There is a direct circus connection to Rockbrook. Nancy Barnum Clarke Carrier, the founder of the camp, is the great-granddaughter of P.T. Barnum, the famed “Great American Showman.” She grew up on the camp property in the house her father built in 1898, and later, after being married in 1913, founded Rockbrook in 1921. Being part of the Barnum family, Nancy inherited many circus artifacts, decorating her home with things like an elephant’s foot stool, a full-size stuffed monkey, and Tom Thumbs chair. The circus has always been a part of Rockbrook.
Today we decided to recognize that circus connection by first of all dressing like circus characters. All day at camp, there were lots of clowns, crazy hats, glasses and wigs. One especially tall clown showed up at dinner for a juggling performance! A few campers and staff members dressed like circus animals: at least one lion and several zebras. There were even two life-sized cones of cotton candy: one blue and the other pink!
After dinner, the main event was a circus-themed carnival on our grassy sports field. What better way to begin celebrating Rockbrook’s 100th year than to have inflatables, cotton candy, circus games, music and dancing?
One of the inflatables was a water slide, so many of the girls came dressed in their swimsuits. They dashed from game to game, pausing to grab some water or wait for a cone from the cotton candy machine. The games included a pingpong ball toss, a giant inflated ring toss, and a water pistol shooting game. There were three inflatables: the waterslide, an obstacle course, and a bouncy maze.
Other activities included a hula hooping club, a face painting station, and a caricature drawing booth staffed by two counselors. It took only a few minutes for them to make a drawing, and soon there was quite a lineup of girls wanting their caricature drawn.
Throughout the event we played circus-themed music and gradually added popular songs into the mix, turning the event into a fun outdoor dance party as well. The whole event was lighthearted, silly, and fun. The weather was beautiful adding even more. It had the kind of energy, and the smiling faces, you can only find at camp. Once again, let me direct you to the online photo gallery where you can see much more.
The rest of the evening saw every shower in camp running at the same time as everyone wound down after the exciting day. Your girls are doing great at Rockbrook. They’ve settled into the rhythms of camp life, bonded with their “crew,” and found each day rich and full.