When the 9th graders arrived at camp, they knew their task would be challenging, but they didn’t really know the details of how COVID-19 precautions would affect their Banquet. “Banquet” refers to the all-camp party we hold at the end of the three main sessions. It’s a long tradition at Rockbrook for the “CAs” (9th grade girls) to plan and present this party for the rest of the camp, but also to select a secret theme for the decorations, costumes, skits, dance numbers, music and food. The girls pick their theme and work throughout their session painting decorations, gathering costume materials, and practicing skits and choreography. For the whole camp, anticipation and excitement builds for the banquet.
So what was the banquet theme this session? It was titled, “It’s Da Rewind” (with the ‘D’ stylized like the first letter of the Disney logo) and was a multi-location presentation of Disney characters and stories loosely grouped into “classic” Disney, “modern” Disney, and “Disney Channel” topics. Having three topics came about because we wanted to keep the different age groups in camp (the Junior, Middler and Senior lines) separate, yet still give them each a banquet experience. The CAs devised a plan to have the lines rotate from one location to the next with each location having a “mini-theme.” And what a great plan it was! A banquet first!
One location was the Hillside Lodge where the campers met some modern Disney characters like Flynn Ryder from Tangled, Ana from Frozen, and Maleficent. This stop had the campers playing games: Disney trivia, corn hole, and a ball toss game. With music from the movies playing, the costumed characters helped each cabin take turns playing the games.
The other new location for the banquet was the gym, where Disney TV characters Troy Bolton, Sharpay Evans, and Hannah Montana were waiting to perform. The girls know and love the songs from these popular TV shows, so this fun dance show quickly turned into a sing along dance party. Dancing to favorite songs is always a big part of Banquet, so the campers were ready to party, making this great fun.
The third location was the dining hall where we met classic Disney characters Snow White, Peter Pan, and Beauty and the Beast. There was a short skit and a choreographed dance for all the characters. The food was served here too: “Troy Bolton’s Fav Mozzarella sticks,” “Peter’s Pan Pizza,” “Timon and Pumbaa’s Fruit grub,” “Ariel’s Kelp salad,” and “Poison Apple tarts” for dessert. Plus, like all banquets the tables were decorated with stickers, confetti, and of course candy. Painted paper panels, streamers, balloons and fairy lights helped make the whole setting festive and more fun.
After all the groups had rotated through all three locations, everyone came together outside on the hill for more dance songs and celebrating. This is also where the CA campers sang a song to their counselors, and afterwards the counselors to their campers. Similarly the Hi-Ups and their counselors sang their songs. This is another banquet tradition where these now tight groups express their gratitude and affection for each other. It was a sweet moment for all of us to witness, as the girls laughed and cried at different points in the songs, jumping up at the end to share hugs.
Overall the banquet proved that these girls can be creative under any conditions, adapt to new circumstances, and have a great time working with each other. Their dedication, pep and energy created a memorable celebration for everyone at camp. The first session banquet was a huge success!