As we go about our days here at Rockbrook, having a blast with all the dress-up shenanigans, singing everyday multiple times, and finding ourselves laughing and smiling more than ever, it’s easy to forget the deep emotional undercurrent that fuels all this excitement. Spend a little time here, among these great girls, and you’ll soon sense there’s something special brewing, something much deeper and meaningful than the fun you see in the photo gallery. I believe it can all be traced to the power of kindness, caring, and generosity that defines our camp community. These positive vibes are what we mean by the “Spirit of Rockbrook.” They are a force that takes hold, brings us closer together, and makes life at camp the haven we all love.
This became especially clear tonight during our closing “Spirit Fire” campfire, the ceremony that’s closed every camp session at Rockbrook since its first in 1921. Dressed in our red and white uniforms, we gathered inside the Hillside Lodge instead of outside in the drizzly weather. We were able to all squeeze inside in front of the massive stone fireplace and its blazing fire, with the girls arm and arm, heads on shoulders, all as close as humanly possible.
The program alternated between singing traditional songs like “In the Heart of a Wooded Mountain,” and individuals standing to reflect aloud on their experience over the session. They poured their hearts out, talking about the friendships they’ve made and the newfound confidence they’ve discovered during their time at camp. One senior-aged camper described Rockbrook as the only place where she’s felt so much love from everyone around her. With emotion in her voice, soon many of us found ourselves choked up and in tears. The speeches all marveled at how good it feels to be at camp, how everyone here is kind and supportive, how you can be your true self without fear of being judged, and how friends made at camp are special.
Tears and softly checked crying became contagious as we thought about our camp days this summer ending and we realized we would soon have to say goodbye. This was our last night together.
Sarah spoke last and expressed her hope that we would recall our time at camp throughout the coming year, that we could find ways to live the “Spirit of Rockbrook” at home— to be a little more kind, more brave, more silly, and an easy friend to those around us. She said she was proud of everyone and how much they’ve grown in the short time together at camp.
The program ends with everyone sharing part of the Spirit Fire by lighting a small white candle. Sarah and the other directors first light their candle from the fire, and then pass it along to each camper’s and staff member’s candle. Ordinarily, everyone would circle the lake, but tonight the rain led us to make a circle of candlelight on the hill. With a little drizzle still falling, we sang a final song before heading to our cabins for the night.
The whole evening was a beautiful celebration of the session, and the joy we felt being here at camp together. Everyone has grown a little and we hope has deepened their Rockbrook Spirit. I think you’ll see it in your girls, and you’ll be proud too.