The excitement around here exploded today as we welcomed our June Mini Session campers to Rockbrook. Ninety Four girls, about half of who are new to camp, joined the full session girls who arrived last week bringing the camp to completely full. After a few stops to see the medical team (pediatrician, nurses, and “head check” specialists) and office folks, and after taking some time to peruse the latest RBC gear, the new girls and their counselors could begin moving into their cabins. “Top bunk or bottom bunk?” and “Where should I keep my trunk?” are the most immediate questions to answer, but it doesn’t take long to make beds, arrange a stuffed animal or two, or maybe hang a small photo or poster to make these old (many almost 100 year-old) cabins feel cozy. Meeting your new cabin mates is another fun part of this process. It feels so good to have everyone here at last. Now the dining hall will be extra loud when everyone is singing, the activity classes will include more friends to talk with, the free swim periods (one before lunch and another before dinner) at the lake will be more of an event.
A little after noon, everyone gathered on the grassy hill at the center of camp, and under the shade of the big walnut tree heard Sarah, the other directors and the Line Heads (counselors in charge of each age group) introduce themselves and announce the plans for the rest of the day. The Hi-Up campers (10th graders) led everyone in several songs, and then we gathered into groups to take State photographs. It was fun to see that Florida and Georgia were the two largest groups, the there were girls and counselors representing many other states, like Massachusetts, Colorado and even California. Lunch was fantastic. Rick had for us, his homemade barbeque chicken (or tempeh), a cheese grits casserole, and fresh steamed broccoli, as well as our deluxe salad bars which he stocked with other vegetables, fruits and sandwhich spreads. This was true comfort food, perfect for our first full meal together. And, it was devoured!
A brief note about technology at camp… As you know, we strive to teach our campers the value of slowing down a little, reconnecting to the natural world and to the people around us. We believe that “unplugging,” taking a break from the flicker of television, phone, and computer screens, really helps girls get more out of camp. This can be a little difficult at first, especially it seems for the teenagers (I once saw a camper actually kiss her iPhone as she said “goodbye” to it on opening day.) but it only takes a day or two of camp life, of experiencing the satisfying feeling of it, to realize that fully engaging the world is so much better than the virtual abstractions technology offers. That’s a great lesson.
We were fortunate to be able to hold our swimming demonstrations for the new campers after lunch and before the weather turned on us. There were only a couple of cabins who couldn’t squeeze in their demos before the rain, and we’ll take care of theirs tomorrow. We also were able to have our afternoon scavenger hunt that sent the girls all over the camp to visit a dozen or so activity areas and to meet the instructors. There were skits and games to perform at each station, and at some, snacks like fruit and goldfish kept everyone energized. This was all in preparation for the girls signing up for their first set of scheduled activities later in the evening, and for tomorrow’s action.
Keep those cards, letters and emails coming! We love mail at camp!
This is my seven year old daughter Gabriella’s first time away at camp. I was amazed at the warm welcome she received from everyone at the camp. She happily fit in instantly and waved me goodbye as if it was just any other day, not a ten day stay away from mom. I love the fact that I can check in daily to see the hundreds of pictures posted of the kids and I beamed when I saw my precious Gabriella gleefully cheering at the lake and making pottery. Thank you Rockbrook for making camp not only a magical experience for the girls, but for the parents as well. We will be back for many years to come!
Warmly, Lori J