We all look forward to Sundays at Rockbrook, and for several reasons. First, Sundays are a day when we get to sleep in; the rising bell rings and we wake up at 9 instead of 8am. After our active week, a little extra rest this morning was a good and well-appreciated thing. The treat continues when the girls can come to breakfast in their pajamas, essentially roll out of bed, put on a sweatshirt or robe if it’s feeling chilly, and shuffle to the dining hall through the fog (both literally and figuratively!). This morning, in addition to the eggs, bagels and cream cheese, fruit, granola and yogurt, we enjoyed sweet Krispy Kreme donuts, another Sunday tradition at camp. Rick even had a tray of special gluten-free donuts for the girls who required or preferred that.
About an hour after breakfast, at 11am, the Hi-Up campers (10th graders) presented their flag raising ceremony out on the hill. Raising the flag ceremonially, including reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing America the Beautiful has been a long tradition at camp also. The whole camp dresses in their uniform and then creates a u-shaped formation around our flagpole. Today the sun was bright making our red and white uniforms look great on the green grassy hill.
Immediately afterwards, everyone walks silently in a single file line to the outdoor amphitheater for our weekly “chapel” assembly. For us, this is a moment of calm in our week to reflect a bit about core principles, values and ideas, rather than a religious ceremony of some kind. The campers themselves select a theme and then design a program that usually includes songs, poems and stories that illustrate the theme, with some time reserved for Sarah to add her thoughts. Today, our theme was “Special Places” and the girls talked about what makes certain places more special than others identifying the importance of friends, feeling at ease, and fond memories. They said special places don’t have to be fancy or far away; they can be your back yard or a special tree. Sarah read the book Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel which beautifully describes that exact idea! I’m sure the girls enjoyed thinking about where their special place or places might be.
Our Sunday lunch, which is always something special, was another impressive presentation by Rick, the Rockbrook chef and kitchen manager. Beginning early in the morning, he made pan after pan of homemade lasagna, baking the layers of pasta, marinara sauce, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. With heaping bowls of salad and bread to complement, there was nothing but rave reviews about our midday meal.
An all-camp event for the afternoon is another typical Sunday activity at Rockbrook, and today we held an exciting tournament of games and relays, the “Red Bird Olympics.” First we divided all the campers into three teams, being careful to distribute the age groups, and then gave each team a bottle of washable paint to identify/decorate themselves— one red, white, and blue (The 4th of July is just two days away after all!). Take a look at the photo gallery to see how that turned out— everyone had their team’s color painted on them somewhere, maybe just a stripe on an arm or across a cheek, but in some cases much more!
Every camper participated in at least one of the relay events. Two were about careful tossing and catching: one with raw eggs and the other with water balloons. Girls on the same team would toss, and if successfully catch, they would step back to toss again from a greater distance. This continued until only one pair remained successful. Another challenge had the girls searching for a piece of gum hidden in a pie pan full of flour. We had a crazy sponge relay where members of each team raced back and forth carrying a soaked sponge, transferring water from one tub to a smaller bucket.
One station was the lake where we held 3 different relays. One was an exciting greased watermelon race that required the girls to propel a greasy watermelon through the water without using their arms or hands. The second involved transferring a t-shirt from person to person after swimming a distance, and the last involved girls covering themselves with shaving cream and then sliding down the water slide. All three were definitely silly, but also crazy exciting to watch.
In fact, that’s a good part of the fun— cheering on your teammates as they tackle the challenges of the games. The girls made up cheers for their teams, jumping and screaming in support. The cheering was absolutely wild during the “human knot” event.
In the end, we weren’t sure which team actually “won” the Olympics because we didn’t keep score. I suppose we could have, but how would that matter? Like so much at Rockbrook, for these games too, the fun was in the doing not in the measuring of what’s done.
After dinner and spending some time signing up for a new set of activities that will start in the morning, all the girls grabbed their crazy creek chairs or sleeping bags and pillows to head down to the gym for a movie. We first danced to a few pop songs while everyone was arriving, watched a fun animated short film called Presto, and then enjoyed the Pixar feature film Inside Out. Gathered together and relaxing this way was a nice close to our very full day at camp.