The Breadth and Depth of Camp

Camp girls exploring a waterfallIn yesterday’s post I was struck by the abundance of activity at camp, the simple fact that a sleepaway summer camp like this has so many things occurring simultaneously. We saw that there is zipping and stretching, riding and shooting, jumping and flipping, knot tying and plenty of decorating. And of course these are just some of the clear examples that stand out from the more day-to-day routines of camp life. Think of all the conversations, the songs being sung, the meals prepared and enjoyed… all the materials and supplies. Throughout the day, we are all trucking up and down the hills of Rockbrook, negotiating the rocks and roots that define each path through the woods. There are trips to the cabin to change for Free Swim, down to the gym for a game of Ga-Ga, and up from the lower pottery studio. We have the rush of falling water all around us, the cheers of excited groups of girls, and the regular tone of our 100-year-old bell marking the change of activity periods. Also most days, girls are leaving camp on trips for kayaking one of the local rivers, for hiking in the Pisgah National Forest or the nearby Dupont State Forest (like High Falls in the photo above). From the earliest moment of the day to the last giggle at night before drifting off to sleep, there is a true breadth of experience at camp. It’s an incredibly rich life we lead at Rockbrook.

Girls having fresh muffinsBut anchoring that breadth is a more fundamental dimension of experience, a depth that makes all the daily action of camp more meaningful.

The depth of camp experience rests firmly on the positive relationships we enjoy among all the members of this tight-knit community. There is a collective spirit here that inspires everyone to be kind, generous and compassionate, to respect and care for each other. It’s an ethos defining our culture and community, a basic attitude— Sarah calls it a “sweetness” —that leads naturally to encouragement and support for those around us. That’s the depth of camp. That’s the “Spirit of Rockbrook” that makes everything we do better.

I saw a wonderful example of this spirit at work tonight when we took our Mini Session Middlers and Seniors on a trip to Sliding Rock. We first hauled everyone up into the Forest for a picnic of hotdogs, Rick’s homemade cole slaw, chips and peaches. Then after each cabin group and their counselors finished eating, we held a massive game of elbow tag in a grassy field. As they raced from pair to pair, the “cat” chasing the “mouse,” the girls were so supportive, cheering and clapping for each other. It was a game completely free of criticism and competition, played simply for the fun of it. Some runners were faster and others slower. There was plenty of silly confusion, but what mattered was how much fun everyone was having together.

Girls grinning on sliding rockThen at Sliding Rock, the girls did it again. Filled with excitement, they took turns stepping into the chilly mountain water and sliding in pairs or threes down the rock. Almost instinctively they held hands to support each other during the wild, squeal-inducing ride. Each trip evoked laughter and encouragement from the other girls watching, making the whole experience really great, and proving once again how much they enjoy doing things together.  You can’t help but be proud of these girls! Be sure to check out the photo gallery of this event. There are several really great shots.

Girls Grimacing on Sliding Rock

We topped off the whole evening with a stop at Dolly’s Dairy Bar so everyone could enjoy a cup or cone of their wonderful ice cream. Cold rushing water and a frozen sweet treat on summer night; that’s pretty good stuff. But together with all these wonderful friends, it’s the best.

Camp Kids eating Ice Cream at Dolly's Dairy Bar

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