One of the special thrills at Rockbrook, something that every camper can experience if they choose, is to ride through our zipline course. “If they choose” is important because, like all of the activities here, it’s up the girls themselves to decide what they would like to do. Nothing is mandatory. So if someone doesn’t want to swim in the lake, or take riflery, or climb the tower, or only do craft activities (there are eight different ones!), that is perfectly fine. We want girls here to feel empowered and this agency is a simple way for them to experience that.
Signing up for the zipline does take some nerve. After all, there are three different zips and three different challenging bridges to cross during the hour or so of making your way through the course. Like many high adventure activities, there is special safety equipment involved and important protocols that must be followed. There’s a certain degree seriousness to it, which can add to the jitters a girl might have. But it also looks really fun, and almost everyone in camp is eager to give it a try.
We designed the course to be scenic, to be a progression of challenges, and to be a unique thrill. The course is woven into the forest with each zip going between huge boulders, among the trees and even a waterfall above the main part of camp. The first zip is slower, and the last is an eye-popping, you-can’t-help-but-scream, blast. The girls wear a helmet and climbing harness tethered to a dual-wheel pulley with a steel backup clip. Launching on a zip, trusting this equipment, takes courage, but the exciting payoff comes right away as the girls zoom through the air waving their arms. Their being brave, their making a decision to leap, despite being a little nervous, ends up being something they really enjoy, and will probably look back on fondly. The lesson, even if they can’t say it out loud, is that they are stronger than they think. These girls can do things!
Dance is one of those camp activities that you can do elsewhere but is uniquely different at camp. When campers sign up for dance, they don’t know what the instructor will choose to teach. It might be a ballet skill, or a particular Hip-Hop move, or a country line dance routine. What’s guaranteed though is that the scene will be lighthearted and upbeat. There’s a playfulness to learning dance, as everyone starts out being kinda clumsy, making moves with odd timing. This tone, plus the fact that friends are trying to learn together, makes taking dance really funny too. There’s something particularly hilarious about watching your crew twist or spin in the wrong direction or on the wrong beat. The wall of mirrors makes this inevitable. Dancing and laughing: it’s a great combination.
It was time for another classic camp thrill last night after dinner— a trip to Sliding Rock, with a stop at Dolly’s Dairy Bar afterwards. After a little late start, we arrived at “The Rock” when nobody was there, giving us the whole place to ourselves. Since we had six buses and vans full of girls and counselors, that was a good thing. We placed two lifeguards at the top of the slide and four at the bottom, giving us plenty of eyes on the girls as they slid two-by-two. As you might expect, the water is “mountain stream cold” and is, like riding the zipline, something that takes a little nerve to try, but once you literally take the plunge, it’s an exciting experience. It’s so fun, most girls immediately want to do it again. In fact, because it was getting dark, we had to end the sliding, even though there were girls who would have gladly kept going.
We wrapped up the evening at Dolly’s so everyone could enjoy a cone of their favorite flavor. This is so popular with the girls, we make sure every camper gets to sample some Dolly’s ice cream while they’re here at camp. Good stuff, for sure!