There was a strange feeling today as we finished up several camp activities and started the process of packing to go home. There’s first of all a deep familiarity that has blossomed among the girls. You see it everywhere- campers chatting with their friends, sitting on their favorite “Rockbrook rock,” happily smiling at most things, singing songs together in the dining hall. As the day wears on though, and an awareness that this is our last of the session, there can also be forlorn moments, times when tear-stained hugs are about all you can do. It’s strange in this way I think because these girls have grown incredibly close over these last few weeks. They’ve become true friends, real friends, the kind that matter later in life. They’re not sure how or why they feel so good at camp, but they do and it means a lot to them. So when it’s time to go home, it can be a little sad. The good news is that we can always stay in touch, recall the fun we shared (all those photos!), and look forward to next summer.
The end-of-session “Barn Party” was this morning. Kelly and her team of horseback riding instructors organized the event with riding demonstrations, mounted games, and decorated horses designed to get all the girls who took riding involved in some way. Other campers came down to the lower riding ring just to watch the show. Even Sarah took a turn riding Chico. It was all good fun, and a great way to celebrate everyone’s enthusiasm for horseback riding this session.
We closed the day with our traditional campfire, our “Spirit Fire.” Held on a big flat rock above our lake, all of the campers and staff members attend dressed in their red and white uniforms. It’s a more serious and reflective time that includes a program of classic camp songs, short prepared speeches by campers and counselors, and a final talk by Sarah reflecting on how the session has gone. The setting is just beautiful! As the sun sets through the trees, and wood smoke swirls up from the campfire, the crickets and frogs chirp along with the girls as they sing. Here’s a short recording I made of one song for you to hear what I mean. At the end of the program, each girl lights a small white candle from a large candle Sarah has lit from the Spirit Fire. For more than 90 years now, Rockbrook Camp girls have closed their sessions by sharing the “Rockbrook Spirit” symbolized by the candle’s flame. With their candles lit, the girls and their counselors spend a few more moments standing around the edge of the lake singing. Tonight it was another emotional moment for many of the girls, and certainly a memorable one for all of us.