Today began with a group of girls getting up early because they were heading to the Nantahala River for a day of whitewater rafting. With their towels, water bottles and change of clothes packed, we had a simple breakfast of cereal, yogurt and fruit before loading the three buses and vans and taking the 2-hour drive to the river. Midway, we stopped for a bathroom break and a quick muffins snack.
It was another fabulous day of weather for rafting— sunny, low humidity, and warming temps throughout the day. Each of our rafts holds between five and 8 people plus one guide who sits in the back navigating past the different river obstacles. The rapids in the Nantahala all have names and unique characteristics that make them a fun challenge. There’s Patton’s Run, Delbar’s Rock, The Bump, and the finale, the Nantahala Falls. The fun of rafting comes from combining special adventure safety gear like the helmet and PFD, the power and intensity of fast moving whitewater, the surprising jolt that comes from bumping into rocks along the way, and the invigorating shock of the cold water splashing. But perhaps the biggest reason rafting is so much fun comes from doing it with your friends. It’s the social aspects of rafting, the hilarity of being splashed together, and screaming with delight when the boat hits a wave. This all adds up to the kind of fun that’s uniquely thrilling and memorable.
Meanwhile back at camp, campers were enjoying the whole range of activities, from zip lining to weaving, from shooting archery to playing tennis. In the WHOA activity, which stands for Wilderness Hiking Outdoor Adventure, the girls were learning about fire building and then roasting marshmallows over the fire. In pottery, campers were shaping their coils and slabs of clay, while some worked on centering on the potters wheel. Here too, the beautiful weather inspired everyone to enjoy walking around camp, for example to the dining hall for muffin break.
After dinner it was time for some dancing! We held an all-Rockbrook camp dance in our gym, a special event that brought all the campers from every line together—Juniors, Middlers and Seniors. It’s always super high energy and the campers get really into belting out their favorite songs. Music and dance is universal, and I feel that these dances really unify our Rockbrook community.
Tonight’s particular dance was aptly titled “Monster Mash,” going along with the theme of the day, “Not So Scary Halloween.” At Rockbrook we love any opportunity to dress up in a costume, so for the entire day campers were able to dress as they would on Halloween – a “Summerween”, if you will. There were a variety of costumes, the ones that caught my eye being: a banana, a friendly ghost, and Uncle Fester, the bald, kooky uncle with the pale skin and dark eyes from the Addams Family.
The dance was a magical scene: faeries dancing with witches dancing with princesses; red, green, and white lights sparkling across the gym floor, Brevard’s own DJ Dogg playing a mix of Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”, Justin Bieber’s “Baby”, and many songs by the ever popular Taylor Swift.
One thing I love about Rockbrook dances is witnessing younger campers dancing with their older peers. Several times throughout the evening campers of all ages formed into a dance circle, campers taking turns to rush to the center to show off their best dance moves, the onlookers clapping and cheering words of encouragement to their brave counterparts. The Rockbrook spirit of support never wanes! I personally enjoyed getting to dance with various campers and counselors, in particular with my friend Emma who was dressed just like me as Wednesday Addams, another character from the Addams Family who is known for wearing all long black braids and black clothing, and an ever present dour expression.
It’s not a Rockbrook dance without a conga line! I watched from the sidelines as it formed, growing longer with every second as one by one campers joined in. It was hard to resist myself and I quickly latched my hands on to the shoulders of a counselor. Those hesitant to jump into the sprightly formation were given the opportunity to join, the dance line pausing for a moment as campers were happily let in. There were other moments of campers participating in group dances, for example to hits like the “Cupid Shuffle” and “Soulja Boy.” At one point DJ Dogg stepped out from behind his DJ deck to lead the camp in a dance and song that recently went viral called “The Git Up.” Some of the moves included two stepping, sliding to the left and right, dropping down low, spinning, and shoulder shimmying. Towards the end DJ Dogg returned to his turntables and handed it off to the campers to take the lead. I was very impressed by how quickly they were able to do it! My personal favorite group dance is the “Cha Cha Slide”, which I have done at many dances. It also includes sliding to the left and the right, as well as stomping your feet, clapping your hands, and hopping.
There was just as much fun happening outside the gym as there was inside. There were campers enjoying a friendly game of tetherball, some peacefully reading on the steps of the gym, and quite a lot gathered around the gaga pit to witness a fierce round of the dodgeball like game where players aim to strike each other out with the gaga ball in hopes to be the last one standing. I also witnessed a few junior campers chasing a camper fully covered in a green and white sheet, her costume being a bush. Rockbrook campers are very creative!