It Starts with People

Camp kids learning photography
Camper kid holding newt

Everyone likes taking pictures, but at a place like Rockbrook where there is something wondrous or beautiful at every turn, it’s exciting to try and capture the experience in photography. The photography activity, or what we call “Photo Phun” around here, gives the girls a chance to explore and take— no make pictures all over camp. Jane, the lead instructor, starts them out by explaining how to use the digital cameras and when to select certain settings given what they’re shooting. She teaches them the basic notion of adjusting shutter speed and aperture relative to the amount of available light, for example, and how changing these settings affects the depth of field and motion effects. With this background, the girls will often head out to explore, looking for “cool photos.” To focus that sometimes, Jane will challenge them with a scavenger hunt where each photo has to have a different main color, or a represent a different letter in the alphabet. She’s taught them about stop motion photography and light painting as well. See why we call it “Photo Phun?”

Camp kid shooting archery bow and arrow

You probably can also see why having a skilled, energetic and enthusiastic activity instructor is so important to the success of something like this. For Photo Phun to really be fun for the campers, Jane has to be both a skilled technician who really knows her stuff about photography, but also a creative teacher who enjoys working with kids. Rockbrook is full of great activity instructors like this. They instinctively know how to take something maybe a little technical, like archery, tennis, horseback riding, or rock climbing for example, and present it to the campers in a way that’s safe and informative, but also inherently fun. There are a few tricks to this that we present during our staff training week, but we also work hard to hire counselors who “get it” instinctively. Pull together a bunch of people like this, young women who love what they do, creatively and imaginatively, and who sincerely love being with kids, and you’ve got a sense of what makes the Rockbrook staff special.

Camp kids waiting for swimming

Beyond the scheduled activities offered each day, it’s often the simplest things that mean the most to a girl when she’s here at Rockbrook. Playing tetherball on the hill at twilight, sitting in the sun on a huge rock by the lake, or racing your flip-flop down the creek— these can be the best memories of camp. Of course, the most important ingredient in everything at Rockbrook is the people, the incredible community of spirited folks who share camp together. They form the core of these memories. Certainly Rockbrook is a beautiful place and the activities are excellent, but it’s your cabin mates, your counselors and all the other support staff (Rick, Alison, Clyde, Elaine, Richie, Katie, Will, the many Directors and so many others) that truly make these little moments that add up to be “camp.” The magic of camp starts with people.

Tonight after dinner we sent word for everyone to dress up and come down to the gym for a surprise evening event. The girls must have been saving up costume elements because we saw amazing wacky wigs, goofy glasses, colorful dresses, boots and hats in any combination (There are some great photos of this in the gallery). When they arrived, they found the gym transformed into a game show, with our friend Bill Grimsley ready to host a trivia question and answer game using his podiums and scoring system. He randomly selected contestants from the audience, pitting girls from the same line against each other. Some of the questions were about Rockbrook, and others about pop music, TV and movies. Occasionally he would announce a “challenge round” where for extra points the contestants performed a task like hula hooping, or for the counselors, eating something “not so appetizing” like canned pig brains in gravy. Ugh! Of course, the audience thought this was hilarious. Prizes, like a giant cookie cake, went to cabin groups, and at times when the contestants were stumped and the audience knew an answer, the whole crowd won a little treat. Silly and oh so good!


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