Welcome, welcome, everyone to Rockbrook! We are all very excited to see you and to begin your session of camp in the “heart of a wooded mountain.” Over these next few weeks we’ll be creating something everyday, taking adventure trips, playing all kinds of games, learning to ride, shoot and flip, and more than anything, having a great time laughing and goofing around with friends.
Getting settled into the cabin is the first step— moving trunks and dufflebags, setting up a shelf of things near her bed (flashlight, book, photos, stationary for writing letters home, etc.), meeting her counselor and other girls in the cabin. While most of the campers are returning to camp from last summer, we’ve taken care assigning cabins so there’s always a mix of new and returning campers. It’s a good way to ensure that everyone will have new friends to make.
Rick and his kitchen crew prepared our favorite comfort food for lunch: homemade macaroni and cheese, with a tomato and cucumber salad, carrots and sliced peaches. Along with our regular salad bar and peanut butter and jelly station, everyone had a great first meal at camp… just right on a warm summer afternoon. It’s during meals that all those crazy camp songs come out too. The Hi-Ups (10th graders) got everyone going with big powerful versions of the “Coconut song,” “the Milk Song,” “An Austrian Went Yodeling” (Paola, our Australian who lives in Vienna, gets a chuckle from that one!), and others.
After lunch everyone headed out to the main hill in camp, some with their Crazy Creek chairs, for an assembly under the shade of the big walnut tree. This was a chance to learn more traditional camp songs, meet some of the Line Heads and other lead counselors, and to find our more about camp. We also were treated to a series of skits performed by the activity instructors and counselors, short songs and scenes they put together to explain what happens at their activity. It’s a fun way to let the campers know their options when it comes time to sign up for their activities, but also a good way for everyone to meet the other staff members at camp. My favorite was the swimming skit where Gracie performed a dramatic reading of a short story she wrote while the lifeguards danced and interpreted the scenes in the background. It was hilarious!
Next, each cabin of campers comes down to the lake to perform their swimming demonstration. This is a simple check of swimming ability were each girl receives a personal buddy tag if she can swim out 25 yards, back another 25 yards, and tread water for 1 minute. Meanwhile other cabin groups are taking tours of the camp, learning where all the activities meet, how to go through the tunnel to the equestrian center, and the trail to the alpine climbing tower. This is also the time, right before dinner, that the girls sign up for their first set of 4 activities. After meeting the counselors, finding out what the activities actually are, connecting with friends, and knowing where everything meets, the campers are now much more prepared to make their own choices about their activity schedule. By the way, all of this is why we don’t “pre-sign up” for activities before arriving at camp. We’ve found over the years that campers get so much more from making their own activity selections after arriving. It’s a big part of camp at Rockbrook.
After an awesome dinner of chicken fingers, baked potato fries, and sauteed local summer squash and zucchini, with Liz’s chocolate chip cookie bars for dessert, we enjoyed a relaxing evening on the hill before each Line’s (age group’s) evening program. It’s always amazing to see how quickly the girls settle into life at camp. Everywhere you look, it’s easy to see friendships forming, enthusiasm for what’s going on (even for clearing the table after dinner, for example!), and excitement for all the opportunities around them. It’s a cool thing. We all tend to stay up a little later the first night of camp. All this bottled up excitement keeps the cabins chatting late into the night, anticipating the first full day tomorrow. It’s gonna be a good one.