The Embrace of Camp

Summer camp trunks arrivingOpening the main session of camp, like we did today, is a great event at Rockbrook, one bringing together enthusiastic staff members dressed in their camp uniforms, smiling and encouraging parents, and hundreds of super excited campers. The collective energy of all these people, most of whom have been waiting for this moment since last summer, is almost explosive. Like wild pogo sticks, girls were jumping up and down trying to hurry up their moms. They were squealing with happiness seeing each friend, whether a counselor or a camper. Reuniting with camp, rejoining the great community of people here, is an embrace that feels really good. While most of the campers arriving today and the staff greeting them already have Rockbrook roots, it didn’t take long for the new girls to sense how warm and friendly this place is. Cabin mates were quickly swapping stories, heading off to explore the camp together, to play a little tetherball, or to make a simple friendship bracelet while trunks were moved and other campers arrived throughout the morning.

As the last few parents said goodbye and headed down the hill, the first event was an assembly on the central hill of camp beneath the big walnut tree. In the bright sunshine up there, and with the occasional light breeze, the view of the mountains (and Cedar Rock off in the distance) was gorgeous. Sarah led the assembly, introducing the head counselors and special staff members. The Hi-Ups, our 16-year-old campers, stood up and taught everyone a couple of songs from the RBC songbook, including the 3 different “Line Songs” (each age group’s rallying chant/song). Karin and Courtney, our camp photographers, then snapped a quick photo of everyone according to the state (or country!) where they live. It looked to me that NC had the most, with GA and FL close behind, but there was definitely a wide range. You can see them all in today’s photo gallery.

Remember, you access the daily photos by logging into your parent account established when you registered for camp. The system allows you to “star” your favorites, email photos to friends (at no charge), and even post them to your Facebook wall. Easy sharing! You can also send “guest accounts” to friends and family members, allowing them access. There’s a way to purchase prints and hi-res downloads too. We post a lot of photos, some coming in late at night, so be sure to check back often.

kids playing summer camp gym gamesAfter lunch, which was a great example of Rick’s wholefoods approach- his homemade macaroni and cheese, fresh fruit salad, local tomatoes, peas (and regular salad bar and PB&J station), we began a fun rotation where cabin groups took tours of the camp, visiting all the different activity areas and buildings. Later today when the girls sign up for their first set of in-camp activities, it will help them to know where to find Curosty, Goodwill, the Hillside Lodge, the Alpine Tower, Hiker’s Rock, and the Riflery range, for example. Another stop on the rotation was our gym, where Charlotte and Frampton charged everyone up with several “get-to-know-you” group games. They ran around playing “Birdie on a Perch,” raced together during “I’m a Rockbrook Girl and You’re a Rockbrook Girl if…,” laughed their way through “Chicken in the Hen House,” and played a little “Knockout” basketball. Breaking the ice a little with these games was just right to get the afternoon going.

Girls at camp waiting for swimmingThe third stop in our rotation was the lake where everyone was treated to a quick dip to demonstrate their swimming ability, and afterward receive a personal swim tag and green swim bracelet. The entire lifeguard team, including Sofie and Sarah, help run all the girls through this process of jumping in the lake, swimming out 50 feet or so, back another 50 feet, and treading water for 60 seconds. For some girls, the “refreshing” temperature of our mountain stream-fed lake makes this more difficult (or at least a good reason to swim quickly!), but the majority of the girls do well, qualifying them to swim in the deep section of the lake and to ride the water slide. For girls who struggle, the lifeguards will offer to help them improve, and when ready, retest them, but in the meantime require them to wear a lifejacket in the shallow end of the lake. There are two free swim periods scheduled each day, so if a girl wants to work on her swimming skills, there are many opportunities to work with the lifeguards.

After dinner tonight the girls will have cabin meetings, getting to know each other further, and then making their first selection of activities. They’ll choose four different ones (2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon) that they’ll keep for 3 days before selecting a new set on Wednesday evening. The excitement level all day has been humming at about 100%, and now ready to launch, I suspect it will be difficult for everyone to sleep soundly tonight. Like most days at Rockbrook, there’s just too much to look forward to.

Girl receiving swim tag at summer camp

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