Rafting, rafting rafting! Today Rockbrook girls took to the Nantahala River for a day of whitewater rafting. Two groups of girls, each made up of about 28 Middlers and Seniors, signed up to go on the adventure. Rockbrook is known as the “rafting camp” since we take so many girls down the Nantahala (every camper interested who is 5th grade or older… an age/weight restriction imposed by our USFS permit) making us a weekly sight to behold on the river… dozens of Rockbrook girls all decked out in their colorful PFDs and white helmets, happily singing and screaming as their boats bump and splash over the rapids.
Today the weather was perfect in every way— warm and sunny, low humidity, blue skies and a very light breeze. This made both the morning and afternoon rafting trips extraordinarily fun. The girls enjoyed splashing each other, taking turns “riding the bull” (sitting on the front of the raft), and even taking brief swims during calm sections of the river. Cold river water just feels good on this kind of warm, bright day. It’s really hard to imagine a better day of rafting.
Meanwhile back at camp, a surprise was brewing. It started at breakfast when all of the camp directors arrived wearing the craziest of fashion accessories. The camp mom wore a hamburger hat, our Program Director an all out 70s hippie outfit, and our Staff Director chose pins featuring pictures of all of her leadership staff. Soon enough, the girls heard the announcement explaining that today was declared CRAZY ACCESSORIES DAY!
Cheers erupted in the dining hall, and not even ten minutes later the whole camp was decorated in the wildest accessories girls could find and make up. One girl carried around a clear umbrella with blue and purple streamers to embody a jellyfish. Another camper picked up twigs to maneuver throughout her ponytail. Many girls were sporting tutus, colorful and crazy hats, headbands, sunglasses, and bright vests that could be seen from across the dining hall. It was fun and silly, in the best camp way!
For years now, Rockbrook girls have proved that everything is made better when there are costumes involved. Wearing a costume always adds an element of playfulness. It’s an opportunity for creativity. It can serve as a social glue bringing together girls to share a unique dress up idea. Costumes are inspiring, helping girls be less shy and perform a little more than they would otherwise. Costumes are genuinely liberating in this way. In a community that celebrates the silly, like Rockbrook, all this is even more true, and even more fun.
Finally, you’ll probably enjoy reading this short article in the New York Times, by Jeff Giles: “Goodbye Muddah, Goodbye Fadduh: Vintage photos of joy, adventure and homesickness at summer camp.” It’s a wonderful testament to the power of camp, how it evokes so much passion, and why it makes a huge difference in the lives of campers and staff members alike.