Colorful Merriment

We follow a different schedule on Sundays at camp. To everyone’s delight, it begins with a later wakeup bell, allowing a little extra rest after the busy week. The girls come to breakfast in their pajamas if they want to, and love finding a box of freshly delivered Krispy Kreme donuts on their table as an added treat. The songs are sung a little quieter as everyone slowly opens up to the day. Back in the cabin, everyone then changes into their camp uniforms readying for the flag raising ceremony and Chapel gathering.

sunday summer camp girls

Everyone looked sharp dressed in their red and white uniforms lining up in the sunshine. The Hi-Up (10th grade) campers serve as the color guard. They file up to the flagpole on the hill and raise both the American flag and a special Rockbrook flag commemorating the camp’s Centennial in 2021. Then, in silence, everyone walks to a special amphitheater in the woods where we hold our chapel programs.

At Rockbrook, what we call “chapel” is not a religious ceremony. Instead, it is a community gathering where we can slow down and reflect a bit on some of the core positive values we share. Each chapel revolves around a theme, and consists of songs, poems, and usually a story read by Sarah. We want all of the campers and staff, no matter what their family religious background to feel comfortable at our “chapel.” The campers themselves select the readings and songs, and Sarah invites campers to speak about what the theme of the gathering means to them. Past themes have been community, generosity, happiness, respect, and friendship, for example. Lately, “chapel” has been understood as an acronym for “Celebration of Happiness, Adventure, Peace, Earth and Love.”

camper girl reading a poem

Today’s theme was “Nature.” A few campers took turns telling the group what Nature meant to them while they are here at camp. Sarah read the children’s book “Outside In” by Deborah Underwood. One junior performed an original song about the beauty of nature. Some seniors mentioned how nice it was to be away from their technology and enjoy time outdoors. One senior particularly stressed the importance of taking care of the environment. They practiced “noticing” too, where everyone paused and tried to notice something amazing in the natural world around them. This is one of the great things about camp— there’s always something remarkable to notice, if you just pause and pay attention.

We devoted the afternoon to an all-camp activity held down on the Carrier House lawn— a fun Renaissance fair. This was an event with multiple activities all happening at once allowing the campers to flit from one to the other however they were inspired. The festivities included a “Wench’s Tavern” that served warm soft pretzels and kettle corn.

summer camp sack race

Campers could make elaborate flower crowns. A “Tomfoolery” station invited girls to juggling, ribbon dancing and hula hooping. We played games: a burlap sack race (“The Burlap Bounce”), cornhole (“The King’s Kernels”), and a hidden table shuffle game with goblets (“Bamboozled”). Campers also scoured the area searching for golden doubloons they could cash in for prizes.

Other activities included visiting a mysterious fortune teller named Madam Brunhilde. She would dispense cryptic advice like “There’s a muffin in your future” or “Beware of fuzzy creatures whose name starts with ‘F’,” a weakly veiled reference to Felix our camp dog. We had an inflatable bungee challenge for those feeling energetic and we organized a human Maypole complete with colorful ribbons. With popular music remixed to a medieval twist playing and a mischievous Jester romping about, it was a scene of colorful merriment.

The whole event was surprisingly more fun when we found ourselves in a steady summer rainstorm. Since there was no thunder or lightning, we carried on and embraced the feeling of being wet while playing. Following our chapel theme, we drew ourselves closer to Nature, laughing and dancing among the raindrops. It was actually glorious! The rain amplified the merriment, making the whole event more delightful. And when the rain subsided and the sun emerged, we felt like it was a true celebration.


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