The Sunday schedule at Rockbrook begins with a welcome chance to sleep in. Everyone arrives at the dining hall around 9am, where we enjoy a special treat of donuts along with our breakfast. Later in the morning, everyone changes into their camp uniforms for a flag raising ceremony that includes reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing “America the Beautiful.” We all line up around the flagpole on the hill where the Hi-Ups present the flag and raise it. Then, the whole camp silently walks down the lower line to a special area of the camp with rows of benches for everyone to sit. This area we call “Chapel.”
The chapel gathering is not a religious service, despite the name implying that. Instead it’s a celebration of our camp values, camp goals, and more general themes we can all embrace. It provides a chance for us all to slow down and reflect a bit on what’s important about our camp experience. Each week a different age group of campers presents the Chapel program, selecting a theme. Past themes have included, community, adventure, kindness, respect, happiness, and nature, for example. Today’s Chapel theme was “Individuality.” The Middler campers sang songs related to the theme; “This is Me,” by Demi Lovato, was one today. They also take turns speaking about the theme and its importance. One camper today said it was good to celebrate each individual, but “that doesn’t mean any one person is better than another.”
Each Chapel gathering is also a chance for Sarah to talk about the theme. She ordinarily does that by reading a children’s book that is somehow related. Today she read, Weslandia, by Paul Fleischman. This is a story about a boy named Wesley who creates his own civilization in his backyard using a mysterious plant. It’s really a story about the power of imagination and the importance of being true to oneself even if it means being different. The story illustrates how it can sometimes be difficult for kids to be proud of their individuality, but community and cooperation help make it easier. All great themes for Rockbrook!
A little rain during rest hour helped cool things off before the main event of the day: an afternoon color scavenger hunt followed by a color blast shaving cream fight and slip-n-slide! That’s right, three events in one! The first had cabin groups dashing about camp looking for counselors hiding. The groups had to collect “colors.” Each counselor hiding was wearing a specific color, and once found the girls collected that color.
The shaving cream fight that came next was a hilarious blast. Wearing swimsuits, everyone met down at the grassy landsports field. With cans of shaving cream ready, and counselors stationed with colored powder, the girls arrived and immediately knew what to do. Spray those cans and smear liberally on anyone nearby! This quickly turns into a mad, chaotic scrum of splattering shaving cream, squirting foam, and slippery white coatings slowing growing on everyone. Specks of green, pink and blue color added to the scene.
This is less of a fight than a collective event. The girls “helped” each other empty their cans of shaving cream, helped each other with their new foaming hairstyles, and helped each other cover even more of themselves with the spray. Cooperation to make the whole event more fun!
There was fun pop dance music blasting, but you could barely hear it over the shrieks of laughter and chattering go on. This is messy camp fun, the kind of deep affirming silliness that feels great to embrace.
With water hoses spraying, it only made sense to slide down a big sheet of plastic. Everyone was already slippery, so even better! Take a look at the photo gallery to get a sense of just how much crazy fun we all had.
Once again, the secret to all of this, the “special sauce” that makes this so much fun, is the friendship that permeates this community. It’s a widespread kind of feeling too, something that goes beyond your “best friend.” Everyone’s friendly at camp, so everyone’s receiving the positivity of being among friends. You could see it today, as there was no holding back who you sprayed. When you can laugh with anyone, anyone can get sprayed with shaving cream. All so good, and so much better here at camp.