A Potent Mix

“Looking forward to camp” doesn’t quite describe it. Even “excited for camp” is not enough to convey the feelings we saw bubbling up from the campers arriving at Rockbrook this morning. As we opened our second session of camp and the cars rolled in one by one, it was fascinating to see campers literally buzzing with a potent mix of nervous energy and ready eagerness, like tightly wound coils about to spring. Their anticipation for this day, the day when they would finally begin their time at camp, was more than obvious.

All morning, the counselors were over-the-top excited too. Each arriving car prompted another cheer from the crowd because they knew it meant they would be meeting another camper and welcoming them to camp. They presented fresh woodchip nametags to new and old friends who would be cabin mates over the next few weeks. After being away from each other for a whole year, the hugs between reunited camp friends made everyone smile. Cabin groups formed quickly and they scurried off to begin setting up their bunks, arranging trunks, and learning each other’s names. The checkin process for opening the session was unfolding smoothly, and with the beautiful sunny weather, it was upbeat and fun.

summer girls camp assembly

By noon everyone had arrived (well, except for a few that would be arriving by plane in the afternoon). To start things off, we gathered in the grass under the big walnut tree on the hill for an assembly. This spot has a nice view of the mountains in the distance and the driveway forms a stage of sorts. Sarah led the affair by welcoming everyone to camp, alerting us to a few safety guidelines, and introducing to the campers several people, folks like the head counselors for each line (age group), directors and assistant directors. Of course, we also sang a few camp pep songs to mix things up.

Sarah also spent a little time telling everyone about Rockbrook’s lightning alert system, letting everyone know that when they hear the alarm, they should go inside, come out of the lake, off the tennis courts, etc. This is a sophisticated technology that continuously monitors the area for lightning, and sounds an alarm when it’s nearby. The system also sends an “all clear” signal when it’s safe to go back outside. Then coincidentally, just after we went to lunch, an approaching thunderstorm set off the alarm! We were already enjoying our lunch of homemade mac-n-cheese, peas and fruit, so we just extended lunch a bit until the storm passed. These summer afternoon thunderstorms are fairly common in our area, but with this system we can stay safe and be ready to launch back into action when they pass. By the way, you can monitor the weather at camp anytime by finding our Rockbrook weather station on weather underground. It shows historical data, current conditions, and the forecast for camp.

We spent the afternoon introducing everyone to the Rockbrook lake. Dressed and ready in their swimsuits, the three age groups (Juniors, Middlers, and Seniors) rotated down to the lake to hear from the lifeguards about how the swim tag system works, when the lake is open for free swim, and how to enjoy the different parts of the lake, like the water slide, the lap swimming area, and the diving board. We also asked everyone to demonstrate their swimming ability by jumping in from the dock, swimming out a distance, back to the ladders using a backstroke, and then tread water for a minute. Being able to do all this with confidence earns the campers a blue wrist band and full access to the lake. There are two other categories that involve some restrictions to keep the swimmers safe (for example, staying in the more shallow areas), but everyone can come to the lake and cool off, no matter what their swimming confidence.

The rest of the day we focused on learning about the activities available at camp this session, and having the girls sign up for their first set of four activities. Brittany, the riding Director, had already scheduled all the riding lessons (a little more than 90 girls will be riding this session!), so the task was to select activities for each of remaining spots. The counselors performed skits and songs letting everyone know about the many craft, sports, and adventure options to choose from. It’s fun for the girls to hear the options and then plan what they would like to take.

It’s been a wonderful opening day. It’s absolutely clear that your girls are ready for camp. Yes, they’re excited, and so are we!

happy summer camp girls


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  1. Avatar for Harper Honan
    Harper Honan
    3 weeks ago

    I love this so much! Can’t wait to read this blog every day again. You write it so well, and it always leaves me in tears of joy for these girls.

  2. Avatar for Jeff Carter
    Jeff Carter
    3 weeks ago

    Thanks Harper. Camp is great and it’s fun to share bits of it in these posts. I’m glad you’re enjoying them!

  3. Avatar for Amy Dickson
    Amy Dickson
    3 weeks ago

    First day – wow- taking my sweet girl brought back so many memories….but reading about the day here really takes me there! I’ll never forget my first swim. I was a swim team medalist (from the SC coast) and thought this will be easy! I dove in the lake for my “test” and my body actually went into a bit of a shock. The water was so cold to me (I was used to 75 degree or more!!) I couldn’t move for a few seconds. It seemed like minutes but it was a flash and then I popped up out of the water sputtering like a….well not sure but something surprised 🙂 and I swam as best I could across and back with a new and healthy respect for temperature!!
    Today I am thankful for the adventures ahead and beautiful tradition that continues from dedication to excellence and authenticity for girls.

  4. Avatar for Jeff Carter
    Jeff Carter
    3 weeks ago

    Hi Amy. That same reaction to the “refreshing” Rockbrook lake still happens today. We love that too!