Like a lot of the southeast, we had a misty rain today, one of those all-day, on-and-off, light rains that keeps everything wet, but almost doesn’t require a raincoat. This is quite different from the mountain thunderstorm patterns we ordinarily experience here that swoop in fast and clear out just as quickly. This weather system has come up from the gulf and looks like it may hang around for a couple of days.But does this kind of “heavy dew” slow us down? Not very much at all. With more than 50 buildings here at Rockbrook, many with covered porches, we can keep things moving and fun. The girls just put on a cozy fleece or sweatshirt and their “dew coat,” and they’re off, happily ready to hike and climb, make, create and play.
Today we welcomed our June mini campers to Rockbrook for the start of their 2-week session. After all that waiting- months, for most of these girls -the excitement was almost too much. Several girls, wearing their new red and white RBC t-shirt, sprung out of the car practically exploding with eagerness to experience camp life. Whether new this year or a returning camper, it doesn’t take long for the girls to find their pen pals, meet their cabin mates and begin exploring their camp.
Lunch brought everyone together in the dining hall for one of Rick’s fantastic Sunday meals. He and his crew prepared barbeque chicken for everyone (Tempeh for the vegetarians), mounds of smashed red potatoes, fresh corn on the cob, and watermelon. This was great, traditional comfort food, but I think he could have called it his “messy meal” because each table needed a giant stack of napkins for their hands and faces. The salad bars seemed pretty popular too… cucumbers, grapes, shredded cheese, ending up on lots of plates. In preparing for lunch, Rick asked the girls at breakfast if any of them would like to help shuck the corn he was cooking. About six volunteered enthusiastically, and with that much help, they zipped through 200 ears in no time.
After lunch the rain stopped enough for the newly arrived Middlers and Seniors to tackle their swimming demonstrations down at the Rockbrook lake. Despite being only about 65 degrees outside, most of them easily swam the 50 yards and tread water for 60 seconds, thereby passing the test. Our mountain spring-fed lake is always “refreshing” (i.e. plenty cold) even in the heat of the summer, so under cloudy, misty conditions like today, passing the swim demo was a true accomplishment! Strong girls we have around here.
The afternoon event gathered the whole camp in our gym for a carnival of games. This was a chance for the girls to get to know each other more and try their hand at the corn hole game, a giant inflated obstacle course, or a tall beanbag toss. We had snow cones for everyone, face painting, hula hoops, a sand art craft activity, group initiatives and games, and great dance music pumping. The counselors really kept the girls involved, so it was a fun, high-spirited time for everyone.
After a dinner of homemade pizza and salad, with strawberry shortcake for dessert, the girls took some time in their cabins to learn about signing up for activities. At the same time, we built delightful, cozy fires in the fireplace of each Line’s Lodge so when it was time for the sign up, they could enjoy the warmth and glow of the fires. Our old stone Lodges, built back in the 1920s have such a classic mountain camp feel to them, and when it’s cool and wet outside, it’s wonderful to have a crackling fire in the fireplaces. Warm and dry, and smelling a bit of wood smoke, the girls were recreating a scene enjoyed by generations of Rockbrook campers. I’m sure they weren’t aware of this, but it was magical.