Being Outside

Parents reunite with camp girl
Camper hugs girl to say goodbye from camp

This is one of the toughest days of the whole summer. It’s the morning when we have to say goodbye to the campers enrolled in the First July Mini Session, while the Full Session girls stay at camp for another 2 weeks. It’s tough because we’ve grown so close, the girls seeing each other everyday, signing up for activities together, watching each other’s skits in Evening Program, and simply loving camp life like a big family. In these short two weeks the tiniest 6-year-old juniors have gotten to know the tallest 16-year-old Hi-Ups. We’ll miss these friends and wish they could stay and play. It’s a strange feeling to say goodbye and stay behind. It just doesn’t seem fair because it feels like everyone should be staying. At the same time, this is a happy day for the Mini Session girls’ “real” families because they can finally be reunited after being away. It was so sweet to see the joyful tears as moms and dads embraced their daughters. In some cases, the family dog seemed just as excited as the camper to see each other!

Camp girls rock climbing multi-pitch route

Earlier this morning, perhaps an hour before everyone else arrived for breakfast, a group of girls, led by Andy and Rita, left for a day-long rock climbing trip to a cliff called “Stone Depot” located near Cedar Rock in the Pisgah Forest. They left early because the hike in takes about 40 minutes, and also because they wanted the best odds for missing an afternoon thunderstorm we expected. This was particularly important because this group was planning a “multi-pitch” route. This means climbing the entire party up partway, and then continuing like that in stages, one “pitch” at a time, from ledge to ledge. It’s an advanced technique that takes the climbers much higher up the rock, and naturally for an even more spectacular view of the surrounding mountains. Multi-pitch climbing can take much more time also, especially with a group of people climbing, making it even more important to get an early start. Fortunately, the weather cooperated beautifully and the girls came bounding back to camp with stories of an awesome day being outside on the rock. “You should have seen the view!”

Painting Class Girl at Summer Camp

There are many opportunities to be “crafty” at Rockbrook, from making duct tape purses to decorating headbands with deflated balloons and so on, but the campers can also can improve their more “artistic” talents as well. Here is a good example, our painting and drawing class where the girls work with pencils, pens and charcoal on paper, or perhaps water colors or tempera paints. Today the group met for a water color class outside under the shade of a white oak tree. They first used pencils lightly outlining forms in their composition and then mixed paints with water to make different shades. Part of the fun when painting with water colors is the different washing, blending, and brush techniques that can be combined.  At camp, there’s the added fun of painting outside. The rich organic environment of Rockbrook can provide an almost endless array of subjects to paint. Combine that with the feeling of being outside— the breeze! —and both the process (the painting) and the end result (also, the painting!) will be so much better.

Speaking of being outside, I wanted finally to pass along another article that caught our eye (thanks Leland!). It’s by Angela Hanscom and is entitled, “Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today.” The short article (link) uses mostly anecdotal evidence to link the increase in ADHD diagnoses to the decline of kids’ physical activity outdoors. It’s an intriguing theory, one that may help explain at least one of the reasons camp is so great for kids. It might be another reason to “Play more, Sit less.”

Outdoor Lake Canoeing

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