Kids Camp in North Carolina

Kids Camp Sea Kayaking NC

Here are a few of our “seniors” up on Cascade Lake. It’s just a few minutes from our North Carolina kids camps near the Dupont State Forest, and is a wonderful place to bring the sea kayaks. We put in on one end of the lake, geared up with PFDs and long double-bladed paddles, and paddle to the other end to see Hooker Falls, an awesome waterfall. You can paddle the boats right up to where the water comes crashing down form this 15 foot tall set of falls. For some here in North Carolina, sea kayaking has become their favorite outdoor adventure activity at camp!

Horse Games for Girls

Girls Horse Equestrian Camp

Toward the end of each session at camp, we have a day of “barn games.” It’s when we come up with fun activities a little different from the regular summer camp riding lessons. For example, play “red light, green light,” but one of the most popular is the “Apple Hunt.” This is when the riding instructors hide several apples out in the fields, and the girls are challenged to ride around and find the apples. One apple is marked, and the rider who finds it gets a special prize. They’re all great fun!

Another popular horse game we do is hand print painting. Colorful water-washable paint goes into a tray and then girls take turns dipping their hands into the paint to paint hand-prints on a light colored horse. It can be really creative and fun to add your hand to the horse!

Finally, the girls enjoy the horse game that is essentially a relay. Each rider takes turns carrying a baton or other object and then riding across the ring to hand the baton to another rider, who then rides it back to the original side. This game is fast and fun!

Be sure to check out the comments for this post… More than 300! Wow!

Columbia SC Girls Summer Camp Party

Columbia SC summer camp party

This week we took the new Rockbrook slide show down to Columbia, South Carolina, for a visit with a great bunch of campers, both girls who have already attended RBC and friends who are interested in attending next summer. We really enjoyed seeing everyone. And what a treat to make s’mores! It’s always so fun for us to see our Rockbrook girls, and to help new families learn what makes RBC such a special girls summer camp.

Columbia, SC is located only about two hours from Rockbrook, but in the summer, camp’s mountain climate makes it much cooler and pleasant. Girls from Columbia have been coming to Rockbrook for generations! Almost 100 years!

That’s Amanda, Katie, Anna, Virginia, Margo, Lauren, Betsy, Tillman, Lawton, Amelia, Carey, Mary Clyde, Annie. And thanks to Marjorie Ann and Burgess for hosting the party!

Camp Counselor Positions

Summer Camp Counselor

It’s not too early to think about next summer! In fact, we’re starting to hire all of our summer camp staff for the coming season— cabin counselors, outdoor trip leaders, horseback riding instructors, even folks to join to kitchen crew. Most positions are open, so head on over to the RBC camp staff page and start filling out the online application.

Hey, we’re hiring! 🙂

Not sure you are ready to take on a camp counselor job? Don’t worry! If you have an honest love for working with children, are energetic and a little outdoorsy, we will help you learn everything else you’ll need. We have a week-long orientation program for counselors that teaches all the important skills, provides tips and tricks for handling the job requirements, and makes sure everyone at camp is up to speed on how camp works. Sure, it’s a lot of work, but it is the most rewarding an fun work you’ll ever do!

What is a Sleepaway Camp?

Sleepaway Camps

Rockbrook is an “overnight” summer camp, an example of what some call a “sleepaway” camp. This means that girls come and spend the night at camp for several days or weeks.

Another term you might hear is “residential,” but no matter which term— overnight, sleepaway, or residential —joining a session at Rockbrook means you’ll sleep in a cabin at night.

On the other hand, some camps have campers only during the day. These are called “day camps.” Rockbrook does not have a day camp.

How about this… “At Rockbrook, campers are residents who sleep away from home overnight.” 🙂

But where do you sleep (away)? We have simple wooden cabins— nice and cozy dry, with screens on the windows to allow the sounds and scents of the forest to pass through. Everyone has her own bed, some top bunks and other bottom.  There are lights, but no electrical outlets (no need for those!). Except for the counselors, most everyone in your cabin will be about the same age (finishing the same grade), which makes it easy to have lots in common.  You’ll also eat meals with your cabin mates, so it’s easy to become quick friends.

Teen Girls Camps

Alpine Tower Climbing

One of the great things about summer camp is its ability to help teenaged girls enhance their self-esteem. It does this, not only by providing all kinds of fun, active things to do, but also by encouraging girls to explore new things and providing them a wide range of opportunities for success. With just a little interest (in our Alpine Tower, for example), a little encouragement, and the right instruction, you’ll be surprised that you make it to the top even though you thought you might not. As those kinds of experiences build, succeeding at home and at school seems all the easier. And that’s very cool.

Don’t underestimate the power of camp. It’s so different from school, girls find themselves doing more, relaxing more, tapping into their bravery more, and feeling good all along.

Girls Horses

Painted hand print horse

How many horses did Rockbrook have in its horseback riding program this past summer? With all those girls at camp wanting to ride horses, you might guess we had a lot! Some from St. Andrew’s College Equine Studies program, some from Sweet Briar College Equine Studies program, and some of Rockbrook’s own horses, we had 26 in all. Enough horses and ponies to let every rider, at every level of riding experience, ride almost every day.

Read more about the equestrian program at Rockbrook Camp.

A Place to Grow

A place for girls to grow

In her book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, Wendy Mogel critiques what she sees as a troubling trend in parenting these days— an excessive tendency to shield children from any kind of discomfort.

“Parents are so busy protecting their children that they don’t give them a chance to learn how to maneuver on their own outside home or school.”

Spending time at summer camp serves as a welcome counter force to this trend. As they choose their own activities, sleep in rustic cabins, live with and make new friends, young people at camp are given a great opportunity to grow. Far beyond what parents might orchestrate at home, camp encourages kids to become more independent, to try new things, and to learn from the experience.

It’s a lot of things (like a really fun time!), but perhaps most fundamentally, camp is a setting for exploring who we really are.  Stepping out of our normal routines, we can try new things, endure discomforts and setbacks (try again), and marvel at unexpected accomplishments.

Seen this video? It’s more about how camp is a place for girls to grow.

Nature-Deficit Disorder

Cold Mountain Water

In his recent book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv talks about summer camp serving as a healthy response to our modern tendency to be “plugged in” (to electronic media) and “in motion” (between school, lessons, sports practice, etc.). He writes, “as the young spend less and less of their lives in natural surroundings, their senses narrow— physiologically and psychologically. This reduces the richness of human experience.” Children these days are suffering from a serious disorder that negatively affects their lives and well-being into their adult lives.

Combating Nature Deficit Disorder

At the same time, there’s something magical about the sort of sustained exposure to nature camps provide. Louv sites an amazing array of studies linking nature experience and healthy child development, and concludes “I believe that offering children direct contact with nature— getting their feet wet and hands muddy— should be at the top of the list of vital camp experiences.” Summer camp is the antidote!

Cold Frosty North Carolina Morning

Barn covered in frost

Nurse Jenny recently snapped this photo of the land sports barn. We liked it and thought you’d enjoying seeing a “winter view” of camp.