Bandits and Dancing

Saturday at camp is mostly a day of regular activities. “Regular” means a schedule of two periods that meet in the morning and two in the afternoon. These are the time slots when the girls rotate through the different activity options available around camp. Woven between these slots are blocks of free time when a game of tetherball, or reading your book, or taking a shower is what feels right. Two of these free time blocks are “Free Swim” periods when the lake is open, giving girls a daily opportunity to cool off even if they did not take swimming as one of their activities.

summer camp square dance
summer camp line dance

After dinner on Saturdays, we always plan a special event. We usually keep it a surprise, and like all great camp gatherings, we integrate a theme that inspires a genre of costumes.

Tonight it was two-part event. The first for an all camp scavenger hunt, where the girls roamed about the camp in their cabin groups looking for gold coins. This “Gold Rush” was challenging! The coins were carefully hidden, sometimes under bushes, behind trees, and even in the creek. Also hidden has a special “Golden Nugget” that if found was worth a unique prize itself.

Also roaming about were counselors who acted as “Bandits” intent on stealing the gold a cabin group had gathered. The bandit would approach a group and demand its gold. The group could keep its gold if it could answer a riddle or sing a particular song that the bandit named. “What’s the 14th word of ‘Oh I was born’?” (“toot” is the answer.) Or an easier one, “What’s the first name of the woman who founded Rockbrook?” (“Nancy”). Avoiding the bandits and finding as much gold as possible— that was the game. The prize for the most gold and finding the golden nugget was a trip to Dolly’s later in the session.

The second part of the event was a “Hootin’ and Hollerin’ Square Dance” held down on the Rockbrook House lawn. This large, flat, grassy area is perfect of a large group dance. The girls had a great time learning a few moves like a do-so-do, the Virginia slide, and version of the Boot Scootin’ Boogie.

camp summer dancing fun

The girls came dressed for a county dance with lots of denim, flannel shirts, bandannas and boots. We saw a few pigtails and western hats too.

The Hi-Ups enjoyed leading the dances, picking out the music to be played, and setting the silly, fun tone of the whole event. A highlight was the huge line of girls, hand-in-hand, “winding the clock,” spiraling inward toward the center of circle.

Outdoor dancing with your friends on a warm summer evening. Clapping along to the music, smiling and laughing at the awkwardness of it all. Suddenly feeling free to let go a little… what could be better? And what a great example of the joy camp inspires.


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