As we opened our third session of Rockbrook today, it became very clear that the girls arriving were ready, really ready for camp to start. Many had a fidgety twitch about them that clearly had gotten worse with every minute in the car, and others had it written in their wide-eyed expression and nodding head that said “Oh yeah!” Running on probably not much sleep— how can you settle down to sleep, or sleep in, when camp’s about to start?! —these girls needed their enthusiasm unleashed. It’s been so long since school let out and even longer since last summer, the anticipation for their camp session to start has been intensifying for weeks now. Finally, camp is here!
Fortunately, the action starts right away. There’s luggage to unload, checking in with the office folks and nurses, trying on some of the new RBC gear (like the cozy polka dotted PJ pants this year), greeting your counselor, making up your bunk, and most importantly, meeting the other girls in your cabin. And all that’s in the first hour or so! Today’s absolutely perfect weather made arriving even more enjoyable too. The flowers, so many flowers everywhere, looked gorgeous in the bright sunshine, and the light early breeze encouraged everyone to linger just a little longer on the grassy hill and stone steps leading into the dining hall. It was another morning that makes us appreciate the beauty of this place.
A few girls who arrived early had time before lunch to hike to Rockbrook Falls (one of the two large waterfalls on the camp property), and others to begin a simple friendship bracelet or play a quick game of tetherball. Just as popular was the chance to meet Danny and Reagan, two of the star horses who came up to camp from the Rockbrook Equestrian center located down near the river. Rick’s yummy homemade mac-n-cheese anchored our lunch, with plenty of fresh fruit and the salad bars rounding everything out. Next up, it was cabin meetings and get-to-know-you group games, and a whole-camp assembly on the hill where the Hi-Up campers, who are the oldest (completed the 10th grade) girls, taught several camp songs and the directors introduced themselves.
The girls then changed into their swimsuits so they could hike and tour around camp, learning all the important landmarks- the gym, the dining hall, the activity areas, lodges and health hut, for example. One stop on the tour was the lake where everyone learned about the rules of the waterfront, and had a chance to demonstrate their swimming ability. We ask girls to jump in, swim confidently about 50 yards and then tread water for 60 seconds. This qualifies them to receive a buddy tag and green bracelet indicating they can handle the deeper sections of the lake. We require those girls who struggle to wear a life jacket and swim in the shallow swimming area until they improve (the lifeguards are always happy to help with this!) and demonstrate greater swimming ability.
In anticipation of tonight’s activity sign up process, where the girls decide what set of four camp activities they would like to try during the first 3 days of camp, we all gathered in the gym for a series of skits presented by the counselors. This is essentially a variety show with songs, dances, brief scenes acted out, and an enthusiastic audience ready to cheer. It’s a chance for the girls to meet who are the activity instructors, who’s teaching what, and to learn what they will actually do if they sign up for “Hodge Podge,” “KIT,” “WHOA,” and yoga for example. While some activities are self-explanatory, like archery and riflery for example, a little explanation helps for others. By tonight, we’ll have our first set of activities chosen and be ready to launch into action in the morning.
It’s already been a busy, fun-filled day, and we’re just getting started! A quick note about mail… send lots! It’s so important to the girls to find cards and letters in their mailboxes after lunch each day. Send email too (though not ecards or photos please), one good long message a day if you want. Your daughter will love it!