats and go for a short swim.  After a light snack, the crew paddled back across the lake to load up the boats and make it back to camp for a late lunch. The girls returned excited and happy about how “amazing” the trip was.

Knitting Camp KidZip line camp girlGirl and roasted marshmallow

Meanwhile, the regular activities at camp carried on. In Curosty, the fiber arts craft cabin, girls were learning to knit, for example. Working with two knitting needles, instead of paddles, these girls were learning stitches, not strokes. Here, fine hand skills are required to twist, pull and flip the yarn while keeping the tension consistent.  Like canoeing, practice pays off when learning to knit as well, but in the end, you have something soft and warm, maybe a little uneven, but handmade nonetheless. Riding the zip line, on the other hand, doesn’t take any practice, or require strokes or stitches. Nope, all you need to zip line (beyond the harness, helmet, tether and dual pulley) is a little nerve, and maybe a couple of lungs full of air to release as a scream when you fly by high above the camp (oh, and 43 facial muscles for a smile as well!). In the activity we call WHOA, the girls have been learning to build a campfire, and when successful, perfecting their marshmallow roasting technique. Whether aiming for lightly golden brown or charred to a crisp, roasting a marshmallow is the kind of outdoor activity these girls are happy to practice.

Biltmore Train Ice Cream EatingWhen Chase announced that the Biltmore Train would be arriving today after lunch, the dining hall exploded with shrieks of laughter and delight. Like Oprah had just given them some unimaginably fantastic prize, girls were jumping up and down in unison, clapping, waving their arms in the air, even collapsing with what looked like tears in their eyes. Yes, the thought of an ice cream party can do this to a group of girls, especially a huge ice cream party like this where everyone can have multiple— in some cases 5 or 6! — cones if they please. It’s been a long Rockbrook tradition to hold this once-per-session ice cream extravaganza called the “Biltmore Train.”

During the dinner announcements, another wild frenzy of screaming broke out when Chase invited everyone down to our grassy landsports for a twilight shaving cream fight and slip ‘n slide. This is another special event that, because it’s so much fun and because we do it only once per session, the girls really look forward to. Campers and counselors alike arrived dressed in their swim suits ready to get messy. Each armed with a can of shaving cream, it took about 5 seconds for the girls to begin squirting and smearing white foam on everyone. Nobody was safe; even the photographer (me) ended up covered.

Shaving Cream Fight Girl with GlassesCamp girls sliding

For the next 30 minutes or so, the girls became more and more covered with the stuff, happily shaping outrageous hairstyles, finger painting messages on their stomachs, and adding to the designs on everyone else. We also set up a slip ‘n slide. Now covered with shaving cream, essentially coated in slippery soap, the girls took turns running and launching themselves down the long sheet of wet plastic. It’s a great time for them to roll and tumble as they glide along two or three at a time. Being this slick, some of the girls easily slid about 80 feet! After a quick rinse with the hose, it was time for a warm shower, some dry clothes, and evening program in each Line’s lodge.

What a great camp day! Adventure, creativity, time outdoors, yummy treats, and goofing around with friends— it’s been downright magical.

Shaving cream group of girls at camp


Many Marvelous Things

August 1, 2013

North Carolina Waterfall Hike

Yesterday afternoon, our current mini session Seniors and their counselors packed a lunch for a trip to this waterfall located up on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Not knowing what weather we’d find at that elevation (a little over 5,100 feet compared to Rockbrook’s 2,300 feet), we took our chances and made the long climb in the buses up US276. As we ascended, however, the mistier and foggier it became. Finally up on the parkway, we stopped for a view and found we were within the clouds, completely immersed in the grey vapor and soon quite cold from the driving moist wind.  Needless to say, there was very little “view,” and suddenly our picnic plans seemed at risk. We realized though, driving a bit further, that the wind was the culprit, and that with some shelter, the view to the north was sensational and the outside temperature was suitable, albeit still a little cool. The rain was very light, barely a mist, so we were able to find a nice overlook and have our picnic after all. Once at the trailhead for our hike, it began to rain a little harder and again I could tell from the looks on a few of the girls’ faces, there was some doubt that we could continue. Fortunately, though, the rain blew past us quickly and we could reach the waterfall without too much effort. Sure we got a little wet, and yes we had to take extra care scrambling down and over wet rocks, but the trail, lined with glistening bushes, was gorgeous and the falls were magnificent. Despite what first appeared as terrible conditions, our determination and perseverance rewarded us in the end.

Girls splashing into lake from water slideCamp girls having archery instructionIn addition to “Play Outside this Summer,” which I wrote about here, one of the Rockbrook tag lines is “A Place for Girls to Grow.” It is another short phrase that, also like our mission statement, summarizes the goals we have for your girls at camp, our aspirations for everyone at Rockbrook. Quite simply put, we hope your girls will grow from their experience at camp, that they will develop in important ways, all the while having the time of their lives. We want camp to be for them both formative and fun.

This hiking trip, as is true for so many other experiences at camp, is a good example of how this growth takes place. It created for all of us a set of personal challenges and thereby opportunities to learn. Beyond dealing with slightly uncomfortable weather, it presented physical challenges because it required us hike a steep trail and at one point to balance carefully over slippery rocks. It required true teamwork as each person helped another through one especially tricky area. The hike demonstrated that a positive attitude— an enthusiastic, supportive, encouraging, friendly approach— is powerful and often a crucial part of a successful group endeavor. It provided experiential evidence that setbacks and disappointments can be overcome with perseverance. It became another page in a wonderful book of experiences your girls are writing at camp, a book filled with life lessons that will undoubtedly play a role in their later success.

Sewing camp heart projectLearning gymnastics at summer campSo many of the other challenges at Rokbrook provide these opportunities to grow too. On the surface of things we are sewing pillows, weaving baskets, balancing on the beam, paddling canoes, shooting rifles, and getting to know each other while relaxing in the grass before lunch. We are doing amazing things everyday. But what’s most important about camp lasts much longer. Years from now your girls probably won’t remember very much about what they did or didn’t do at camp. They’ll forget that hike. Instead, they’ll recall the positive feeling of being a part of a caring community. They’ll know first-hand how honest communication, compromise and cooperation makes every group grow closer, more powerful, and rewarding. They’ll be more confident, more resilient, and more courageous when faced with challenges later in life. From their time at Rockbrook, we know they’ll have grown.

There are many marvelous things in store for these girls later in life. We’re quite proud to join you in guiding them toward that future success.


Inspirational Fun

July 31, 2013

Summer Camp ShowersThe other day, I overheard a couple of campers claiming the strangest thing. “I used Wonder Woman! and I used Beyoncé,” they said. Apparently there are girls also using Michelle Obama, Joan of Arc, Pocahontas, and the Queen of England.  “How?” you ask? Well, these are the names of our showers this year.  On all three lines, the counselors have chosen to name each shower for a strong, powerful woman. You can see the Middler line showers in this photo. Mostly this is just for fun, but also I suspect, as is true for a lot of the fun at camp, there’s inspiration and imagination to be found as well. Playful ideas like this make even something ordinary— like a shower stall —so much better.

Muffin Break! That’s the time between the first and second activity periods when everyone at camp enjoys a delicious, often warm, muffin freshly delivered from Katie’s oven in the kitchen. It’s always a surprise to find out the morning’s flavor because Katie is a master at creating one-of-a-kind combination flavors. Today she wowed us with “Banana Pudding,” a muffin reminiscent of banana bread but, like a bowl of pudding might be served, with a vanilla wafer poking out the top. So Yummy! Thinking about tomorrow’s flavor, I wonder what that case of Nutella I saw being delivered will be for…

Learning to throw clay on a potter's wheelAfter making plenty of clay pinch pots, rolling coil after coil, and carefully slipping together slabs of clay to make sculptural vessels, girls taking pottery are next excited to learn how to throw on the wheel. The first step is to dress in a white apron (spinning cray and water can throw off a spray) and sit down on a bench behind the electric wheel with your foot on the pedal control. That pedal allows you to adjust how fast the wheel spins. With a ball of clay ready, the next challenge is centering it on the wheel. This can take some practice to get just right. Once you open up the center of the spinning clay and slowly pull up the walls— steady hands here — you feel a great sense of accomplishment because you’re really using the wheel. Trimming the base of the piece is the last step, releasing it from the wheel and placing it proudly on the shelf to begin drying. Both of our pottery studios have girls making these strides, quickly becoming more adept at these advanced ceramics skills.  Cool stuff!

Tonight all of the Middler campers took a trip out of camp to one of our favorite picnic areas in the Pisgah Forest, to Sliding Rock, and to Dolly’s Dairy Bar to top it off.  This is a big exciting event that brings together 61 campers, 22 counselors, 4 lifeguards, 3 vans, 3 buses, 2 camp directors, and 3 extra bus drivers, not to mention the picnic food and other necessities. The girls, dressed in their swim suits and water shoes, with towels flung over their shoulders, and loaded the vehicles for the quick ride into the forest. We arrived and had time before dinner for a huge game of “Ride That Pony” (a funny group song with dance moves). But the main event was our next stop, the always-thrilling Sliding Rock. This is a classic mountain experience that combines icy-cold water rushing down about 60 feet of smooth rock, and the perfect pool at the bottom for a soft (and extra chilly!) splash landing. For many of these Middler girls, this was their first visit to Sliding Rock, and from their screams of delight I think they loved it.

Girls at Sliding RockPair of girls going down sliding rock

Our final stop of the evening, Dolly’s Dairy Bar, never fails to get the whole bus screaming. I just have to put on the turn signal of the bus and the roar from the girls is powerful. Our entire crew made a line last night stretching from the window where you place your order, down and off the porch far along the edge of the parking area. Rockbrook always brings a crowd! It’s fun to see how many girls choose “Rockbrook Chocolate Illusion” or one of the other “camp flavors” for their cup or cone. When the ice cream is this delicious, it can be dark and you might have just been swimming in 58 degree water, but you will love it nonetheless. By the way, Dolly’s will be open on our Closing Day next week, yes, even early in the morning. You might want to plan on stopping. :-D

Camp girls happy to eat Dolly's ice cream


A Day (Un)Like Any Other

July 29, 2013

Stephanie Brown here! I am the middler line head and Rockbrook intern doing the blog post for today.

RBC ziplineAs we woke up to the sound of the 8 o’clock morning bell, the air was crisp and the day looked promising as the fog cleared from a top Castle Rock.  There were no Rockbrook surprises but it is days like these that girls seem to love the most.  Zip lining was offered throughout all four periods and it filled up fast! Girls love to yell, hold tight, or just let go when they go down the zip line – for some it is one of their favorite experiences at camp.

Others had their daily scheduled 4 activities. A popular choice of activity is yoga. Here girls are able find a nice quiet time to relax from the hustle and bustle of camp. Mary Alice, the yoga instructor and middler cabin counselor, welcomes any experience level. It is held in the peaceful hillside lodge where, as campers practice, they can see a view of the hill, lake, and castle rock.

Though the day had a regular schedule, somehow it was anything but regular. The campers got to choose how they would like to spend their free time. During these days, time almost stands still. We do not know what is happening anywhere except right where we are. Campers have time to really “stop and smell the roses” with a short trip down to the garden. Whether it be in a cabin, outside on the hill, or at the garden a single conversation with a friend makes a friendship you have only had for a week feel like one you have had for years.

yoga at rbcA highlight of the day was the Dance Break at the lunch. A dance break is a prize that one can win on the Wheel in the dining hall. If you spin it you and your cabin choose a song that will be played during a meal unexpectedly. Everyone, and I mean everyone, gets out of their seat and starts to dance. If you haven’t read this post about the wheel, check it out!  As Taylor Swift’s 22 came on over the speakers someone yelled, “dance break!” It was such an amazing moment to witness as it almost encapsulates camp life here at Rockbrook. Campers, counselors, directors, Taylor Swift fans, and non Taylor Swift fans alike were dancing around the dining hall with nothing holding them back.

It is at the end of these days when we realize nothing is better than this. These little moments that make you smile and feel grateful, because you have been given an opportunity to have a regular day become most extraordinary.

rbc sunflower


Amplified Energy

July 28, 2013

Cheering girls at camp assemblyWe amplified the energy of camp today by opening our August mini session and welcoming 60 campers to Rockbrook. About a third of these are brand new to RBC, so for them this was an especially exciting time— driving in the main gate for the first time, rounding the lake with a glimpse of the water slide (aka “Big Samantha” —for no real reason, other than a junior camper suggested it), meeting Sarah at the top of the hill, and hopping out of the car to the cheers and whoops of the counselors. For the returning campers too, it’s a great feeling to arrive back at camp after waiting all year (and lately all summer!) and to take a deep breath of mountain forest air, only to need another after shrieking with joy at the sight of an old camp friend. This kind of enthusiasm mixed with all that anticipation can be almost explosive when it’s finally released, but that’s the kind of energy we love around here. It’s our day-to-day starting point.

While the mini session girls were arriving, the full session campers began their day like other Sunday mornings with a late breakfast in the dining hall (which included freshly delivered Krispy Kreme doughnuts), time to dress in their camp uniforms (white polo shirts, shorts and red tie), our traditional flag raising ceremony (led by the Hi-Up campers), and chapel program (that today focused on the theme of “Community”). Afterwards, these girls also had a “choice period,” an opportunity to sign up for an hour doing many of the most popular activities— archery, riflery, yoga, hiking to Castle Rock, a flower picking expedition, and various string and paper crafts, for example.

Girl holding a decorated paper boxGirl doing yoga at summer campGirl aiming a rifle at summer camp

Right before lunch we brought everyone together, the mini- and full-session girls, for an assembly on the grassy hill in camp. This was a chance to sing a couple of favorite camp songs (like “An Austrian Went Yodeling,” for example), to shout out the 3 line (age group) songs, and to learn a new song from the Hi-Ups. The directors announced which cabin this week would be recognized as having outstanding camp spirit, and would thereby be able to display the Rockbrook “Spirit Paddle” on their table in the dining hall (It was Middler Cabin 1). We also had fun taking a “whole camp” photo. While some of the staff members were absent on their day off, the photo really shows how we’re a colorful bunch! Here’s a hi-resolution version of the photo so you can find your girls.

After what seemed like a steady stream of cheese tortellini coming out of the kitchen— bowl after re-filled bowl —and stacks of cool sweet watermelon turning into a pile of rind at every table, the mini session girls spent the first part of the afternoon demonstrating their swimming ability at the lake. If a girl could confidently jump off the dock, swim out 50ft and back 50ft, and tread water for a minute, she received a green swim bracelet and a buddy tag. If the lifeguards saw signs of struggle, as they did for a few of the youngest girls today, those girls can still swim at the lake, but they are restricted to the safety of the shallow area and must wear a life vest when in the water. Today, wonderfully warm sunshine buffered the chilly water of the lake, giving every swimmer a little boost.

Girls making friends at swim demonstrations

Camp counselor girl in dunking boothBy 3 o’clock, everyone was ready for an afternoon scavenger hunt. Working in cabin groups, the campers moved from station to station solving riddles at each place, sometimes having to tackle a group challenge (like untangling a “human knot”), sometimes finding a yummy treat like popcorn or cotton candy, and other times just enjoying a special activity. The dunking booth, for example, was a complete hoot. A brave counselor from each cabin climbed into the tank as each girl took turns throwing at the dunking target. Of course, we filled the tank with regular cold water making each dunk even more exciting (well, maybe a little less exciting for the counselors!). Several cabins, after throwing but failing to dunk their counselor, stormed the target to press it by hand, a clear violation of the rules, but entirely hilarious too. The whole event was a wonderful Sunday afternoon of helping cabins get to know each other better, to learn about the different buildings and areas of the the camp, and to enjoy a variety of snacks and activities together.

We’ve got a wonderful session going here. Thanks for being a part of it!