Walking around camp, you can’t help but notice how busy —the enthusiastic kind of busy— everyone seems to be these days. All kinds of craft projects, for example, are taking shape: tie dye T-shirts unfolding to reveal their colorful patterns, woven mats unrolling off the looms in Curosty, glaze being carefully painted on ceramics pieces, and new bracelets showing up in campers’ mailboxes as surprise gifts from a “secret buddy.” There’s lots of physical activity too: tennis serves and volleys, archery and riflery targets with plenty of new holes, sweat- (and laughter-) inducing games of dodge ball in the gym, and impressive gymnastics exercises that require some real strength. With all this cool Nature around us, we’re ready for outdoor adventure also, with girls climbing the Alpine Tower and Castle Rock, canoeing and kayaking in the lake, and practicing their fire building techniques in the WHOA (Wilderness Hiking and Outdoor Adventure) activity.
Each morning after the first activity period, we all pause for a “muffin break.” It’s almost a race to swing by the dining hall and pick up one of Alison’s freshly baked muffins, and it’s definitely a topic of conversation to find out what flavor she’s made on a particular day. It could be something classic, like “poppy seed,” or something original like “chocolate chip sprinkle.” Today we had “pumpkin spice.” It’s neat to see girls just grab a warm muffin and chomp right down on it, no matter what the flavor. They might not have selected it by name, like from a menu, but at camp, they just dig right in and would probably be surprised to know they’ve eaten and enjoyed something with pumpkin in it!
Speaking of food, the kitchen has been getting quite a few thank you notes recently. Campers and counselors alike are feeling compelled to express their love for the food Rick and his crew are serving us. It takes a lot of work to produce homemade meals for 300 people. Imagine hand dipping sliced green tomatoes to fry for the lunch sandwiches, or kneading by hand 35 pounds of flour and butter to make the biscuits this morning, or preparing 200 pounds of barbecue chicken. Rick also makes an extra effort to stock local fruits and vegetables: this week serving corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, blueberries, bell peppers and peaches. The knowledge and care he brings to the food really comes through and everyone at camp benefits. So yes, we’re busy (again, in the best sense of the word) around here, and we eat really, really well!
Today I think we set a new record for bringing campers to Sliding Rock. We started with a small group of about 25 mini session Seniors and their counselors by packing a picnic lunch and heading into the forest around noon. In the bright sunshine and over the roar of the falling water, the girls had a great time screaming their heads off sliding down the chilly ride. Later, around 5:30pm, we loaded up all of Rockbrook’s Middlers, which turned out to be a huge group of 95 people once we got all of the counselors and lifeguards in the equation! We headed straight for the Rock, and fortunately found it mostly deserted so we could all slide plenty of times. Many of these Middlers had never been to Sliding Rock before making this an even bigger treat for them. An hour or so later, we gathered everyone again and drove to our favorite picnic area in the forest, a special spot ideal for large groups. The girls were probably most excited about our last stop, however: Dolly’s Dairy Bar. “This is the best place in the world!” one camper yelled as we pulled into the parking lot. It certainly is the only place where you can order a cone of “Rockbrook Chocolate Illusion,” which might be a little over the top, in all its chocolate glory (but probably not!). Combine this many girls with this much ice cream and you’ve got a grand time. I have to say it was a little late, and definitely dark by the time we arrived back at camp, but I didn’t hear a single complaint or even comment about that.