Today marked the last full day of our first session. It’s always a bittersweet day as we wrap up longterm projects at camp, recognize much of what we’ve accomplished over the course of the session, and celebrate the new bonds of friendship we now cherish. We spent part of the morning packing and moving luggage. Many girls who rode enjoyed a barn party down at the Riding Center. We gathered in the gym to watch a performance of the play, a production that incorporated characters from Rockbrook and the idea of time travel. We also built a time capsule asking each cabin to select an item to add to the collection. Rockbrook girls in the future will probably be surprised to find stickers, bracelets, a surgical mask, and a yogurt container, among the representative items from 2021. After dinner, we assembled on the hill to hear campers and counselors share their thoughts and memories about the different activities at camp, “toasting” their favorites. Another busy full day of camp.
As the evening arrived, the whole camp gathered for our traditional closing campfire ceremony, our “Spirit Fire.” It is now 100 years ago that the very first Spirit Fire was held on the big rock overlooking the Rockbrook lake. Like that first gathering, we lit a fire on that same spot to celebrate and reflect upon our time together at camp. We sang traditional songs, and listened to campers and counselors speak about what camp has meant to them. Many girls who were new to Rockbrook this year told how they were nervous arriving, but soon realized that camp was a place where they could be themselves, “imperfections and all,” and still be accepted, included, and loved. Staff members too spoke about being surprised how friendly Rockbrook is to even someone who has never been here before. Several speakers were overcome with emotion where they had trouble continuing. And soon, there were sniffles, and soft whimpers coming from the crowd.
This was a fitting way to end what was overall an emotional session. Camp this session was so deeply felt by everyone here, staff and campers alike. It was as if the pandemic had bottled up our need for human connection, and now at camp, as we re-experienced the joys of romping with friends in the real world, we could finally feel again. We could smile, hug and be hugged, relax and reconnect. The relief we all felt was so intense, many of us couldn’t help but get a little weepy with happiness. The Spirit Fire focused those feelings, but with a touch of sadness, since we knew that our time together this summer was coming to a close.
So thank you for being a part of this special place and special experience for girls. Thank you for recognizing the value of camp for your daughters, and thank you for trusting Rockbrook to provide the kind of summer haven they need. We look forward to seeing everyone again very soon.