It struck me again today about how special it feels at camp right now. Today is the first day between our two July mini sessions, that time of the summer when only the 4-week second session girls are here. It feels special for a number of reasons. First, because the July Mini 1 session girls have left, it’s smaller; we have only 140 campers instead of 220. This makes activity classes more intimate, trip logistics easier with fewer campers going, and generally everything slows down a notch or two. A bigger difference though is that these full session girls have by now relaxed and fully embraced camp life. For most of them, this is not their first year at Rockbrook, so they also have a deep understanding of what it is. They know its rhythms, the freedom and opportunities, the familiar patterns to their days. They instinctively know what to do and where to go. Camp is easy for them. And this makes it even more meaningful because it feels like it’s their camp, their special place where they can play, be goofy, dig deeper into their interests, and feel even stronger waves of confidence everyday.
Even more significant, however, is the warmth of friendship glowing among these girls. Spending this much time together has brought them closer. They’re talking together more casually, laughing together more frequently, and helping each other more spontaneously. They’re being sweet to each other, easily kind and positive about the people around them. Everywhere you look there are pairs, threes or groups of girls enjoying each other’s company.
It’s wonderful to see girls hugging more, walking arm and arm, sharing chairs just so they can sit close together. These girls love each other, and also this camp (yes, in that order, I’d say), in surprising and marvelous ways. That’s what’s extra special about camp right now— it’s a palpable expression of what camp is all about.
All of the regular camp activities are still happening too. The zipline course for example, saw groups flying through the trees all day. This is a unique course built among the huge rocks up behind the main part of camp. It includes three zip lines and three challenging bridges to traverse, making it both challenging and thrilling at the same time. The first zip sends the girls right in front of Stick Biscuit Falls, the waterfall you can see from the back of the camp office building. The final zip is the longest and fastest ride of the course. It launches from a large rock face and goes almost 450 feet back into camp giving everyone on the hill a clear view of the fun.
The pottery studios at camp— there are two: upper and lower —are always fun places to visit. Pottery is a popular activity option, so they are ordinarily filled with girls busily shaping clay, some rolling it into coils or flattening it into slabs, maybe extruding it through a press, or carving designs into a more finished piece. Off to one side, there’ll be girls sitting at the potter’s wheels, like today when all the wheels where spinning. It takes some practice to get the hang of throwing on the wheel, but everyone can learn to center their clay, and pull up a bowl or pot of some kind. It’s very satisfying to finally get it. With some drying and glazing and then some time in the kiln, they’ll have beautiful works to show.
Finally, this was a special day for all of the Taylor Swift fans out there, and here at camp, that means just about everyone. Today she released the re-recording of her 2010 Speak Now album. In response to a dispute with her original record label, Taylor Swift is re-recording her early albums, and this is the 3rd in that series. It includes new “Taylor’s Versions” of the original songs plus previously unreleased songs written when she was working on the album originally, songs “From the Vault.” To celebrate, we held a Taylor Swift dance party in the gym during the evening twilight time. We played all the songs form the Vault on the new Speak Now, plus a few of our favorite original cuts. This lasted only about 45 minutes, but it was a fun way to keep our “Swifties” satisfied.
Camp life is a good life these days. You might even call it a great life!