Today was a day of boating over on the Nantahala River. While the regular activities kept folks busy in camp— horses ridden, rocks climbed, games played and arts created —Clyde, Kelsey and Christine took a group of our more advanced kayakers out for the day. These are girls who have spent plenty of time working on their paddling skills and who have run other whitewater rivers. Several of the rapids on the Nantahala require precise paddling along specific lines. They require catching eddies and real concentration despite the roar of the whitewater. With Clyde leading (have you read Clyde’s profile?) and with Kelsey and Christine also instructing, the campers had outstanding models to follow and were well supervised. All day the campers paddled superbly, showing their enthusiasm and proving their skills on each challenge. The final, and largest rapid on the river gave everyone some trouble, but with the exception of the very last wave, all the campers handled it very well.
Meanwhile, another group, this time of Middlers, was rafting the Nantahala at the same time. Most of these girls, in contrast, had never been rafting or experienced the thrill of whitewater boating. We met our regular crew of guides at the put-in and geared everyone up with helmets, PFDs (life jackets or “personal flotation devices”) and paddles. Steff gave the group the safety talk explaining how to hold the paddle, how to sit in the boat, and what to do if you fall out into the river. Each boat of five or six campers has an experienced Rockbrook guide, so even if the girls forget something from the safety talk, there’s an adult right there to assist. Do you know how to catch a throw rope? Your camper does! The weather was nice and sunny, always a welcome buffer to the chill of the Nantahala’s water.
The girls back at camp, also enjoying excellent sunny weather, had a picnic lunch out on the hill. Rick and the other kitchen folks whipped up mounds of homemade coleslaw and grilled hamburgers for everyone. Add some cheese, lettuce, sliced local tomatoes, mayo, ketchup and mustard if you like, grab a cup of lemonade, and you’ve got a classic summertime meal. Top it off with a slice of watermelon, and what could be better?
Today was also circus dress up day at camp, a chance for the girls to pull out their costume accessories and become their favorite circus character. The were several brightly colored performers, mostly in leotards and tutus, but probably the most common costume was dressing as a clown. We saw huge funny shoes, goofy hats and plenty of over-sized glasses. There weren’t any wild animals to be tamed or do tricks, but we did see at least one pink fuzzy creature!
This month we’ve had 33 girls who have had their birthday while at camp. While some days there might be none, on others there are several girls on the same day (like 4 today!). The kitchen is always sure to bake each birthday girl a cake, and usually members of her cabin get together to help decorate it in true Rockbrook style, i.e. lots of frosting and candy 🙂 . The cabin mates often make a big colorful sign to hang in the dining hall as well. When the cake is brought out, candles lit, the whole dining hall sings Happy Birthday and ends with the chant, “Tell us when to stop!” One giant handclap, in unison, for each year— it’s a real celebration. Have you seen the Rockbrook Camp Youtube Channel? It’s got several short videos we’ve uploaded, including a birthday song to Carrie. Go check it out!