Today was another big busy day at Rockbrook as the campers began their second set of activity choices, trips went out of camp in several directions, and we enjoyed all-camp special events. Down in the Lakeview Lodge, which this session is the meeting lodge for the Middlers, the dance classes were swinging. All three of our historic (built in the 20s) stone lodges have wooden floors, a big fireplace, and windows wrapping around, and the Lakeview Lodge has mirrors on the wall of one end making it a really cool dance studio. The dance classes always have several things going on, usually a new move or dance step to learn, a group choreographed dance to work on, and a silly game like “Freeze Dance” to keep things lighthearted. It’s a good balance of action, coordination, concentration, musical rhythm and goofball fun, and the girls really enjoy it.
We’ve been having lots of families visiting camp this week, having guided tours, in anticipation of next summer (already!). We always encourage new families and their girls who are interested in Rockbrook to visit camp, and for some reason this has been a big week for that. Getting a firsthand sense of the place— just how friendly and relaxed the people are here, for example —is a welcome spot of reassurance that may not come through from just reading our catalog. It’s so great to meet these new families and to hear their stories about how they’ve found out about RBC.
In gymnastics, Elaine our head instructor is working with the girls and teaching them a few moves on the mini trampoline. She sets up the tramp at the end of the carpeted runway and positions landing pads all around. Then, with a couple of counselors spotting, the girls run down, plant both feet firmly on the tramp and jump up and onto the landing pads. Starting off with a good solid jump, they can advance to doing tucks, splits, pikes and even flips in the air. Over on the Alpine, they’re doing a different sort of trick— climbing blindfolded! It’s one of the new challenges over there; after climbing all 50 feet of the tower, up one of the many different routes, the girls can elect to climb again without being able to see. They get plenty of help from their friends on the ground shouting out instructions (“A little higher with your left foot!”), so they do quite well, sometimes climbing even more confidently than without a blindfold.
Clyde and Kelsey signed up a group of girls to go whitewater kayaking on the Tuckaseegee River all day. This is an intermediate river suitable for kayakers who are comfortable in their boats and who have previous whitewater experience. It has several excellent rapids and offers great opportunities to practice catching eddies and ferrying. It is a dam control river, and the water was up nicely, making it a fantastic trip. By the way, “Tuckaseegee” is a Cherokee word meaning “place or river of the turtle,” and sure enough, we just about always see turtles in the river over there.
For our evening program tonight, our friend Gary Greene, who is a wonderful storyteller, singer and musician, came over for an all-camp campfire. He brought his guitar to teach us a few songs, and of course presented several stories for us to enjoy. He’s really talented and quick to involve the campers in his performance, animating different parts of the poem “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, for example. This was also a chance for some of the counselors to get in on the act. Grace and Gracie transformed themselves into gypsies, acting as occasional story and joke tellers throughout the evening. They had all of us cracking up with their flamboyant accents and witty vignettes.
One last thing… If you haven’t heard the news about Malia Obama, the President’s daughter, attending summer camp, here is an article discussing it. It’s a very nice article, well worth reading, because it affirms the benefits of camp for all children.