For some, perhaps mostly for counselors, a favorite part of our daily schedule is rest hour. This is a time when, after lunch and after checking for letters and emails in our mailboxes, we all go back to bed for an hour. Yes, literally, we ask all the campers to climb into their bunk and do something quiet. This might be to write a letter, draw, read, listen to music through headphones, or actually take a nap. When girls first arrive at camp and are generally more rested, they might think rest hour is an unnecessary break in the action of camp. But we know that the pace around here— all the climbing, riding, swimming, shooting, singing and dancing —requires a great deal of energy, and that getting enough rest really helps. Rest hour is a long Rockbrook tradition that’s easily explained; everyone is happier, and ordinarily healthier, when rested. The wide-open pace of camp life almost requires a siesta, no matter how brief.
Rest Hour, indeed all of camp, is not however an opportunity for “screen time.” As you know, we don’t want our girls watching TV or movies, playing video games, or connecting to the internet while they are at Rockbrook. In addition to the fact that most kids already spend too much time consuming electronic media (one study showed an average of 53 hours per week!), we hope that by turning off these alluring gadgets, taking an extended break from this technology, your girls will make an important realization while they’re here. We want them to recognize, maybe even be energized by the fact, that there’s a lot more to life than what’s presented to them electronically. Life, especially one lived outside, close to nature and within a supportive community, is so much more rich, so much more fun, than what Facebook, Instagram, or any other part of the Internet can communicate. Camp is that kind of life. It provides daily proof that being with great people (friends with feelings) and actually doing things (stimulating and utilizing all our senses) trumps a flickering screen every time. If flipping on the power switch of something electronic is often our modern remedy for boredom, we hope Rockbrook will inspire your girls to be more human than that, and equip them with more “real world” inclinations.
Both canoes and kayaks were maneuvering the lake today as a full roster of girls signed up for our “Paddling” activity. Every age group is interested these days, partly I think because several river canoe trips have gone out and come back with great stories to tell, and learning the basic strokes at the lake is a prerequisite for an out-of-camp paddling trip. With fine instruction and equipment to use, it’s so satisfying for the girls to guide their boats more accurately through the water, and later on the river trips, to steer around obstacles, catch eddies, and ferry across moving water.
Tonight’s evening program brought back an old camp favorite, a “Counselor Hunt.” This is a game that challenges every cabin group to comb the camp together and find hidden counselors. Adding a little imagination to the game, this time the counselors dressed as aliens, each creating a crazy, colorful alien character.
This made the game an “Alien Hunt,” with groups of girls capturing aliens and returning them to our spaceship (the dining hall). The aliens hid all over camp, and after an hour of urgent searching— faster hunting meant finding more aliens —we all found out what mysterious prize each alien would award the cabin that found her. It was a fun group game with everyone winning some kind of prize in the end.