On a day like this, it takes about one minute around here for signs of camp to appear. Today was the opening day of our Third and August Mini sessions, a day when we welcomed a new group of girls to Rockbrook. For some of these girls, this was the first time they had ever seen the camp in person. They may have studied our website and watched a few of the videos there, but they had not yet experienced camp life. Others were returning to camp, eager to see camp friends and relive what they love about Rockbrook. For everyone this was the start, the day they’d been anticipating for months.
It may have been the start, but from the very first moment we had smiling girls, excited counselors, and easy friendships forming. Out of every arriving car stepped a camper itching to get started. There was also some jitteriness, but that too seemed par for something this new and exciting. Right away campers were meeting other girls, greeting their counselor, and learning the names of everyone. In some cases friends would recognize each other and run toward each other screaming with delight ready for a long awaited reunion hug.
Immediately, girls were playing games and joining others on the hill to take a turn smacking the tetherball. They were unfolding their crazy creek chairs, side by side, to have a conversation. They were gathering their things and, together with their bunkmates, tackling the task of making their beds, stringing fairy lights, and arranging everyone’s trunks in their cabins. The girls were wearing their wood-chip nametags and their Rockbrook t-shirts. They were already walking with a buddy, sometimes holding hands, confidently making their way around. In their first moments at camp, these girls were off!
Right before lunch, the whole camp assembled in the shade of the big walnut tree on the hill for a few songs and introductions. All the directors said hello, as well as the group of 10th grade Hi-Ups. Even Felix, the camp dog, made an appearance, happily the focus of many petting hands.
Somehow it’s become a tradition of sorts to serve Rick’s homemade mac-n-cheese for lunch on opening days. It’s probably because it’s such good comfort food and the girls love it. It’s got three or four different kinds of cheese and a crunchy breadcrumb topping that makes it delicious. Sautéed fresh vegetables and cut juicy watermelon rounded out the meal.
Camp tours came next with every cabin group eventually making it down to the lake for our “swimming demonstrations.” This is a chance to learn about the waterfront area, our tag system and all the opportunities to swim each day at camp. Each girl took turns jumping off the dock, swimming and treading water to demonstrate how comfortable she is in the chilly mountain water. With the lifeguards in the water for encouragement, most everyone did well and received a blue tag for the tag board.
Later this afternoon, the counselors took turns performing brief skits as a way to advertise the different activity options to the campers. Using costumes, songs, and dances, and they gave the campers a chance to learn about the activities and to see who will be teaching. It will be helpful for the campers to know this when they select their first schedule of activities later this evening.
It’s been a beautiful day to get the session started. Camp life is appearing all around, and with the start of activities tomorrow, we’ll see it truly blossom. I can already tell these girls are going to jump right in.