One way we punctuate the week at Rockbrook is to change the pace on Sundays. We follow a different schedule and plan special surprise events for the whole camp. It began today by sleeping in, which felt wonderful after the very full week we’ve been enjoying, but even better, the girls and their counselors came to breakfast in their pajamas and robes. Rick arrived much earlier in the kitchen and baked for us his yummy maple cinnamon coffee cake to complement the regular yogurt, cereal, and fresh fruit bars.
After breakfast the girls returned to their cabins to clean and sort things, as today is also the day laundry goes out. You can imagine how that might take a while! Around 10:30 the whole camp, dressed in their red and white uniforms, then assembled in cabin groups around the flagpole on the hill for a flag raising ceremony led by the Hi-Ups (10th graders). This included presenting the flag, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and singing “America the Beautiful.” As we stood in the bright morning sunshine, overlooking the Blue Ridge mountains in the distance, and flanked by the historic camp buildings, this was a very neat scene.
Next, the girls walked down the lower line to a special wooded area of camp for our chapel service. For years now Rockbrook has been explicitly non-denominational and ecumenical with no religious affiliation. It’s been a place where girls from all cultural and religious traditions (and non-religions!) can feel comfortable. Instead of specific religious texts or ideas, our chapel services are more thematic, focus on general human values (things like honesty, friendship and community), and are led by the girls themselves. For example, today the Middler line presented their chapel on “Simplicity” by leading several songs, reading a poem, and talking about what simplicity means to them. Sarah read (paraphrased actually) a short book to the girls called “Crispin: The Pig Who Had it All” by Ted Dewan. It’s about a spoiled pig who, instead of receiving the kind of big gifts he’s used to, gets an empty box from Santa. He naturally struggles with this at first, but in the end learns about imaginative play. Sarah connected it with camp, of course, noting how being at Rockbrook also encourages us to simplify (no technology!), yet equally inspires our imagination, sense of wonder and connections with others. The chapel is intended to be a quiet time for reflection and an opportunity to gather together as a camp community. It’s a nice balance to the zany fun we enjoy the rest of the week.
After lunch, which was a classic combination of baked ham (or tempeh), green beans and mashed potatoes, and after rest hour, which included a brief, welcome thundershower, the whole camp geared up for the Rockbrook Olympics. We divided into 3 teams, anticipating tomorrow’s holiday— red, white and blue —so that teams included girls from all three age groups. Each team, dressed and painted in their color, came up with a cheer and assigned participants for different relay events to be held down on the landsports field. We had a water balloon toss, a sack race, three-legged race, dizzy lizzy, spoon and egg carry, army crawl, sponge relay, frozen t-shirt thaw, a wheelbarrow race, and a huge, group hula hoop relay. The energy level was intense as everyone raced from one event to the next, stopping now and then for a drink or snack under the tents. For the final event, we all headed back up to the lake for a greased watermelon relay. Even more cheering! As is typical around here, we’re not really sure who “won” because we didn’t keep score. There’s just no need, and it’s really not that important, when you’re having this much fun playing and cheering everyone on. So much fun!