Kindergarten Camp

Kindergarten Children’s Camp Lodge

Rockbrook is a camp for kindergarten children too. How old are the youngest children that attend Rockbrook? That question does come up now and then, and at times the answer is surprising. If a girl has completed kindergraten, she can come to camp, assuming of course both she and her parents are ready for camp. An outgoing and social personality, an excitement for trying new activities, a growing sense of independence and self-conifidence are all helpful qualities. And with encouragment from their parents, there are always a few kindergarteners in our camp sessions. This is why the youngest campers, who we call “juniors,” can be six or even five years old. Rockbrook has a long tradition of camp activities and programs specially suited for children this young.

The stone building in the photo is the Junior Lodge, our assembly building for special Junior Line programs.

Photos of Summer Camp Friends

Here’s a set of photos taken one Sunday afternoon at camp. We were queuing up for our cabin photos and took these at the same time. They show our traditional uniforms (white shirt and shorts, plus a red tie) that we wear on Sundays and at other special events. Children becoming such good friends at camp!

Summer Games for Kids

Summer Kids Games

What is that thing?! Well, the kids at camp have named it “The Toy,” but it’s basically an aqua ropes-course, a climbing structure made of wood and rope suspended over the water on one side of the Rockbrook lake. The most popular game kids play on it is really challenging— you try to reach the farthest of 5 rings (like the girl in the photo) as you go out hand-to-hand over the water.

This is just one of the options at camp and is something you don’t have to do if you don’t want to. If swimming is more your thing, that’s fine.  Even if you don’t want to get in the water, that’s fine too.

Of course, if you don’t make it to the 5th ring, there’s a fun splash at the bottom! But if you do make it to the last ring, and only a few kids have, we announce your name in the dining hall and reward you with a special treat/prize.

Do you know what the prize is? Let us know in the comments!

Leadership Summer Camp

Kids Learning Leadership

Summer camp is one of the best places for children to learn about leadership, to explore what it means to be a good leader, and to practice the kinds of personal skills important to being a leader. Bring together kids of different ages (at Rockbrook that’s girls between 6 and 16 years old) and provide so many activities where they interact and play together, and you’ll have one event after another where leadership is central. Campers find themselves asking questions like, “How can we work together on this?” and saying things like “Let’s make a plan.” It might be for a cabin skit or preparing for a group hike, but being a good listener, cooperating, maybe compromising, being creative about individual contributions, and being confident about being part of a team are almost daily parts of camp. Particularly for our oldest campers, for example the CAs who plan the end-of-session banquet, overnight camp offers (even requires, at times) chances to develop leadership skills and serve as leaders for the younger campers.

Sure there’s lots of crazy fun going on, but we’re growing as well.

Camps in the South

South summer camp

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been making our fall travel plans, scheduling Rockbrook Camp parties all over the south. Several are set on the calendar. Chances are we’re coming to your city or some place close by, so check out the schedule here: Camp Party Schedule. If you haven’t come to one of these parties before, they’re great fun. We watch a movie and see some slides from last summer, see each other again 🙂 and meet loads of new people interested in camp for next summer. We’ll be going to more places in the winter also, so stay tuned!

Every year Rockbrook girls all across the the south get re-energized about attending camp.  These parties spark that energy in the fall and early spring, so that when summer approaches, everyone is bursting with excitement.

Kids Camp in NC

Kids at camp in North Carolina

Rockbrook is a kids camp in NC, that’s for sure, but we have so many kids that come to camp from other states far and wide. Of course, most are in the south— South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and Florida —but campers come from the midwest (e.g. Ohio!) and the northeast (Washington, DC and Brooklyn, NY for example) as well. Most campers drive to camp with their parents, so being within a day’s drive is the norm. Still, plenty of kids end up flying to camp when they live too far away to drive (like in California!). North Carolina is just a great NC location for a kids camp, even if (and especially if!) you don’t live here.

Take a look at our location page, and learn even more about this area of North Carolina.

What Summer Camps are About

Summer Camp Baskets

Here’s another interesting bit of reading about summer camps, this time from Harper’s Magazine (September 2007 issue). Rich Cohen, in “The Summer of Our Discontent: An Ode to Sleepaway Camp,” writes about his childhood experience at a camp in Wisconsin, and brings to the article a good deal of research about summer camping for kids in general. There’s lots of good stuff to be found (subscribers can read more here), but I wanted to simply pass along a summary quote.

“Life at camp was changing— the nature of the kids and counselors, the very sense of what camp should be about. In the 1800s, it was about religion; in the early 1900s, it was about preserving a spark of frontier spirit; in the mid-1900s, it was about the barracks and preparing a generation for the coming war; now it’s about preparing kids for school and work, speeding them through the meritocracy.”

Yes, “being prepared” is still a big part of camp, but at Rockbrook we want kids to be kids. So camp is a place where girls can try new things, play, and play some more, create things, explore the outdoor world, gain confidence (social, physical, etc.), and have some crazy fun. Of course, personal growth and “preparation” for being a happy, well-adjusted individual happens within this context, and under the supervision of many positive role models.

I guess we could say attending Rockbrook isn’t primarily about learning how to be a better student or employee at school or work (though that might happen in the end), but it’s about having a more rounded and complete childhood experience that serves you well later in life.

Rock Climbing Summer Camp Trip

A Summer Camp Rock Climbing Trip

After breakfast we hike up the hill in camp, just up the trail behind the dining hall, to reach Castle Rock. Locking carabiners, harnesses, helmets, rock climbing shoes, and ropes… everything in place for a day up on the rock. Put on the gear and tie into the rope with a follow-through figure eight knot. Wait for the belayer to get set and begin the commands. “On belay?” “Belay is on,” she says. “Climbing?” “Climb on,” you hear, and you’re ready to go. A left foot up and you’re off. Lean to the right. A foot switch. A little tricky spot, but you get it. This is real rock climbing! Amazing view at the top. A quick rappel and you’re down. Great job!

Will you dance with me??

Dance at Summer Camp

It was lunch time when the girls got the announcement. The dining hall was completely filled with excited screams and a little bit of nervous laughter. Tonight was the dance. All the girls wanted to shower and get freshened up for those Camp Carolina boys, but unfortunately, due to the massive amount of rain and mud that afternoon… cleaning up was a little harder than most would’ve liked.

The boys arrived soon after dinner, and the dance was on its way. The thing I love about the dance is it’s not even about dancing with the boys, it’s about dancing with your campers. I know it was a great bonding experience for me and my girls. I mean, what bonds you better than dancing crazy to some Backstreet Boys and totally being silly!? I was dancing with one of my campers and later that night she told me that dance had been her favorite because I was the one dancing with her!

Camp Trick or Treat!?

Summer Camp Halloween Party

Walking into the dining hall, you couldn’t help but to look at every girl that passed by. It was Halloween night and we were all dressed up in our costumes. Pirates, cheerleaders, cowboys, and tourists filled each table. The Senior line put on a little after-dinner haunted house for all of us to participate in. Waiting in line, you could see all the girls were excited and anxious to get inside of the haunted house, and by the time they got through and out, you knew the wait was more than worthwhile. The seniors did a great job at making it fun and scary for all the girls, even the young juniors.