Just Joyful Engagement

The first day of a session when the campers begin their activities is a marvelous example of camp life. Each camper has selected a different thing to do for each of the four scheduled activity periods: two in the morning and two in the afternoon. (By the way, that’s something to ask your camper in a letter or email— “What activities did you sign up for?”) If they are taking Horseback riding, the Riding Director has assigned them to a particular period, but all the others they fill based on their own preferences. You’ve probably seen the huge range of activities and maybe heard your camper talk about particular things they want to try. Our hope is that the girls try new things while they are at Rockbrook. And camp encourages that. When friends are signing up for climbing the Alpine tower, for example, you might join them even though you don’t think of yourself as being very adventurous. Or maybe taking Painting sounds a little scary since you may think “I’m no good at art,” but at camp we start with a spirit of exploration, of trying things just for the fun of it. And when you’ve got encouragement all around and kind friends sometimes literally “in the same boat,” a young person will grow from just taking that first step of trying a new experience. Being afraid of “I might not be good at tennis,” for example, can be a real limitation, but at camp we take care to create the conditions (caring and kindness all the way down) where girls have nothing to fear like that. No judgment, no competition, just joyful engagement.

camp archery lesson

The different age groups sign up for activities together, assuring that the Juniors are together when they take archery for example, likewise for the Middlers and Seniors. This allows the instructors to tailor their teaching to the level of experience of each group. We split and alternate which activities are available for each group. That means not all of the activities are available to every age group during each signup, but that’s why we split the week and sign up for a new set of activities every three days. We want to give each age group a fresh set of options during each rotation. It’s a little complicated, and they may not get their first choice each rotation, but over the course of the session, everyone will have a chance to try most all of the activities. This is also a great way to encourage each camper to spread out their schedule. They’re bound to experience a little adventure, some sports, and some crafts each day.

This way of selecting activities ensures that the campers can be with different people throughout the day. Since each individual camper selects her schedule, rather than as a cabin group (as is the case at some camps), everyone enjoys meeting new people when they’re stretching in a yoga session, learning to weave, or playing at the lake. It’s during the blocks of free time when this happens even between age groups. During the “First Free Swim” before lunch, the “Second Free Swim” before dinner, and the “Twilight” period after dinner the girls have more independence to decide what they would like to do, spending time with so many different friends.

Walk around camp and that’s what you’ll see— groups of campers deeply engaged in outdoor activities. You’ll see girls making things, being creative with their hands as they cut wood, work a needle and thread, or tie a white t-shirt ready for dyeing. Groups are zipping through the trees on our zipline course, while others are hiking up the steep trail to the top of Castle Rock. Others are playing gagaball, heading to the lake with their towels strung over shoulders, or perhaps loading up a van to find a waterfall in the nearby Pisgah Forest. In all of these examples and more, there’s an added thrill of togetherness making things more fun. That’s camp life— days filled with many many friends, many many activities, charged with laughter and excitement.

The best way to get a sense of all this action is to follow along in the daily photo gallery. If you haven’t seen it, login to your Campminder account. The “Login” link is at the top of every page on the Rockbrook website. Use the same email address you used to complete the pre-camp forms, and you’ll see an icon for “Photos.” We upload batches of photos, usually twice a day and sometimes more often. It’s great fun to login each day and scan through the newest galleries. So take a look and enjoy!

Summer Camp pals


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