It’s always exciting to start a new session of camp, exciting for the staff at Rockbrook and of course very exciting for the girls arriving. This summer, after skipping a year of camp and enduring the social restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, you can imagine this would be even more so. In addition, today we opened our longest, 4-week session which is chock full of the most enthusiastic campers, many of whom have been coming to Rockbrook for years. It’s true; all morning as we checked girls into camp, we saw a blazing excitement to get started with camp, smiling faces of gratitude from parents, and scores of fidgety eager girls. After all, we’ve been waiting a long time for this day, for camp to bring us together, to get us outside and playing, to let us be real again. It’s just exciting!
Our check-in procedure went well overall, despite a bottleneck later in the morning when the seniors began arriving. Thank you for your patience if you had to wait in line longer than you expected. And thank you for following our pre-camp precautions— all the forms, quarantining, and testing —all important. Our nurses were impressed by how organized and prepared everyone was with their medications. Here too, everyone seemed ready for camp.
Settling into the cabins turned into a fun group project. Along with the counselors, the girls helped each other make their beds, arrange their trunks in the cabin and add extra touches like “fairy lights,” pillows and stuffed animals to make their new home a little more cozy. The girls start to get to know each other through this simple activity, and as they sit down for their “cabin meeting,” they already have ideas about how they will work together throughout the session. These cabin groups will be eating their meals together and taking their scheduled activities together, so the feel of the group is important to establish well. The counselors understand this and do a great job facilitating the discussion.
At lunch, we launched right into our new seating arrangement that takes advantage of our two new porches. To help maintain some distance between cabin groups while eating, and to increase the amount of outdoor eating areas, this spring we doubled the size of our dining hall porch and extended the gable-end porch of the Hillside Lodge, which is one of the historic stone activity meeting lodges in camp. We effectively doubled our dining space at camp! Both of these new porches are really nice places to eat too. As you look out, they feel like you are high in the nearby trees, breezy and cooler. “Treetop Dining,” we call it. For lunch, Rick and his kitchen crew served us a classic meal of camp comfort food, his homemade mac-n-cheese, steamed broccoli, and freshly cut watermelon slices. The girls loved this warm cheesy dish making a second helping completely natural.
Warm sunny weather in the afternoon made our “swim demos” a welcome opportunity to cool off. We ask all of the girls to demonstrate their swimming ability to our team of lifeguards so we know where in the lake (shallow end vs. the deep end!) they can safely swim. No matter what their ability, we have a way for the girls to enjoy the lake at camp. Everyone gets a buddy tag! Our mountain stream-fed lake is always surprisingly chilly, and can be shocking even for confident swimmers who are used to warmer water. But with some getting used to the “refreshing” water, most girls do well after a few trips to the lake. Everyday, except Sunday when there are special events happening, there are two “free swim” times, when girls can take a dip in the lake if they like.
Tomorrow we’ll get to apply all this enthusiasm and excitement as the girls fill their day with camp activities. We’ll be shooting arrows, climbing rocks, and riding horses right after breakfast. There’ll be action everywhere. Be sure to visit the online photo gallery, which is available after you login to your parent account. Each day, we’ll post photos of what’s happening at camp. While we can’t promise we’ll get a shot of every girl everyday, we’ll do our best to give you a sense of life at camp. Just as it’s a joy for these girls to be here, it’s a real treat to peak into this world from the outside. I hope you are looking forward to it!