The light grey fog common to our mountain mornings was just beginning to clear today when we opened the front gate to welcome this summer’s August Mini Session campers. About half of the girls arriving are new to Rockbrook, so as they drove up the hill, rounded the lake with its view of the stone hillside lodge and water slide, and met Sarah in the center of camp, it was a strange moment of excited anticipation, vague familiarity (from watching the RBC video… repeatedly!), sprinkled with maybe a few butterflies. The group today took no time to get started— being welcomed by the full session campers who are already here, getting to know new cabin mates, unpacking and making beds, and even heading off on a short hike or friendship bracelet making activity. Rockbrook is a friendly and down to earth place, so it’s not surprising how quickly and easily new campers settle down and begin to have fun.
During the check-in process for the arriving mini session campers, the full session girls followed our regular Sunday schedule which included dressing in their white uniform with red ties (their “whities”), a quick flag raising ceremony, and attending the Chapel gathering set in the woods on the north side of the camp. Today’s Chapel theme was “Individuality” and was presented by the Senior campers.
Before lunch the whole camp, now all the campers and counselors (210 + 58), gathered on the hill in the shade of the big walnut tree and with the gorgeous mountain view in the background, for an assembly.
Sarah, Sofie, Frampton and Charlotte, with help from the Hi-Ups and Line Heads, led a few camp songs. Several Activity Leaders presented skits and awarded a few campers achievement/attitude certificates, like the “Always Ready to Jump in the Lake” award and the super-hero-themed “Mop Awards” that went to the cleanest cabins on each line. We finished up the assembly with everyone hopping up to take a state photo. While some states had only one or two representatives (OR, MO, CO, for example) this session, others like North Carolina and Florida formed quite a crowd.
After lunch, all the new campers changed into their swimsuits and set off on a tour of the camp, stopping to identify all of the activity areas, including the waterfront where they could meet the lifeguards and perform their “swim demonstrations.” This is a simple exercise that involves swimming out about 50 feet, back another 50 feet using a backstroke, and treading water for 60 seconds. Doing this confidently qualifies a girl to receive a green swim bracelet and a special colored buddy tag. If someone struggles to complete the demonstration, she’ll be limited to swimming in the shallow end of the lake and be required to wear a life jacket until she retakes the swim demo as does well. The lifeguards are always happy to help a girl work on her swimming ability, if she is so inclined.
Next, for our hot and sunny summer afternoon, we cranked things up with a Wet and Wild Carnival down on our grassy sports field. We had an inflatable, 25-foot water slide and climbing obstacle race course in place, sprinklers spraying wildly, and enough water pistols to arm everyone. When the girls arrived at the field dressed in their swimsuits, the music was pumping and there were stations all over with different fun Carnival activities to try. The Rockbrook corn hole beanbag games, ping-pong ball toss, hula hoop and frisbee games, and water dunking challenge offered small prizes for the girls. There was a face painting tent that seemed extremely popular— faces, arms and even stomachs soon painted —and of course a snack tent to keep us going, which included an endless snow cone machine as well. Groups of girls ran from one game to another, squirting people, stopping to pose for a photo, nibbling snow cones, screaming and laughing with delight when suddenly hit with a water balloon. With this much going on, this much honest-to-goodness camp fun, we all had a blast.