A Pleasant Pattering

Only rarely does it rain in the morning at camp. It’s often wet feeling in the morning because the humidity combines with lower temperatures to cover things in dew and immerse us all in fog, and of course we often have thunderstorms roll through in the afternoon, but by mid-morning the sun ordinarily clears things out. Today though, we had light rain falling off and on throughout the morning until about 4pm. If you are ever curious about the weather at camp, you can check the Rockbrook Camp weather station. It’s mounted on our office, and it continuously monitors and reports current weather conditions to the Weather Underground network. Checking the stats, it looks like we received 1.13 inches of rain for the day.

climbing wall girl
girls whitewater rafting splash

Many of our activities carry on normally when it’s raining: all the crafts for example. Most of these happen outdoors on a covered porch, like painting and drawing, jewelry making, and needlecraft, while other have their own dedicated open-air spaces, like pottery and hodge podge tie-dyeing. There are more raincoats (sometimes called “dewcoats” at RBC… “my dewcoat is up in my cabin” as the song exclaims) cast about, and there’s a pleasant patter in the air, but all this craftiness hardly slows down when there’s a “heavy dew.”

The climbers headed to the gym to hop on the climbing wall. Gagaball became dodgeball in the gym, and the tennis players worked on their strokes in the dining hall playing pingpong. The horse girls could still ride thanks to the covered arena, but we will reschedule zipline rides for a few cabins, and those who couldn’t shoot archery today will get a chance another day in the session.

Six buses of campers (about 80 middlers and seniors) spent the day whitewater rafting today on the Nantahala river. We drove over to find similar weather— clouds and some drizzle, but also moments of sunshine. Rafting, as you can guess, is inherently a wet and splashy experience, so a little rain doesn’t change much. The girls had a complete blast bumping down the river, yes occasionally falling into the water (an “out of boat experience”), and exercising their talent for screaming through the rapids. Between rapids they sang, took turns “riding the bull” (sitting on the front of the boat like a hood ornament), and happily posed and waved for photos. So much fun!

Nancy Barnum Carrier at Rockbrook

We’re not sure what tipped them off, but Our State magazine, the monthly print magazine that celebrates the culture and history of North Carolina, just published a short article about Rockbrook. The article, entitled “Back in the Day: When the Circus Came to Camp,” talks about our founder Nancy Clarke Carrier, and her family relationship to P.T. Barnum, the well-known circus showman. Nancy’s mother was Barnum’s granddaughter. Being from a circus family, Nancy’s home was decorated with circus artifacts, including a famous small chair, one made especially for Charles Stratton, better known as Tom Thumb. Girls attending Rockbrook in those early years were excited to see “Tom Thumb’s chair,” and even more so to sit in it. As we celebrate Rockbrook’s 100-year birthday, it’s fun to recall this unique circus connection to the history of the camp, and throughout our sessions play with circus ideas during special events.

The community of camp is deepening with each passing day. We’re seeing the girls relax more and begin to feel more comfortable at camp, despite all the differences in their experience compared to home— no parents, no air-conditioning, and no electronic entertainment, for example. Rain or shine, we’re sharing so much, spending all of our time together, and strengthening our connections to each other and to Rockbrook along the way.

summer camp rafting

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