Third Session Video Snapshot

We know parents enjoy checking the online photo gallery each day, hoping to catch a glimpse of their child, and peaking into what’s been happening lately at camp. These photos are great, but they struggle to convey the emotion, the action, the laughter, and chatter of a vibrant group of kids.

Fortunately, we have some video as well. We’re happy to say Robbie Francis of FrancisFilmworks is again working with us this summer to produce short videos each session.  He came to camp this week and now has his first video snapshot of this session ready for you to see.

Take a look! We love how it captures some of the feeling of camp this session.

Click below to watch.

P.S. Be sure to have the volume turned up. Hearing camp is amazing!

Textures of Camp

If I had to define the gist of this blog, I’d say its goal is both to describe what happens at camp, and to explain why Rockbrook is what is, does what it does, and makes a difference for the people here. If you ask anyone who attends camp to convey what’s so special about it, they’re bound to struggle, and finally throw up their hands and say, “you just don’t get it.” I’ve been working at this task for almost 20 years, and I still feel there’s more to say. If discussing camp was a simple thing, you’d think I would have figured it out by now, but I haven’t! Sure, I have my theories, but they’re certainly incomplete.

Let me today interpret a few recent photos you’ve seen in the online gallery.

rockbrook camp muffin girl

Muffins! You may have heard of our famous muffin break, that special time between morning activity periods (around 11am) when we serve a freshly baked muffin to all the campers and staff members. When the bell rings to change morning activities, everyone detours toward the dining hall porch where the Hi-Ups pass out the day’s muffin. Everyday it’s a surprise flavor too! It could be “cherry white chocolate,” “pumpkin chocolate chip,” “funfetti sprinkles,” or classic “blueberry,” for example. The baker sometimes creates amazing unique flavors, like when she made “key lime pie” muffins, and the legendary “cookie dough” muffins that where topped with a small dollop of cookie dough. Realizing that the girls could use a mid-morning snack, and loving fresh baked goods herself, Sarah invented the idea of muffin break. Ever since, and probably forever more, we all enjoy muffins at Rockbrook.

two camp kids in woodworking shop

Woodworking! It’s our newest activity addition at Rockbrook and is quickly becoming one of the most popular. In the wood shop, located behind the lower pottery studio, the girls are measuring, cutting, shaping, gluing, drilling and sanding pieces of wood. They’re learning these basic woodworking skills while they make wooden journal covers, cutting boards, sculpted candle holders, or secret boxes. Along the way, they are using true woodworking tools like pull saws, block planes, chisels, rasps, tape measures, drills, and clamps. This is an activity that really empowers the girls and gives them a great sense of accomplishment when they have a finished project to take home. It’s a great example of camp proving to them they are more powerful than they think. No wonder it’s popular!

summer camp kid playing gagaball

Gaga ball! You may not have heard of this group game, but it’s always a big attraction at camp. During any block of free time, there’ll be a dozen or more girls crowded around our gaga ball “pit.” The game is a form of dodgeball and was invented in Israel in the 1970s. All of the players start in the pit and then swat a small rubber ball around trying to hit other players with the ball. If hit, a player is “out” and must hop out and over the wall to wait until the game is over— when only one player remains. Each game only takes a few minutes to play, so even if you’re out, you’ll be back in to play another game shortly. One variation allows players who are out to reach over the wall and hit the ball. If they hit it and get someone else out of the game, they get to go back in. Gaga ball is a fast paced game that’s easy to learn and fun to play, especially with a large group.

summer camp girl standing with horse

Horseback riding! Rockbrook is known for its riding program and, as you might guess, attracts girls who love riding. This is why we have so much of it going on. During the 4 activity periods each day, we’ll have up to 6 different mounted lessons occurring simultaneously— girls on horses learning to walk their horse through a course, to find the right posting rhythm while trotting their horse, and to canter over cross rails and jumps. There are lessons for all skill levels. The girls learn to tack up their horses and how to take care of their stalls. For those really excited about horses, there is our “stable club” which gives girls a chance to work even more with the Rockbrook horses— washing them, feeding and watering them, and taking care of their feet. With 32 horses currently at the riding center, there’s always plenty to do…. and usually plenty of girls eager to help.

rain storm at summer camp

Rain! This afternoon, like many afternoons around here, we had a brief thunderstorm pass over camp. In a way, these are welcome breaks from the heat, but they can also include lightning. To help us be safe during these storms, we have a lightning warning system that automatically sends out a loud horn-like sound whenever lightning is detected near camp. The campers and staff know that when they hear this sound, they should immediately take shelter in a building. The lifeguards clear the lake. Riders dismount from their horses. Tennis players, and everyone outside, moves inside. This lightning system continually monitors the storm, and when there has been no additional lightning in the area for 20 minutes, sounds an “all clear” horn signaling everyone that it’s now OK to resume their regular activities. The system works great, usually giving us plenty of notice before a rainstorm is upon us. Today that storm lasted about 45 minutes, just long enough to play a quick card game in the dining hall or ballgame the gym before heading back out.

Camp is so many things. These blog posts can only give a hint as to its depth, just like the photo gallery can only capture a handful of brief moments among millions each day. There’s cool grey fog in the mornings and golden sunsets at dusk, but in between there are Rockbrook girls woven into the textures of camp life. It’s a full life, rich with new experiences, a good life, for sure.

camp girls making hearts on sunset

Where Kindness is Contagious

You can’t hang out at Rockbrook for very long as an adult and not be amazed. What’s going on here is amazing of course— kids are happily busy with a huge range of activities, stretching and growing in marvelous ways. At any one moment there is a camper doing something impressive. It could be as daring as learning a back walkover in Gymnastics, or as mundane as sweeping the cabin floor in the morning before breakfast. It could be creative like painting a watercolor still life. It could require calm attention like aiming a .22 rifle at a target 50 feet away. Campers prove they are strong hiking up to the top of Castle Rock. They are persistent learning to throw a pot on the potter’s wheel. And they are coordinated when they figure out how to paddle their kayak in a straight line. Everyday, it’s incredible how many decisions campers make on their own, away from their parents. These are just a few examples— and there are many, many more —of Rockbrook girls doing amazing things.

That’s not too surprising. After all, Rockbrook offers a wide range of activities, and there are so many opportunities to try cool new things everyday. But there’s something else about these camp kids that’s even more amazing, something we adults rarely see (or experience ourselves). More than what they’re doing at camp, it’s their temperament. It’s how they’re doing things and how they’re treating each other along the way.

In this environment, kids are different. You can sense it. They’re more kind to each other, more respectful and more caring. It can take a few days for them to realize it, but at Rockbrook you can relax and be your true self without being afraid of “what others might think.” The Rockbrook culture celebrates this value of kindness, reinforcing itself so that over time every relationship at camp takes on a genuine sweetness. Different from other places, kindness is contagious at camp. Soon it spreads and grows stronger, infusing our community with a spirit that makes girls feel supported, valued, and loved. With incredible force, this spirit begins to color everything we do. And it’s lovely! Again, it’s amazing to see all these girls be so nice to each other, be so happy in each other’s company, and care so genuinely about each other.

Parents often remark about their children being “nicer” or “more helpful” when they get home from camp. In interesting ways, the positive habits of camp, how girls feel about themselves and how they relate to others, can be carried home after camp is over. Time at camp, and the growth it fosters, can have lasting effects.

The other day, I stumbled upon a research paper that suggests this, namely that a summer camp experience can significantly “increase children’s altruism.” The paper by Yves Gerber, Edouard Gentaz, and Jennifer Malsert entitled “The effects of Swiss summer camp on the development of socio-emotional abilities in children” outlines several psychological and developmental benefits of a summer camp experience, but found statistically significant affects on altruism. Put simply, the researchers conclude that time spent at summer camp can help kids be more kind and compassionate toward others. Seeing how things go at Rockbrook, I’d say we could provide data to support that conclusion. It’s nice to know that a peer reviewed study showed summer camp can enhance children’s altruistic tendencies.

So while they’re enjoying all of the exciting activities at camp, the special events, and out-of-camp-trips (like our evening adventure to Sliding Rock tonight), your girls are developing important personal skills too. They’re practicing being kind and receiving kindness everyday. They’re becoming more aware of the people around them, caring about them and for them. In the end, they’re deepening their friendships. They’re enriching their ability to connect with others through kindness, caring and generosity.

If you saw it here, you’d be amazed. I think you’ll be amazed when they return home too.

camp kids on sliding rock

A Rich Way to Be

Today we proved once again that Rockbrook girls love to go whitewater rafting, as we spent the day over at the Nantahala River. It was back in the early 1980s when Rockbrook received a Forest Service permit to run rafting trips on the Nantahala. Rockbrook is still the only girls camp to have this type of permit. This allows us to take everyone who might wish to go (though only Middlers and Seniors are old enough), use our own equipment, train our own guides, and take trips at our convenience. Over the years, whitewater rafting has become the most popular adventure trip we offer. I’d say 95% of the girls eligible to go will sign up for one of the trips. Today 71 people rafted the Nantahala in two groups, with half going in the morning and the other half after lunch— two trips in one day.

Take a look at the online photo gallery of today’s rafting and you’ll see right away that the girls had a fantastic day on the river. Something about rafting inspires even more silliness, more laughter, and more frolicking. While rafting, they’re posing for the camera, making “high fives” with their paddles, “playing dead,” and recreating movie scenes, for example. Even though they have to paddle the boats now and then, the splashing water and bumps from the rapids keeps things playful and exciting.

summer camp rafting thrills

Today’s weather was ideal for rafting too— hot and sunny, which is nice when combined with the chilly 50-degree water of the Nantahala. The 9-mile section of the river takes us about 2 hours to raft. It’s a series of calm floating sections and wild whitewater rapids with names like “The Bump,” “Patton’s Run,” “Delbar’s Rock,” and “Surfer’s Rapid.” Like most things at camp, a big part of the fun of rafting comes from the fact that you’re doing it with friends. This makes every surprising bump hilarious, especially when someone falls out of the raft and needs a pull to get back in, or when “riding the bull” on the front of the raft ends up in a fall backwards into the boat, feet waving in the air. The final rapid of the trip is the Nantahala Falls, a class-III, double drop rapid that is powerful and fun. It never fails to get everyone screaming, and at the bottom, to create feelings of celebration after making it through. It’s the perfect highlight ending for a day of adventure.

Back at camp in time for dinner… well actually about 20 minutes late, which meant we joined the meal already in motion, the girls were surprised to find the dining hall tables rearranged and everyone sitting in different places (not in their cabin groups as usual). There were 12 large tables, one for each month, because it was “birthday night!” Everyone was seated according to their birth month. Plus, there were some amazing costumes on display. It was a “not so scary Halloween” costume dinner, with wild hats, wigs, sunglasses, colorful shirts and dresses. Each month had its own decorated cake to share as well. With funny halloween-themed music playing, it was s party!

costumed summer camp girls

Keeping the costume theme going, our evening program was an all-camp dance in the gym. Our friend and local DJ, DJ Marcus, was set up with his sound and light equipment when the girls arrived in waves. Soon the gym was packed with girls jumping and singing along to their favorite pop songs. I’m always impressed how Marcus will mix in a few group dances like the “Cha Cha Slide” to encourage everyone, even the more reserved girls, to join in the moves.

Walking up the hill after the dance, one of the girls who had also gone rafting said to me she felt “pretty tired, in a good way.” “Me too,” I thought. Camp life is generally full of action, keeping us moving throughout the day. All the chatting, smiling and laughing, plus the intensely stimulating things we do— climbing, riding, creating, rafting, dancing, etc. —makes this a rich way be. We’re not zoning out in front of a glowing screen. We’re actively engaged with real world textures and sensations, bolstered by an incredibly enthusiastic and supportive group of people. There’s really nothing, nothing this good, quite like it !

Kids Being Kids

There’s a certain power to kids being kids. Especially when together and when fully involved with some kind of real world activity, when actually doing something physical with other kids. You might just call that “play,” but it can be more than that. Today at camp was rife with that power. It was our first full day of camp activities and we saw it everywhere.

silly camp zipline crew

After a yummy breakfast of Rick’s homemade oatmeal, fresh cut fruit, granola, yogurts and cereal, everyone at camp fanned out all over to get started with the whole range of camp activities. Each camper had chosen their activity schedule the night before, and now it was time to begin with the first of the four today.

All ten of the craft activities sprang to life. Girls were soon weaving colorful yarns on looms in Curosty with Lucy. They were pinching and rolling clay in one of the 2 pottery studios. They were learning to tie special knots to make their first friendship bracelet. They were twisting t-shirts and dripping dye on them, sticking scraps of paper to “memory boxes,” weaving wet reeds to make baskets, sewing pillows, dipping brushes into watercolor paints, and carefully measuring thin planks of wood before making their first cuts in woodworking. Many art projects had begun!

Sports too! The campers shot rifles and bows with .22 caliber bullets and arrows hitting their paper targets. They balanced on the beam after stretching in the gymnastics area of the gym. The tennis courts saw various tennis drills and short games. The gaga ball pit also was stirred up by game after game, with girls jumping and swatting as the ball bounced in their direction. For something more relaxed, there were yoga classes being held in the hillside lodge. Of course the lake, which (after to the dining hall!) is probably the most popular place in camp, was humming with fun as the girls zipped down the water slide, invented silly poses while jumping off the diving board, and just played around on different floating toys. As the weather was perfectly warm and sunny throughout the day, the lake was a great place to be.

The first riding lessons also took place today, with the campers who wanted to ride meeting new horses. There were riders in every ring walking, trotting and cantering their way around. The outdoor adventure staff offered climbing on the Alpine tower, trips through the zip line course here at camp, a hiking trip to High Falls in the Dupont State Forest, and chances to begin learning the basics of whitewater kayaking down at the lake.

old time jug band campfire

Dinner was a hotdog picnic on the hill— dogs (and veggie dogs), buns and regular “fixins,” homemade coleslaw, salad and potato chips. We also had freshly baked cookie bars for dessert. With ideal, almost cool, evening weather, we all enjoyed a breezy feeling dinner that was just the right balance of hanging out and silliness.

Tonight’s evening program was an all-camp campfire we call “Jug Band.” This is a silly program of traditional Appalachian songs and stories that the counselors, Hi-Ups and other directors present. Sarah dresses up like an old woman named “Sayree” and brings her fiddle to play. Tonight a guitar and ukelele joined in to play “She’ll be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountian,” “Mountain Dew,” and “Little Cabin in the Woods,” which were clear favorites with the campers. This was classic camp fun, and an excellent way to end the day.

It was wonderful to feel the energy of kids being kids at camp. Everyone seemed happy and excited, and nicely settled in. These camper are already feeling comfortable and enjoying camp life. My hunch is that it’ll soon be even better!

completely goofy kids at camp

About One Minute

On a day like this, it takes about one minute around here for signs of camp to appear. Today was the opening day of our Third and August Mini sessions, a day when we welcomed a new group of girls to Rockbrook. For some of these girls, this was the first time they had ever seen the camp in person. They may have studied our website and watched a few of the videos there, but they had not yet experienced camp life. Others were returning to camp, eager to see camp friends and relive what they love about Rockbrook. For everyone this was the start, the day they’d been anticipating for months.

excited camp staff jumping

It may have been the start, but from the very first moment we had smiling girls, excited counselors, and easy friendships forming. Out of every arriving car stepped a camper itching to get started. There was also some jitteriness, but that too seemed par for something this new and exciting. Right away campers were meeting other girls, greeting their counselor, and learning the names of everyone. In some cases friends would recognize each other and run toward each other screaming with delight ready for a long awaited reunion hug.

Immediately, girls were playing games and joining others on the hill to take a turn smacking the tetherball. They were unfolding their crazy creek chairs, side by side, to have a conversation. They were gathering their things and, together with their bunkmates, tackling the task of making their beds, stringing fairy lights, and arranging everyone’s trunks in their cabins. The girls were wearing their wood-chip nametags and their Rockbrook t-shirts. They were already walking with a buddy, sometimes holding hands, confidently making their way around. In their first moments at camp, these girls were off!

summer camp introduction game

Right before lunch, the whole camp assembled in the shade of the big walnut tree on the hill for a few songs and introductions. All the directors said hello, as well as the group of 10th grade Hi-Ups. Even Felix, the camp dog, made an appearance, happily the focus of many petting hands.

Somehow it’s become a tradition of sorts to serve Rick’s homemade mac-n-cheese for lunch on opening days. It’s probably because it’s such good comfort food and the girls love it. It’s got three or four different kinds of cheese and a crunchy breadcrumb topping that makes it delicious. Sautéed fresh vegetables and cut juicy watermelon rounded out the meal.

summer camp lake waterfront

Camp tours came next with every cabin group eventually making it down to the lake for our “swimming demonstrations.” This is a chance to learn about the waterfront area, our tag system and all the opportunities to swim each day at camp. Each girl took turns jumping off the dock, swimming and treading water to demonstrate how comfortable she is in the chilly mountain water. With the lifeguards in the water for encouragement, most everyone did well and received a blue tag for the tag board.

Later this afternoon, the counselors took turns performing brief skits as a way to advertise the different activity options to the campers. Using costumes, songs, and dances, and they gave the campers a chance to learn about the activities and to see who will be teaching. It will be helpful for the campers to know this when they select their first schedule of activities later this evening.

It’s been a beautiful day to get the session started. Camp life is appearing all around, and with the start of activities tomorrow, we’ll see it truly blossom. I can already tell these girls are going to jump right in.

rockbrook felix hello

The Surprise of Camp

After the excitement and intense celebration of the banquet last night, the mood shifted for our closing campfire. This “Spirit Fire” has been a tradition at Rockbrook for its more than 100 year long history. It is a special time to celebrate each session by gathering around a campfire to reflect a little about camp, to sing a few special songs, and to mark our time together with a shared candlelight ceremony. With everyone dressed in their red and white uniforms, complete with red ties for campers, we fan out across the low wooden benches around the campfire area near the lake. All of the campers, counselors and directors fit snuggly in that space, shoulder to shoulder, all focused on the great fire lit up front.

girl camp true friends

The program features several traditional songs that are perhaps a little less silly or raucous and a little more serious or significant. We sing “In the Heart of a Wooded Mountain,” for example, which we call the “camp song.” It describes Rockbrook as a “fairyland of beauty where friendships so true are born.” We sing “How Did We Come to Meet Pal,” a song that reminds us that camp teaches “the meaning of the real worth of friendship born to last.” Another favorite song we sing at Spirit Fire is called “The Streams and the Mountains.” It has a nice waltz beat and cheerful melody as it evokes the feeling of camp, “a special place for which we yearn.”

The most interesting part of the event is the speeches given by campers of all ages and a few staff members. These short reflections about camp weave between songs, and are interesting because they reveal how the speakers feel about camp, funny details of their experience and what Rockbrook means to them.

girl camp best friends

Tonight I noticed a theme of sorts running through several of the Spirit Fire speeches. One camper described how she was at first very nervous coming to camp, especially not knowing anyone already attending. After a few days, though, she was surprised how quickly she began to make friends and feel comfortable. Another camper said she was surprised to find Rockbrook people so “friendly and nice.” A first-time counselor found herself surprised how much fun she was having at her summer job. Several campers described how their camp friends were surprisingly closer than their friends at home. One 4-week camper said she was surprised how quickly her session went by.

All of these speakers, you see, talked about being surprised by some aspect of their camp experience. They were pleasantly surprised by Rockbrook. Their worries turned out to be unfounded. They actually made friends easily, were comfortable at camp, found nice people, and had plenty of fun. They found that initial jitters didn’t last, and hiccups were only temporary. It’s hard to believe that camp can be this different, this much better than their non-camp lives, but it is. Surprise!

campers on their final night at camp

Again, many of us found ourselves sniffling and choking up a bit during the speeches, especially when the speakers themselves became emotional. Each reminder that this was our last night together this session made those emotions even more powerful. Each time someone said Rockbrook felt like home, we would hear echoes of soft whimpers.

The Spirit Fire program ends with everyone sharing part of the campfire by lighting a small white candle. Sarah and the other directors first light their candle from the fire, and then pass it along to each camper’s and staff member’s candle. Everyone then forms a circle around the lake facing the water. It’s a beautiful moment to see how strong the spirit of Rockbrook is among everyone there.

Now we have to say goodbye until next summer. We leave a little stronger and more confident, more comfortable at camp, and knowing that this haven in the “heart of a wooded mountain” will always be our home. It’s been an amazing session, one that we will all remember fondly.

summer camp candle ceremony

Rockbrook County Fair

It started way back on the first day of camp this session, the day all of the 9th grade girls, our “CAs,” began talking about the party they’d be planning. To be fair, many of these girls probably had been thinking about this party for months prior to camp. Some even began talking about how they’d throw this party last summer. Of course, I’m referring to the “Banquet,” the end-of-session blow out party everyone at camp looks forward to. Ask anyone and you’ll quickly learn that the Banquet is a big deal at Rockbrook.

girl singer wearing gold dress

That first day weeks ago is when the CAs took a hike out of camp where they could brainstorm ideas privately and narrow down options to a single theme for their party. This group started with about 60 different ideas, but by the end of the hike had landed on the idea of a county fair. They wanted a country aesthetic with farm animals, boots and hats, but also the festivities of a fair. Ultimately, they settled on the title, “Rockbrook County Fair.”

But this was no ordinary county fair. It had folks dressed in western wear like flannel shirts, jeans, cowboy boots and hats, but also attending were quite a few world famous celebrities. It’s hard to say who was more popular, but we had both Taylor Swift and Dolly Parton at the Rockbrook fair, each dressed up and ready to perform. Also attending was Hannah Montana and Miley Stewart.

Of course, there were also plenty of animals, including Jessie the cow, Gary the goat, Rufus the dog, Fried the chicken, and Betty the black sheep. There was a particularly pink prize pig, too.

Attending the fair, there was granny Meemaw and old man Peepaw. All of these characters were played by the CA girls. Their costumes were fantastic! They also made a fun sticker shaped like a fair entrance ticket, and gave one to all of the campers.

summer camp party decor

They also had the entire interior of the dining hall decorated with scenes from a county fair. There were signs for county fair games, fair food, and song lyrics. They painted large colorful scenes on paper that covered every inch of the dining hall walls. With streamers and strings of lights strung in the rafters, it was a a fun, festive scene. They had arranged the tables to leave a large area open in the middle of the floor, which quickly became a dance floor whenever a new song was played. On the tables was a colorful program, plus a surprise treat of some candy and a variety of sodas.

The CA campers, in between dance numbers, served county fair food too, things like fresh watermelon slices, “Farmer Toby’s Tots,” Meemaw’s mac and cheese, with Peepaw’s Fried chicken, and homemade apple crumble with real whipped cream for dessert.

skit of bandits and sheriffs

There was plenty of dancing, but suddenly a plot began to unfold. During the auctioning of a pig, a bidding war broke out between Taylor Swift and the other celebrities, rapidly increasing the price to more than a million dollars! Just when everyone thought Taylor had won the pig, two robbers burst in and stole the pig! Soon there were two sheriffs on the hunt to recover the stolen pig. With the help of others, they searched for the pig.

While the sheriffs and others were looking for the pig, others in the ensemble performed the “Hoedown Throwdown,” “Our Song,” and finally “9 to 5” as a dance showdown to determine who got the pig. Eventually, the missing pig was located and the entire cast celebrated with more dancing and singing.

Overall this banquet was another huge success because it combined all these fun elements— unique decorations, elaborate costumes, entertaining choreographed dances and skits, party food and treats, plus plenty of opportunities to get up and dance with friends. It was such a unique camp event and a great way to celebrate our time together this session. Singing at the top of their lungs, dancing in big groups, hair bouncing and flying about, this was a party to remember. Everyone seemed to comfortable and happy, excited just to be a part of it. Take a look at the photo gallery, and you’ll see it was an evening of non-stop smiles. Camp is simply great like that!

summer camp country girls
summer camp costume girls party

More Memories Made

As closing day of this session creeps closer and closer, there is a noticeable buzz around camp as campers begin to check off everything they want to do before they go home. Craft projects are carefully completed, as each camper’s collection of creations grows bigger and bigger. The art studios are buzzing with laughter and camaraderie as masterpieces are meticulously completed. Through the process of creating and finishing craft projects, campers learn to embrace their uniqueness, overcome challenges, and celebrate their new-found talents.

the close summer camp friends

As the campers bid farewell to their beloved Rockbrook experience, they will carry with them not only the tangible craft projects they’ve lovingly created but also a newfound confidence in their creative abilities and the enduring memories of a summer filled with art, big exciting fun, and the best relax-in-your-lap friends.

On the more athletic side of things, camp-long goals such as Rockbrook Runners, Mermaid Laps, and The Bounce Club are wrapping up, with campers hurriedly spending as much free time as they can to achieve this. It’s a whirlwind of swimming, running, and bouncing tennis balls, with campers giving their all to achieve these epic milestones before the ultimate reward: a visit to Dolly’s, a legendary treat that’s worth every effort.

For our talented athletes, the anticipation builds as the team for the Camp Carolina tournament is announced. Girls with special talent in Archery, Riflery, and Tennis are picked by the counselors to create a select team to travel to Camp Carolina to take on the boys in a half-day long tournament. Girls who are picked excitedly receive an invitation, and start perfecting their skills in free times, practicing until the big day. 

With the end of the camp session, comes special traditions that the girls have looked forward to the whole session. The highly anticipated camp play, “Matilda,” is mere days away, and the cast is on a mission to dazzle the audience. With impressive dedication, they perfect dance routines, don fantastic costumes, and polish their acting chops, creating a theatrical marvel that defies the clock. It is truly remarkable that the camp play is always so amazing, considering that it is organized in just 3 and a half weeks!

In this flurry of activity and celebration, the bond among campers grows stronger. The friendships forged and memories made will forever hold a special place in their hearts. As they begin to prepare to bid farewell to Rockbrook, they carry not just the tangible tokens of their creative brilliance but a newfound belief in their abilities and the indelible mark of a summer filled with joy, growth, and unforgettable experiences.

girls outdoor summer camp dacning

Kayaking Katie Pocklington

Rockbrook has a wonderful community of talented staff who make camp a fun, exciting adventure! This summer, Rockbrook is proud to introduce one of our new international staff, Katie Pocklington, affectionately known around here as “Kayaking Katie”! 

whitewater kayaking racer Katie Pocklington

Katie is a member of our Adventure Staff and a kayaking instructor. She has been kayaking for over 6 years and competing for Team Great Britain Wild Water Kayaking Team for the last 3 years.

Katie came to us later on this summer. Why you might ask? Because this amazing Rockbrook Girl was competing at the European and World Wildwater Championships!

Katie said this about her experience:

“The European Championships were held in North Macedonia and involved a pretty complex river. The World Championships were held in Germany on the Munich 1972 Olympic course. The water was pretty challenging but it was amazing to compete on the world stage.” 

Our Katie proudly left the World Wildwater Championship coming in 21st in the world! This Wildwater kayaking competition involved both a sprint down a whitewater course and a longer “Classic” which is a 2-4 mile race.

Katie is so excited to work this summer at Rockbrook Camp with all the amazing counselors, staff and campers and to ensure the best kayaking experience for our campers!

kayaking instructor Katie