Visiting the equestrian center these days is a real treat. It’s just alive with big action and big smiles. The girls who selected riding as one of their activities are now well settled into the daily lessons. They know how to get dressed properly (helmet, boots, etc.), in most cases, how to lead their assigned horse out to one of the riding rings, and even how to mount. The riding staff is doing a wonderful job in the mounted lessons keeping each camper engaged and excited. As the session progresses, it’s neat to see how much everyone’s confidence and skill has improved. It’s also fun to hear the campers talk about their favorite horse at camp, someone they’ve ridden a lot and gotten comfortable with. Maybe you’ve already received a letter from your daughter and heard about one of the great horses she’s been able to ride. Learning to communicate with a special horse, and learning to trust him or her, is one of the most rewarding parts of horseback riding, and it’s happening just about every day around here.
Also, today was a big day for whitewater rafting on the Nantahala river. We took all the middlers and seniors who wanted to go on either an overnight camping/rafting trip or on a day trip down the river. The Nantahala is famous for being rather chilly (somewhere near 50 degrees) even in the heat of the summer, so we were lucky to have bright sunny weather for both trips. Great weather like this makes it much more fun to splash and play while rafting, even at times jumping in on purpose when the guides say it’s OK. Rockbrook is the only girls camp with a permit to raft the Nantahala (we’ve had it since the 1980s), so we also can hire our own seasoned raft guides. On this trip Clyde, Sid, Billy, Leland, Michelle and and Andria guided the boats, making up a team with more than 85 years of combined whitewater experience! These folks truly are the best. Rafting trips are always very exciting for the girls, and also pretty tiring, so it was no surprise to see most everyone conk out in the bus on the ride back to camp. This kind of adventure and fun needs some rest too!
Back at camp in time for dinner, there was a big surprise waiting. Birthday Night! This is a special dinner where the dining hall is rearranged so that everyone can sit according to their birth month… twelve big tables, one for each month. It’s really fun for campers and counselors to sit together and get to know better other girls from different cabins and age groups. This time, to give it a even more Rockbrook flair, we had a theme for the dinner: Candyland. And never missing a chance to dress up, this sparked some very creative costumes from the counselors and campers. They dressed as different types of candy and characters from the Candyland board game. In addition to lollipops and gumdrops, we saw the Duke of Swirl, Mr. Mint and Gramma Nutt. Even Sarah dressed up as a Hershey’s chocolate kiss with almonds! The highlight of the night though was the cakes, the homemade cakes Alison baked for each month that she then decorated as scenes from Candyland. They were both beautiful and delicious. There were some pretty huge pieces of cake for the girls in some months. Yum!