Another outdoor activity we offer our girls here at Rockbrook is called “WHOA,” which stands for “Wilderness Hiking Outdoor Adventure.” It provides a broad introduction to outdoor skills like fire building, orienteering, map reading, knot tying, and plenty of hiking around the camp property. Each day the girls do something different. They might hike up the steep trail to the top of Castle Rock for a view across the French Broad River Valley to the Blue Ridge Mountains. They could make the trek out to Rockbrook Falls or up behind the camp to see Stick Biscuit Falls. Today the girls in WHOA learned the principles of fire building (the importance of heat, fuel and oxygen), how to collect dry wood, and different ways to stack twigs so they will ignite from a match. With the fire going, they couldn’t just let it burn without also roasting marshmallows. And with marshmallows roasting, they just had to make s’mores too. Fire building and outdoor cooking, especially when it ends with a yummy treat, makes for a popular activity.
The whitewater kayakers at camp this session were busy again today, this time with a day-long trip to the lower Green River. With our fleet of colorful new kayaks lashed to a trailer, 8 girls and 2 counselors drove to the river and met Leland and Mary Ann, our lead kayaking instructors. The trip started with a brief refresher about basic safety and paddling techniques, but quickly turned to a discussion of how to read moving water, ferry across the river, and find calm eddies to rest. This section of the Green River is a perfect stretch of water for a beginner. It has class I and II rapids nicely spaced along about 6 miles. Today the weather was crisp with deep blue skies and all the warm sunshine we could soak up, an absolutely perfect day to be out paddling.
Shaving Cream Fight! That was the announcement during dinner inviting everyone down to the sports field for a slippery, and very messy, romp with cans of shaving cream. This was an optional event, but for many girls they had been waiting for the chance to frolic with all this white foam. Dressed in their bathing suits it took about 1 minute for everyone to be splattered and in some cases completely covered.
You can tell from these photos that this event is ridiculously fun. It’s mischievous, yet perfectly OK at camp. It’s a kind of harmless messiness that feels great, and in this case, makes for a wild ride down the slip ‘n slide.
We often say that camp is a special place where kids can do things that aren’t easily recreated elsewhere, either at home or at school. This is a clear example of that, but more importantly than being allowed to get a little grubby, a shaving cream “fight” like this brings the girls closer together. With shaving cream on everyone (yes, even on me), I think we dissolve the boundaries between us and strengthen our community. Of course the girls will say they are “just having fun,” but there’s something liberating and likewise unifying about the whole event. In so many ways, it feels really good.