Yoga and Camp

children's yoga

Camp provides so many wonderful opportunities for girls to try new things- whether it’s creative, athletic, or adventurous. Our counselors spend quite a bit of time preparing to become experts in the instruction of our camp activities. Often time this preparation can be quite a process! One of our fabulous cabin counselors, Mallory, recently received her Yoga Instructor Certification. She recounts her experience and how she plans to use her new knowledge in the future below:

“I literally did yoga from before sunrise to after sunset on many occasions (6am to 8:45pm…CRAZY!), but I loved every moment of it.  We learned to adjust students, come up with class themes and sequences, learned to sing/chant in sanskrit, and worked on some fun arm balances.  We got to do a kids’ yoga class, a chair yoga class, a prenatal class, a mommy-baby class with sandbag babies, and more!  I tried a lot of different styles of yoga (Bhakti, Jivamukti, Ashtanga, Anusara, Viniyoga, and Kundalini) with a lot of AMAZING teachers! We ate a lot of weird green smoothies (avocado, dates, walnuts, banana and chocolate, anyone?) since we were always doing yoga…I’m super excited to begin teaching yoga and figuring out how to incorporate it into my future science/public school teaching!”

We are very proud of Mallory!

Counselors On Target

Archery at camp

This past summer, our staff meetings focused on the personal and professional development of our counselors. We explored positive leadership qualities, relaxation techniques, and several other topics meant to equip our staff with all the tools they needed to best serve their campers. One article that drove our staff’s performance last summer was Stephen Wallace’s Letters From My Campers- A Counselor’s Guide to Mentoring Youth. The article provides simple, yet powerful principles for the profession. Here are a few our favorites from Wallace:

Relaxing at Camp
  • Communicate information
  • Have a sense of  humor
  • Clarify expectations
  • Be relaxed
  • Be a good role model
  • Show leadership
  • Have fun with your campers
  • Model responsible behavior
  • Discourage foul language
  • Teach fair play
  • Supervise for safety
  • Show a knowledge of each camper
  • Be fair to all campers
  • Encourage campers to try new things
  • Foster self-confidence
  • Be patient
  • Be vigilant

Notes From the Field

Margaret Mead, a leader in the field of anthropology, dedicated her life to studying the interactions of cultures foreign to the western world. Your work as a new camp counselor closely mirrors that of Meade and her colleges.

A Cultural Study at camp

You begin your “field work” by leaving your own comfortable world and entering into a culture you know very little about. Of course, you’ve completed as much research as you can- you’ve explored the camp’s website, spoken with the directors, and perhaps have even made contact with others who have worked in the camp community. Even with all this preparation, you’re still unsure of what you are about to encounter.

Upon arrival, you take vigorous mental notes. Everything is new to you. Even the “jargon” doesn’t fit into your own catalog of words- “Be-Bop”, “Dog-Trot”, “Hi-Ups”. You have no meaning to attach to these words just yet.

The interactions among members of this community is conduct that you have experienced in your own culture, but not to the extent as it is observable here- the girls are so friendly and encouraging to one another. No one seems to be concerned with make-up or physical appearance. Girls spend the majority of their time laughing and playing. They conduct their lives in a noticeably carefree manner.

Within three months, you have become fully indoctrinated by this new community. Your work is brave and tireless. You have transformed something enigmatic into something comprehensible.  Although your work may never be published or studied in its own right, you will, like Margaret Meade, change the world.

Fall in Love With Fall

Lessons from Rockbrook Camp

Rockbrook is the reason why we all love summer so much, but it doesn’t have to stop there! We can take the lessons we learned at camp and use them to help us fall in love with every season. Try to complete ten of the following challenges and brighten up the fall season!

  • Take an extra snack to work or school and share it with a friend.
  • Remix a popular song (extra points if the new lyrics speak to good manners, girl power, or sharing).
  • Find a green space in your city and enjoy it.
  • Eat dessert first.
  • Paint each of your ten fingernails a different color.
  • Go to bed at 9:15.
  • Turn off your cell phone for a day.
  • Send a “snail text” (also know as a letter).
  • Make up a game.
  • Water a plant.
  • Have “flashlight time.”
  • Wear socks with sandals.
  • Don’t look in the mirror.
  • Host a sleepover.
  • Get a little dirty.
  • Pick up trash.
  • Give a thumbs up.

Leah’s Spirit Fire Speech

Leah and Abby

The third session Spirit Fire, that closed that session and the entire 2012 season, included a speech by Leah Mayo (here she is on the right just before giving this speech). Leah has been coming to Rockbrook for 10 years, first as a Junior camper and now as a counselor, and in the speech she tries to describe “the magic of Rockbrook.” It’s a wonderful testament to why she loves this place so much. Enjoy!

I can’t believe it’s finally happened, that I’m wearing my 10-year necklace. I can still remember standing up my second year for applause at Spirit Dinner and thinking how far away receiving even my 3rd-year pin was. Ten years is a long time; it’s more than half my life. And this year I’ve come to realize just how lucky I am to have spent ten years here, to have been a part of the magic that occurs here for ten summers.

And that magic is what has kept me coming back year after year, and has made such a radical difference in my life. The magic of Rockbrook is hard to describe, but one of my campers last session came very close. She said that she loved Rockbrook because here “it’s okay to wear your shirt inside out.” She’s eight years old, the same age I was when I first came to camp. My first year at camp was one to remember, I let a High-Up dye my hair blue and Jerry bought me a brush because he thought I lost mine due to its “wild” appearance. I went to the riflery tournament that year—I guess some things haven’t changed. But a lot of things about me have changed. I’ve found myself.

Rockbrook’s magic is that it allows everyone to truly be themselves. And in the process, find yourself. It is here that I have found myself. It is in the heart of the wooded mountain that I have grown from that 8-year-old girl who couldn’t brush her hair into the person I am today. And the magic continues each year.

This year has been the most magical by far. I had a lot of expectations of what my tenth year at camp would be like. I imagined I’d get my necklace surrounded by my friends with whom I’d grown up at camp. But the people who spent those ten years with me aren’t all here. Some came earlier in the summer, some didn’t come at all. I was very sad when I realized I wouldn’t get to share this day with them, but little did I know I would be surrounded by some of the most amazing girls ever!

It has been such a treat to watch them grow as I did and put on one of the best banquets I’ve ever seen. I am so glad to know each one of them, and will always cherish the times we’ve had this session. We’ve all grown so much these past weeks. Someone special to me once said this in a Spirit Fire speech, and I want to pass this along to all of you: You are all strong, independent women. If you were a holiday, you’d be the Fourth of July. I am so proud to be your counselor. And to my co’s, I couldn’t have asked for better people to spend hours upon hours in Treasure Island with. We really are a family now.

Rockbrook’s magic is also about relationship building. It is here that I have formed friendships that have turned into sisterhoods, and I am close with people who live all over the states. My wish for my girls, and all the campers here, is that you will build friendships that will turn into lifelong relationships here as I have. And that here at camp you feel free to be yourself and so find yourself. There’s a line in the camp song that goes “May you see us one day the girls that you wish us to be.” That line has been on my mind all summer. The Spirit of Rockbrook isn’t finished working its magic on me yet, but I am so happy that I have spent ten years here and look forward to more.

Building Up Psychological Resumes

pile of teen girls

Rachel Simmons is the founder of the Girls Leadership Institute (GLI), a national nonprofit organization that develops leadership qualities in young girls. The GLI offers programming that engages adolescent females in healthy relationship practices, emotional intelligence, and assertive and confident self-expression. Simmons recently spoke at a TED conference about the incredible importance of positive female-to-female relationships among girls at an early age. A startling trend has been discovered: as girls grow into adolescence, their self-esteem reduces greatly. Girls begin to internalize societal pressures to be passive, modest, pleasing, and liked. With those as guiding core values, Simmons notes that young women hit a psychological glass ceiling that carries through their development. To quote Simmons, this produces a situation where “if [women’s] college applications are stamped with 21st century girl power, and they are, we also see their psychological resumes lagging generations behind.”

Shaving Cream tiny girls

We as a greater society need to instill young women with the confidence, drive, and assertion they need to live successful and fulfilling lives. This change begins at an early age and it begins in healthy female-to-female relationships. Girls need to be coached, supported, and guided to this empowered state of being, and as a counselor for young women, your impact could not be more influential. As Simmons notes, “Relationships with peers and adults offers [young women] opportunities to learn how to advocate for themselves, negotiate, and compromise.” Camp is the perfect place to put girls on a path towards fulfilling friendships, positive self-image, and healthy self-expression. Watch Simmons’ video highlighted by high schooler Claire Sannini’s personal testimony of relationship struggles, and get inspired about all the potential this summer holds.

At Camp…

So many reasons why it’s this good, but do you realize that…

At Camp You Will Not…

1. Wear high heels
2. Feed a Monkey
3. Complain that the AC is making you cold
4. Eat caviar
5. Get stuck in traffic
6. Lay bricks
7. Shovel snow
8. Fall asleep in front of the television
9. Take an elevator
10. Window shop

Have the Time of Your Life
Have the time of your life!

At Camp You Will…

1. Sing at the top of your lungs
2. Wear silly costumes
3. Be someone’s hero
4. Smile brightly
5. Meet some of your very best friends
6. Soak up the sun
7. Learn from a child
8. Practice thankfulness
9. Laugh until you cry
10. Have the time of your life!

Human Relations Makes the Counselor

Have you seen this aphorism— A Short Course in Human Relations? Its author and origin are unclear, but it’s been around for years, and in various versions. I found one reference to it as a motivational poster spotted in 1987, and now there are even YouTube videos devoted to it.

As you can see, it is eight principles organized as a descending series of “most important words.” Taken together, they are meant to be “wisdom literature,” “rules of thumb” to guide and improve how we relate to other people. There’s certainly a lot to say about each of these principles, but it’s easy so see why the human qualities they represent— humility, honesty, encouragement, openness, respect, gratitude, cooperation, and altruism —are so fundamental to establishing strong, positive human relationships.

Course in Human Relations and Leadership

To understand how this is relevant to being a camp counselor, we need only to recall the close-knit character of camp, the true community life we share at Rockbrook. As we know, camp is foremost a community of people brimming with enthusiasm and a true sense of belonging shared by everyone. It is quite literally built upon positive “human relations,” daily interactions between people inspired by “central values like kindness, cooperation, compassion, care and generosity.”

Driving this sense of community are the camp staff members, cabin counselors, and directors— the leaders at camp. Beginning with these kinds of admirable character traits, we extend them to others, thereby strengthening the camp community, and ultimately enhancing all the benefits of camp life. The better we are at relating to each other, the better camp is.

So that’s one of the secrets to being a great camp counselor. Be an expert in human relations. Master this short course! Be the kind of person who relates to others in the ways this course advocates, and you’ll be a long way toward becoming an admired leader in any community.

The Real Toy Story…

Each year a new toy falls into fashion. In 1952 Mr. Potato never had his head on straight. 1996 brought the Elmo Doll and his very ticklish tummy. Outer space hit Earth with the introduction of Furby in 1998. Barbie is the girl who has done it all since 1959. Koosh balls, Play-doh, Pogs, Cabbage Patch Kid Dolls, Raggedy Ann and Andy provide us with hours of entertainment. We love and play with them until their hair turns shabby and they’ve lost their malleability.  They take center stage in the imaginary worlds we create for them.

As we gain experience and maturity, toys slowly lose their luster. They’re pushed to the back of shelves and shoved into toy boxes to collect dust and make way for the next big thing that’s out on the market. Red yarn hair, hot pink clay, and a potato with a face don’t quite have the zip they once did in our lives, and so each each year a new toy falls out of fashion.

Summer camp, however, is an experience that never fades. The magic that we experience while in our haven in the woods follows us an entire lifetime. Dust bunnies never gather around our camp memories. Camp never makes way for the next big thing. It is the most precious gift we can give a child.

What are you giving your kids this holiday season?

Camps for Girls

You Have Got To Be Kidding!

Our campers are talented! We have pianists, jugglers, gymnasts, singers, and actresses! Girls who can rub their belly and pat their heads, touch their tongue to their nose, and hula hoop! Girls who can whistle, snap, and click their tongue.  Camp girls who make up hand-jives and dance ’til the cows come home!

Today, I feel honored to share one of my talents— when I was fifteen I wrote a few jokes of my own. Here’s a sampling— a giant list of corny jokes for kids —sure to impress all your friends!

Don’t worry; they’re 100% funny kid friendly!

Q: Why is Big Bird big, yellow, and feathery?

A: Because if he was small, yellow, and nuggety he would be a corn on the cob!

Q:What do you call a group a grizzlies cracking up together?

A: A BEARel of laughs!

Girl Campers Outside

Q: What do people who love to brag on themselves carry their papers in?

A: A GLOATbook!

Q: What is a UPS worker’s favorite sport?

A: Boxing!

Q: What type of chair goes to wild concerts?

A: A rocking chair!

Q: What vegetable do you eat when you want to be very fast?

A: Hustle sprouts!

Q: What’s a livestock’s favorite math tool?

A: A COWculator!

Q: What type of shoe stops up drains?

A: A clog!

Q: What type of chair is good at yoga?

A: A folding chair!

Q: What soothes a sick stomach and gives you neck support at night?

A: A PILL-ow

Q: What time is it when people are throwing pieces of bread at your head?

A: Time to DUCK!

Q: What is a builder’s favorite kind of paper?

A: Construction paper!

Q: When playing spades with The Donald, why did the dealer lose?

A: He handed Donald Trump!

Q: Why couldn’t the farmer find his way out of the corn field?

A: He was in the middle of a maize!

Q: Which medical professional likes to break things?

A: A DENTist!

Q: What do you call a cow who always takes your stuff?

A: A mooooocher!

Q: What MTV show do bass fishermen watch?

A: The Reel World!

Q: What do you call a wild dog that you can’t find?

A: A WHEREwolf!

Q: How would you describe the views a peppermint gets while looking at the Blue Ridge Mountains?

A: Breath Taking!

Q: How are reciprocals like gymnasts?

A: They flip!

Q: Who is Burt’s Bees wax’s roommate?

A: Ernie’s bees wax!

Q: What sport do people who listen to loud, deep music from their stereo play?

A: BASS Ball!

Q: Which island of the coast of Africa does Dale Ernhart Jr. like?


Q: What happened to the gun at work?

A: He got FIRED!

Q: What happened to the pottery at work?

A: He got fired!

Q: Why was the light bulb cold?

A: He was in the shade!

Q: What part of your body says one thing but does another?

A: A HIP-ocrit!

Q: Why do Grizzlies break their pencils?

A: They BEAR down too heard!

Q: What salad topping do you find at ACE hardware?

A: Wrench Dressing!

Q: What  happened when the master detective closed the door behind him?

A: He Sherlocked himself out!

Q: Why was the pig red?

A: He was out all day BACON in the sun!

Q: Which relative chimes at you every hour?

A: A Grandfather Clock!

Q: Why was the painter hot?

A: He put on an extra coat!

Q: What kind of hug straitens your teeth?


Q: What food preservation container is lost?

A: A TuperWHERE!

Q: What type of pirate testifies in court?

A: An “Aye” “Aye” Witness!

Q: Which two months are dishonest?

A: FIBruary and JuLIE

Q: Which four months are cold?

A: Septmebrrrrrrrr, Octobrrrrrrrr, Novembrrrrrrr, and Decemberrrrrrrrr!

Q: Which coloring utensil makes you tired?

A: A craYAWN!