Waking up at camp on the 4th of July is unlike any other day. It begins with someone riding a horse down the line outside your cabin and yelling “The British and coming! Wake up! Wake up!” (a reference to Paul Revere’s ride in 1775). The equestrian staff dress up the horses with red white and blue stable wraps, ribbons and shiny stars, and get everyone going with their shouts and sounds of hoof beats. Some of the younger girls hop right out of bed to catch a glimpse of the horses as they ride by. Such a unique way to wake up!
Being Sunday, we held our flag raising ceremony after breakfast as we do each Sunday at camp. All of the girls, dressed in their white uniform and red tie, assemble in cabin groups forming a single line arching around the flagpole. The Hi-Ups present the colors and raise the flag. With the mountain view in the background, and today bright sunshine, we all then recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing America the Beautiful. Immediately afterwords, everyone quietly walks down the lower line toward the chapel, along what’s called the “path of silence.” The Senior Line campers presented the chapel ceremony today focusing on the theme of “growing.” Gracie and Nani played their ukuleles for us, several campers read favorite quotes, and Jerry added a few words toward the end.
At lunch, it seemed like it was nonstop singing! All those 4th of July, patriotic songs, the girls know were sung (well, kind of shouted, actually). We heard Yankee Doodle, America the Beautiful, and Party in the USA, among other favorite Rockbrook Songs.
For the afternoon event, we divided the whole camp into three large teams (red, white and blue, of course) for the “Firecracker Relays” down on the landsports field. Each team had girls from all three age groups at camp, making this event another good way to bring the lines together. Everyone dressed in their team color and even added body paint to really show their team spirit. The first relay presented a crazy challenge for the teams— take a frozen wet t-shirt and thaw it enough to put it on. Starting with essentially a block of ice, the girls did everything they could think of to warm it up. They sat on it, squeezed it between two bare bellies, yanked and pulled it, until it finally came loose. Some of the other relays were the “Partner Carry,” the “Bucket and Sponge,” the “Spoon and Egg,” and “Over Under” (a race to pass a ball down a long line of people alternating overhead and through their legs). The final relay, “Greased Watermelon,” happened at the lake, a perfect place to cool and wash off after the field events. I’m not sure who really “won” in the end, since keeping score wasn’t the point of it all!
For dinner, Rick and his crew prepared an amazing picnic on the hill for us. He slow cooked pork barbecue with homemade sauce, made coleslaw, potato salad, corn salad, roasted sweet potato fries, rolls and had sliced watermelon for dessert. And following an old Rockbrook tradition, we served the girls cans of Cheerwine we had chilling in the creek. What a feast, and huge hit with the girls after running around all afternoon.
The girls took some time to sign up for next week’s activities, but then got settled in the gym to watch a movie together on the big screen. Sleeping bags, crazy creek chairs, and pillows are standard equipment for this weekly event. Tonight we saw the animated movie Spirit, which is a sweet story about a wild mustang and its first contact with human beings, both Native Americans and western settlers. The girls absolutely loved the movie, shouting and cheering all throughout it.
We ended our 4th of July with a fireworks display for the girls. Jerry, Jeff and Richie launched everything from the dock at the lake while everyone else sat on the hill for a perfect viewpoint. Ooohs and aaahs, bright sparkling colors the sky, and exciting booms filled the air. Celebrating together at camp was really special and a lot of good old fashioned fun.