Stopping into the Curosty cabin, the home of the many fiber arts activities at Rockbrook, is always fascinating. First, it feels like you are stepping back in time because the cabin itself is from the late 19th century with it’s stone fireplace, thick hewn logs, pine floor, simple pane windows, and covered back porch. It’s also buzzing with activity, as girls sit at the center table weaving with strips of cloth, all kinds of threads, colorful yarns, flexible cane and other grassy fibers. Under the direction of master weaver Nancy MacDonald, the girls have been spending loads of time working the tabletop and floor looms, just as young weavers have done in the Curosty cabin throughout Rockbrook’s history. Lately, I’ve seen the girls finish some amazing belts, placemats, potholders, and purses. One particularly cool project has been the many rocking chair seat pads the girls have been weaving from old t-shirt materials. Now all the red rocking chairs on the lodge porches (probably 15 chairs in all) have colorful padded seats. They make a great addition, especially since they were woven by the campers.
Down at the rifle range the campers are burning through the ammunition and pounding through their targets. At camp we shoot short .22 caliber rimfire bullets in bolt-action, single-shot rifles. We have many different sized guns, each with a unique name. Just for fun, there’s Guidenstern, Annie Oakley, Draco Malfoy, Big Daddy, Bad Momma, and Spell. With their paper targets hung 25 meters (about 27 yards) away, the girls shoot in a prone position trying to be both accurate and precise with all 5 of their bullets. Ear and eye protection is a must as they shoot. A bullseye is worth 10 points, and I’ve been told that we are consistently seeing girls with scores near and above 30. That’s really good! It may be especially hard to beat the Rockbrook Riflery team this session.
Playing gaga ball takes a different form of concentration than what weaving or shooting a gun requires. Gaga ball is a type of dodgeball where the goal is to leap out of the way (dodge!) as a soft ball is being hit about inside an octagonal-shaped court. Any number of kids can play —we’ve started games with easily 20 girls in the court—, but if the ball hits your foot or leg then you are out, and play continues until only one person is left. The best players concentrate on hitting the ball fast and low toward the walls of the court while at the same time being quick enough to jump out of the way if the ball bounces wildly toward them. The girls play gaga ball as part of the sports and games activity, but there’s usually a pickup game happening during the free swim or twilight periods as well. Gaga is fast-paced and exciting to both watch and play. It’s no wonder there are girls this session that are obsessed with playing it!
This last photo is of a special activity we offered this afternoon as part of our “Winter Wonderland” theme of the day. We decorated the dining hall with ice and snow props, sang winter songs during the meals, and saw lots of winter costumes like several counselors dressed as “ice princesses,” an Olaf snowman, and even a polar bear. This project was to make artificial snow using corn starch, shaving cream, and glitter. Blending all three of these ingredients by hand in a bowl makes a thick, white material that the girls could then roll into balls, and make a snowman. It was a fun, messy project. Can you tell?!