“I am so ready to bust out of this car!” That’s the way one girl put it when she arrived at camp this morning. “She’s been talking about Rockbrook non-stop for the last week,” one parent explained. And, “She woke up at 4am this morning,” said another. It’s true; some strikingly pent up excitement arrived (and was released!) at camp today as 155 campers opened our third session. Every session has excited campers arriving, but this seemed extraordinary. Perhaps, it’s because these girls have been waiting most of the summer for this moment, or they’ve been following along on the web site, or they simply know how much fun they’re about to have. Whatever the reason, these third session girls are pumped! All morning as everyone arrived, we heard squeals of camp friends reuniting, enthusiastic cheers from counselors greeting their campers, and maybe a few grunts as heavy trunks were hauled up the hill and down the lines to the cabins. The whole morning was a hustle and bustle with campers and their families moving in, girls playing group games in the Hillside Lodge, groups taking hikes to Rockbrook Falls, and new cabin mates making friendship bracelets together on the hill. All this excitement and all this action made the morning really fun and festive.
Rick and his fantastic kitchen crew settled us down a bit with a yummy lunch of his homemade macaroni and cheese, steamed green beans, and fresh fruit salad… comfort food for the first meal. At the beginning of the meal, Sarah took a minute to explain where to find the vegetarian, gluten- and dairy-free options, the peanut butter and jelly station, cartons of milk to drink, and the two salad bars. During the meal, it took about 5 minutes for a song to break out, the first of many that will erupt at every meal in the dining hall. With all the camp songs being sung around here, it’s no surprise that girls will find themselves singing them at other times throughout the year. They’ll be eating lunch at school and suddenly have an urge to yell out “Rockbrook request! The Coconut Song!”
With bright sun shining overhead, we broke into age groups for the afternoon rotating between camp tours of the different activity areas, cabin and line meetings, and swimming demonstrations. We ask everyone at camp who wants to swim (or go whitewater rafting, canoeing or kayaking) to demonstrate their ability in our lake. It is a mountain-stream-fed lake which, very different from a warm, clear swimming pool, is quite cold and often a little intimidating for young girls used to shallow water. Consequently, it can be a shock to jump in, swim out 50 feet, back another 50 feet using a back stroke, and tread water for 1 full minute, as our demonstration/test requires. For even experienced swimmers, it takes a solid effort to overcome the cold without a struggle. Still, you would be proud of your girls for they all did very well, with only 3 needing to retake the test later. If someone struggles to complete the full swimming demonstration, we still encourage her to come and enjoy the lake, but we require that she wear a life vest and stay in the shallow area. To keep everyone safe at the waterfront, our American Camp Association accreditation requires these kinds of proven protocols.
Later in the afternoon, the whole camp assembled in the gym to learn more about the different activities offered this session by enjoying a program of skits performed by the activity instructors. This is a chance for the campers to meet the different instructors and hear more about what goes on at strange sounding activities like the “Alpine Tower, “Curosty,” “WHOA,” for example (Climbing, Fiber Arts, and Adventure/hiking). For the counselors, it’s a chance to dress up, maybe sing and dance a little, and show everyone what fun it is just to be at camp. In addition to these skits, we sang activity songs, line (age group) songs, and did a whole lot of cheering to make this a fun hour.
We’re just getting started. The bustle is just beginning, but I can already tell we’ve got excellent counselors and super excited campers ready to make this a great session. Stay tuned!