In addition to the regular daily activities at camp, the four in-camp activities each camper has as part of their day, the outdoor adventure staff announces special trips everyday. During breakfast and lunch, everyone finds out about these optional out-of-camp trips where small groups of girls get to go rock climbing, whitewater kayaking, overnight backpacking, day hiking, whitewater rafting, overnight canoeing, or ziplining. A trip might be a short hike that takes half a day, or a full-day of kayaking or climbing. It could be a night hike, a creek crawl, a visit to a nearby swimming hole, or to the cave under Dunns Rock. You just never know what trip will be a surprise announcement. Since these trips are extra and optional, and since they require the girls to miss their regular activities, it presents them with a choice. Are they willing to skip, for example, riflery and tennis in the morning to go rock climbing instead? There seem to always be girls willing to say yes, and take advantage of these special trips.
Recently the kayaking instructors took girls to the French Broad River and the Green River. These were all-day trips that departed after breakfast, included eating a picnic lunch, paddling for several hours and returning to camp just in time for dinner. Another special trip brought a small group of seniors backpacking and pitching their tents near John Rock in the Pisgah National Forest. It allowed the girls to watch the sunset from up on the rock and be back to their campsite for an evening of roasting marshmallows around the campfire before heading to their tents.
Another special trip-like offering today was the two drumming workshops taught by our friend Billy Zanski. Billy owns a drum shop in Asheville and has been teaching drumming lessons for more than 10 years (He’s been coming to Rockbrook for 3 or so). He studied under master drummer Bolokada Conde from Guinea, and no is well known in this area to be a great teacher and performer. Today the workshops included working on the Doundoun bass drums, which are double membrane, cow-skin drums played with sticks… three at a time, each tuned to a different tone. Billy also brought with him about eight Djembe drums, which are single-membrane, goat-skin drums played directly with your hands. After learning the three basic notes to make on the Djembe (called a bass, tone and slap), the girls followed Billy’s lead imitating different rhythms. Pretty soon they were playing very cool beats, and sounding great.
The biggest event of the day, a dance with the boys of Camp Carolina, in a way started long before the music. It began at lunch when the CITs announced that we would be dancing tonight, and for most of the afternoon as the preparations unfolded… non-stop showers, more hair brushes than you can count, and some of the cleaner clothes we’ve seen lately… the dance was on our minds. We learned long ago that splitting the boys and girls into two dances, one for the young and another for the older children, makes it more fun for everyone. The music at both tends to be similar (pretty much exclusively Pop), but the style of dancing differs a bit, with perhaps more jumping for the older girls. The songs with well-known group choreographed dances (the “Cha Cha Slide,” or “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” for example) are the most popular, as they get everyone dancing. All the dancing— the jumping, shaking, and spinning —gets all of us heated up. Smiling, laughing and sweating: it’s a very fun combination.