Fairy Godmothers

It happens on a single fallen eyelash… when the clock strikes 11:11…with every dandelion seed whisked off by the wind… on a heads-up penny…. on a shooting star…. after those birthday candles have lost their flame- a wish is made. A secret desire thrown out to the world with no certainty that it will ever be granted.

Every year girls wish for a magical place that they can call home. A place where muffins are served up warm and sweet every morning. A place to wear silly costumes and to belly laugh. A place filled with a lake to swim and rocks to climb. A place to find their best friend.

They wish for a moment when they can just be themselves. A time when all they have to think about is being a girl, playing, and outdoor living. A time when they can start and end their day with a big, bright smile.

Unlike the wishes set to shooting stars or dandelions, these come true every summer at Rockbrook. Counselors become fairy godmothers and say, “your wish is granted.”

Our 5 Favorite New Year’s Resolutions

With the new year, what do you resolve to do? Remember camp and consider these!

1. Be silly!

2. Lend a helping hand.

3. Set aside some time for relaxation.

4. Pass along some positive encouragement.

5. Keep it real.

Summer Gardening

From homemade pizza, to felafel and feta salad, to Mexican tamales, the Rockbrook kitchen staff serves up top-notch culinary creations. While earlier days at Rockbrook didn’t offer the same international variety of foods, it could boast of a bountiful, sustainable, and local food source. A 1926 RBC brochure states that the vast majority of the food used at camp was produced at the Rockbrook Farm, located across the road from camp on Greenville Highway. The farm, which was personally managed by Henry Carrier, provided all of the fixings for a balanced, healthy meal: eggs, chicken, lamb, mutton, milk, cream, butter, and vegetables. Rockbrook even cured it’s own ham and bacon for the summer.

Rockbrook currently does not have any large-scale farming, however it does have a rich garden. Located on the lower sports field, the RBC garden was started in 2009 and has been growing steadily ever since. Campers enjoy maintaining a variety of plants, and are especially excited to pick ripened vegetables, such as squash, zucchini, edamame, bell peppers, tomatoes, and beans. Once picked and washed, these vegetables are featured in the dining hall’s salad bar. Below, you’ll find a few of our favorite shots from a garden workshop this summer, where campers delighted in making tussie mussies and building a scarecrow!

Explore. Dream. Discover.


Mark Twain poked at the nation a bit. He elbowed us and said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” He encouraged us to get up and live!

As camp counselors we perfectly personify this assertion. Every summer we trade in air-conditioned rooms for mountain-chilled air, polished, made-up looks for muddy, natural complexions, and car wheels for cartwheels. We explore the splendor of the natural world. We dream of creating a world of beauty for our campers. We discover the sheer joy a child can bring to life.

Come June slow, sleepy mornings brought on by a sounding alarm clock transform into a rising bell, fresh fruit and songs sung between bites at breakfast. Hands normally busy texting and typing are suddenly paddling, french-braiding, and slipping snail mail into the post. We explore and desire the simple life. We dream in fairy parties and  jungle breakfasts. We discover what summer means to us.

As the days grow longer and the weather warmer, we no longer flip a switch to fade the lights, but watch on as the sun’s gentle pinks and oranges settle under the horizon as we welcome twilight’s lightening bugs with open arms. Time typically spent choosing the day’s outfit and honing a particular outward appearance is devoted to studying the inside of a person; the real beauty and essence of them. We explore the depth of a real friendship. We dream and strive to be the best role model we can be for our campers. We discover that we are capable of things we never imagined possible.

Twenty years from now look back on a life well lived.

Take our December Challenge

This week we sent out the second installment of our Rockbrook staff newsletter. Beyond including tricks of the trade (how to tell a proper joke- har har) and recipes for holiday treats (chocolaty brownies!), we coaxed our counselors to dive into the joys of the holiday season and take on a challenge that will keep their days merry and bright.

See if you can take on our December challenge.

Can you complete seven of the following tasks by the end of the month?

  • Treat a friend to a candy cane
  • Turn off your TV for the entirety of a week
  • Build a gingerbread house
  • Laugh so hard your stomach hurts
  • Skip
  • Play a board game
  • Roast a marshmallow
  • Look at old photo albums
  • Light a candle
  • Join a sports team
  • Dance
  • Try a new recipe
  • Pay for a stranger’s meal at a restaurant
  • Sing in the shower
  • Plant a flower indoors
  • Begin to learn a new language
  • Reconnect with an old friend
  • Learn a new skill

Holiday Fever All Summer Long

We’ve all experienced holiday fever. Our bodies feel warm and tingly, our cheeks turn rosy, our heart beats faster, and a slight shiver warms our spine. A holiday fever can be brought on by anything- snowflakes, hot chocolate, presents, tinsel, strung popcorn, twinkling lights, reindeer sweaters, holiday jingles, Yule log, greeting cards, carolers, chestnuts, or open fires (just to name a few.) In extreme cases, we catch this fever all month long.

holiday red and green cookies

Unfortunately, in our lives, January 1st becomes the cool washcloth which breaks our holiday fever. Upon entering the new year, our body temperature subsides and our cheeks pale. Joyfully cooking a holiday meal for family and friends makes way for our mad dashes to the grocery store where upon we return home, exhausted, and with barely enough energy to cook our recent purchases.  Snow is no longer the canvas which creates snowball fights and frosty angels, but an irksome condition that prohibits travel and turns into a brown, dirty slush which seeps into our boots and nips at our toes. Chestnuts take far too long to roast and open fires seem much too dangerous an endeavor. Come January, once charming and enchanting holiday tasks become everyday annoyances.

Camp holiday decorations

Luckily, there’s a medical breakthrough to combat all this. The doctor can write us a prescription to regain our fever (think of this as a reverse Rx.) Spend your summer at camp. If followed to doctor’s orders, the opportunity to work at camp is one of indescribable value. One dose and ordinary things reclaim their magic and our cheeks flush rosy once again. Peanut butter on apples, paddles on water, rain on roofs, mud on sneakers- all spectacular when you have “camp fever.” Camp gives us the best gift we could ask for-holiday cheer all summer long.

Dear Camp Counselor

Here is just a quick reminder of how important you are.  If a camper and a parent were to write to our staff, here is what they might say:

Dear Counselor,

You are my hero. When I grow up I want to be just like you. I think it’s so cool how you use all those funny voices when you read to our cabin before bed! And you made me discover I like carrots! I told my mom I thought they were gross, but then you were eating them last Thursday at lunch (you remember the day you wore your blue shorts and had your hair in a pony tail and ate three pieces of chicken and told us about that squirrel who had that big acorn? Yeah- that day) so I gave them a try. Presto! I love them now! The other day, when you french braided my hair in two braids, I loved it so much I wrote a whole letter home, just about that! I’m so glad you are my counselor because you are the coolest person I have ever met.


Your Camper, Suzie

Camp Counselor Hugs Campers

Dear Counselor,

I am trusting you with my heart and soul. I am leaving in your care the single, most important thing in my life. I know that it would be ridiculous of me to ask you to put exactly one tablespoon of sugar in Suzie’s corn flakes, or to make sure that she brushes her teeth for exactly two minutes before bed, so I’ll just ask you this- The time you spend with Suzie this summer will shape her entire life. Every compliment you give her, every time you smile at her, every story you tell her, every story she tells you will mean the world to her. Knowing that her counselor cares deeply for her will put Suzie one step closer to growing into the strong, competent, amazing woman I know she has the potential to become. For the next three weeks my child’s life is in your hands. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you will tend to it with love and kindness.


Suzie’s  Mother

Hardy Har Har

Camper Playing outside

Tickle your taste buds- hit your funny bone- deep down belly laugh! At camp we love jokes. We thought you might enjoy these old standbys by none other than Prairie Home Companion’s  Garrison Keillor.

Warning: Do not consume milk while reading these jokes! It may come out your nose!

Knock Knock- Who’s there?- Four eight.- Four eight who?- Four eight’s a jolly good fellow!

What would the traffic cop charge a crocodile with? -Tail gatoring!

How many hipsters does it take to change a light bulb?- …..it’s a pretty obscure number- you’ve probably never heard of it.

Why did the piano get locked out of his house?- He lost his keys

What do you call an alligator in a vest?- An investigator

How do you fix a broken tomato?- Tomato paste

What’s a tree’s favorite drink?- Root beer

How does a dog talk with his tail?- With a tail-aphone

The teacher says to her student: “Give me a sentence using the words green, pink, and yellow.” The third grader said: “Okay. The phone went green, green and I pinked it up and said ‘yellow!'”

What vegetable are bugs most afraid of?- Squash

Knock knock- Who’s there?- Watson- Watson who? Not much, watson new with you?

The UN-virtual Social Network

Facebook has become one of society’s guilty pleasures. With the click of a mouse, this tool allows us to reconnect with old friends, keep up with new ones, and easily put our own lives on display. We hand over the drama of living to a  computer screen and remain safe and disengaged in the comfort of our homes.

If what we are searching for is a sense of community, then Facebook certainly seems to create one for us. You can interact with a friend at any moment in time. Just click on her profile and there she is; her face, her words, her thoughts and opinions, her conversations with other people- all as easily accessible as air. Once more, if, by coincidence, you happen to be logged into Facebook at the same time as one of your friends you can even “chat” with her. Facebook keeps us more connected than ever!

Girl Mountain Climbing

But does it really? Virtual social networking cannot provide you with butterflies in your stomach when you meet up with an old friend after a leave of absence. This avenue of communication completely erases tone, crescendos, emotion and emphasis from the telling of a story, leaving it flat and lifeless. You’ll never feel the warm breath of laughter or savor the same full-bodied meal as the person across from you.

Camp coaxes us out of our dark rooms flooded with blue light and into the natural world filled with beauty and splendor. At camp we loosen our grip from the mouse and really feel things; the toughness of a rope, the mud under our fingernails, a horse’s mane, the sun on our face, the joy of a real community. No exclamation point, italic, or emoticon is worth an experience like that.

Market Your Skills

Resume Building

Jeff’s most recent staff blog outlined the benefits of your job as a camp counselor on  your long-term career. Instantly, you become a powerful tool in society. Simply put, you change the lives of today’s youth. When you’re a part of the so-called “camp world” that is so easy to understand. But once you find yourself attempting to enter the job market, so far away from candy break, lookout duty, fairy parties, and birthday night, how do you market your skills? How do you translate the responsibilities of camp life into tangible, meaningful statements on your resume?

Chris Thurber’s recent article, Writing Camp Jobs On A Resume, delineates, in three main points, how to promote your summer leadership experience to your potential employer. First, he argues, you must “reverse the curse.” The world is well-versed on the camp image portrayed by Hollywood; food fights, panty raids, crazy teen partying. We all know this portrayal is the farthest thing from the truth. Now convince your perspective employer of this. Own your title and make it clear what your exact role was at camp.  “Division Leader for the Youngest Girls” is far more comprehensible than “Junior Linehead.”

Once you’ve established a clear title on your resume you should effectively describe your role at camp. According to Thurber, it’s all about wording. “A front-line camp counselor has either ‘Got kids from one activity to another, and made sure the kids weren’t bullying each other’ or  ‘Led children and teens through a creative sequence of challenging activities’ and ‘Responded decisively to misbehavior and social conflict by implementing collaborative problem-solving, logistical consequences, and one-on-one counseling.'”  The latter fairly and accurately showcases your responsibilities while at camp.

To situate your time at camp in the realm of distinguished, competitive experiences, rather than just a “summer job”, you must communicate about yourself as a professional. As Thurber asserts “No responsibility rivals that of caring for children.” If you wish for others to take you seriously, you must first take yourself seriously. Recognize your value in society and clearly illustrate your success to others.

I cannot wait to see our Rockbrook counselors leading multimillion dollar litigation cases, discovering a cure for cancer, and continuing to change the world well beyond our wooded mountain.