Robbie Francis from Go Swan Filmworks returned to camp for another day filming this week, and with more of his brilliant editing, produced this fun 2-minute video for us.
Take a look and you’ll see what I mean— these girls love camp.
Sometimes at camp, I ask my girls what their schedule is like at home. Their answers amaze me: their days are jam packed with school, sports, and other activities. My campers are in high school and, as high achievers, I am really impressed that they are able to balance everything and still have time for friends and fun. Still, there is a lot on their plate: between basketball, dance, really challenging classes, and other pressures, many say they get stressed.
They view Rockbrook as a break from that, and Rockbrook is uniquely suited to providing a less stressful environment. At camp, I think we take a step back and look at what really matters, and have patience with the rest. It’s a place where a camper doesn’t have to worry about being reprimanded if she is five minutes late to an activity. Instead, she is greeted with a smiling face and excitement. It’s a place where we wear costumes and do crazy dance moves without fear of being judged. It’s a place where ‘perfect’ doesn’t really matter, but being a good friend does. Without the stresses of our outside lives and with a really loving and supportive community, girls feel profoundly comfortable to try new things and get close with people.
Sundays at Rockbrook really exemplify this. We take things a little slower on Sundays. After the girls’ dance last night, everyone was exhausted, so the extra hour of sleep was greeted with joy. We then ate Krispie Kreme donuts for breakfast (a camp tradition!) before going to chapel. The juniors and middlers led chapel this morning, and we all reflected on the theme of “Playfulness.” We sang songs like ‘Zip a Dee Do Dah’ and girls shared their thoughts on playfulness and how they think about it at camp. It was a perfect way to spend the morning before a delicious muffin break and tidying up our cabins.
After that, we had Assembly on the Hill. This is a time for the entire camp to come together and honor cabins with the famous ‘Mop Award,’ or a prize for the cleanest cabin. We also honored girls who were outstanding in the categories of Spirit, Manners, and Bend-a-Back, which means going the extra mile for a friend. After, we watched as the counselors had an old-fashioned water balloon toss. The middlers won!
We have a good amount of down time on Sundays, and everyone appreciates the chance to have a break and hang out for a little bit of time. Bop It has been big in my cabin this session, along with Trivial Pursuit and playing drums. During a stretch of time today, my cabin of fifteen-year-old girls spent time playing together in the creek. Every cabin has something that brings their cabin together, and it is nice to have a little bit of ease in the schedule so we have time to hang out with no rush of going somewhere else.
This afternoon, we had an extra long rest hour (such an important part of the day!) and then it was time for Miss RBC. Miss RBC is basically a talent show where each cabin puts on a skit for the rest of camp. Girls get very creative—the CA’s played drums and interpretively danced/sang to Eye of the Tiger. Senior 4 rewrote the lyrics to ‘Hush Little Baby,’ singing, “You’re going to follow the cardinal bird.” Middler 4 ended up winning—they did a time traveling skit that went through the decades starting in the twenties. They sang songs and did dances from each decade—it was incredibly impressive! Everyone in the audience was wide-eyed and clapped wildly after the performance!
For Miss RBC, we don’t use outside music or flashy lights. We just need the stage of the gym and a lot of imagination. I think there is something beautiful in the way we are completely captivated and entertained even without all of the distractions we usually would have at home. It is such a simple event to put on, but everyone enjoys performing and celebrating others’ talents.
After dinner, we had a barn party as the twilight activity! Girls could choose to walk down to the barn, play with the horses, eat a Popsicle, and watch the drill team perform! The drill team is comprised of girls who love riding, and they were able to synchronize their moves—it was quite a performance! Afterwards, the drill team members got Dolly’s, an extra special treat!
After a wonderful day of relaxation, it was time for movie night! Girls look forward to this every Sunday night. They bring down sleeping bags and pillows and curl up next to their good friends and watch great movies. Tonight, it was Zootopia! Every age group loves this movie, and many had not seen it before!
Tomorrow, we will return to a normal schedule, which is great because we get to continue doing so many activities! Still, today was a needed day of relaxation. Camp is winding down. Next Thursday, we will be back in our normal lives, back with all of the worries, joy, and support that come with that. What we have learned at camp, though, does not need to stay at camp. Rockbrook teaches us to slow down and reconsider what is important and what is not. We stop worrying about how we are perceived, and we realize that perfection is not the expectation. The biggest lesson I hope we take with us when we leave these mountains is simply: I Am Enough.
Set here in the mountains of western North Carolina, the topography of Rockbrook is really something special. Within its 220 acres, the camp includes amazing natural features including prominent rock outcroppings, waterfalls, creeks and the French Broad River. If you haven’t seen it already, watch this video and then scroll through the posts in this archive about our area in North Carolina. You’ll be impressed by the natural beauty of the camp property and its surrounding area.
After learning more about the camp topography, you’ll quickly realize that when Henry P. Clarke, the father of the camp’s founder Nancy Barnum Clarke Carrier, named this property “Rockbrook,” it was a particularly apt name. Situated between (and below!) two rock landmarks (Dunn’s Rock and Castle Rock), with numerous boulders scattered all around the camp, and as three named creeks (Dunn’s Creek, Rockbrook Creek and Hanty Branch) and several smaller tributaries of the French Broad river carve rocky courses through the camp, the terrain here is very much both stone and water, rock and brook.
Our camp program benefits from these topographical features in a number of exciting ways. There are excellent hiking destinations for example: the magnificent mountain view from the top of Dunn’s Rock, the spray to be felt at the bottom of Stick Biscuit Falls, and the mysterious “Kilroy’s Cabin” found only by bushwhacking for more than a mile through the woods. We have 5 different climbing routes on Castle Rock to tackle, and down below, a nice sandy eddy we can use to launch or take out canoe trips on the French Broad River. A particularly cool example, though, is our camp zip line course since the zips are built between boulders and over creeks. It takes about an hour to do the whole course— 3 zips and 3 challenging adventure bridges —and it continues to be one of the more popular optional activities we offer. The last zip is the fastest and goes right past the office building at the top of the hill giving everyone on the porch a front row seat to see the aerial poses, wide-eyed grins, and hear the yelps of delight multiple times each day.
Equally popular this session, though for different reasons, has been Ga-ga Ball. Played down near our gym in a special octagonal court of 30-inch high wooden walls, GaGa is a form of dodgeball that’s nicely fast-paced, and well-suited for multi-age groups of girls. Three people or thirty people can play, so it’s a great “pick up game” for the girls during their periods of free time each day (before lunch and dinner, and during Twilight in particular). The object of Gaga is to avoid being hit in the legs by a soft ball as it bounces around inside the court after being hit (not thrown) by the players. It takes quick reflexes to jump out of the way as the ball bounces wildly off the walls of the court and the other players alike. Once hit, a player hops out of the court dwindling the number of girls still playing. As the game progresses and one person is left (the winner), the game is over, and everyone can hop back into the court to start a new game. Perpetual play!
Tonight’s Evening Program allowed us to dress up, be silly, and go a little wild on the dance floor. We held an all-girl “glow dance” down in the gym. Without much encouragement, the girls dressed in tie dye t-shirts and other colorful costumes. We pulled out neon face paint to add dots, swirls and stripes of color to their looks, and when we handed out a few hundred glow sticks, dimmed the lights in the gym, and began pumping out upbeat, popular music, we had a fun dance party. No boys, no pressure, no judgment: there was just unbridled excitement and glee as song after song got the girls dancing. And these girls know how to have fun in the groove! —lots of jumping to the beat, well-rehearsed dance moves now and then, and plenty of hands-in-the-air, singing-along choruses. It was another great camp event celebrating the fun of being together, feeling happily relaxed and pulled into an activity so thoroughly that you forgot most everything else and time flew by… so good, and just how we all like.
Sometimes you have to get a little messy to feel this good. Like tonight after dinner when we had a shaving cream fight down on the landsports field. Chase announced the optional event in the dining hall, and from the cheering it was clear we would have plenty of girls ready to romp about with the slippery white foam.
The point of a shaving cream fight is simple— spray the contents of your can both on others and on yourself. Then run around smearing, wiping and rubbing the shaving cream into everyone’s hair, on their backs, and ultimately everywhere. Beyond that, the goal is to have fun, be silly and enjoy the mess of it all. It’s as simple as that.
There are no teams, and this is not a competition where we pick a winner at the end. So it’s not much of a “fight” really. It’s more cooperative since it’s just as much fun to be attacked as it is to splatter others. Part of the fun is surprising someone, sneaking up to them and planting a blob right on their back, shoulder or leg… as you race away grinning, and secretly hoping, but also looking out for, someone who will do the same to you.
And it’s absolutely hilarious! Once the spraying begins, you can’t hear anything except shrieks of delight and laughter. We all (yes, counselors and directors too!) quickly begin to look pretty funny, our hair sticking up, with white beards and mustaches, if not completely foamy.
A shaving cream fight feels liberating too. It’s a little mischievous and outrageous, but still sanctioned, even celebrated at camp. It’s a harmless way to go a little crazy, while at the same time laugh and play with your friends.
What to learn from a shaving cream fight? I’m not sure, but I’d say it’s a wonderful way to experience uninhibited joy, a deep feeling that in our ordinary lives too often struggles to find expression. At camp though, it’s pretty easy; we find it everyday.
“Stupefy!” “Expecto Patronum!” “Petrificus Totalus!”
And so began The Wizarding World of Rockbrook Camp, or the day when camp magically turned into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! After lunch, campers returned to their cabins, and for Harry Potter fans, their dreams came true: their acceptance letter to Hogwarts (finally) arrived! They were witches and were invited to spend the afternoon taking classes along with the rest of their house. Each girl was sorted by cabin into one of the Hogwarts Houses: Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin.
We made our way to potions first, and we mixed phoenix tears with unicorn hair and put it in a vile to save for later. Theme music from the Harry Potter movies blasted in the background, setting the tone and putting us all more in the spirit.
After learning so much in our potions class, we headed down to our Common Room where we drank butterbeer and spent time preparing our uniforms (coloring ties) and listening to Hogwarts History (reading the Harry Potter books). It was a relaxing way to spend time before the next part of our adventure.
We then meandered down to the gym where we took part in important adventures such as rescuing Dobby (clothing relay), Quidditch practice, and walking like a spider. The cabins competed against each other and saved the day every time!
Following our adventures, it was time for another class. We went to Wandmaking where wands chose us and then we spruced them up with paint and a nice handle. Then, a charms professor taught us a few spells, and we practiced them on each other. First, we practiced unfreezing people who had been subject to “petrificus totalus” (by making them laugh) and then we practiced the rest of the spells with a rock-paper-scissors type game.
Afterwards, we looked up and we heard voices of distress—it was Harry Potter flying across the sky (on the zipline) as Voldemort was chasing him! They came down to where the campers were sitting on the hill and dueled—Harry Potter won and we all cheered!
It was then time to attend dinner in The Great Hall. With lightning scars (tattoos), floating candles (posters) and owls overhead (bird cages), we enjoyed a feast. While we were eating, we sorted each other into houses based on cards on each table that listed the personality qualities of each house. We also talked about what patronus (spirit animal) would protect us. The entire day had felt magical, and it continued through announcements when Sarah Carter (filling in for Professor Dumbledore) warned us not to go to the third floor corridor or into the Forbidden Forest.
For evening program, the seniors had a different kind of magical experience: it was coffee house! Coffee house is basically open mic night. With a crackling fire in the background and rich hot chocolate in hand, the girls watched their friends perform. Some girls performed songs like “Those Magic Changes” from Grease, “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse and “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae. Everyone sang along with songs like “Riptide” and “A Thousand Years.” Other girls performed poems, some that they had written themselves.
My favorite part about coffee house is the amount of support that each girl who performs receives. The entire line cheers for each girl with the bravery to go up and share their talents. Cabins shout, “She’s from Cabin 5!” and girls stand on the benches, giving wild applause, after their friends perform. Counselors begin to tear up as they are so proud of their campers’ performances and talents. The combination of talent, support, and warmth makes coffee house an unforgettable evening that somehow epitomizes the magic of camp for teenagers. In every way imaginable, today was a truly magical day. We were transported into a different world, but also remembered to be grateful for the camp world we have the privilege to be a part of.
Robbie Francis of Go Swan Filmworks spent a day at Rockbrook again this week filming little snips of camp life and editing them to make a short video for us.
You may recall the wonderful videos of camp he made last summer. They are a fascinating peek into what we’re up to around here, how happy and busy your girls are, and to some extent, how it feels to be at Rockbrook.
Watching the video is a highly recommended way to spend 2 minutes of your day.
It’s a comment we hear a lot around here… from perceptive visitors taking a tour while camp is in session, from counselors marveling at simple moments of their day, and certainly from campers as they reflect on how camp feels to them. “Everyone seems so happy,” or “These are some happy girls,” or “Rockbrook makes me happy!” I think I’ve seen it on a t-shirt too; “Camp is my Happy Place.” And it really is true. There’s something special about life at camp that makes everyone here remarkably happy, especially when compared with the outside world. If you have been scanning our daily photo galleries then you have a sense of it. Camp life has a general feeling of well-being, joyful engagement, and belonging.
But here’s the thing— this feeling isn’t dependent on the activities we’re enjoying. It’s not like we’re happy only when kayaking, weaving, riding a horse, hiking through the woods, or playing tetherball. Sure, we are happy when we are doing exciting things like riding through the trees on a zipline, and we are happy when we savor the day’s surprise muffin flavor, but the happiness of camp extends to other times that might, from a different perspective, be described as “work,” or even as “boring.” Camp girls are happy at times “just hanging out,” sweeping their cabin, taking their turn wiping their dining hall table, or simply walking down the line after hearing the bell for lunch.
In other words, the happiness we experience at camp is not the same as the fun. …or even pleasure or satisfaction. Obviously, camp is great fun, regularly punctuated by pleasure, and satisfying in lots of ways. These are the moments we write home about— getting a bullseye in archery, throwing a pot on the wheel, going back for thirds of Rick’s homemade guacamole and chicken flautas. Everyday there are activities and special events designed to be fun and carefully planned to be satisfying and enjoyable (a trip to sliding rock, a drumming workshop, a wet and wild creek hike, or simply singing together during morning assembly, for example). These moments are entertaining and great, and they certainly contribute to the happiness of camp, but they do not alone make camp a happy place. There must be something more going on. If not the fun, what is it about camp life that encourages such happiness?
An idea from Aristotle might be helpful, namely that happiness stems from “meaningful action.” The notion is that happiness is not a momentary, fleeting fulfillment of desires (like escape from boredom, for example), but is instead a way of being where one’s actions are meaningful. What makes our actions “meaningful” becomes the question, but perhaps the secret to camp happiness it that it somehow lends meaning to our actions. What we do at camp means something to us as individuals.
OK, but when camp girls make a friendship bracelet, shoot riflery, or go whitewater rafting, how does it mean something to them? What’s special about camp that makes ordinary actions more “meaningful?” I’m not sure, but as one counselor who I was discussing this with put it, “It’s all about community.” She said what we do at camp means something because we do so much together, and we care for each other.
I love that idea because it suggests the importance of relationships, of beginning with kindness toward each other and fostering an environment where everyone is trusted, respected and loved. Do that, and we create a special place where we’re happy. In this way, I imagine all of our community values— care, cooperation, compassion, generosity —likewise contribute to our happiness by making whatever we’re doing more meaningful. So, being helpful in the dining hall, for example, is meaningful and makes us happy because it deepens our relationship with the other girls in our cabin. Sensing real encouragement and support from the people around you makes whatever you’re doing more meaningful.
There are probably other answers to this question about how camp life includes inherently meaningful action, and how it fosters such happiness, but I think our sense of community here is a powerful force linking the two. If so, we might use the idea prescriptively in the outside world and suggest that instead of adding more toys or more “fun” experiences, we can become happier by joining and supporting a camp-like community where our actions are meaningful. It’s one of the lessons of camp: build positive relationships with the people around you, make your actions meaningful through those relationships, and you’re bound to be happier. Now that’s something to take home!
We pulled up to the Fish Hatchery in Pisgah National Forest, ready for a backpacking overnight. In the van were four middlers, four seniors, and three staff members all ready and excited for the night that awaited us. We got all of our gear ready and spent time adjusting our backpacks before taking a picture and doing some basic introductions. Some of the girls were great friends while others just signed up because backpacking sounded exciting and new. After taking a ‘before’ picture, we were off to our campsite, Pickelseimer Fields (but at Rockbrook, we call it The Enchanted Forest) before heading to John Rock for sunset.
On the way to the campsite, girls talked and laughed, but mostly stayed in their age groups. We stopped a lot for water breaks and bathroom breaks, and the question, “Are we almost there?” was commonly heard. This is normal: backpacks make every hike more exhausting, and going uphill is particularly challenging. In between, though, we also practiced a bird call that could help us get each other’s attention (coo-ee) and we sang a few camp songs because they make even the most exhausting moments better.
We were in no hurry at all, and during the flat parts, we enjoyed crossing wooden bridges and walking through muddy patches. On parts of the trail, the trees formed a kind of tunnel and it became clear why it was called The Enchanted Forest. As we stopped for a water break after a particularly tiring hill, we started talking about the three types of fun. One of the seniors explained. Type 1 Fun is like the fun of a roller coaster or a nice day at the beach; it’s easy fun that does not require much effort, but also does not give much personal satisfaction. Type 2 Fun is like a long hike. It may be challenging as it is happening, but afterward, you look back at it and would do it again because it was fulfilling and meaningful. Type 3 Fun is something you would not want to do again but it gets you where you need to be (portaging a canoe or waiting out a lightning storm). While explaining this, the senior suggested that this hike was Type 2 fun and ensured the younger girls that they would look back at it and be proud they did it.
Even with stops and starts, we were at our campsite within thirty minutes of the time that we left the parking lot of the Fish Hatchery. We found a great campsite near a creek that had a big firepit and plenty of room for camping. Each age group had their own tent, so we encouraged everyone to quickly pitch their tents so we could catch the sunset at John Rock. As the girls were preparing their tents, two of us found a perfect sourwood tree over the creek to hang the bear bag. After eating a few snacks and getting more water, we were off for our hike.
At first, the hike was easy as we did not have backpacks weighing us down. We climbed over fallen trees and crossed creeks, hoping the sun was still up, though we could not see it through the branches. At one point, we came across a bees’ nest, and a couple of girls got stung. Everyone was a little shaken up, but none of the girls were allergic, so we decided to take a break and regroup. We have been trained in wilderness medicine, so we treated everyone’s stings and mostly tried to calm down as a group. As we treated stings, the seniors kept everyone else distracted and calm by getting to know the middlers. In fact, one of the seniors mentioned to me later that she was quite scared of the stings, but she knew that if she was calm about it, the middlers would be too. They started playing a game, “pancakes or waffles,” and slowly, everyone started to calm down, ready to continue hiking.
We looked at the map and decided that, if possible, we should not go back the same way we had just come (because of the bees). The trail looped in such a way that we could get back to the camp site by passing John Rock and going around a different way. We continued hiking as twilight hit, and we made it to John Rock while there was still light in the sky. The view took our breaths away. We were astonished by the vastness of the forest and by our smallness. Instantly after stepping on the rock, we all agreed that the journey was worth it.
It’s a truth that I have found in hiking: no matter how difficult a journey may be, reaching the destination makes every moment of tiredness and every obstacle okay. You realize that it was always going to be okay, though you could not always see it, and the immediate reward makes any past adversity almost vanish from your mind.
After getting a few pictures and taking the view in, we decided it was time to head back to camp. We continued following our loop, ready with water bottles and flashlights. We walked and walked, and some girls got tired and nervous as we continued to check the map. We always knew where we were, but the hike did take longer than we originally anticipated because we were walking around a loop. We talked to the girls and showed them where they were, but we also let them take care of each other. The senior girls stepped in again, keeping up good spirits and laughing throughout the hike. They played games and assured the middlers that they had no reason to be scared.
The beautiful part of this story is that it worked. All of the girls who were nervous were able to dig in and keep walking further than they thought possible. At some point, everyone realized that asking how much further we had to go was counterproductive. We entered a point where we realized reaching our destination was something we would do together and only putting one foot in front of the other would help us get there. When we turned on to the bypass or realized we were at the final stretch, we all rejoiced together. When we saw the bear bag hanging over the tree on the creek, we cheered and hugged, relieved that we had all completed this adventure, supremely satisfied with the work we had just done. It was Type 2 fun (or as one senior said, Type 2.5 Fun), and we were filled up in a way that we had rarely experienced.
When we got back to the campsite, we made a small fire and ate burritos. The girls roasted marshmallows and we read a few thoughts about teamwork that related to our journey. A former NOLS instructor, Morgan Hite, once reflected, “Life can be simple and this is a good place to experience that. We need to be tired and cold and hungry, and then make ourselves a hot meal and go to our sleeping bags to realize that life is complete and how rarely we experience that.” At the end of the day, we were tired and hungry, but we were able to work through these things because we were part of a team. We had everything we needed, but we never would have known it without going on such a journey.
The next morning, we ate oatmeal and effortlessly hiked out. There was lightness in the air as everyone talked and laughed, no longer divided by age groups, but bonded together by yesterday’s adventures. We no longer cared about wearing heavy backpacks or getting muddy shoes (it also helped that we were journeying downhill). The final thing we did was to take an ‘after’ picture, in the exact same positions we were in the day before.
The picture was great, but could not accurately capture the journey we had been through together. We made an arc during this backpacking trip: we started somewhere and ended up somewhere different. Over the course of sixteen hours, the seniors were leaders and role models, pushing past their own tiredness or bee stings for the greater good of the group. The middlers became great team members and realized that, despite being pushed a little, they were able to accomplish whatever their goal was. The risk of real danger was low throughout the entire journey. We had a map, water, fully stocked first aid kit, and a lot of experience on our side.
Even so, our hike was real. The only way back was for all of us to work together, to pay attention, and to keep walking. We couldn’t take a shortcut or conjure a hot plate of food. But I think that is what makes backpacking such a profound experience. We work for everything we have, so even just arriving back to a tent site is cause for a celebration. We give ourselves a real-time challenge (getting to a destination) and we rely on each person we are with to help us solve it.
We got back a few days ago, and ever since we have been back, I have noticed the backpackers still look at each other a little differently. They still talk about their experiences, and we are making bracelets from the bear bag rope as a symbol of the bond. We all grew through the challenge, learned a lot about each other, and learned a lot about ourselves.
Arriving at camp late in summer, as did our August Mini Session campers today, is a unique blend of excitement and relief. You could see it on their faces as they drove up the driveway this morning, and as they first met their counselor— bright, wide grins despite a twinge of nerves, and almost a feeling of liberation from the agony of waiting for camp all summer. So much waiting! Finally, these girls have arrived and we can get started with camp, all the friends, different activities, and fun surprises of life at Rockbrook.
Once the arriving girls got settled in their cabins, they joined the full session campers rotating through a sampling of camp activities. Tying friendship bracelets, playing tennis or gaga ball, hiking to Rockbrook Falls, picking flowers in the RBC garden, and making a wind chime or headband— there were plenty of ways to get busy right away… meeting people while learning about camp.
Burgers (beef and vegetarian) and fries, plus fresh cut cantaloupe and salad for lunch settled us down just as it filled us up. Rest hour then gave the new girls a chance for a quick camp tour, a stop at the lake for a swimming demonstration, and time for a cabin meeting before the main event of the afternoon.
And it was fantastic! With counselors and help from the Hi-Ups (our 10th grade campers), we threw an all-camp carnival right in the center of camp complete with different snacks, group games, fun dance music, silly challenges, and small prizes for everyone. With camp completely full of girls now, we created lots of options to give everyone plenty to do. Blue skies and a few light clouds floated by above while the girls spent to next two hours wandering from game to game, stopping to snack, dance and play as they liked.
Setting the tone right away was our favorite DJ Dawg back again to pump great dance music across the hill. For snacks (probably the second most important element at a party!), we had coolers of lemonade, a popcorn popper popping nonstop, and a very popular snow cone station. It was a hot afternoon, so we made several water events available too: a 35-foot tall inflatable water slide, a “dunk booth” beanbag challenge, loads of water guns, and a sprinkler to run through if the girls got too hot. Another game had the girls launch water balloons using a slingshot contraption. A second inflatable was an obstacle course that pitted two girls against each other as they crawled, climbed and scrambled through… while laughing hysterically. There was an area where the girls played Pin the Tail on the Donkey, another where they “fished” for rubber ducks from a pool, and another that challenged them to eat a doughnut or apple tied to a string. We had yard checkers, a giant game of Jenga, a ball toss game, and a corn hole game. There was a giant bubble station, three staff member offering face painting, balloon animals being tied, and two brave Hi-Ups running a “pie” (whipped cream on a pie tin) throwing station. Apparently, you smell like cheese after being splattered thoroughly with whipped cream. Another messy game that the girls loved was Twister, only made more difficult with the help of shaving cream and a little body paint on each spot. Messy and fun.
In every direction on the hill there where happy girls entertained by the games, enjoying dancing, cooling off, getting a little messy, and having an excellent time at camp. It was pretty hard to take it all in! Looking around, it was clear at least that this was a great way to open up the session. It got everyone involved, the full session girls meeting and playing with the mini session campers, and helped set the tone (positively euphoric) for the coming week.
There was about an hour of free time before dinner that allowed the girls to take a shower and clean up. Later, everyone signed up for their first set of activities so in the morning we can launch right into action. We’re just getting started and looking forward to the coming week!
An evening dance party with a neighboring boys’ camp is one of the most exciting events we hold every session. Just like in the movie(s) The Parent Trap, it’s an all-camp event anxiously anticipated and always a BIG deal in the girls’ minds. We have three different camps for boys we dance with: Camp Carolina, High Rocks, and Rockmont, and tonight it was Carolina’s turn to mix with Rockbrook.
Since we’d have too many children to combine both camps in one location, we have the habit of holding two dances simultaneously, dividing the boys and girls into an older group and a younger group. Tonight the Senior and Middler girls loaded our buses and vans for the trip over to Camp Carolina and the Juniors stayed here at Rockbrook to welcome the youngest boys.
Before that, when the dance was announced (Like all special events, we kept it a surprise.), it was an afternoon of grooming around here. Every shower ran non-stop for two hours, fully testing our tankless hot water heaters. It’s nice to never run out of hot water on a day like this. Special shoes appeared, and miles of long hair found a hairbrush… for the first time at camp in some cases, I’d guess. But don’t think everyone’s goal was to get “dressed up” for the dance. Cleaned up yes, but there were also plenty of silly costumes on display. I saw a “catnado” and a unicorn t-shirt, traffic vest, a supergirl and a bear costume. Many of the 9th graders used facepaint to draw a “third eye” on the their foreheads as well as the letters “CA.” Sports jerseys, bandanas, overalls, and tiedyes almost outnumbered “nice” shirts and shorts. Quite insightfully and in true Rockbrook form, these girls have allowed their playful spirit to outdo any expectation to be “attractive.” They know from experience that trusting that spirit makes things more fun.
The two dances themselves have a different feel. The younger kids dancing here in our gym were led by our friend and professional DJ Marcus. He’s an expert at playing music that is fun and familiar to the girls, with an emphasis on group dance songs like “Y.M.C.A,” “The Cha Cha Slide,” and “Cotton Eyed Joe,” for example. With the counselors dancing right along, the girls had a great time making conga lines, posing for photos, and trying new dance steps with their friends.
The dance at Camp Carolina for the older girls and boys was held in their dining hall. They set the mood by turning the lights down so a large illuminated disco ball hung in the rafters became the main light. The music selections focused on more current pop songs, with some Hip-Hop, Dubstep and Techno tracks mixed in. There was also an occasional slow song that signaled a few brave boys and girls to pair up for slightly awkward, arms-stretched, side to side shuffle. These slow songs equally inspired some girls to pair up and mimic that same slow-dance style with each other. It seemed to me that most everyone was happy when a fast song returned, replacing the finishing slow song. Group jumping instead of individual shuffling— it’s just better.
The bus ride back to Rockbrook was a chance to talk about the dance, to process what happened paying particular attention to who danced with whom, who said what to whom, and how they enjoyed the dance overall. One senior girl said she had “a great time,” and another told me she “loves the Camp Carolina dances.” So the reviews for the girls are positive! It was another great night out dancing.
adventure - Wilderness and outdoor adventure sports for summer camp girls like hiking backpacking kayaking and rock climbing.
archery - Archery camp activity for girls at Rockbrook includes instruction in equipment care, shooting technique, and scoring.
arts - Arts camp activities include ceramics, fiber arts, painting, drawing, leatherwork, needle point, beadwork, jewelry making, and crafts.
camp - Camp provides children unique personal development benefits through its programs, philosophy, traditions and history.
campers - The Campers who attend girls summer camp Rockbrook are from the southeastearn United States primarily.
children - Children attend summer camps at Rockbrook Camp for Girls in Brevard North Carolina
counselors - Counselors work teaching activities and serve as mentors for the girls at Rockbrook Summer Camp for Girls
dance - Dance, including modern tap jazz and ballet, is a fun way for girls to be active at summer camp
drama - Drama activities and producing our camp play provide creative opportunities for girls at Rockbrook.
equestrian - Equestrian activities and Equine Studies add to the Rockbrook Summer Camp horseback riding program.
games - Games at camp are fun everyday before lunch, during an activity period, or after dinner.
girls camps - Rockbrook's Overnight Girls Camps are for girls ages six through sixteen, or 1st through 10th grade.
gymnastics - Gymnastics camp activities, training, fun and sport are popular with camp girls at Rockbrook.
hiking - Hiking and backpacking in the woods are favorite outdoor activities for the many girls at Rockbrook.
horseback riding - Horseback Riding, horsemanship, and horses at summer horse riding camp for girls Rockbrook
kids - Sleepaway kids camps at Rockbrook provide fun and adventure for girls ages 6 through 16.
nature - Nature and environmental experience provides adventure and exploration for girls' imagination at summer camp
news - Updates about the latest happenings, events and surprises at Rockbrook Sleepaway Camp for Girls
North Carolina - Information about Rockbrook's North Carolina camps, regional and statewide camp features.
outdoors - Rockbrook is an outdoor summer camp for girls with activities in nearby wilderness areas, forests and woods.
rafting - Whitewater Rafting, boating and paddling local rivers at summer camp Rockbrook for girls and teens
riflery - Riflery and marksmanship activity including safety and shooting technique at Camp Rockbrook for Girls
rock climbing - Rock climbing, bouldering, traditional climbing for girls, kids, children and teens at summer camp Rockbrook.
summer camp - Summer camp for girls located in the mountains of Brevard, North Carolina
swimming - Swimming games, swimming lessons, and diverse water activity fun at girls' summer camp Rockbrook
tennis - Tennis, tennis instruction, tennis games, tennis fun sport camp activities and info for camp Rockbrook