The activity we call “Sports and Games” meets either in our gym or down on our sports field, and lately the girls have been doing so pretty cool stuff. There have been crazy games of dodgeball (e.g., one “International” version where you also defend a hockey goal), quick-paced basketball games, gym hockey, and volleyball. As you can see from this photo, these games are less about winning and more about the fun. They are ordinarily oblivious to the score, and instead focus the laughter of playing. The counselors leading the games still teach basic skills— how to serve a volleyball, for example —but we’re not so concerned about who can serve it the best. In this way, the game itself, rather than an individual triumph, provides the reward. All of this is another expression of our camp philosophy.
Today a group of girls went whitewater kayaking on the Green River under the guidance of Leland Davis and Andria Baldovin Davis. Leland and Andria have worked with Rockbrook for three summers now both as raft guides and expert kayaking instructors. They easily have more than 20 years of whitewater boating experience and literally have “written the book” on whitewater kayaking in America. In addition to all the regular kayaking gear, the brightly colored plastic boats, Werner paddles, helmets, spray skirts and PFDs, the crew packed a lunch because this was an all-day trip. The weather cooperated beautifully with warm sunshine to balance the chilly water, and the girls had a fantastic time not only maneuvering through several challenging rapids like “Big Corky” and “Jacob’s Ladder,” but also taking a swim in a gentle part of the river. Everyone returned from their adventure excited and eager to take another kayaking trip later in the session.
Back at camp, the sunshine inspired several campers to take a ride down our 150-foot water slide, a.k.a. “Big Samantha.” After walking along the boardwalk on the far side of the lake, and across the bridge over the creek, the girls climb a tower to the start of the slide. Vinyl tarp material, with a water spraying down it, provides the slide, and the lake at the bottom supplies the splash for each rider. Most girls hold their nose because the the slide propels you out the bottom faster than you might think. A short swim over to the ladders and the girls can head back around for another slide.
After dinner, over in the Hillside Lodge, we gathered the whole camp for special evening program, a reptile and cold-blooded animal show. Daphne from “Cold Blooded Encounters” presented the show which included 14 different animals ranging from small salamanders, to lizards, a scorpion, an eastern box turtle (North Carolina’s official “State reptile”), a tarantula spider, a black King snake, and a 15 pound King Python. She presented each animal one by one, to at times the horrified screams of the campers. Of course, there were plenty of questions, like “Where do those snakes live?” and “Is that one poisonous?” Daphne was great with the girls, letting everyone get a good look at each animal as she walked around describing its unique characteristics and behaviors. At the end of the show, she invited the campers to come up and touch her King snake, proving to them that snakes are not “slimy,” but instead are usually smooth, cool and muscular. It was a fun, illuminating evening.